Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

“Liberating Ourselves” Response Zine

I recently wrote about an anti-BDSM zine written by an anti-civ anarchist, and mentioned that I’d talked to someone who’s putting together a “response” zine. If you’d like to contribute to it — and folks who commented on that last post, this means you! — here’s the info:

I have began compiling a response to the zine “Liberating ourselves in the boudoir” by Usul the Blackfoot. If you are unfamiliar with this zine and want to get a copy so you can write a response, go here.

We are looking for essays, art, photos, a creative name for the response, and maybe some plans for DIY toys.

You can send your responses to kaleandglitter at riseup dot net, and we ask that you title your email Liberating Sex, and that everything be sent in by August 15th.

Also, I finally got around to putting my own print zine online. I compiled this from some of my favorite past blog posts and included a lengthy new essay as well. If you’d like to check it out, you can find it here.

Lighten Up

Every time I’ve gotten stuck for words when someone (non-kinky) makes a comment about BDSM, I later think, “it would be so much better if I could just treat it lightly, act as if I don’t care what they think, joke about it.”

Last night, someone visiting me and my partner: “You should just get a live-in submissive to do all the housework for you.”

Awkward silence.

My partner: “I don’t think that’s how it works…”

What I wanted to say: “Well, we already have a live-in submissive, but I really don’t kink on housework.”

Of course, I didn’t think of this until I was already walking away from the conversation.

If I could just say things like this instead of feeling so afraid, so terrified of what people think…it would all be so much easier. Joking about it, speaking as if it were the most normal thing in the world for me to be talking openly about being a submissive or a masochist — speaking from the assumption that the other person is totally okay with BDSM sexuality, and allowing myself to be surprised if they’re not. Oh, you didn’t think about the fact that you might be talking about me? Does that change things? Does it make you feel awkward for making that joke? Does it make you feel uncomfortable around me? If so, you’re going to have to address that, now. It forces things out into the open, and once they’re there, once we get the point of actually talking about these things, I can hold my own. I know the arguments, I know my positions and can defend them. That’s the part I’m good at. If I can just get there, just break through that wall of fear preventing me from making the first step…

What am I so afraid of? That they’ll think my being a sexual submissive means that I’m a pushover and a weakling in the rest of my life. What’s the best way to get them to not think that? To be assertive and open about being a submissive. To preemptively disprove their notions about what a submissive is, what a masochist is. To speak with confidence — as if I were the one that was normal.

Sexual Compatibility

Ranat recently wrote a few posts dealing with her struggle to find a sexually compatible partner. And it made me start thinking about how sexual compatibility is so much more than labels like “straight/gay,” “kinky/vanilla,” or even “sub/dom” can cover.

Ranat wrote specifically of her frustration at how easy it is for vanilla people to find compatible sexual partners:

I am profoundly jealous that these men [her vanilla friends] can walk into a room at any given establishment, and have a good chance of meeting someone who is sexually compatible. I am jealous that it is as simple as attraction > desire > pursuit > yea or nay.

I know it’s not actually that simple. I know people with mainstream sexualities have just as many issues finding sexual relationships. But I think about how many sexually compatible people one of these men has met in his life. Probably hundreds. I’ve met three. And I am so. Terribly. Jealous.

I wonder, sometimes, what I would be doing had I never met my current partner, or were we to suddenly break up. How would I go about meeting someone? What would my qualifications be — what would go to the top of the list? Would it be “must be a male dom who likes women?” Or would it be “must be vegan,” or “must have politics that are at least somewhat similar to my own,” or “must not be a sexist jerk”? What would I be willing to compromise on?

Now, granted, I have some advantages — being at least somewhat sexually dominant is a trait that has been taught to a *lot* of men in our culture, so finding this quality would be a lot easier than it would be for a dom woman, like Ranat, to find a submissive man. That is: even if I couldn’t find a guy who’s interested in torturing me, collaring me, or forcing me to lick his boots, I could probably find one who’s totally okay with “rough sex,” pushing me down, and taking control. I could get at least some of my needs filled.

And then I wonder — just how much more compatible would a random dom or switch man be for me, even just speaking in terms of sexual compatibility? What if random “vanilla” guy A is not interested in whips and chains, but completely overlaps with my desires when it comes to favorite positions for fucking and has a really passionate, intense energy; and random “kinky” guy B loves to do all manner of painful things to me but is a terrible kisser and only likes to fuck in one weird position that does nothing for me? What if guy A wants to have sex 3-4 times a week and guy B wants to have sex once a week at most? What if guy B fits my criteria as a male dom who likes women, but his kinks are all completely different from mine — say he only likes daddy-daughter or “punishment” scenes with lots of roleplaying, which I really can’t get into. Does that make him any more sexually compatible than the man who isn’t interested in any kind of kink? And again, once we’re out of the bedroom (or dungeon…whatever), what are the chances that random kinky guy is going to be someone I can actually have a conversation with, as opposed to the vanilla guy that I’ve met because we have shared interests beyond sex? Yes, maybe it’s not that easy to meet someone who’s into BDSM at an anarchist convergence or a vegan potluck (though, actually…that is where my partner and I met). But it’s probably even harder to walk into a play party and meet someone in the mainstream BDSM scene who shares my gender politics, or who’s vegan, or who understands that “anarchy” is not synonymous with “chaos.”

All of this makes me feel extraordinarily lucky to be with someone who connects with me on so many levels, who is passionate and cruel and shares my kinks and is pretty much on the same page with me politically. But I think it’s really important to recognize that even though he’s way more compatible with me (sexually and otherwise) than most other men would be, nothing is perfect, and there are definite gaps where we don’t meet. Some of them are kink-specific, like the fact that he’s more interested in forced submission than I am, or that I’d like to have more frequent play sessions that just involved pain and/or bondage. Others are differences that you’d find in vanilla relationships, too — differences in favorite sexual positions, occasional differences in libido, differences in what we each need in order to have a good orgasm.

Sometimes I get really frustrated when my partner and I encounter one of these differences, and I have a sense of despair — does this mean we’re just not sexually compatible? What I need to remember is that true compatibility has more to do with how you work out differences than it does with never having any differences in the first place. I think this is especially important to remember as my partner and I begin to talk again about non-monogamy. There’s a danger of looking only superficially at compatibility as a simple overlap of interests, and thinking, “My partner and I are both vegan and kinky, but this other person he’s dating is vegan, kinky, and straightedge. She must be a better match for him than I am.” Or, “This other person loves anal sex, which I know my partner really likes and which I am not that into most of the time. That means he’s more sexually compatible with her than with me.” This sort of thinking leaves no room for important things like how we communicate, how we take care of each other, how we work through disagreements without getting into horrible fights that drag on for days. In the long run, I think it’s these things that matter the most.