Archive for July, 2010

I Don’t Know What To Title This

First, I apologize for the absence. Between dealing with major life changes and preparing for more major life changes, blogging has taken a back seat. Coupled with thoughts about things I don’t even know how to begin thinking about, I’ve been reluctant to write and share.

But here I am.

We’ve all heard the statistics:

In the United States, a woman is raped every six minutes.

One in six American women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Globally, one in three women and girls has been beaten or sexually abused.

One in every four or five college aged women will experience attempted or completed rape during their college years.

The depressing statistics could go on and on, with only minor variations according to who is reporting in what year.

Until recently, none of this had ever hit close to home. Sure, I had an acquaintance in my 9th grade American History class that divulged that she had been raped. She was just a classmate though, and “it was a long time ago.”

Clearly there is a lot that could be said here about society and the culture of rape. I want to place that all aside. My question for you is: What someone reveals that they were sexually assaulted, what can you do as a supportive friend or lover? What if it was recent? What if it was in the distant past? What helps? What hurts? Personal anecdotes as well as scientific research are equally appreciated.

Hump Day Happiness #9

This week has seemed extra long. Now, as we are officially half way done, I can let out a sigh of relief.

——————–

Through PRIDE month might be officially over, this comic from a softer world rings true.

——————

Someone on Genderfork shared this little gem:

“I can’t wait to button up your blazer over my breasts, slip on my slacks, spritz on some cologne, pin up my hair, and escort you to prom like a proper gentleman. You in your pink hat with the sparkles, both of us looking downright dapper as we each battle the binary, hand in hand. Can’t wait to dance with you.”

It’s sweet relief from all that lesbian-not-invited-to-prom-in-Mississippi business.

——————

After having her gender publicly scrutinized for the last 11 months, championship runner Caster Semenya is now cleared to return to competition.

Though the media is not reporting on this case in the most sensitive manner (I.E. “It is still unclear if the runner has undergone any medical procedure or treating during the lengthy layoff that has allowed her to keep running as a woman”) , at least Semenya can return to competing in the sport she loves.

——————

Finally, not only did Iceland legalize gay marriage, but their prime minister Johanna Sigurdardottir tied the knot with her longtime partner (as reported by the AP).

Reconciliation (addendum)

In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to say that began drafting my previous post several weeks ago. Between the time that I finished drafting it and found the nerve to post it, Sinclair Sexsmith of Sugarbutch Chronicles posted an article entitled “Reconciling Feminsim & Sadism.” Like all Sugarbutch posts, it’s amazing and way more articulate than my own thoughts.

I especially like this sentence, “So that’s my last prescription for reconciling feminism and sadism: Ask yourself what your definition of feminism is. If you start digging to discover that you think feminists never, ever hit someone, or humiliate someone, or call someone a bitch, or shove a cock down a girl’s throat, well then, you are going to have some trouble reconciling those two identities.”

I guess what it comes down to, for me, at this stage of my life, is this: I have to remember what feminism means to me. It’s not always clear and simple, but when I boil feminism down to it’s purest forms, reconciliation is a hella of a lot easier.

Reconciliation

The major reason my posts have been so few and far between is that I am seeing someone new. She is amazing, intelligent, sexy as hell…and lives five hours away. Between the time I set aside daily for communication in a long-distance relationship and frequent visits to see each other, this blog has taken a back seat. Additionally, I’ve been thinking about things with her that I have been wanting to express, but unsure where to begin.

Now, we are having amazing sex. I swear she has my body figured out better than I have it figured out. Sometimes she’ll discover something I love that I never knew I would love. Or, she’ll discover something I love that I thought I would love, but I would never have shared.

That said, as our sex leans towards the kinkier side, we’re both struggling a little with the “I shouldn’t like this.” For me, it is a “I shouldn’t like when she hurts me like that” or “I shouldn’t be okay giving up control like this.” For her, and I’m speaking from my understanding, it’s a “Why am I okay doing this to her?” or a “I shouldn’t be okay hurting someone I love.” I’ve always know that I’ve had a submissive side, and she’s tended to prefer being a “top,” but I feel like I’m watching her dominant side appear and evolve. (She might say I’m giving myself too much credit here.  Either way, it’s sexy as hell.)

I’ve always believed that sexual pleasure can come in many forms. With informed consent between adults, I think almost anything flies. I’ve explained this to her and she understands. Still, we both have two decades-plus of societal conditioning. You shouldn’t hurt another person. Especially a woman. Especially if you’re a feminist. Sex should be loving. People who want to experience pain have mental problems. As a student of Women’s Studies, I’ve read scathing criticism of BDSM, especially BDSM within the lesbian community. All of this has influenced how we express our sexuality.

She has explained that she feels more okay hurting me than past partners because I “like it for the right reasons.” In other words, I like varied sensations in sexual play. I do not feel I am a lesser human being that deserves to be hurt. I feel like there is a huge difference between rough sex and self-harm, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that just because I can be sexually masochistic, does not mean I must also be self-injurious. (And this suggested correlation is what made me most uncomfortable with the movie Secretary, but that is an entirely different blog post.)

I came across the Lesbian Sex Mafia’s guidelines entitled “BDSM is NOT Abuse” and they succinctly stated what I both believe to be true and am struggling to fully articulate.

The Difference Between SM and Abuse

A Statement from the Lesbian Sex Mafia

SM: An SM scene is a controlled situation.
ABUSE: Abuse is an out-of-control situation.

SM:  Negotiation occurs before an SM scene to determine what will and will not happen in that scene.
ABUSE: One person determines what will happen.

SM: Knowledgable consent is given to the scene by all parties.
ABUSE: No consent is asked for or given.

SM: The “bottom” has a safeword that allows them to stop the scene at any time should they need to for physical or emotional reasons.
ABUSE: The person being abused cannot stop what is happenning.

SM: Everyone involved in an SM scene is concerned about the needs, desires and limits of others.
ABUSE: No concern is given to the needs, desires and limits of the abused person.

SM: The people in an SM scene make sure that they are not impaired by alcohol or drug use during the scene.
ABUSE: Alcohol or drugs are often used before an episode of abuse.

SM: After an SM scene, the people involved feel good.
ABUSE: After an episode of abuse, the people involved feel bad.

Now Linds and I have not said “this is SM.” It might be leaning towards it, but we haven’t used that phrase. Still, our sex occurs in a controlled situation where we’ve discussed our limits and desires. Consent is always requested. We have a safeword. We’re aware of each others triggers and genuinely concerned about each other. And most of all, we feel great after. As our relationship progresses, I think we are becoming more and more comfortable with the fact that how we feel is what matters most. Not only do we feel good after sex, we feel great. And it keeps getting better and better. If feminism is about empowering women to make their own choices and have equal opportunities (as I believe it is), then there is nothing wrong with making choices that make us happy. In fact, it is totally right to make choices that make us happy.