kink

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When it's not just your gender that doesn't match

There is so much more than just gender in the body we see in the mirror.  For many of us the effects of age, ill-health, poor diet, misfortune or genetics leave us with a body that looks n

arvan's picture

The Long, Dark Night of My Sex-Positive Soul

So first, a little background on sex-positive.  

There is no organized sex-positive movement.  It is a discussion that has grown over the recent years, starting in the 1930's.  It can mean a great many things to just about everybody and that is kind of the point, really.  The basic idea is that sex is a natural part of human, mammalian existence and that we can embrace it in its variety as a part of normal life. 

People in many groups organized around specific aspects of sex and identity often participate in sex-positive conversations and find the ideals and values of their individual and group identities overlapping sex-positive thoughts and goals.  Some of the more frequent of such groups and individuals identify in terms of Sex work, BDSM & Kink, LGBTQI "Pink" , disability, feminism, genderqueer, transhuman and many, many more.

If you want to read some good primers on sex-positivity, try this post by Clarisse Thorn, The Center for Sex-Positive Culture or any of the links on our blogroll listed under 'sex-positive'.

Note: I spend a good portion of this post, talking about my own experience.  This is not because I'm particularly enamored with myself, but rather to offer my recent thoughts as one person's reactions to something that may echo in your life someplace.  It may not.  I won't pretend to know how anyone else should feel or react and I won't dictate to others the terms of their identity.

I have been having a crisis of faith lately.  This is of course funny because I am not religious and the faith in crisis is more about my own identity than how I feel about invisible beings.  In the larger sense it is about what it means to be 'sex-positive' but it really is about how to deal with privilege.

In the span of a week or so, I attended several Sex-Positive events.  One was the showing of a documentary film with discussion afterward, the second was a discussion on sex-positive at a BDSM social club and the last was an invitation to join a group of sex-positive activists.  I suddenly realized how very privileged the conversations and these groups were.  At one event, there were some people of color but at the others, it was all white, professional, educated, middle to upper class and english speaking US citizens.  I like everyone in these groups and this post is not about them but about my experiences and thoughts about privilege.

arvan's picture

Talking About the Taboo: 2nd CSPH Annual Conference

CSPH 2nd Annual Conference

October 10th

1:00-5:00 Pm

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again, The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health welcomes you to our 2nd annual conference, “Talking About the Taboo, Discussing Difficult Issues in Human Sexuality.”

For the first time ever, The CSPH will provide sexuality education to adults in a safe and open environment. By bringing together all aspects of sexuality, the pleasure, education, advocacy and medical worlds, we hope to take subjects that are traditionally “taboo” and elucidate them, showing that the taboo can be fun, interesting and educational and most importantly, able to be discussed in thoughtful, provoking ways.

Talk to an Expert:

“Talking About the Taboo” will feature many sexuality experts willing to share with you their work in the field of sexuality. From medical providers, rape crisis counselors, to dominatrixes, you are sure to find someone to teach you something new! Listen to our panel, take a small group class or chat it up with our experts throughout the event.

Play with a Toy:

Check out our vendors, who will be showing off the latest and greatest in sexual aids. These top of the line, 100% safe toys and products can help to enhance your sex life in many ways.

Hear our Panel:

This year’s conference brings us some of the most noteworthy participants in the realm of sexuality. Be sure to stick around for what is sure to be an informative and lively panel addressing current issues surrounding sexuality. Our guest panelists will include:

Dr. Charlie Glickman,

Princess Kali,

Audacia Ray,

Sinclair Sexsmith,

Dr. Logan Levkoff

Anita Hoffner

arvan's picture

On Rape, Safe-Words and Choice

In the span of 24 hours recently, I came across several vastly different experiences of women regarding feminism, choice and the question of women's control over their bodies.

I saw this post by That Ghoul Ava where she disowns feminism if it means being forced to switch from her identity being defined by men to that of being defined by women - with both excluding her own voice and choices for their own agenda.  Her framework for articulating this, is her experiences in the work force and the rest of her life.  Her point is that she is a woman because she says she is and not because she meets someone's definition.  In her life, she wants to be judged on her merits and that is how she defines herself.

Before you start screaming discrimination, make sure actual qualified people didn’t get denied. Wouldn’t that bother you, knowing you got hired or promoted because the company was required to get women and wasn’t based on your qualifications? That would piss me off. I’m not good enough, but my tits are!!! YAY!

Ava claims to write when she's drunk, pissed off and sarcastic.  Much like Liberating Porn, she expresses herself with a foul mouth and a sense of humor that is not universally shared.  Many could debate whether her language helps or hurts her point.  She clearly states that she's talking about her own experience and there is no debate in that.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

[litquote] “Allowed to feel horny and fucked-up at the same time”

Originally posted at Clarisse Thorn: Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism

I’ve had some wrenching personal decisions and transitions lately, and it put me in mind of other times in my life when I felt in flux. I love this quotation from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, which I first took down when I was coming into my BDSM identity.

I wake up around dawn, and I have the same feeling I had the other night, the night I caught on about Laura and Ray: that I’ve got no ballast, nothing to weigh me down, and if I don’t hang on, I’ll just float away. I like Marie a lot, she’s funny and smart and pretty and talented, but who the hell is she? I don’t mean that philosophically. I just mean, I don’t know her from Eve, so what am I doing in her bed? Surely there’s a better, safer, more friendly place for me than this? But I know there isn’t, not at the moment, and that scares me rigid.

I get up, find my snazzy boxers and my T-shirt, go into the living room, fumble in my jacket pocket for my fags and sit in the dark smoking. After a little while Marie gets up, too, and sits down next to me.

“You sitting here wondering what you’re doing?”

“No. I’m just, you know ….”

“‘Cause that’s why I’m sitting here, if it helps.”

“I thought I’d woken you up.”

“I ain’t even been to sleep yet.”

“So you’ve been wondering for a lot longer than me. Worked anything out?”

“Bits. I’ve worked out that I was real lonely, and I went and jumped into bed with the first person who’d have me. And I’ve also worked out that I was lucky it was you, and not somebody mean, or boring, or crazy.”

“I’m not mean, anyway. And you wouldn’t have gone to bed with anyone who was any of those things.”

“I’m not so sure about that. I’ve had a bad week.”

“What’s happened?”

“Nothing’s happened. I’ve had a bad week in my head, is all.”

Before we slept together, there was at least some pretense that it was something we both wanted to do, that it was the healthy, strong beginning of an exciting new relationship. Now all the pretense seems to have gone, and we’re left to face the fact that we’re sitting here because we don’t know anybody else we could be sitting with.

“I don’t care if you’ve got the blues,” Marie says. “It’s OK. And I wasn’t fooled by you acting all cool about … what’s her name?”

“Laura.”

“Laura, right. But people are allowed to feel horny and fucked-up at the same time. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it. I don’t. Why should we be denied basic human rights just because we’ve messed up our relationships?”

I’m beginning to feel more embarrassed about the conversation than about anything we’ve just done. Horny? They really use that word? Jesus. All my life I’ve wanted to go to bed with an American, and now I have, and I’m beginning to see why people don’t do it more often. Apart from Americans, that is, who probably go to bed with Americans all the time.

Why do I love it? I love it because it simultaneously acknowledges that sex can be awkward and weird and intersect with negative emotions, and then deftly points out that this isn’t a problem or argument against sexuality in itself.

Also, I can’t help noting that the only guys I’ve hooked up with who seriously used the word “horny” were British.

(This passage is from the book, not the movie. Alas, the movie version of this scene wasn’t nearly as good.)

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Love Bites: An S&M Coming-Out Story (mirror)

Originally posted at Clarisse Thorn: Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism

My coming-out story was first published in February by "Time Out Chicago". I am grateful to them for the publication, but the license with them is not exclusive, and so I've decided to mirror the story here on my blog. Because this version is under my direct control, it will have the most up-to-date links and other followup information. If you would like to mirror my story on your own site or blog, please let me know -- I'm always available at [ clarisse.thorn at gmail dot com ].



I was very drunk. My perceptions had a frame-by-frame quality, and the evening didn't seem immediate: pieces of it were foreign, disconnected as a dream. I was being bitten very hard on the arm. It would leave marks the next day.

I was so muddled by assorted things that even now I can't sort out how I felt at that moment. When Richard's nails scored my skin I gasped, but I didn't ask him to stop. I flinched away, but he kept a firm grip on me. "Beg for mercy," he said softly.

Frame. Skip. I discovered that a mutual friend of ours had seen us, stopped, and was sitting on the grass across from Richard. "Hey," he said. "You shouldn't do that."

"It's okay," Richard said, "she likes it," and pulled my hair hard enough to force me to bow my head. I do? I managed to think, before thought vanished back into the blur of alcohol and pain. Our friend's face loomed over me, concern sketched vividly on his features.

I closed my eyes.

"Mercy," I whispered.

arvan's picture

Special Bondage & Burlesque Performance Art Show at Leather Archives & Museum

In the GAG Contemporary Fetish Gallery at the Leather Archives & Museum.

Special Bondage & Burlesque Performance Art Show

Featuring:

Cherries Jubalie & Leon Von Monkey Fetish

Stage Door Johnies

Faustina Von Fetish

Bizarre Sally

Stormy Night

SIR

Mr. Phoenix

Girlie Q

Katerina D'Arkham

Ms. Dana

Ellie Noise

Candy XXX and others

Drink tickets available, ID required for purchase. 21 and over please.

Leon Grossman’s erotic art photography is being featured in his first one-man show at the GAG Gallery at the Leather Archives & Museum beginning April 30, 2010 and running through July.  Leon’s works feature many local performance artists and reflect his skill at rope craft turning bondage into beauty.

Opening night:

 

April 30th from 7pm to 11pm there will be a gala with live burlesque & bondage performers to celebrate the art in the photography turned to life.  The main performance begins at 9pm.  DJ Christian Catastrophe will be spinning tracks. Suggested donation to the opening night gala is $10 and there will be tickets for the cash bar available to those 21 years and older.

Artists Biography:

Leon, originally a native of Oklahoma, began experimenting with photography while attending the University of Oklahoma. He moved to Chicago in 1998 and became a part of the pansexual BDSM community shortly thereafter. He is well known for his leadership and activism in the Chicago BDSM community and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Leather Archives & Museum.

arvan's picture

Donna M. Hughes is lying to you about sex and slavery.

Donna M. Hughes has a message for you: Kinky sex is sex trafficking.

It is a lie.  She may or may not mean to lie to you, but it is a lie because it is not true.

There are a faulty number of assumptions here, all of which are pure conjecture.

First, that she is authorized to speak categorically, on behalf of the human race on issues of what is and is not healthy sexual behavior.  I don't care what her definition of proper sex nor improper sex is.  Frankly, I don't have any interest.  It does not affect me nor anyone I know.

Second, she conflates trafficking with slavery.  Trafficking is a broader and perhaps more modern word for slavery.  Let's be clear, slavery is slavery.  Forced labor of any kind is slavery.  Slavery exists today and people are forced to do many things as slaves.  Manual labor, warfare, sex, domestic labor and many other things.  As words go, however the two words are different.  Slavery is understood clearly.  Trafficking is not only less well understood or less often heard, but it is used in many contexts. 

Sex sells and Sex Trafficking sells, too.

Annabelle River's picture

The Privilege of Not Defending Oneself

I've lately felt an unfortunate pressure to defend polyamory again (with apologies to etymologists).  I usually ignore the judgments of the uninformed, but then there's the friend of a friend who may or may not have been joking when she scoffed that she'd never let me near her boyfriend.  And the polyamory-focused indie film that's actually all about how it's kooky and doomed.  And the absolutist, all-caps-laced rant on the usually sex-positive The Stranger blog with profound metaphors like "such idiotic bullshit" and questions like, "Ever wonder why they all will fuck any damn thing that will hold still long enough?"  So I could use my blog to paraphrase all the same points of The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, and Polyamory Weekly.  But they're already making the crafted argument/explanation pretty well.  My personal version is mostly sentimental: I love two people.

And I remember one poly-book-club meeting where someone suggested we all go around the table and tell everyone "why" we're poly.  It irritated me, because it had nothing to do with the book we'd read, and do monogamous people ever go around a table explaining why they're monogamous?  I politely listened to the chain of people paraphrasing The Ethical Slut, and I didn't disagree with any of it, except that I had to wonder about the poly community's talking-about-our-feelings fetish.  When it got to me, I simply stated, "I'm in love with two people.  I don't want to lie to either of them.  ...That's it, really."

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