Switch Studies Has Moved!

May 21, 2014 Leave a comment

 

 

2014-05-21 12.22.31

Now where did I put that violet wand…

Switch Studies has moved to http://switchstudies.com/ ! You should head on over there to visit. The new site has all the content previously posted here, plus fancy new pages and new content will only live there. Also, somewhere on the new site, you will find a delicious homemade key lime pie!

Okay, I lied about the pie. But you should visit anyway. You don’t want me getting lonely, right?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

e[lust] #58

May 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Pandora
Photo courtesy of Pandora Blake

Welcome to Elust #58

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #59? Start with the rules, come back June 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Do NOT take my rapeplay fantasy away from me!

Pulp Fiction

“O” is for Outlaw No More

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

The Second Letter

The Wake

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

 

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Orgasm Denial Games and Ideas
What is “Normal,” Anyway?
Abject Submission 3: Only the Gift
Is All BDSM Sexual? #KinkySex
A new Dom asked me for advice
Let’s Talk Sex Stigma
What I want
On Being Submissive
Dildos in Wonderland – Fantasy Sex Toys

Sex News,Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

My sexual Assaults
Risky Business
What is feminist porn?
Butt Plug Weekend (Humor)
The Shaming of Slut Shaming
Do Bisexuals Need To Be More Upfront?
Why I Don’t Support CatalystCon

Erotic Non-Fiction

The ‘Good’ Girl vs The Whore – Marriage
Well Laid
The sheer poetry of pegging a homophobe
The Missouri Misery’s Maiden Voyage
On the Edge (Touch Your Cock for Me)
Parking On A Dirt Road
Masturbation: The Big Finish
The four-day orgasm
Dear lover

Writing About Writing

Imagining Disabled Characters in Erotica

Poetry

Simple Needs – a Lusty Limerick

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

On Happiness and Risk
Sex addiction – a primer
More Than Bend Over Boyfriend Toys

Erotic Fiction

Neverland
X marks the spot
Chain Links and the Rail Marshall
The Devil and the Golden Ring
A lonely day in Paradise
Mine Is Bigger Than Yours
Rub It Harder
Face Splash – Part 1
Stray Kat
Sneaky Sexy Snippet of A Work in Progress

Blogging

56 posts later …

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The Cannibal List

May 14, 2014 19 comments

This has nothing to do with kink or sex or any of that. This is just a list of things I may or may not have said that give people the impression that I might in fact be a cannibal.

I am not a cannibal. Just so we’re clear.

 

“What do you want for breakfast?”
“Soylent green”

“All I’m saying is if we skinned him, we couldn’t make brother cracklins. There’s no fat there.”

“No, those are not human shins in the freezer. Where would I get human shins?”

“Mmm…human flesh. Wait, no, human isn’t kosher.”

“Yeah? Well your face is full of protein.”

“Honey, how do you prevent kreutzfeld-jakob or kuru?”
“Don’t eat people.”
“I meant other than that.”

“Do you have any idea how impractical it would be to butcher a whole human? We barely have enough room in the freezer for three steaks and two pounds of chicken!”

“Things were going well, we were talking, we were flirting…”
“She thinks you’re a cannibal, doesn’t she.”
“Yes! Why does this keep happening?”

“No! That meat tenderizer is for use on human only!”

“Of course I would eat at a deli called Ugolino’s. What’s the problem?”

“It is a new ice age! We will have to resort to cannibalism.”

“You know, one advantage of grinding your own meat is that no one can tell for sure what it was before it went through the grinder.”

“It’s just such a fine line between innuendo about oral sex and threat of cannibalism. I was a little too close there, may have crossed it. These things happen!”

“I’m pretty sure she’d fit in the oven. You know, if you ever want to go Hansel and Gretel on her.”

“Look, I’m not saying it’s person, I’m just saying that butchered flesh sans hands, feet, or face…would you be able to tell?”

“No food is blue.”
“What about those blue people in Alabama? The inbred hill folk. I mean, if you were a cannibal.”
“I feel like if I were a cannibal I would have more discerning taste.”

“Firstborn children go best with a béarnaise.”

“I’m not kissing her, there’s probably like human flesh caught in her teeth”
“Oy! I just brushed my teeth.”
“That’s your only objection?”

“Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. Everyone knows my people only eat Christian babies; your atheist spawn is safe!”

“So I told him a foot rub really just wasn’t going to do anything for me. I mean, welcome to try and all, but unless he’s tenderizing them for the grill he’s not going to accomplish much.”

“Nah, he’s too little to snorkel. Hasn’t learned about not aspirating water yet. Anyway, he’s barely an hors d’oeuvre.”
“…”
“For a shark. If there were sharks in the keys, which there are. He’s more like a four-person main course for humans.”

“Are you biting me?”
[muffled]”No.”
“It *feels* like you’re biting me.”
“Absolutely not. Eating is similar to, but distinct from biting.”

“Why would I mind you spending the night?”
“I dunno, you might be worried that if I’m loose in the house while you’re asleep I will kill you and roast your parts?”
“I’m not.”
“Well that’s awfully trusting of you.”

And finally (though this one is a bit unfair):

“I’m not a cannibal! Honest!”

I’m not allowed to wonder why people think I’m a cannibal anymore.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Possession

April 27, 2014 Leave a comment

There’s an undercurrent to monogamous norms that bothers me on a fundamental level. I’m not saying it exists in every monogamous relationship, but the idea is prevalent. It’s so ingrained in the narrative of relationships that people can’t seem to wrap their heads around the alternative at all.

The idea is that your partner is *yours*. That being in a relationship means you get to control them. It isn’t even subtle. And it’s more than a little frustrating. Folks have no hesitation about making assumptions about how a relationship works, and starting a conversation without checking those assumptions in the least. In the last month folks have said to me or my partners:

“You let your husband date another woman?”
No. Spouse dates Polly Pocket. I am happy to be in a relationship with him. His relationship with her does not diminish that. I don’t let him do a damn thing; he’s an autonomous human being.

“Can I play with Spouse?”
How the hell would I know? Ask him! I would get this, if context were different. If she were making sure we didn’t already have plans together. But she knew we didn’t. She was asking me for permission to do something with him. I can’t consent for Spouse. I can’t negotiate for him. Those conversations have nothing to do with me.

“No, you want to have sex with her and that’s okay *but*…”
There were about forty caveats. There was hemming and hawing. I felt uncomfortable enough to offer to leave the room so they could hash it out. Almost awkward enough to say nevermind the sex, it’s not worth it. They’re a married couple who are poly, but that seems to mean something very different to her.

“It’s okay, I know I’m not enough for him.”
Bless your heart dear, he don’t need you. Not enough? Is sex like oxygen now? There has to be a certain supply or he’ll fall to the floor in a dead faint and never recover? Please. He don’t need you cause he don’t need anybody. He wants more sex than you do, fine, but that ain’t nothin’ to do with you being enough. Don’t stay and be unhappy because you felt inadequate, that’s good for nobody.

“You know your man’s making out with another woman over there?”
This was said to Z, and her answer was “yep, I make out with her too.” And she did, shortly after she got back to us with drinks. Good times.

“You got two beautiful redheads? You’s a lucky man!”
God, this one pissed me off. He’s lucky, but I’m not? She’s not? Last I checked the three of us were each with two sexy partners. Z and I aren’t the Techie’s harem. He didn’t catch us like fish and mount us on the wall. (Against the wall…that might be another story.) We’re each with him, we’re with each other, and nobody’s “got” anyone. Ain’t none of us trophies.

“Are you taken?”
God, the ways I want to answer this one. “Yes, thank God you asked, I’m a prisoner, please help!” “Oh, yes. As often as I can manage it, in ways you can hardly imagine.” I’m not quite that sarcastic, or quite that lewd. Almost, some days, but not quite. “Wrong question.” has become my go-to response, but I’ve been known to flash the wedding ring (and yes, reinforce the false assumptions about what it means) with the overly persistent.

Beyond things directed at us personally, I see things like this all the time in my Facebook feed:

20140428-010933.jpg

“How to keep your woman/man”:
Why do we need different lists for men and women? And imply all women want to cling like dryer sheets and men would rather not engage?
And don’t forget, relationships are for straight people who don’t understand each other because men and women are different species and/or lack common language. And of course, your partner is something to lure, catch, and keep, not a person to build a relationship with such that they want to be near you.

The core issue here isn’t monogamy. If two people decide to make their romantic and/or sexual bonds exclusive, good for them. The assumption, though, is toxic. The assumption is that a relationship (or at least a “serious” relationship) automatically strips a person of the right to make decisions about other relationships. The assumption (made explicit in some scripture) is that a relationship is not an agreement of two autonomous people but a single unit the members of which are incapable of decisions or actions regarding individual needs without securing the other’s permission. And all these helpful outsiders’ comments, no matter how well meaning, come from the assumption that possessive monogamy is the only valid format a relationship can hold. They undercut nonmonogamy.

disclaimer time
I’m not talking about agreed upon D/s dynamic here. Negotiated power exchange is awesome and absolutely ought to be respected. This ain’t about that. This is about norms that erase individual autonomy, that in effect project a specific power exchange onto persons in a relationship and treat them as though they fit it without bothering to treat them as individuals first. This is third parties projecting relationship norms onto everyone they meet and often refusing to listen when corrected.

Peculiar Personal Performance

April 24, 2014 8 comments

“The problem with playing at the club is that I can’t fuck you.”

His breathing is ragged. He speaks in a quiet growl that makes me want to growl back. I grind my hips against his. The tension has us wound impossibly tight. We’re playing hard, even for me. I’ll have bruises for a month, mottled garters around both thighs. My legs are shaking from the effort of staying upright while they swell and I don’t care. I don’t want it to stop.

I know this moment. It’s still violent, always violent, but the topology has changed. We’re so still, after all my twisting and writhing under his blows. He’s feeling along my edges but my surface isn’t orientable. If he wants inside he’ll have to break me. I almost want him to.

The problem with playing at the club is that I can’t fuck you.

Yes, it’s a problem. It wasn’t a problem until he said it; I was giddy with tension before but now it’s insistent, focused. If we were at his place he’d be fucking me now. He’d be pinning me down with a hand on my throat. He’d be telling me how much I want him with that smug look that I can’t even call arrogant even though he’s wrong; I want him so much more. And I’d be arrogant, too, if he teased, sure that he wouldn’t hold back for long.

But we’re not there. This tension has nowhere to go and now that he’s said it it’s the only thing in my mind.

He rakes his fingers across bruised skin, covers my mouth with his when I gasp. This isn’t kissing. I’m being consumed, voice and lips and skin and anything-you-want disappearing into him.

He puts a hand on my cheek, looks me in the eye. “I want to make you come.”

“God yes.” I’m surprised, later, that I didn’t hesitate at all. I’m not an exhibitionist, not really. Orgasm is intimate. It belongs to me, to my partner. It’s ours. I’m greedy for it and jealous of it and no I don’t care who’s watching, not really, but it isn’t for them and I’m not going to share.

I’m on the edge from kissing and from pain. He isn’t gentle. He shoves his fingers into me, rough and hard and perfect. His eyes stay focused on mine. I’m trying not to scream, not to draw attention. Trying to draw this out, if I can.

He whispers. “Come for me.” I turn my head, sink my teeth into the back of my forearm to keep from crying out. I nearly lose my balance. Too many nerves firing all at once in overwhelming contradiction of pain and yes and ohGod.

He pulls my arm away when I regain my footing. “I want to see your face when you come. I want to hear you scream. Can you do that for me?” I nod. I can’t answer aloud. He’s good with his hands, or good with me. I’m moaning again in seconds, low and soft at first, but rising fast. My hand flies up to cover my mouth. I remember not to before it gets there. He smiles. “Not yet.”

Fuck. Hell. Fuck. I exhale slowly. Refocus. Not on the pressure of his fingers inside me, or–oh God. Refocus. Math? I’ve gone past math. Words. Three syllables, beginning with P. Palimpsest. Petrichor. Priory. Pleiades. Please. Please. “Please.”

He shakes his head. He’s hoping I can’t hold back. He’s arrogant enough to think he can make me come when I’m trying not to. I’m contrary enough, proud enough, to refuse. But God, I’m close. Palmetto. Pinniped. Piranha. Predator. Like him, predatory, eyes on mine with all the smug fierceness of a cat staring down cornered prey. “Oh, fuck, please–” Refocus. Preamble. Portentious. Predicament. No, that’s four. Persistent. Pretentious. P– P– P–. I can’t think anymore, can’t see straight, can’t remember enough words to pull away from sensation. “Please.” If he says no, I still have the emergency brakes. I can control this. It may not be worth it. Employ that tactic and I may not be able to orgasm at all for days.

I don’t have to decide. He’s nodding, that smug grin still playing across his face. “Come for me.”

I don’t close my eyes. Don’t look away. Try not to think of how ridiculous my face must look, how ragged my breathing, whether I need to be quieter. His expression has turned gentle. He straightens to pull me into his arms and I let him. In these heels I can rest my chin on the top of his head, but somehow I feel small. Almost dazed. He whispers “thank you” and I smile.

The problem with playing at the club isn’t such a problem, not really.

e[lust] #57

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Elust #57 Cammies on the Floor Image
Photo courtesy of Cammies on the Floor

Welcome to Elust #57

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #58? Start with the rules, come back May 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

I’ve Got 99 Problems

Vasectomy Blues

I’ve always wanted to call myself queer.

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Aoyama Yuki and My Very First Times

I don’t know how to be happy

 

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Sex News,Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Prostitution Laundering
That Body-safe Sex Toy Could Make You Sick
“Nice Shoes. Wanna Fuck?” — On Pick Up Lines
Rape prevention
Life of a Sheltered Child: Sex Toys (Part II)
A Tour of Fucking Sculptures Sex Toy Studio
Bashing Belle Knox: Because You GET Porn
Would You Pay $133 to See Midori Eat Fruit?

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Heart of Glass
Talking BDSM: Are safewords really necessary?
45 Seconds
I want
Whispered Words
Aftercare: In Kink and Erotica
Ariel Castro: The Man in the Mirror?
We Are Ethical
Apology tokens, punishments, and forgiveness

Erotic Fiction

Very Short Stories – If We Hadn’t Had Sex
Billy
Larry Knew Better
Lasting Impressions
The Boys
Sounds of a Kitten
Chemical (se)X
Shopping Together
Enjoy Being Seduced on the South Bank
Room 6
Caught In The Act
Packing Light
For your thighs only (007 Parody)

Erotic Non-Fiction

Dental Torture
My hand around your throat
Conversations With My Owner
Cuming Without You.
On My Knees Again
It Always Starts With A Kiss
World Champion, Yes, I Can!
Omne Trium Perfectum
When Good Sex Tapes Go Bad
Submission: An Initiation (Part Four)

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Hidden No More
Female condoms are fucking awesome!
Female Ejaculation and How to Achieve It
Mommy Doesn’t Want Sex
How To Train Your Vagina
Camp Dildo
Being slut shamed made me want more sex
Don’t say my name

Blogging

“Hidden” memes
A Brief History of Sex Blogging

Writing About Writing

Openings and Grabbing Your Reader

Poetry

Sense Memory – a Lusty Limerick

 

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What is “Normal,” Anyway?

April 15, 2014 38 comments

So, you may have noticed that I’m a bit of a deviant. And by “a bit of a deviant” I mean the tagline of this blog is “sex at three standard deviations” for a reason. It’s mostly a joke. I picked three because I deviate from societal norms regarding sex in three major ways (kink, nonmonogamy, bisexuality), and threw in standard deviations on a whim/because I’m a bit of a nerd.

Figure 1: What the hell is this doing in a sex blog?

Figure 1: What the hell is this doing in a sex blog?

It still might be true, though. If you look at the normal distribution, you’ll see it’s divided into sections. If µ in the middle there is your mean, µ +/- one standard deviation is mathematically normal. If we were talking about men’s height in the US, average is about 5’10”, and a standard deviation is about 2.75″, so 68.27% of men will be between about 5’7.25″ and 6’0.75″. That’s our normal range. Between the first and second standard deviation, men who are 5’4.5″ to 5’7.25″ are likely to be considered short, while their analogues on the other side at 6’0.75″ to 6’3.5″ are tall. 95.45% of people should fall within this range. At 3 standard deviations, you’re down to 5’1.75″ or up to 6’6.25″. Only about 1/4 of a percent of men are going to be outside that range. It’s unlikely to pass without comment.

Behavior’s a bit trickier. You can’t treat a sexual identity and behaviors as just one thing, so say we take a persons kinks and preferences and plot each of them according to what proportion of the population shares them. Kissing is going to be well within the norm. Being waterboarded is going to be well outside of it. Sexual proclivities that 2.7 or fewer out of an average sample of 1000 people share are at three standard deviations.

bellcurve2

Figure 2: Placement of points does not represent the result of any research survey. Just threw ’em in at a guess for illustrative purposes.

That’s not to say a more common preference is better, or that a very uncommon one is an excuse for someone to crow about how kinky they are. It is freakish, sure, but only in the sense that it’s unusual. Value judgments based solely on how common a preference is are frankly just boring.

So what does it mean, to have a kink or preference further from the norm?

It can mean stigma.

Visibility helps with this: prevalence of LGBT persons in America varies by survey, but rests pretty firmly at or beyond 2 standard deviations (a recent Gallup poll puts the national average at 3.5%). There’s still rampant homophobia, but acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships is more common than not and trending upwards (more Gallup). Having an unusual kink or multiple partners still comes with the risk of social consequences if discovered. Normalizing a kink in terms of stigma needn’t mean convincing more people to enjoy it, just convincing them that it exists and folks who engage in it can be otherwise normal.

It can be harder to find partners who share your interests.

Again, some of this has been circumvented. We find each other. We have gay bars and clubs for those interested in same sex partners, BDSM groups for kinky folks, swingers clubs and poly meetups for swingers and poly folks respectively. We have the dark corners of the Internet. Still, less common means lower odds of meeting someone who shares whatever you’re looking for (and with whom you’re also compatible generally. That’s still important, obviously). Looking for a smart, nerdy straight or bi male to make out with? They are legion. Higher total number means higher number of potentially compatible ones. Yay! Looking for a smart, nerdy queer person who’s into waterboarding? Call me; I’m thisclose to giving up.

No partner is going to share every one of your preferences. There are too many possible variables, it’s just not going to happen. We prioritize, seek out the things without which we can’t feel satisfied with or properly connected to a partner.

It means thinking a little differently.

Being queer or poly or kinky means rejecting societal norms, to some degree. It can’t be done automatically, because the script isn’t provided for us. We have to think about it, challenge it, build our own systems and articulate our own ideas. We don’t always do the best construction, what with the lack of established blueprints and all, but we do what we can.

So what is normal anyway?

Normal is within 1 SD of the average. Normal is cisgendered and cissexual. It’s heterosexual. It’s vanilla. It’s monogamous. Normal is not better (though a certain subset of them certainly seem to think they are). Normal is not worse. Those of us who fall outside the norms aren’t anointed innovators and bringers of truth to the regular folks. It just means we’re different. Most of the time, I think I’m okay with that.

Categories: Uncategorized

Loyal, Honest, Faithful

April 4, 2014 10 comments

 

“Gotta set boundaries in life.
I’ve contemplated this whole poly/nonmonogamy thing that I’ve lived for so long.
It was a nice phase
but at the end of the day
I’m a nice girl
I’m loyal, honest, and faithful
When a man has my heart, I don’t want to look at anyone else
And I don’t give it away lightly or often.”

We aren’t close. We went out a few times, had a few scenes at parties, never really kept in touch in between. Not close enough that seeing her post this on Facebook should have led to such a strong sense of betrayal.

After all, we weren’t in a relationship. Her decision to focus on monogamy doesn’t affect me.

But her phrasing does.

“It was a nice phase.”

Nonmonogamy is not a valid long-term relationship paradigm.

It’s okay for people who aren’t looking for serious relationships. It’s sowing wild oats, having fun, but it can’t build anything real.

So many people seem to think this: that seeing and sleeping with multiple people is fine, but only until you pick one to settle down with. There’s a monogamous end-game, a belief that multiple partnerships automatically mean less.

It’s an idea that sets lovers in competition with each other for the chance to cement a relationship.

It means treating partners with less care, because no matter what we say, they’ll think the relationship can’t be important, emotionally involved, or built on real connections. It means we’re more likely to get hurt, when they decide to settle down with someone else. It means they won’t expect to have to let us down gently, will be surprised and unprepared by our reactions. To them, it’s no big deal. Be cool, it was just a thing.

If you do view nonmonogamy as a phase, or as a style not commensurate with forming ties, be up front about it. Be compassionate, if one or more partners you aren’t emotionally involved in falls for you. Don’t string anyone along, don’t lie, and don’t laugh when they offer you their hearts. It’s okay to turn it down, it’s always okay to turn them down, but gently, gently.

“I’m a nice girl.”

“Nice” girls are monogamous. Nonmonogamy is perverse, hedonistic, wanton, or cruel.

If they think nonmonogamous partners aren’t nice, what must they think of those of us who choose nonmonogamy and reaffirm that choice year after year? If we’re othered, diminished, perceived as lacking in moral capacity, how well do we expect to be treated?

I don’t trust people who say “I’m a nice person.” It’s such an easy defense to fall back on, when bad behavior is called out. They can’t deny the behavior, so they twist: “I’m not the sort of person who does that sort of thing!” They may not be malicious, but they lack the self-reflection and empathy required to score highly on the recently developed Nic’s Niceness Scale.

If you think nonmonogamous people aren’t nice, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We deserve better from our partners, and you don’t want us anyway.

“I’m loyal”

Nonmonogamous people are disloyal.

A person can have multiple loyalties. Most do. Partners, family, friends, communities to which they belong, communities with whom they’re allied. Loyalty need not be exclusionary, and indeed, exclusionary loyalty often reflects a moral judgment on the excluded party. Think divorced parents: the ones that demand exclusionary loyalty want their kids to pick sides. Those who ask for loyalty that can be inclusive do not. It’s a less self-centered, more positive, less jealous way of thinking.

Anyone who doesn’t believe it’s necessary to be loyal to–that is, supportive of–all of their partners has no business forming partnerships in the first place.

If you think nonmonogamous people are disloyal, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We deserve better than someone who will rescind loyalty once they find the “right” partner, and you don’t want us anyway.

“I’m honest”

Nonmonogamous people are dishonest.

I have trust issues. They’ve been validated, over and over again. I’ve been told Odysseus-level lies about relationships, seen promises broken and cowardly silences maintained. And every time a lie about partners has come up and I’ve gotten any kind of explanation for it, it’s been the same: “I thought you/she/they would leave if you/she/they knew about each other.” It’s because people assume that exclusivity is desired that they feel the need to hide the lack of it at all. It’s not okay, this assumption. It’s all kinds of insulting to those of us who truly don’t desire exclusivity. We’ve said we’re poly, we’ve said what that means, and you choose to believe–what? That it’s a lie? A trick? A trap? A self-delusion? Why would a person want to be in a relationship with someone they believed was lying about their entire relationship paradigm? The point of this, though, is that the lies aren’t caused by polyamorous ideas. They’re caused by monogamous ideas incompatible with polyamory. It’s a blood transfusion being rejected; the ideas are toxic in polyamorous context*.

If you think nonmonogamous people are dishonest, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We deserve partners who will respect us and interact with us as individuals, and you don’t want us anyway.

“I’m faithful”

Nonmonogamous people are unfaithful.

This overlaps strongly with loyalty, but I’m addressing it separately anyway. Let’s talk about what being faithful actually means. It means constant, steadfast allegiance or affection. It means devotion, religious or human. It means dutiful and true to its object. Faithfulness does include exclusivity to one’s partner if that’s what a couple agrees to. Dutiful and true, to whatever agreement the relationship is based on. For those of us who are not monogamous, faithful means something else. It means steadfast affection, approaching our partners within a caring framework, and maintaining the ethical duties we all have to our partners. Those duties just don’t happen to include sexual or romantic exclusivity.

If you think nonmonogamous people are unfaithful, don’t date us. Don’t sleep with us. We don’t want the stress and misery that come with your misconceptions about our relationships, and you don’t want us anyway.

“When a man has my heart, I don’t want to look at anyone else. I don’t give it away lightly or often.”

Nonmonogamous people give their love lightly, often.

Love does not work that way. Our hearts are fragile. Poly people may share ours with more than one person at a time, that’s all. It’s still thrilling and frightening and terrible to fall in love**. Heartbreak still hits hard, and still makes us cautious of getting close to another person again. When someone has my heart, it doesn’t mean I forget or stop caring about others. It means that this person, no matter what, will be a priority. It means I will take time and effort to make them a part of my life as long as they want to have a place there. It means I will not take their presence for granted, will always be grateful for the moments they choose to share.

If you think nonmonogamous people feel love differently, or less, please think again. We may not fall in love with every partner. We may not fall in love with you. But we might. We deserve not to be treated as objects, even if we aren’t in love. You deserve not to be treated as an object, even if you aren’t in love.

 

* Note that I said in a polyamorous context. The ideas work fine in their own system–your blood for the most part is safe and healthy in your own body. The transfusion of those ideas to a system with which it is incompatible is what causes harm here. I’m not calling monogamy a disease or unnatural or toxic, I am saying that a simple incompatibility exists between some of its core precepts and the healthy practice of nonmonogamy.

**I do not have a healthy relationship with this process. Your mileage may vary.

DISCLAIMER

I don’t speak for all the poly people. Some folks probably think I’m wrong to varying degrees. That’s cool. Best to have a conversation about it before starting a relationship though, yeah?

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The Quest to Prove Bisexuals Exist…

March 27, 2014 7 comments

…is bullshit.

Oh, sorry, do I need to provide more detail? This charming NYT piece about validating the existence of bisexuality with science is so full of rage-inducing fallacies that it was almost a week before I could make myself finish reading it.

I’m a fan of science, okay? I’m a behavioral researcher. Studies are important. They can give us a huge amount of information on a given topic, from the effects of sugary drink consumption on preschoolers to the behavioral and experiential correlates of sexuality. Granted, I don’t have access to the original article and it’s entirely possible that the NYT is just reporting science very badly. However, the abstract alone suggests that the research is based on problematic assumptions, as does the abstract of a later, related paper by some of the same authors. (By the way, if any of y’all has access to those, I’d like to read them in detail.)

So studies are useful. Bisexuality is under-researched. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to use a study to prove or disprove a person’s identity. See, bisexuality is having sexual attraction to persons of both the same and other genders. (It’s a little more complicated and for some it includes non-binary-identifying persons and for others it doesn’t and yeah, there are other sources of variability, but basically that’s the gist.) We don’t have a valid and reliable method with which to measure something as variable and nebulous as “attraction”.

Because I have access to it and it’s getting ever so much attention, I’m going to pull a few quotes from the article and tear them apart with my teeth. (Advantage of writing on the Internet: I don’t have to handle this like a professional. Angry Nic engaged.)

The A.I.B.[American Institute of Bisexuality], [Sylla] added, has moved on to more nuanced questions: “Can we see differences in the brains of bisexual people using f.M.R.I. technology? How many bisexual people are there — regardless of how they identify — and what range of relationships and life experiences do they have? And how can we help non-bi people understand and better accept bi people?”

There are exactly as many bisexual people as people who self-identify as bisexual (meaning, identify as such to ourselves. We might not tell you. We’re really unlikely to tell you if you insist on approaching us with a “sure, you say you’re bi, but…” attitude as seen above). How can we help non-bi folks accept us? Maybe start by not second guessing us every single time we tell you we’re real. Just for a start. Maybe try not giving people the idea that our statements and feelings and actions don’t count unless you can corroborate them with an MRI. I understand that bisexuals are an underserved group who can benefit from targeted research. I advocate for it. That research can’t benefit anyone if the targeting mechanism is biphobic. And it is. Looking for a physiological marker of sexuality might possibly be useful. I have issues with it (we’ll get into them later), but fine. I get what they’re going for. However, taking the existence of gay and straight people as given and running a study to establish the existence of bi people only in relation to those groups requires directly holding up the validity of heterosexual and homosexual self-identification as a usable measure. If self-identification is valid measurement of sexuality, it’s valid for all of us, not just the ones the researcher is comfortable with. This isn’t just a point of existential rage: using different measurement tools for different values of the same variable is not a reliable research methodology. If you run a food study that asks people if they eat healthy “never” “always” or “sometimes”, you’re treating all of those values the same way. If the choices are “never” “always” and “fill out this 37 page 3-day food recall and present a blood sample so we can corroborate your statements with your serum cholesterol”, you’re going to get a very different response set. Suddenly there’s added burden on one value. Suddenly one group is being subjected to greater rigor and implied distrust and greater invasion into their lives. It’s not equitable.  Seeing how arousal patterns differ among differently-identifying groups can certainly be illuminating (it isn’t usually, but maybe it can be. Later, I promise). Unless you choose to introduce bias by inconsistent treatment of your identifying groups, of course. Then it’ll tell you a lot less.

Bisexual activists told me that much of what gay and lesbian people believe about bisexuality is wrong and is skewed by a self-reinforcing problem: because of biphobia, many bisexuals don’t come out. But until more bisexuals come out, the stereotypes and misinformation at the heart of biphobia won’t be seriously challenged.

Uh, yeah. Or we could stop perpetrating them in media. Jane’s character in Coupling identifies as bisexual, but because she isn’t turned on by what we’re told is a close-up of female genitalia in a porn mag, her identity is “disproved”. (By this logic I am asexual: I have never once been turned on by live action visual pornography.) I don’t watch Sex and the City, but apparently there’s an episode in which Carrie dates a bi man and all the stereotypes come out. Captain Jack Harkness is delightfully pansexual for much of Dr. Who and Torchwood, but the portrayal settles to completely homosexual for Miracle Day. The protagonist of Lost Girl is bi, but she is literally addicted to sex, which perpetrates stereotypes unpleasantly. The possibility that Shepard could be bisexual or homosexual in the Mass Effect games freaked people the hell out. When we come out, these are the models people hold us up to. These are how people understand us no matter what we say. No amount of people coming out bi are going to change perceptions until the rest of everyone is willing to start listening. It’s ridiculous to suggest it. After all, racial, ethnic, and some religious minorities don’t have a choice about whether to “come out;” they are recognizable on sight. If visibility were sufficient to erase bigotry, racism wouldn’t exist.

According to the 2013 Pew Research Survey of L.G.B.T.-identified Americans, bisexuals are less likely than gays and lesbians “to view their sexual orientation as important to their overall identity.” That feeds into a belief among some gays and lesbians that bisexuals are essentially fence-sitters who can pass for straight for decades at a time and aren’t especially invested in the L.G.B.T. community.

Uh, okay. Or we don’t have a community that integrates our identity like gay and lesbian folks do. Have you ever heard of a bi bar? No. We go to gay bars and only act on gay attractions, or straight bars and pretty much act on straight attraction. Crossing territory lines in either setting leads to ostracization. Bisexuals are essentially expected by both gay and straight communities to practice a very careful and culturally competent mimesis in their respective settings. It’s less important to overall identity because the gay and straight communities we belong to are at best allies, and rarely that. Orientation is something we have to drag out and explain to every straight or gay partner and it’s exhausting and damn right some of us don’t want the stress of letting it be a defining aspect of our identities. It’s notable that there is general acceptance of bisexuality and fluid sexuality in the kink community, at least here. The community is still vastly heteronormative, but the pressure to conform does not seem to be present.

To test male arousal, Rieger and Savin-Williams use a pupil-dilation tracker instead of a genital monitor. The degree of pupil dilation has been found to correspond to self-reported sexual attraction and orientation.

[ . . .]

“Your pupils actually tell me that you’re more bi than gay.”

That was news to me. I felt a sudden kinship with the self-described bisexual men in Bailey’s original 2005 study, who must have been surprised to learn that they had their sexual orientation all wrong. I could imagine a potentially awkward scenario the next time someone asked me if I was into men or women. “Well, now, that depends on whether you believe the sex researchers at Northwestern or Cornell,” I might have to say.

No. No, and fuck you, and no. You don’t need a pupil dilation machine. Just answer a quick question. There’s an underwear model smiling at you. When you read that sentence, are you picturing a sculpted young man, a woman with curves in all the right places, a delightful room full of people of varying genders and sexes. . . excuse me, I’m having a distracting thought at the moment. Who do you picture? How does it make you feel? What do you like? You know better than your pupils. Are you straight? Gay? Bi? Pan? Asexual? Demisexual? Something else entirely? That’s cool. Whatever you feel about it, you’re probably right. Physical arousal is confusing, I get it. People misattribute their own arousal based on physiological response. Fear, disgust, exertion, certain kinds of pain, fever, and more can all mimic symptoms of arousal, if you will. It’s a biofeedback thing. Say I’m lightheaded, flushed, hypersalivating a little bit. Simultaneously, the friend I’m talking to laughs. It makes me happy: I like to see her laugh. Is that arousal? Nah, I’m just hungry and enjoying a friend’s company. But if I tell myself it’s arousal based on those cues, I’m going to start acting as I would if I were attracted. Trying to verify the response. I do the same thing with anxiety: Oh hell, breathing hard, elevated heart rate, I just saw a [whatever]. Fuck, I’m scared of whatever. Panic! Except I’m not scared of the whatever. Maybe I just took the stairs too fast or am on some new meds. It’s isolated. The whatever isn’t scary generally, this is just a thing that happened. It’s a bad idea to attribute a whole personal attribute to it.

He never had “emotionless sex,” he said, and the sex of the person he was interested in was less important than his romantic and intellectual connection to them. Still, he didn’t see himself as bisexual. “I really didn’t think about my sexual identity back then,” he told me.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from bi folks (and demisexual and asexuals): Sex doesn’t matter. Gender doesn’t matter. I don’t care what’s in a person’s pants; it’s the person that turns me on. A physiological measure of arousal isn’t going to pick up this kind of attraction in a laboratory setting because the attraction won’t form naturally. When people watch porn, do they focus on sexual characteristics? It’s a serious question. I don’t much go for visual porn. If a person doesn’t get turned on in a lab, but they get the feels in authentic attraction situations, surely the latter is a more valuable point of data, right?

As out gay men and lesbians, after all, we’re supposed to be sure — we’re supposed to be “born this way.” It’s a politically important position (one that’s helping us achieve marriage equality and other rights), but it leaves little space for out gay men to muddy the waters with talk of Kinsey 4s and 5s.

I hate this so hard. I don’t even want to talk about it. Thanks, gay rights movement, for systematically and consciously erasing bisexuals from conversations about equal rights for sexual minorities because we unnerve and confuse everyone else! It undermines gay rights too, by the way. Still don’t want to talk about it. Some other time.

Szymanski told me about two female friends of theirs who only dated men until meeting each other late in life. “They’re pretty militant about their lesbianism now,” Szymanski said, “but I’ll ask them, ‘Did you have really great sex with guys?’ They nod. ‘Did you have orgasms?’ They nod. ‘Could you still have them?’ They nod. But they insist that they’re lesbians, because, I think, they’re convinced it’s in their best interest to identify that way.”

“Another case of bisexual invisibility,” Sylla said.

“Yes, and it’s strange to me,” Szymanski added. “Because wouldn’t their behavior suggest something different? Wouldn’t it suggest that they’re actually, you know, bisexual?”

“I’m not biphobic/racist/sexist/whatever but isn’t it interesting that..?” No. go to hell.

You know what? These guys might be right. It’s possible they’re not mischaracterizing these women in the slightest. Maybe their conclusion that the women in question are bisexual is correct.

On the other hand, maybe not. Sexuality isn’t that simple. Was the sex with men “great”? That does probably indicate that at some point these women’s sexuality included males. Sexuality can change over time. This doesn’t invalidate it. Do the orgasms mean anything about sexuality? Good lord, no. It’s entirely possible to orgasm from sexual activity with someone one isn’t attracted to. Ever close your eyes and fantasize that someone else is doing the sex things with you? Yeah. That works pretty well. Or if that idea makes you uncomfortable, how about masturbation? That’s not narcissistic self-directed lust (for me anyway); the sexy feels come from the person/people I’m fantasizing about. Or orgasms may not be linked to sexual pleasure at all. Some folks will have a quick de-stress wank without attaching it to fantasy or emotional/romantic sexual arousal. Think of it kind of like the difference between working out a kink in your back so you can get back to whatever with some relief from pain, and receiving a sensual massage. Same physiological release, completely different context. Only one is sexual. Some people have had an orgasm while being sexually assaulted. That does not mean they were attracted to the assailant, or secretly liked it, or any other horrible traumatic implication. It means that a specific stimulus led to a specific reaction, which is not the all-defining criterion for sexuality. Wanting and liking aren’t the same thing. Erasing consent and cognition and very real mental blocks from being valid components of sexuality oversimplifies us. Really, it needs to stop.

The article is awful. We don’t need a scientific quest to prove bisexuals exist. We’re sick of having to goddamn prove we exist. Sick of it. Know what I did the other day? I fucked a cisgender male and a genderfluid person who typically uses female pronouns. I don’t do this because I’m confused or going through a phase or just catering to male fantasy, either. I do it because I’m attracted to them both, because we all want to, and because the sex is amazing. This is not a new or unique experience. Bi folks have been around a long damn time, lusting after and playing with individuals of various sex and gender combinations and generally not giving a damn about your fucking categories when we do so. These attractions exist. If a measurement tool can’t pick them up, it doesn’t mean we’re not really bi. It means the tool isn’t valid. Self-report and genital arousal measures only have a correlation coefficient of 0.66 for men, 0.26 for women. That’s from a meta-analysis of 132 studies. Only ten of them did physiological response have a correlation of over 0.75 with self-reported identity for men. Only one for women. That means 121 of 132 studies used a measurement that failed to find agreement between physiological response and identity at least 1/4 of the time. That’s really bad.

Know how we know we exist? We are sexually attracted to more than one sex and/or gender. That’s it. It ain’t hard.

We don’t have to act on it to prove we’re really bi–there are bi virgins and bi folks who choose celibacy and they’re no more confused about their sexuality than virgins and celibates who are straight or gay.

We don’t have to have an even split, either in experience or attraction, nor do the two need to match. I pure-bodily-lust after more female-bodied persons than male-bodied ones, but have had significantly more sexual experiences with males. Y’know, ’cause most folks are straight so reciprocation of attraction is a lot more likely there. Easier to approach, more likely to receive positive response.

We don’t have to exhibit a genital response. I don’t get immediately physiologically turned on by the sight of an attractive body. Not even if it’s nude, and moving sexually, and belongs to a partner. The body can be dealing with a number of stimuli at once and not feel like providing altered bloodflow and breathing and lubrication. My appreciation of and desire for that person and that body aren’t dependent on a physiological response at any given moment. Anyone who does use such a response as the sole basis for attraction, I’m a bit inclined to worry about. But that type of decision making is what such a study implies.

The science is fundamentally flawed. Because sexuality is not simple physiological response. Because wanting and liking are not the same thing. Because we are whole, complex, rational beings whose sexualities are based not only on pure physiological manifestations of lust but also on cognitive factors. If you call a bi-identifying person gay or straight because his pupils dilate at images of one sex but not the other (non binary options not included, I assume), you remove his ability to self-identify. You tell him it’s invalid to ask that man whose voice makes him weak in the knees to go for a coffee. Get over yourself, dude; you’re not bi. We had you tested.

More than that, though, it’s about consent. In conflating liking and wanting in this way, the piece diminishes the importance of consent. Arousal tells you what you want. What you like. Who you are. You’re not gay if you don’t respond in just such a way to just such a stimulus. Fuck that. I don’t care how the body responds; the body doesn’t get the final vote. Bodily response and identity may match up most of the time, but they don’t have to. Certainly a correlation between the two isn’t necessary to prove one’s existence.

The premise on which the NYT article and (as far as I have access) the research on which it is based are flawed. They’re biphobic. Oppressive. Reinforce stereotypes. It’s about time we stopped allowing cultural perpetration of the myths that keep us invisible. Behavioral researchers: I expect better. I expect cultural competence, an effort to reduce disparity, valid methods, measures and meanings. For shame.

Omne Trium Perfectum

March 23, 2014 38 comments

She’s fucking me hard. Every thrust forces my face down on his cock, further than I think I can handle. With every thrust he tightens his grip on my hair. I’m choking. My throat tries to scream but there’s no air to scream with and his cock is gagging me. She’s fucking me hard and I can’t breathe and he’s groaning softly underneath me and it’s all too much, exquisitely too much. I pull my face away from him, struggle up to my hands gasping for air. “Sorry,” I mumble, and he laughs. “You think you have something to be sorry for?” His fingers fill my mouth before I can answer, not that I could have answered anyway.

Her lips are soft. She’s gentler than I’m used to. I’m trying not to smother her, resisting the temptation to make her struggle and writhe underneath me. Gentle is new, different, but then so is she, so is all of this and I’m mesmerized. All this softness can’t do more than tease but God, she doesn’t know that and for once I don’t want to say anything. Her eyes are closed. She looks focused. If she enjoys this half as much as I do then I don’t want her to change a thing. The mattress shifts a moment before I feel his hand on my hip. Her jaw slips open a fraction. Her tongue is suddenly insistent, her whimpers muffled by my cunt. Then he’s fucking her and her mouth presses into me harder. He sinks his teeth into my side, sends a shock through me from his mouth to hers. There are sounds, maybe even words coming from my throat but I don’t much care. She moans, her fingernails digging into my thighs, and it sends me over the edge.

I’m lying on top of her. She kisses slow and soft and earnest. I’m hungry for her, impatient. My teeth find her lips, her jaw, her throat. I don’t bite, just graze and drag my teeth across her. I glance up when my mouth reaches her breast. “Biting okay?” “Yes.” I bite her, not hard, not hard enough for the guttural sound in her throat and the sudden arch of her back. His fingers slide into me before I can pause to see what he’s done to her. He fucks both of us with his fingers while we writhe into each other. Her hand finds mine, brings it to her throat. I tighten my fingers, feel her shiver under the pressure. Her face changes, turns serene, almost vulnerable. I let go of her throat, feel her first shuddering gasp before I run my fingertips across her cheekbones, lips, and chin. We’re both breathing hard. I don’t know if I want to kiss her or keep watching her face. She meets my eyes. “Tell me when you’re close.” I nod. I’m already there, holding back because I want to feel this tension a moment longer. Now I realize she’s holding back for me, I want to draw it out further. I want to see her struggle against it. It doesn’t last long; I want to see her come. I say “just about now,” and within a moment I’m screaming and shivering. Her own shivering and moans follow. I kiss her, if you can call it kissing to devour the sounds she makes like this.

I straddle his face. She straddles his hips. At first she’s punching me, light blows to the scapula while we start to move. Then her hands are on my shoulders, pulling me to lean back. She bites my neck, slides one hand around my chest to pinch at a nipple. He bites down on my clit and I can’t think at all; I’m all spine and pain and too much pleasure. He bites harder, too hard. I’m shrieking in pain, twisting and pulling my body away which only makes it worse. This is too much, far too much. There’s a plea to make him stop just behind the next scream. I’m sure of it. I have no time to say it between one orgasm and the next.

We collapse. We had to, eventually. It’s been a long night, from dinner to hot tub to a long talk about the three of us, about how it’s going to work. Whether it can work at all. We don’t know, but the chemistry’s there and we do want to try. If the sex is any indicator, it’s worth trying.

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