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BDSM 101

Found this excellent and concise public education video on BDSM 101 on Race Bannon’s blog  the other day. While the video itself moves very fast, it’s got a lot of great information in it that accurately explains BDSM including the euphoric feeling that many get after playing. What’s even better is that it was produced in conjunction with Planned Parenthood, which certainly improves its track record for being kink-friendly. Most of all, it does a wonderful job of distinguishing kink from abuse.

Enjoy and share!

Reid Mihalko: Make a Joyful Noise

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For someone, like me who has long been a sex-positive advocate (although not really an educator), I was super geeked to attend one of Reid Mihalko‘s talks in Denver. I had seen his keynote address at Beyond the Bedroom back in October, but unfortunately was unable to make his other classes that Weekend. So this was a real treat for me.

It was only about 2 years ago that I really discovered my own personal trick to my orgasms. See, while I’ve been experiencing great orgasms by myself since I was 11, I was very reluctant to share those with others. I was happy to be on the receiving end of someone’s orgasm, but I wasn’t going to share mine.

Part of the reluctance came from the fact that I had worked with several older men in my adolescence, and for better or for worse, I learned quite a bit from them. And each day for almost 4 years I heard them complaining about how selfish the female orgasm was. How they had to “waste” their time trying to get a woman to cum. They hated giving a woman oral and often complained about the taste or smell. It left a clear impression on 15 year old me, so that by the time I finally gave my virginity to a high school senior a year later, I treated the whole experience as an experiment in -being the opposite of all these selfish women I had heard about.

Now, with the caveat in mind that I have known very few men to ever complain about a blow-job in general, I do consider myself rather adept at that particular skill. That has been my sure-fire claim to fame for almost all of my sexual life. Hell, I was coached by my first boyfriend, who is now gay. I listened to my male co-workers describe what they liked and what they didn’t. I am a quick learner and proud of the way I take time to learn a man’s body well enough to tease and please quite well.

By it wasn’t until I met Warrior that I found a cock that I couldn’t use those same tricks on. Hence, why I think classes like Reid’s are quite necessary. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about sex, because there is always something new you can learn and a new way to approach each person’s individual likes and dislikes. And at the very least a new way to frame how you decide to look at your own abilities.

But more important than just learning technique is the breaking down of the shame and guilt we experience about sex. For a while after meeting Warrior I felt I was losing my touch and thus unenjoyable as a partner because i couldn’t make him cum from a blowjob. It took months before I realized that he needs a lot of sensuous build-up, because while his body is “online” and ready, his mind is in twelve different directions. And now I hold the honor of being the person (male or female) who has given him the most orgasms from oral ever. Why? because his orgasm isn’t about me. I could use the best technique in the world and it still might not happen. I could be the hottest woman on earth and it might not happen. But I can create an environment and experience where if it is going to happen it can and we will both be happy simply because we are together.

So, what does this have to do with my own realization two years ago or the class last night? We pick up some fucked up ideas about sex. I mean, here I was growing up to grown men moaning about how tedious the female orgasm is. I already had a lot off self-judgment around selfishness in general and wasn’t about to become the type of lover who was selfish and wouldn’t give the same level attention being given to me. In fact, I was the type of person who was determined to give and pamper, but never fully receive.

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Introducing The Redheaded Slut

Just wanted to post a quick note about a new addition to the blogroll: The Redheaded Slut.  A friend of mine who also blogs about the personal, the sexual and the intersection with the mainstream.  A wonderful writer that I’m sure you will enjoy.

Welcome!

You are a guest here…

Last night a bit of a debate erupted over my post about the Focus on the Family ad during the Broncos-Patriots play-off game last night.  While I thought my small opinion might be controversial what I didn’t expect was that two people so unlike each other would get into a snarky religious battle in the thread that I’m sure making people on either side of the issue uncomfortable.  Okay, maybe I did foresee that just a little. But there I was at 2 am ready to settle in for some sleep when I finally checked my notifications and saw it.  So after I woke, I updated my response and share it with you in every form I can imagine:

Dear friends…I am not going to get too involved in this at 2 am. However, if you have been on my list for any amount of time please let me remind you quite clearly that: 

a) I believe in equal rights for all, including homosexuals, bisexuals and trans men and women, including but not limited to those who seek to engage in same sex marriage and non-traditional relationships;

b) I have spent the majority of my life defending those rights and fighting the injustice of those who would seek to undermine equality;

c) I believe that God creates us as true perfection and loves each of us with infinite wisdom, innate goodness and unconditional love and does not require the exclusion of anyone from the fullness of oneness with the divine;

d) I believe that freedom of consensual sexual expression is a fundamental right and indeed a gift from the divine meant to express connection to others and provide a greater experience of our shared humanity;

e) I respect the right of each individual to experience and share their experience of faith in an equally respectful manner including but not limited to Athiests, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Pagans, Taoists, Jewish and so many other traditions…I welcome all faiths because I find your journey fascinating;

f) However, remember that you are a GUEST in my space amongst some of my most intimate and respected friends and I ask you kindly treat it as such;

g) As the host of this page, I am unilaterally and unequivocally allowed in MY own space to share my opinions, ideas and observations and will attempt to do so solely as a reflection of my own experience and research;

h) I spent most of my young adulthood studying the bible and later working my way through some of the apocryphal writings and have concluded during my journey that there is not only one way to God, the divine or universal oneness, but many paths that lead in the same direction;

i) If, by some chance the god of love that I have personally experienced in my upbringing, research and my Calling does not exist and is indeed such a vengeful, jealous, emotionally needy, and fearful being will sit in judgment of me upon my death, I will happily risk exclusion from heaven to stand proudly by my beliefs hopefully having spent my lifetime lending my power to those whose voices have been shamed into silence by needless and destructive emotional, physical and spiritual violence condoned by their earthly brothers and sisters;

j) As an attorney and political activist I believe strongly in a separation of church and state…something many of our politicians should remember when accepting donations and our churches should stop trying to exploit through the historically blurred lens of religious freedom,

and finally…yes, finally, I believe in treating others the way I want to be treated.

You are allowed to disagree, you are allowed to debate, but understand quite clearly that I identify as an active and compassionate member of the LGBTQ community and deeply spiritual woman. Because I choose not to remain ignorant of either the Catholic faith I was raised in or the moral abundance of teachings from other sources, I cannot be swayed by arguments solely comprised of scripture. I am an intelligent, queer, cisgendered woman who has spent over 20 years healing the fractures left in human souls by the improbable demands of religion and the social fear manipulations surrounding among other things concepts of sexuality and gender.

Pray for me if you like…but when you have lived my life, borne witness to the messages on the hills of Podbrdo and Krisevac touched the hearts I have and loved as deeply and as fully as I have…then judge not.  And I pray to the god, goddess or entity of my choosing that upon your death you will be greeted by a divine presence who is actually IS unconditional love made manifest through each of us.

I expect this message to suffice for the time-being.  Defriend me, block me, rally against me.  “Like” it if you wish, re-post and share as needed, but do not presume to teach me about my own faith and my god-given life experience any further.  I do reserve the right to limit further commentary in my space.  My inspirational playground, my rules.  A clear statement of healthy boundaries that I expect you to respect. 

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.

Welcome to the online

I found my blogger account.  It’s amazing isn’t it?  And now that I’ve found it, I’ve decided to delete it.  When I started it, I was looking for a space other than LiveJournal to post my thoughts.  LiveJournal had become dangerous for me because it had been used to out to me to my work colleagues.  That in itself wouldn’t have been bad except for the fact that I had a job that depended on maintaining an austere, unassailable reputation.  And well, I was not as unassailable as I thought.  So I tried out a new home.  Found it to be not as accessible as I wanted it to be and have thus landed here in WordPress land.

So, here is the initial post from that Blogger attempt (March 2007). I called myself the Love Priestess…which is still a title that works for me and I may use it from time to time here.

Welcome back, Bella

You know, I’m not a fan of this space all that much. Blogspot used to be just a place I could read about sex, politics, sex, news, sex, parenting, sex, philosphy, relationships and oh yes, sex. It was a nice little place for me to be without causing too much of a ruckus.

Not so much anymore. There are people who look in on you from time to time, see if there’s anything they can use against you. See whether you’re perverted enough to post something real. See whether you’re sick enough to enjoy seeing a naked body now and then or even wrap your eyes around a tasty piece of erotica. And oh please, let’s not forget that they absolutely must know if you’ve ever had a dirty though to put into words. It’s dangerous.

So, I’ve decided that this space contains whatever it is it going to contain.

I’m a real live woman.
Latina.
Curvy.
Smart.
A mother. 
A lover of many.
A connosieur of the the deviant abundance out there.

Yes, I enjoy sex. So should you.
Yes, I have a brain that can analyze social and political problems.
Yes, I read and am captivated by the expression of self through words.

No, I’m not sick.
No, I’m not perverted.
No, I’m not here to corrupt your children…in fact, I don’t want your children anywhere near this space..

I’m just here. And I’m going to say what I’m going to say. And if that makes me dangerous…well, then that is a badge I will proudly wear.

Dangerous ideas.
Dangerous thoughts.
Dangerous lessons.
Dangerous actions.
Dangerous life.

A dangerous beauty.

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