I rarely, if ever, crosspost from my photo blog verbatim, but this is too powerful to not post here. It’s also as relevant here as there.
While reading an opinion piece at Creative Loafing called the “Right to Bare Breasts” by Jessica Blankenship I came across one of the most powerful statements of why indecency and nudity laws, as well as the general idea of obscenity is an illness in our society.
“The criminalization of the female body fucks with a woman’s ability to hold herself with any sense of balanced identity and worth.”
How in the name of all that’s holy can we teach our daughters and our sisters and our friends and loved ones that the human body, in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders and configurations is a sacred thing to be cherished and enjoyed if we deem something as insignificant as the display of a female breast to be criminal?
The very concept of criminality is one that most people never think about. To deem something as criminal is to deem it worthy of bringing the awesome power of the State to bear upon that act, in all it’s impersonal violence. To deprive a human being of the most sacred of things; their freedom for the societal sin of that act deemed criminal.
Think about that for a moment. To say that baring a breast is criminal is saying that baring a breast is worthy of taking someone’s freedom, of locking them away from society for society’s good.
Teaching our children that from birth is to teach them that they are not worthy of society; that they are not decent; that they are, by fact of their gender and shape of their body indecent by nature and unworthy in any sense of the word. They they are, in fact, criminal by design.
I’ve been following the gotopless.org protests around the world. I find it highly ironic that a political protest movement about gender equality in the display of 1/2 of the human body has to resort to black bars over nipples to post the photos from their protests to Facebook. If the numbers are to be believed, fairly 1/7’s of the world’s population; 1 Billion people; are on facebook . If that doesn’t represent the entire human race, I don’t know what would. And to say that baring a nipple is to be shunned and banned from communicating with that billion people is, itself, a travesty.
What’s to be done? The legal challenges in the courts now, and the successful challenges in some states in the past are ultimately the best avenue to success; at least here in America. Other countries have their own legal avenues of change. Some will require generations of change, but it’s coming.
It’s not about showing a boob in public. It’s about respect and love of the human body. It’s about giving people total sovereignty over their bodies and what they do with it. It’s about equal protection under the law, irrespective of gender or orientation or configuration. It’s about freedom to be, and to love and to be loved. But most of all, it’s about beauty; the beauty given by our creators, be they random events born of quantum equations or some bored long-bearded sky god with a celestial biology kit.
I realize that this post probably doubles the number of words posted in the last year here. And there hasn’t been a photo yet. There won’t be a photo, this time. There is an assignment.
That assignment is to go take off your clothes. All of them. Stand naked before your mirror and your self. Look at yourself with the thought that what you are seeing is, under some very broad and common circumstances, is criminal. Think about what it is about what you are seeing that is so unworthy of society that your very freedom is the price you’d pay for it. Remember that feeling. Let it burn hot and deep, down where you’ll never forget it.
Now, the next time you see a story or an article about someone getting arrested for “indecent exposure” or flashing their breasts or some innocent or even not so innocent photography, think about that feeling. Think about what it felt like for your body, the most wonderful of creations, to be deemed indecent, to be deemed criminal.
The next step, I leave up to you. Thank you.
Ever get that questions from your partner? Never ends well, does it. You’re honest answer of “nothing” is never taken at face value. They question your answer and then the whole situation devolves into one of doubt, mistrust, frustration and distraction.
There’s a meme floating around that has a his and her diary entry. One side (in the case of the gender switched image floating most recently) has a “His” diary of doubt, miscommunication and woe where “Her” diary simply reads “my code is broken, can’t figure out why”.
What’s really going on here is summed up pretty succinctly by something SAM posted over on her Facebook:
“I love how instead of asking her “what’s wrong” he makes up this huge relationship disaster thing, and she’s just thinking about work. HE COULD JUST ASK HER. But no. That’s too risky.”
When I’m asked a general, information seeking question like “what’s wrong?” I always try to take a moment, look back on the last few minutes of conversation or interactions with an eye towards how my emotional or mental state may have shown on my expressions and body language. I make an effort to empathize with my partner and see myself through their eyes.
My internal reality isn’t pertinent at that moment, only my presentation of that reality. With that bit of self analysis, I’m able to effectively communicate “what’s wrong” because I the know “what’s wrong”. Usually “what’s wrong” is a miscommunication or crossed signal between us.
“What’s wrong?” can be answered by saying, honestly and with confidence “I’m worried about X” or “Just lost in thought; something is farked up with code at work and I’m distracted by it” or “Just thinking about X, Y, Z and Thee”.
When someone asks you “What’s Wrong”, the answer is never, ever, “nothing”. At the very least, “What’s wrong” is a misread signal between you. It’s rarely an accusation, though too many people take “What’s wrong?” as an accusation of “What’s wrong? You’re making me feel bad/nervous/left out” or “You’re not reading my mis-delivered signals and are making me feel ignored” or some such.
Correcting those missed signals requires an almost instinctual root cause analysis on you OWN behavior and it’s presentation to you partner.
Now the other side of that is that when you ask someone ‘What’s wrong”, trust them to tell you the truth and if they say “nothing” then believe them. You can usually trust them to mean “Nothing is wrong with you and me and us.”
I had a pretty good grasp of interpersonal communications for most of my teen and adult life. I am always examining and re-examining my interactions with people, especially those that did not turn out the way I wanted them too.
SAM has helped put a fantastic amount of polish on them in the almost 7 years she’s lived with me. We both had enough hidden emotional land mines to blanket a demilitarized zone. After the first couple, we both started forcing ourselves to take a step back and *asking* when the reaction we got wasn’t what was expected. The scariest part the first few times was being completely, brutally honest with ourselves AND each other. It really doesn’t take more than a few times for the world to NOT end when you’re open and vulnerable with your partner before that becomes *easier* than the whole “ugh grunt me man me no feel emotion!”.
So the next time you feel the need to ask your partner “What’s Wrong?”, accept the answer of “Nothing” and follow up with something more empathetic and understanding. Saying something like “Ok, but you seem distracted and distant. Anything I can do to distract you from your distractions?”
Make your partner feel safe to open up to you. If you accuse them of lying to you, you’ll never build any kind of trust. They’ll pull further away at best and, usually, start truly lying to you to prevent the entire spiral of accusations and acrimony that almost always results from that kind of interaction.
So how do you, dear readers, answer that question? What questions drive you batty? What answers make you grind your teeth? How do you work through them to a mutually beneficial, honest, and healthy interaction?
Ok, here’s your chance to ask me anything. When I say anything, I mean just that. You can ask. Anything. You may not get the answer you expect, but I promise that the answer you get will be honest.
On your mark! Get Set! Ask!
Or to put it more accurately, I’m thanking myself for putting down the kindle or stepping away from the computer for a while to pounce on SaM.
Both of us, over the last few months, have settled into a comfortable routine in the evenings. After guests have gone, housemates are in bed, the cats are doing whatever it is cats do when you turn the lights out, and things have quieted down, we can relax. Our evenings typically involve sitting and reading blogs, playing one of the games we own, reading books or just sitting quietly until we fall asleep. It’s good, healthy, quiet and relaxing.
“What’s wrong this that?”, I hear you ask. Nothing at all, unless that’s all you do, every evening, night after night. Neither of us have had the energy for the kind of knock down, furniture breaking, neighbor frightening, cat terrifying sex we love. Out of our concern for each other, for our lives we’ve let ourselves fall into the habit of banking the fires of our sex lives until we do have that energy.
This denies us a very vital part of our love life; intimacy. Seeing her laying on the bed on her side, knee pulled up, light spilling across her naked thigh and the swell of her breast as she reads is an incredibly erotic sight for me. There is nothing about her actions, words or behavior that stops me from initiating a night of wild sex. It is my own self imposed limitations.
What I realized last night, is that those self imposed limitations, based on the reality of both of our physical and mental health right now (I was in the hospital last weekend, after all) has not only stopped us from the nights of wild, raucous monkey sex, but has gotten in the way of plain, simple, intimacy.
With that realization, I did something I haven’t done in months. I turned to SaM, asked her to put away the laptop and kiss me. Just that. Nothing more asked, nothing more expected. Just kiss me.
When we first got together we would spend time just exploring each other. Sitting, holding each other, kissing, rubbing, petting. Physically and emotionally intimate time together, with no expectations of anything more. That’s not to say things didn’t often move on from there to some of the best sex I’ve had in my life, but that wasn’t the goal. There was no goal.
Last night started with a kiss, a caress and cuddling. It ended up with a soft, sensual and pleasant evening for both of us. There wasn’t a lot of heavy breathing, sweating, bruises or even any rope. We didn’t have sex. We made love. It was exactly what we’d been missing.
This intimacy led to several hours of conversation about a lot of things both of us have been worried about. I found myself able to ask her some pretty scary questions and answer hers as well. Without that inimacy we’d shared earlier, neither of us would have been able to do that.
We’re going to Duckstock in June and are conserving our wild monkey-sex energy for that. It’ll be a celebration of her birthday, of my new job, of quite a few things going on in our lives. Until then, though, we will be rebuilding that intimacy, that sense of openness and sharing, that lack of expectation in the ourselves that is so important in living in that golden moment.
Wish us luck.
A more specific breakdown of why I use which safewords:
Green we rarely actually use. It’s only used when he’s doing a safety check, if he asks me twice. Asking me a second time means he’s not sure I’m “all there” when he gets a nod or “uh-huh” type response.
Yellow means “you’re doin’ it too hard, too quickly – needs more warmup”. This is usually used with impact play. I don’t necessarily want him to stop flogging me, and I don’t necessarily want him to go softer for the rest of the damn night, but damn. Slow down for a few minutes, THEN try ramping it up again.
I find it interesting that most of the “poly advice” I’ve seen floating around is generally about how to not be jealous of your husband’s girlfriend. Or not tear her face off. Or somethin’ like that, but most of it seems pretty hetero in nature.
Sometimes… sometimes there’s advice for guys about how not to be raving assholes about their wife’s girlfriend. This usually involves suggestions like “don’t start the porn music” and “don’t assume this means you’re having a threesome”.
So, what do you do when your husband’s long-distance boyfriend comes for a visit?
This is my advice, ladies: Stay the fuck out of the way. Sleep on the couch and let them have the bed (at least for one night, anyway). Be considerate. Give them space to reinforce their own chemistry. Do not offer helpful hints about what your husband likes in bed; let them discover each other by themselves. Being a pair of individuals, they will have their own chemistry and dynamic that may surprise you. Don’t be surprised if your Domly husband doesn’t act quite the way he does around you.
Yeah, sure, you may have to spend some quality time with your vibrator. Big deal, we do that anyway.
Make dinner for them, if you cook. Find out what interests you and the boyfriend share, and which ones you don’t, and treat him like a real person.
It’s not terribly complicated. It’s just a little confusing at first. Remember that when you’re dealing with an out of town boyfriend type guest, he’s staying for a brief time and then he’s going home. It may be a while before he comes back. If you find yourself feeling neglected, try to mention that after he goes home, and arrange some quality time for you and the husband.
Ladies, there’s no reason to be threatened by a husband’s boyfriend. He really can give the husband things that you can’t. And that’s okay.
When scening, SaM and I engage in what is commonly called Role Playing. That term, in the past, gave me quite a bit of a problem. You see, like many kinksters of my generation, I grew up with tabletop role playing. Whether it was AD&D (2nd ed, of course), Rifts, Cyberpunk or any number of serious or silly game systems.
As I got older, and encountered the term within the context of kink, it always left me wondering just how in the world you could keep a straight face in the bedroom with that. The cliche of “I’m the evil wizard and you are the helpless elven princess, muahahaha!” really doesn’t do anything for us. If we need that level of characterization, we pull out the books and the dice and the character sheets and go to town.
Role playing in scene is, for us at least, much more subtle than that. We get to put on a face, a facade, a personality, that is not necessarily our “normal” one. There are a number of expressions, words or actions within a scene that we each wear to elicit a desired reaction out of the other or to enhance the sense of unreality of the scene.
Calling her a slut, a bitch or other such terms of endearment (heh) in scene are normal, given a certain mood. Her calling me master or similar is also normal in a scene.
I wear expressions in scene that are not normal for me in my mundane life. I sneer, I smirk, I’m very stern and demanding. Derision is a common mode for me at times when she’s being particularly shy about some command I’ve given her. Likewise, she’s shy, or petulant, or obstinent or even derisive in scene. She’s also submissive, or if things are going well near the end of a scene, completely wanton and begging for more.
None of these are feelings, emotions or expressions that even occur to me to wear during our day to day life outside of that role. Each of us deliberately wears, or allows, those emotions and expressions for the purpose of eliciting a response from the other, knowing that it is all part of the Role we’ve each taken on that evening.
During our day to day life, we’re affectionate, playful, and flirtatious. During scene, we’re often aggressive, cruel, manipulative, calculating and sadistic or submissive as the mood calls for.
As with the talbetop role-playing we did as young people, and even today engage in at times, when the game is over, we put away the dice, or the floggers, and go back to the real world. The things said in the bedroom stay there.
We trust each other, implicitly, to leave it there. We each know who we are, at our core, and that being called a slut in scene does not mean that SaM is a slut out of scene, nor does calling her a slut in scene mean that I think she is one, out of scene.
There are many things we both do and say in scene that fall under that same understanding. Once you realize that it really is as simple as ‘I say that to you because I love that look in your eyes” or “I allow you to do that to me because I love the way it feels and how it makes you so hard when you do it”, the rest is nothing but joy and love and adventure and oh, so awesomely erotic and sexy.