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Sharing the goodness

A long time ago when I first started blogging I used to follow someone who would make a daily post identifying the new things he was discovering out there on the internet.  He’d compile it all into one post and call it “Sharing the Goodness”.  Usually with some catchy, awesome title to draw in his (mostly female) readership.  I always loved that concept, sharing the things that interested us whether they be kinky, geeky, sexy, raunchy or just plain beautiful.  So here is my contribution to the Goodness for one day.  This may become a semi-regular feature on this blog.  We’ll see.

  1. First is a local blogger that I only discovered today named QueerRadical who won the Westword award for best activist blog. Only one day into the posts and I’m impressed.  I like the queer-friendly advice that is given and the intelligent look at books, politics and media.
  2. I was quite pleased to find this website today called 25 Things about My Sexuality which is a fascinating read.  It may take me a while to get through all these different posts, but so far I love the candidness of the revelations.  Gotta say there is some freedom in anonymity and yet, a lot of those posts are so similar to what I would say about my sexuality.   Shows we have more in common than we might think in both our heartbreaks and our triumphs.
  3. The folks over at Cracked.com never fail to entertain.  This article about 5 Ridiculous Sex Myths from History (you probably believe) is fucking priceless.  Not just because it’s entertaining, but because it’s illuminating about the arrogance of later generations to think we are the most sexual of history.
  4. A great event for a great cause, check out the Build-a-Bear fundraiser hosted by the Denver boys of Leather.  Something about hot men in leather with cuddly bears that makes me all gooey and happy.
  5. Lately I’ve been dismayed by the number of people who have been treating relationships with disdain and cynicism (in fact, I’ve been so disillusioned by cynics that I’ve added them to the limit list).  But I love this view of marriage brought to us by Neale Donald Walsch (author of Conversations with God).  Yes, I am an unabashed fan of Mr. Walsch and his vision for humanity, but I was honestly moved to tears by this particular writing, which encourages us to view marriage and/or long-term commitment in a relationship as an act of witnessing for that person.It’s about having someone there to witness our full selves, our story, our ups and downs and to affirm our value and existence.  That is what my marriages are about…and something I hope to share with you.

And I can’t say that I’ll be posting these things very often. I’m finding it difficult to use the WordPress dashboard and would welcome any different tool for blogging that might be available.

Open marriages: a mainstream reality check

Let me confess right now that I am not a celebrity watcher. Sure I keep up with the basics of the gossip, but i don’t let the temperamental and tumultuous relationships of celebrities define anything for the reality of my life.  Personally I believe any marriage exposed to such a magnifying glass is already starting out with more pressure than it can withstand.  But when I read that some gossipers are blaming an open relationship for the failure of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, I think people are too quick to assign blame to the “new” concept of an open marriage instead of looking at the qualities and characteristics of the people involved.  And let’s be clear…none of us know Demi and none of us know Ashton.  So unless you are in the relationship itself, can you really assign blame to an open marriage or any other signular scapegoat?

In this article on HuffPo “Open Marriage: A Celebrity Solution or a Contradiction in Terms?” people continue to speculate on the disadvantages of an open relationship. What bothers me about the article is that it pretends to have an equal point of view where it intends to treat open marriages as an option, except it doesn’t really delve into the good realities of an open marriage.  It treats open marriage as if it is biohazard material which can only be observed at a distance or with heavy protection against its dangers.

Open marriage may seem sane to some as it allows for forgiveness on both sides if and when both partners give into the inevitable temptations and stray. The thinking is, “If we’re going to cheat, let’s at least be honest about it.” But it is not a real solution. I don’t have the statistics to prove it, and with today’s divorce rate, traditional marriages aren’t exactly stellar in the numbers department, but from a purely practical perspective, we can’t have it both ways.

I don’t think my marriage could stand up to this kind of pressure and I’m not sure that any healthy marriage could. I believe it prudent to intentionally keep things that are potentially damaging to your marriage away from your marriage whenever and wherever possible.

First, let’s agree that there are a few problematic terms here such as “stray”, “cheat”, “not a real solution” and “potentially damaging”.   The article is already stacking the deck against us. Open marriages for the most part don’t view outside influences or people as dangers that should be guarded against.  And frankly if someone decides to open their marriage with this perspective in mind, they might not have the right mindset to even start an open marriage much less sustain one.

Most open marriage start with the premise the honesty is mandatory.  No subject is off the table, no encounter is not worth sharing.  So, if cheating, straying or stepping out becomes an issue, it’s usually because a partner has a compulsion to deceive in a relationship, which I view as far more damaging in an open relationship because the fear of being honest, confessing an attraction to another person or god forbid flirting with another person has been managed and ideally eliminated.  Generally speaking, if someone cheats in an open relationship, they are a special kind of douchebag, often blaming the other partner for their lack of integrity and honesty instead of owning up to their compulsions and impulse control issues.  But in a traditional marriage, this might not come to light and would be blamed instead on that partner’s inability to be monogamous.

But to say that it is prudent to keep “potentially damaging” influences, people and situations away from your marriage is problematic.  If that were the case, let’s make sure we don’t open up marriages to children.  After all, the birth of a child could be potentially damaging to your union, causing among other things financial instability, mental break-down and a lack of sex drive.  Let’s also make sure no married couple takes on a risky business venture or has to travel for work.  Include too potentially erratic and damaging in-laws or friends.  Pets. Home remodeling.  Disability. Death of a family member.  Or anything that might cause stress. And most definitely let’s eliminate any threat of mental illness or chronic disease.

Do you see how utterly stupid that is?

Instead, why don’t we teach our married brothers and sisters how to deal effectively with a partner when facing these “threats” to their united bliss?  How do we deal with conflict?  How do we deal with disappointment and deception?  How are we playing out the tired and unsuccessful patterns of relating that we’ve learned from society and family in our married lives today?

But comparing an obsession with work and material success to the enrichment and fulfillment available when connecting with more than one human being is insulting.  That’s not to say that I haven’t seen marriages torn apart by the distractedness and self-centeredness of one of the partners.  For example, I knew of a couple that broke up because the wife spent most of her time scrapbooking or playing games online than watching her kids, leaving the husband to work 60+ hour weeks, risking his and the kids’ health.  But whenever the focus of a partner is rooted in the outside world, connection starts to wither away.  Focusing on bringing home the joys and rewards of those outside influences and allowing it to help replenish the couple so it becomes something they can share in together, equally and reinforce the connection.  But it’s easier when you’re bringing home the joy and bliss of a new connection.  Seeing your partner light up with pride and love at a fulfilling evening and having them share that positive energy with you is not at all the same as waiting up all night for your partner to come home from a long business trip only to have them barely kiss you or share the details of their trip with you.

Open marriages are just an invitation for sexy, exciting, thrilling and potentially lethal distractions. It’s inviting disaster, just like working crazy hours at the expense of yourself or your loved ones; playing golf more than you know you should to get away from your family; hanging out with friends more than hanging in, or out, with your spouse; and the list goes on.

Lethal distractions?  Really? Only if someone can’t control their jealousy.  But then again, I’ve seen people murdered for less.  And I would absolutely LOVE to divorce someone for playing golf (because I find golf to be an insipid, tedious and needlessly elitist “sport”—that is pretty much a deal-breaker to me). My husband’s distraction is video games.  The benefit he gains from it helps me too.  He is more relaxed, more able to talk about his day, more focused on my needs instead of just his.  And I have my distractions too.  I love kink. I talk about it, write about it and even study it in my spare time. (and belly dancing is a close 2nd) It has benefits for my husband in much the same ways his distractions benefit me.  So, I wouldn’t say that distractions are per se bad, but that it breaks down to the cost-benefit analysis of it all.  Does the benefit to the marriage outweigh the cost to it?

Additionally, is someone is seeking distraction to avoid the real dysfunction of the relationship or is it something that is enriching to their character and growth?  It’s only at the end of the article that the author even suggests that there might be reasons why someone is seeking distraction in their marriage.  And frankly, I don’t know a couple that doesn’t seek it to some extent.  So the question is why?  And frankly, we tend to knee-jerk quite a bit about this subject.  Could it be that this “distraction” is contributing positively to someone’s growth and journey?  If so, I’m all for it.

So until you know these couples and what their individual and joint journeys are…it’s probably a better idea to look at yourself and ask what is so delicate about your marriage that you must avoid “danger” at all costs instead of allowing it to test your mettle and commitment, allowing it to alter your perspective and perhaps even enhance your life.   Through good times and in bad, right?

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those you care for to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you.”

– Dr. Wayne Dyer

What is a Slut. The response

A few days ago, this article by Katheryn Hale was sent to me by a friend who wanted me to comment on it.  Knowing that I am rather pro-slut she specifically wanted to know whether I approved or disapproved of this commentary.  I am a proud and happy slut.  I am happy to reveal my number and go into gross detail about what each encounter meant to me.  I consider myself an advocate for responsible slutting.

Want to know how I feel about the article?  I wholly disapprove.  I sat there in shock as this commentary in EdenCafe of all places was insulting those of us who have an active and equally healthy sex life.  Not to mention the fact that this article showed absolutely none of the sex-positive or even woman-positive imagery I had grown to expect in my daily readings, it did it in such a demeaning and judgmental way that I have no choice than to respond to some of the more choice judgments.

“Whore” and “slut” are terms almost always applied to women, particularly promiscuous ones. While they’re very similar behavior-wise, whores and sluts differ by their degree of promiscuity. Whores are often associated with prostitution. These women have many sexual partners, but they’re selling their bodies primarily for monetary gain, whether they actually want to be a prostitute or not.”

She starts the article by assuming that sluts should end up at the bottom of this heap.  She acts as if any of us are morally equipped to judge someone else’s sexual choices or encounters, much less determine that some classifications of sexual women deserve to be at the bottom.  What is interesting at that she classifies “whores” as being better since they’re getting paid for their promiscuity and later in the article states that the fact that “whores” maintain some sense of safety and control over their choices.

But it’s this statement that set me off: 

Sluts, however, are willing to have sex with just about anything that moves. They’ll engage in dangerous sexual activities at a whim, all while only being concerned about pleasure. At least whores are both aware of the risks and are willing to protect themselves whenever they can. Even if a slut knows about the dangers of frequent unprotected sex, she’ll most likely not give a hoot about safety precautions pre-intercourse.”

WHAT.THE.FUCK?!

Sluts are willing to have sex to satisfy and assert our own pleasure, our own choices, their own values and not those of someone else.  We do not have sex with just about anything that moves; in fact, we exert a great deal of choice over who we have sex with and how.  And even if Ms. Hale had bothered to define what are “dangerous sexual activities” (is it sex with strangers, sex without condoms, sex in public, group sex, kinky sex, mile-hi sex?) trust me when I say that we sluts have one thing in common: we assess our risks and make knowing and informed choices.  The fact that we do so more quickly than your average bottled-up housewife does not necessarily make it “on a whim”.  But even if it were on a whim, why is that a problem if we are walking in fully aware of and prepared for the risks involved?  Even if the sole concern isn’t primarily for pleasure, at least we do actually consider our own pleasure before deciding to have sex with someone.  Shocking, I know.  But certainly not anything that should be used to judge anyone…that is, unless your premise is based on an assumption that sex should not be pleasurable. And if so, you should really be more upfront  about that.

But more than that, I’m offended by the assumption that think that our sex is “unprotected”.  The fact is that sluts are owners of our sexuality.  We are enforcers of a healthy sexuality.  And more than anything we aren’t so caught up in the paradigm of fear about what is “down there” that we actually know our own anatomy, our own pleasure centers and are educated and assertive enough to understand and make conscious decisions about our level of safe sex.  We are more likely to be prepared with condoms, have had frank discussions with our health-care providers in order to keep ourselves safe and are more likely to walk out on someone who refuses to respect any boundaries we require regarding safety or activities.  We are active and informed consumers of sex, from the side-effects of some of the materials used to make the sex toys we use  down to the rules of engagement for a new sex partner.

Are you prostituting? You’re a whore. Were you caught cheating with your lover’s best friend? You’re a whore. Did you contract an STD, have an abortion, or appear on Maury Povich for a paternity test? Whore, whore, and big time whore.

Here’s my take:

Are you prostituting?  You are a sex worker.

Were you caught cheating with your lover’s best friend?  You’re likely a cheater.

Did you contract an STD?  You’re either not taking the right precautions in sexual activity or you were terribly unlucky.

Did you have an abortion?  You are a woman who has had to make a very difficult choice (and you might have been forced to because you were a victim of rape or incest or marital abuse).

Did you appear on Maury Povich for a paternity test?  You’re attention-seeking and possibly harboring some unresolved issues, but not likely an actual whore.

Am I the only one who sees this line of judgment as problematic and infinitely fallacious?

When a woman becomes a slut, she is no longer treated like a woman, let alone a human being. She becomes an object to abuse, and no one cares because nobody wants to associate with sluts.

No, it’s when other women, like the author, who treat empowered and sexually assertive women as less than worthy that we are treated like this.  I didn’t see anything in this article that treats “sluts”, “whores” or any other woman who has had more than 3 sex partners with anything resembling respect or admiration.  So why would anyone else treat us with respect?  It seems that the author cannot even bring the sensitivity or sensibility to treat woman who are obviously far more sexually active than her with anything but distant derision and outright shame.  It is people like the author who are responsible for continuing to shame a healthy and positive sexual presence for women and thus legitimizing such horrid treatment as the default societal response.

It’s not hard to imagine just how threatening a sexually assertive woman might be.  How threatening it is for her to be aggressive, directed and yes, pleasure-driven much less to expose herself to other women who do embody these qualities?  After all, that might be far too empowering and would start to eliminate the millions of women who have been brainwashed into thinking that Cosmo can solve their sexual dilemmas by turning elementary school girlish titillation into some grand game of sexual doormat olympics.  All the author does is deter women from taking control over their own sexual satisfaction and setting reasonable and concrete boundaries about their level of involvement in a sexual encounter; thus silencing those who model any level of sexual control and maturity to our partners and friends.  She might prefer in fact if women were kept as demure little girls who allowed fear and insecurity to make our sexual decisions for us…and thus keep us repressed, lonely and pleasure-deprived.  After all, that’s been the predominant message over centuries of patriarchial society.  It is up to the woman to keep her legs closed and shame to any women who decides to open them willingly for someone she might be attracted to.

So, to answer the final question in the article, why yes, I am rather proud to be a slut, to sex-positive, to have touched others’ lives through my intimately physical interactions with them and to continue to focus on my pleasure, my safety, my boundaries and having sex as loudly as I can on my own terms.

Thanks for asking.

Three things to do before the end of 2011

I’m not a doom and gloom sort of girl.  Never been good at that.  Sure, I can see a storm coming like anyone else.  I’m not blind.  But I’m also not the type to panic needlessly.  Or at least that it is my aim.  I got an email the other day with these words “Three things to do before the end of 2011”.  A spiritual lifehack.  I’m down for that. But the timeline bothered me.  Before 2011 ends.  What if I don’t turn in the assignment on time?  Will I miss the spiritual woo-woo bus to salvation?  What if I fail?!  OMG panic.

*Let’s conveniently ignore that I used the term “OMG” in print.  Eww*

Anyway, it directed me to this site and briefly described these three things:

  1. Align all your energy and commitment to your biggest dream
  2. Step into your Soul Purpose
  3. Move forward from your wholeness, not your fears

While the site does offer insights into what the author believes is a massive transformation of spirit and global energy (which I do not dispute) the steps are so simple, so attainable, so easy that I wanted to go into a little bit of detail about what it means to me and why I think the time couldn’t be better for us to start applying these principles to our lives.  Read the rest of this entry

Hiding in plain sight

When a friend showed me this article today, it was creepy how similar it was to my own experience starting out in the BDSM community.  I’ll excerpt a bit of it here for with my own commentary.

“I Never Called It Rape: Addressing Abuse in BDSM Communities” – by Kitty Stryker

When I start to think of the number of times I have been cajoled, pressured, or forced into sex that I did not want when I came into “the BDSM community”, I can’t actually count them. And I never came out about it before, not publicly, for a variety of reasons- I blamed myself for not negotiating enough, or clearly, or for not sticking to my guns, or I  didn’t want to be seen as being a drama queen or kicking up a fuss. Plus, the fact is, these things didn’t traumatize me, and I didn’t call it sexual assault or rape, because I felt ok afterwards. There was no trauma, no processing that I needed.
This was my experience too.  How horrible is it to be a new in this environment and have to just accept blame for actions that were never truly consensual and in any other context would have qualified as sexual assault?  But just like the vanilla world…we end up carrying that guilt and that burden because safewords weren’t honored, because scenes went too far, because my safety was not of the utmost concern to the dominant in the situation.  Somehow it’s my fault.  I wasn’t more clear when negotiating (stupid me, I thought “no paddles” meant no paddles would be used).  It’s my fault if I expose someone who treated me poorly because everyone else thinks he or she is an “expert” or Master of the craft. 
I had physical wounds.  But more importantly I had emotional and spiritual wounds caused by this type of disregard.  Submission by its very nature exposes a person’s vulnerability.  And the bad and dirty players exploited that vulnerability, betrayed my trust and worse blamed me for the results because I wasn’t “submissive enough”. 
This was traumatizing.  Make no mistake about it.  It would ruin my experience with the next dominant or top I met and make me leery of trusting myself much less ever trusting others.    As for the physical wounds, I had them.  But how do I identify the wounds I consented to and those I didn’t?  Unless it was a clear matter of “I didn’t consent to marks of any kind” how do you distinguish between a literal and unintentional “oops” and the more reckless “don’t give a fuck”? Read the rest of this entry

A place-holder

This is a place-holder for a longer response to this post. I agree with most of it, if course have my own point of view as a sexual healer.

More to come in a few weeks.

The “Pornification” of Sacred Sexuality « Sex positivity « Society http://www.edenfantasys.com/sexis/sex-and-society/the-pornification-of-sacred-sexuality-0525115/

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