communication

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

My First Experiences With Oral Sex

The first time someone went down on me, I was about fifteen and we had broken into an abandoned house on the highway walking distance from my house. The summer after grade nine was what I used to refer to as the best summer of my life. To put it mildly, I packed all the hijinks a teenager could get themselves into in two short months. For instance that very night, I had snuck out of my house to hang out with the boy I liked and his friends.

Sneaking out was exhilarating, but rather simple. I’d come home right around my curfew, say goodnight to my mom and go into my room. The moment I would get home she would go to bed. Once, I knew she was asleep, I’d put some pillows under my blanket, tiptoe out of the house and put my shoes on once I was outside. The trick was to come home before she woke up, something I forgot to do that very night.

The guy I liked, his friend and I had broken into an abandoned house. The place was a mess, clearly, we were not the first kids to enter the premises. Broken plates littered the floor, some of them broken by our very hands. Our friend passed out on the living room couch while the boy and I snuck into one of the bedrooms. A dirty mattress laid bare on the floor, but I didn’t mind. Two firsts would happen that night. It was the first time someone would explore my cunt with their hands and with their mouth. It was great. It was exhilarating. He was slightly off the mark, but I didn’t mind.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Getting Hit On Can Make Me Uncomfortable

I decided to stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts right near my place to get a little something sweet. I had a hankering since I missed the freshly baked cookies at work earlier today. This particular donut shop is down right ghetto. They have a few tables and the oddest assortment of people always hang out there. To get there faster I cut through the middle of the tables on my way inside, and there was this guy sitting out there that was starring at me way too intently. The guy in question is really good looking, but frankly anyone who spends so much time hanging put in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts is a little weird in my books. I consider myself to be pretty open-minded, but come on, how about sitting on a park bench or something once in a while to change things up.

Getting back to the story, as I walked by where he was sitting he began to stare at me very intently. He twisted himself on his chair to watch me walk in. The entire time I was inside he continued to stare at me through the window. It was making me very uncomfortable. I mean he was REALLY staring! I’ve never had anyone look at me in quite that way before and for quite so long.

I didn’t know what to do, I really didn’t want him to approach me on my way out, so I tried my best to look like I hadn’t notice him and walk right past without giving him the opportunity to stop me or say anything. I only had to walk a block away, but I could still feel him staring at me. For a second, I worried that he would see where I live and then I blew that thought off as paranoid, but the whole thing did make me think about how it makes me feel to get hit on.

the gay love coach's picture

It's All About Us: Running Your Own Personal Gay Relationship Pow-Wow

Introduction

Let’s face it--life can be pretty darn hectic sometimes! Juggling all those commitments and trying to balance the roles and responsibilities you have can be quite challenging, and the one area of your life that can take the biggest hit is your relationship. It can be so easy to take your partner for granted as you try to tackle all those work demands, return your friends’ phone calls, and meet those family obligations.  If you let it, your relationship can begin to lose its sense of priority, especially if you and your partner have gotten into a comfortable groove in the way you relate and function as a couple.  The obvious consequence to this is a weakening of connection, potential decreased intimacy, emotional distance, and resentment over unmet needs.

All relationships, no matter how good, require consistent feeding. You must constantly nurture them, attend to them, and ensure that they remain healthy and strong.  This is especially so because relationships, and the individuals who comprise them, are always changing with the passage of time.  To not grow with the changes can result in a breakdown with inevitable conflict and sometimes demise.

I’m a big advocate for doing periodic “check-ins” with your significant other to make sure the relationship is progressing in a mutually-satisfying direction.  Gay men (actually men in general!) typically tend to favor problem-solving and action over communication.  This thereby creates the potential for huge rifts to occur in their relationships because of the lack of dialogue to ensure they and their partners are on “the same page” with things that matter most.  This article will describe one strategy that can promote you and your partner’s focus on your relationship; this technique can help you avoid getting distracted by other forces in your life and remind you to communicate and tend to the needs of your relationship to keep feeding its successful growth.

arvan's picture

Call for Papers - Feminism & HCI: Interacting with Computers

Feminism & HCI: A Special Issue of Interacting with Computers

Editors

Shaowen Bardzell (Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing)

Elizabeth F. Churchill (Yahoo! Research)

Portrayals of feminism, in politics, the media, and even in HCI conferences, suggest that this household word is not always well understood.  Academically, feminism is a subdomain of critical theory that examines “the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women.” (Tyson, 2006).  As a subdomain of critical theory, feminism integrates a collection of theories, analytical and interpretative methodologies, ethical values, and political positions, which have evolved over the past two centuries.

As HCI continues to expand beyond the preoccupations with how efficiently a system performs and is increasingly concerned with culture, society, and the experiential qualities of computing, the discipline stands to benefit from feminism.  Feminist theories and concepts have much to offer HCI due to a commitment to: studying arenas of interaction such as the home; reflective considerations of dominant and alternative epistemologies; understanding the constitution of gender and the self in everyday life; investigating the indirect effects of design; considering emotional landscapes including pleasure, desire, attraction, sentiment, anger, fear and resistance; studying the adoption and adaptation of technologies in leisure activities such as crafts; and addressing broader issues such as embodiment, memory, performance, and the effects of surveillance and gaze.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Manliness and Feminism: the Followup

In late October I posted a three-part series under the title "Questions I'd Like To Ask Entitled Cis Het Men" (Part 1: Who Cares?; Part 2: Men's Rights; Part 3: Space For Men).  These posts kicked up more of a furor than I anticipated, with a bunch of cross-postings and responses on other blogs.*  It all gave me a huge number of new perspectives to synthesize, which is part of why it took me so long to post this followup ... but here I am!

I really want this followup to be readable to people who didn't bother with the initial three posts, so please let me know if I fail!

Introducing myself, and One Correction

Please allow me to introduce myself.  I think those posts probably make more sense (as will large swaths of this one) if you know who I am, and they got linked around to so many non-regular readers that most of the audience now doesn't.

I go by Clarisse.  It is not my real name, because I am a sex-positive and, in particular, pro-BDSM** activist, and being all-the-way-out-of-the-closet about kink can have serious, long-term repercussions for someone's life (the most pressing for me, right now, being employability: my immediate superiors here in Africa know about my BDSM identity, but the larger rather conservative organization sure as hell doesn't).  Identifying as feminist and pro-BDSM can be really fraught territory -- many avowed feminists regard BDSM with suspicion and some, on the more extreme end, with outright hatred.   (Famous German feminist Alice Schwarzer once said, "Female masochism is collaboration."  Many feminist spaces have a long tradition of excluding or marginalizing BDSM, like the Michigan Womyn's Festival, which incidentally did the same thing with trans.  Nine Deuce, a popular radical feminist blogger, has been known to assert that sadists are morally obligated to either repress their sadistic desires or kill themselves.  For example.) In her post "Healing My Broken Feminist Heart", Audacia Ray talks about how much it hurts to identify as a feminist and yet be told, often, that the way you realize your personal sexuality is unfeminist; I've been meaning to write a response to that post for ages, because boy do I know how that feels.   (I swear, I have the biggest crush on Audacia Ray. I want to be her when I grow up.)

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Withdrawing consent

While waiting for the firestorm over my three masculinity posts to die down (I’ll post a followup soon, promise), I want to parse out some recent thoughts on — you guessed it — consent!

I’ve been dating a guy here in Africa whom I will henceforth refer to as Chastity Boy.*  I recently wrote a piece on my southern Africa experience that included descriptions of my relationship with him. I texted him, asking permission to write about him — which he granted — and then the next time I saw him in person, I had him go over the writing and specifically give consent for the piece itself.  I warned him that the writing would almost certainly end up in a public place, though it would be under my scene name Clarisse.

This step accomplished, I sent the piece to some friends for feedback.  One of those people was a mutual friend.  Chastity Boy heard that she’d read it and wasn’t happy; he asked me about it, saying things like, “Well, it wasn’t quite a red flag, but close …”  Naturally, with him talking about red flags, I felt scared that I’d transgressed a serious boundary.  My ears perked up, I sat straighter and I tried to figure out why I’d failed to sense that boundary.

We talked for a while.  “I don’t understand,” I eventually said.  “You knew those pieces could end up in public.  That’s why I thought it was okay to send them to her.”

“Well, but that’s different … I knew it’d be in public, but I didn’t expect people I know to see it,” he said.  He thought about it some more. “I guess it just took me by surprise.”

cleofaye's picture

Kinky sex with cloefaye: Having "the talk"

If you’re in a long term relationship, it’s kind of inevitable, or at least, it should be.

the gay love coach's picture

Validate Your Way to Gay Relationship Bliss

Introduction

Over the years, I’ve had slews of couples come through my office with a variety of presenting issues that range anywhere from communication breakdowns, to sexual dysfunctions, to infidelities, to diminished passion, etc. These only name but a few, but the common denominator that appears pervasive throughout most relationship difficulties is a climate of tension, resentment, and mistrust that results when the partners don’t feel acknowledged or honored by each other. This can erode the foundation that the relationship is built upon and jeopardizes the love, closeness, and attachment the couple had developed. Mayday! Mayday! Relationship rescue is now needed!

The interpersonal skill of validation is one technique that can help enrich any relationship and is a great tool for solidifying emotional bonds and fostering more intimacy between loving partners. This article will explore the concept of validation and offer suggestions for incorporating more of it with your partner to promote more heightened “relationship bliss.”

the gay love coach's picture

Taming the Drama Queen Within

Question: My boyfriend had enough of me being a “drama queen” as he called me and then ended our relationship. I didn’t get what he meant by that. I was only trying to express my feelings and communicate my thoughts. Now he calls me a “big drama queen” in front of his friends and I feel humiliated. How do I know if I’m a drama queen and if I am one, what can I do to stop being one?

One of three things is possibly going on for this subscriber’s situation:

1. His partner ended the relationship for some other reason than he stated and used the global “drama queen” label as an “easy out” for avoiding taking responsibility for why he truly left.

2. His partner may be emotionally stifled, uncomfortable with his own or others’ feelings and could not tolerate his boyfriend’s expressiveness, thereby leading him to terminate the relationship to distance himself.

3. He may be overly-passionate with his emotions and lack restraint or boundaries with effectively managing his feelings, unaware that he may have been overwhelming and pushing his partner away with his intensity.

There could be a whole host of other reasons for the breakup, but the above could be most likely. If the reason was #1 or #2, our subscriber is better off searching for a more compatible partner who is capable of emotional expression, active listening, and direct communication of his needs and wants. The fact that the ex-boyfriend taunted him about his emotionality to his friends is also a sign of disrespect and he should view this as a big “red flag” about his ex’s level of maturity, character, and integrity. If the reason is #3, our subscriber may benefit from learning skills to better regulate his emotions to avoid reactivity in his relationships with others; this could be alienating him from getting his needs met.

This article will offer some strategies for how to manage your feelings in your relationship with your partner so you can change the dynamics that exist toward more positive results for both of you.

book of blue's picture

How to talk about sex. Or how not to.

By Eric Francis

One problem with talking about sex is how much we have not said. Another problem is guilt. They are related. More than Jews and Italians are involved, but hey, that's why we make such great therapists. We originated the product and therefore we provide the best technical support to its many consumers.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis / Blue Studio.

Then there's embarrassment, which is sometimes like a sheet thrown over the hungry ghost of shame and self-reproach. Embarrassment is dangerous. It keeps us out of therapy, it makes lying seem justified, it keeps us in unhealthy situations and follows us around like a pall over our existence. It's also one of the hottest sex toys not made of silicone; that, a little later in this article.

The hungry ghost of shame is projected into society as something called 'scandal'. Scandal is one of the most effective forms of sexual repression. Scandals are popular, and they are, because they create a drama that preoccupies us temporarily, and prevents us from dealing with how we actually feel about sex or getting our emotional needs met. For a minute, somebody else gets to take the brunt of the guilt. Someone else acts out the shame of the affair that you had or are having; this way you think you don't have to. Gossip is insidious because it's such a diversion from our own personal reality.

How do we actually feel about sex? Does anybody even have a clue? Or are we so afraid of scandal that we dare not reveal anything, even to ourselves? And in such a world, how do you tell the absolute truth?

You just talk. And you listen. Then keep doing that until, eventually, you reach an understanding or you realize you’ve reached an impasse.

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