In Defense Of Labels

So I wrote yesterday about labels in relationships, and how I personally feel that they are not useful to me early in a relationship, and that was read by many as an anti-labels statement.

It’s not.

I have had that discussion many times, and I am all for labels.

I am all for labels being used properly.

The GOOD thing about labels is that they provide a shortcut to longer conversations.

If I say, “I am a writer,” you can make assumptions about who I am and what I do, to jump-start a conversation that might be more relevant. Sure, you might be wrong in some ways, but that is easily corrected, and added to your experience.

Continue reading “In Defense Of Labels”

Poly Is NOT For Everyone. (Poly Is Not, Part X)

Polyamory Is Not... A Series

I was recently walking with a friend who said to me, “I don’t know if I’m poly, really, or just want an open relationship.”

My reply was, “Well, you probably won’t know until you meet someone who you feel is a god fit as a primary, and want to keep looking. Or after that, when you are just playing and dating and satisfied, or you want more and deeper connections.”

I’ve recently been accused (in my last writing on poly, actually) or proselytizing.

I’m not. Continue reading “Poly Is NOT For Everyone. (Poly Is Not, Part X)”

Let’s Debate: Does The Dating World Hate Men?

I’ve been hearing this idea for a while, and when I saw in my calendar today that this was my topic, I thought, “Of course!”

Because I’ve been having several conversations about just this recently, with a variety of people.

The Dating World Hates Men

I read this a few months back, which is what inspired this writing:

“I’m a guy and I don’t get attention, but women do.” Guys. Welcome to the dating world. It sucks. It’s biased. And it hates us.

Women will ALWAYS receive a much larger interest than us men. Why? Because they’re women. I don’t mean that in a sexist kind of way, I mean it in a societal kind of way. Guys want more, guys see a woman and immediately jump at the chance to be by their side. Guy are guys.

Which kinda made me puke a bit in the back of my mouth. Continue reading “Let’s Debate: Does The Dating World Hate Men?”

Why Do We Think Consent Isn’t Sexy?

Consent Is Sexy

I was at an event a couple of weekends ago, and I asked a question in a discussion:

“What can we do to make consent more sexy?”

I followed that up by saying that If we find ways to make our lives more full of consent, that making it sexy and fun and natural is a no-brainer to me, and that it will only benefit us as individuals and as a community.

The conversation got contentious.

People arguing, saying they thought consent shouldn’t be sexy or fun. It should be a chore, and difficult and serious, because… consent.

Which seems counter-intuitive to me.

How do we convince people to develop consent-infused lives if it’s presented as a chore that must be suffered through?

The other thing that perplexed me was that so many people were focusing their consent talking points on public scenes with strangers, or non-lovers/partners.

Like the MAJOR time that we need to think about consent is in public spaces with strangers.

Ummm. No.

In fact, according to a survey NSCF did in 2014, only 36% of consent violations were in a public space. Less than half of those were with non-lovers/partners. And only some of those (the poll is not clear on overlapping or specific numbers) were within a scene, as opposed to other kinds of consent violations.

So, a fraction of 20% were public play scenes with people who were not partners.

Seems to me all this talk of public negotiations and consent, while good, is overshadowing the larger issue of consent in our daily lives and interactions.

As if consent is something we do with strangers, but we can stop all that horrible effort when it comes to those we are close to, or in the privacy of our home.

But WHY would we want to stop?

  • Because it’s not sexy.
  • It ruins the mood.
  • It takes us out of our headspace.
  • It changes the dynamic.

Thing is, I’ve not found any of those things to be true.

Consent is sexy to me.

When I make him ask, explicitly, for what he wants, to beg for it, even, that is super sexy, and infuses the mood with my power over him and his desire for me. It makes his submission that much more intense for him, and my dominance feels so much stronger in those times. It reinforces our chosen dynamic.

Of course, not everyone kinks the way I do. I don’t even always kink the way I do, because I kink differently with different people.

Sometimes it’s as simple as, “Do you like when I do this? Would you like more? What if I move lower? May I touch you here?” said in a soft voice with smoldering eyes (or at least that’s how I imagine myself in my head, and no one has ever laughed outright, so I’m going with it).

I think consent is incredibly sexy. A turn-on. A must-have. It’s not a chore, or a hardship, it doesn’t get in the way. It is the foundation of a loving relationship or interaction.

So, why do we, as a society, think consent is not sexy?

What am I missing?

Compromise Begets Compromise, And Other Reasons To Reexamine Our Thinking On This Relationship Tool

Compromise behaviors create environments that require more of the same behaviors.

—Weick 1979

Sit with that a minute, and think of compromises you’ve made in relationships. Little things that seemed like nothing at the time, and then locked you into a pattern of agreement and behavior.

Perhaps you even tried to break out of that pattern, only to be told, “But you’ve always LOVED my hair curly! What do you mean you’ve been lying to me all this time?”

Once you left that relationship, you realized you’d compromised yourself right out of who you were to begin with.

Is compromise bad, them? Well, maybe not for you, or how you practice it. Yes, for me and to me, it is, (and I wrote about it in detail, here). Because it’s about finding a midway between two people’s personalities, rather than a place for both to grow and thrive in who they are, exactly as they are.

So, what can we do to celebrate our individuality, instead of compromising it away?

1. Realize that compromise tends towards sexism.

Women/female presenting people are expected by society to listen and compromise more than men.

Could this be playing a part in your relationship, either as one, or with one? Ask yourself or your partner if they feel they compromise more/less than you do. Listen to the answer that comes, no matter how difficult it might be to swallow. Then do something about it.

2. Pay attention to what you feel is right for you AND your partner.

TheFerrett wrote a piece a long time ago that resonated with me about poly people being ‘temporarily monogamous’ for new partners not sure about poly, and how that rarely works out, because it creates an atmosphere of compromise and expectations, while allowing you BOTH to get entangled.

Do what’s right for you, because long term, it will be what’s right for them, either in they will learn to love and accept you, or the relationship will end, freeing you both to be yourself.

(Yes, I’m being simplistic, here. If you’re a malignant narcissist, doing what’s ‘right’ for you might be harmful to others, and that’s not what I mean at all.)

3. Look for ways that you can both honor the other and get what you want.

I would LOVE a partner who is EXACTLY as social as I am, when I’m social and perfectly as antisocial as I am when I’m cocooning. No more, no less. And yet, I haven’t found that.

So, I realize that they may want to stay home, and I may want to go out (or vice versa), and so I do what’s right for me: what I truly want and personally need (at that time) to do. I also honor their choice, and don’t give them guilt about it, because that’s a sucky way to be.

Of course, if one or the other of us is constantly breaking commitments, and it’s causing resentment, that is a problem worth looking at and attempting to find a solution for.

4. Realize that you can’t make agreements FOR someone.

This is a big issue that seems common sense, but is far from, apparently.

A huge fight, and “Do you agree to XYZ, since you obviously can’t ABC?” happens. They balk. You pressure. They resist. You steamroll them. Add guilt, maybe. Shame them. They finally capitulate.

To your eye, that’s a compromise, fair and square. It’s an agreement. To them, it’s something they will likely resist doing, be late for, or do poorly, because they were not heard or understood, nor were they honored.

5. Consider other ways of framing the idea:

Collaboration, cooperation, teamwork, reciprocity, responsiveness, alliance, joint effort…

How might any or all of these words, when used, change how you and your partner tackle a potential issue in your relationship?

Ask: How can we both get what we want/need out of this?


Now, some of you may disagree with me. And that’s your right. However, rather than arguing with me about whether or not I am right to compromise in my relationships (which is none of your business), take a bit of time to think about how you define compromise, and what you might be able to do with it (or do away with it) to better your relationships.

Also, here’s an interesting article about compromise you might find relevant: To Compromise or Not to Compromise

Trust In Kink Is A Very Different Beast, For Me

Trust

Trust.

It’s at the core of all that we claim to do in kink, and yet, the more I dig into the relationships people have and what they say versus what they do, the more I realize that, for me, trust is not what it is to others.

For example, I generally assume that if I meet you and you smile at me, you are not going to stalk me after that one meeting and axe-murder me in my sleep.

But that’s not trust.

That’s simply absence of evidence. Continue reading “Trust In Kink Is A Very Different Beast, For Me”

I Love You (When You’re Perfect) -OR- How Fetishization Of The Positive Ruins Our Relationships

Fingers holding a scrap of paper with the handwritten words, "To Me You're Perfect."

It’s an easy trap to fall into, to focus on the good in everyone.

It seems like the right thing to do.

See the good bits, focus on the happy times, let the negative stuff or “bad emotions” slide on by.

I see a lot of this in my friends, and I’ve seen it in myself as well.

It’s a societal thing:

Fetishization of the positive.

By focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative (except when it rears it’s ugly head and barfs in our Cheerios, demanding to be noticed, making us yell and fight and scream, until we can shove it back into it’s dark little cage in the corner and lock it back up, to be ignored…until the next blowup), we are teaching the people around us that they are not loved for who they are.

Continue reading “I Love You (When You’re Perfect) -OR- How Fetishization Of The Positive Ruins Our Relationships”

“I Don’t Do Drama.”

A heavily theatrical woman with a speech bubble saying. "I Don't Do Drama."

Of course you do.

Everyone does.

We all do it, and maybe you only do it when it’s YOUR drama (because of course it’s not drama, then, right?), but you do drama.

And when that is a major point to a person’s profile or communication, it actually has the opposite of its intent with me.

I see/hear that and I immediately think that anyone who feels a need to say those things is probably immersed in their own self-involved mental dramatics, and has no regard for whatever anyone else is going through, dismissing it with “I don’t do drama.”

Quit trying to make everyone think you are superior.

No one believes it, anyway.

Let’s Debate: Is This OK?

Lying

I read this article A few months ago:

8 Lies I Tell My Husband (That Actually Make Our Marriage Stronger): Sometimes lying is far kinder than telling the absolute truth.

I also read the comments that went with it in the post I saw on FB, and they were sharply divided on whether or not she was doing the right thing.

If you don’t feel like reading the whole article, she justified the following lies:

1. “The sex was mind-blowing.”

It’s a “lie back and leave him to it” sort of situation… Marital harmony is worth a few white lies about his sexual prowess. Continue reading “Let’s Debate: Is This OK?”

I Don’t Judge How Another Loves Me

I Don't Judge How Another Loves Me

I am loved. By many.

Not loved or even disliked by many as well, but that doesn’t really matter much to me.

I am blessed. Or lucky. Or valuable enough. Or whatever it takes for me to receive an abundance of love. And whatever it is, I’m glad of it.

There was a time when I was not living in an abundance of love.

And it sucked.

I didn’t know it sucked. Or I didn’t know why it sucked, since I’d always been a bit of a loner, thanks to my ASPD. But I knew something was missing. I just didn’t have the skills to know exactly what that was.

And I did not feel loved, at least by my then-husband, the primary person in my life.

When we finally split up, and people asked me what happened, I said, “He didn’t love me as much as he loved to drink.”

I was wrong.

Not wrong on whether he loved me or not. I don’t really know how much he loved me then—the communication was broken, the addiction and manipulation and theft all got in the way of whatever we had.

I was wrong to judge his love for me.

People who love show and don’t show their love in many different ways. And their love can be blocked or hidden from expression by factors beyond their control, like alcoholism, mental illness, insecurity…

I don’t judge how another loves me. I do judge how I am shown.

It’s not whether you love/like me or not. It’s how you show me that you do.

It’s not whether I love/like you or not. It’s whether you FEEL that from me.

And so, again, it all boils down to communication. Can I transmit my feeling for you, to you? Can I make sure you understand? Can I do it in a way that you feel the maximum effect?

Right now, I feel love from many people in my life. And I’m thankful for that. I hope they, in turn, feel the same from me, in whatever capacity we connect.

Image by Gellinger on Pixabay