For many reasons, I miss you. What sorts of things would you like to see more of? I’m guilty of not posting enough cool pics (cuz my “likes” show up on my page, and they’re mostly images). I wanna know what you wanna see more of based on the parts of my blog you already like! Got ideas?
This has been adapted from the Self-Evaluation in Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, by Traintan Taormino.You can download the original and other resources here.
What are your beliefs about monogamy?
If you are currently in a relationship:
Imagine your partner having sex with another person. It’s important to be truly honest, not censor yourself, and really let yourself feel what that would be like for you:
Imagine your partner in a relationship with another person. It’s important to be truly honest, not censor yourself, and really let yourself feel what that would be like for you:
How do you handle feelings?
How available are you?
*Please pardon previous hilarious typo. ;)
Maybe I’ve already told you about it, maybe not: Here’s a disclosure (TW) and a request for support:
Last December I left my abusive partner. It happened in the middle of the night, like some fucked up scene from a movie. Packing was made easier with the help of two friends who didn’t mind being disturbed (very disturbed) at 3 am.
In the months that have followed, I’ve worked my ass off to heal and accept that healing will not just ‘happen’ one day, but that it will continue as an ongoing, unfinished journey for the rest of my life: no amount of healing will undo what I went through.
Much of this healing began before I left through exposure to zines, conversations with empowered friends, fucking up and learning from my mistakes (of course), and support of the Tumblr Community of which I am a part. Survival and healing has continued with these resources, and with help from an outstanding local organization called SACHA.
The latest leg of my journey is one in learning about what accountability can mean, has meant and does mean for other radicals.
As I sit between my computer and a wealthy collection of zines and paper resources, however, I find myself distinctly isolated by one outstanding piece of information that often feels like a fact:
Survival is reserved for Victims of Sexual Assault.
After I called him on it once late in our relationship, my aforementioned abuser always asked about everything sexual. Even when he was drunk and coercive and unaccepting of my hesitation … at least he asked. And because I believed, due to the overwhelming evidence, that he would break off our relationship (or kick me out of our shared living space), I would usually comply.
Coercion, manipulation and intimidation are not always considered sexual assault. Sometimes, they are not. They are, always, however, emotional abuse.
Few of the resources I have seen within the radical community deal with this or even hint at it. This makes me feel isolated and invalidated and sometimes, I get the impression that I am not worthy of support. “He never hit me — therefore I was not abused,” apparently.
You have maybe read or come across resources that deal with emotional abuse within radical communities, and if so, I really need help being in touch with those resources.
One project I am working on is radicalizing a brochure I found years ago which outlines what emotional abuse looks like. In my experiences, if emotional abuse is mentioned in a resources, it is often a side-note to the ‘real abuse’ of associated physical assault. This is a good start, but i need support from others, too.
Be in touch! My ask box is open: Do you have any resources, or know of any, that deal with supporting or gaining accountability around emotional abuse?
A few years ago some friends and I got together and organised to have him speak in our city. I will admit I have not read his books other than the Endgame premises and a bit of Listening to the Land. I went to his presentation and heard him out. My annoyances may be superficial, but still valid:
I understand roughly where he’s going: “Unlearn all that bullshit you got growing up; Empower yourself and embrace autonomy; Bring down the current system — smash the state and blow up bulldozers.” But not a lot of that seems to include “End oppression and fight for equality.” Derrick Jensen happens to be a human who probably makes a pretty good living; who is a middle-aged white male person; who definitely has a lot of power and privilege. Sometimes I think he glosses over that a little bit much.
I just have a different approach than him. I’m sure we could sit down for a lovely cup of tea and likely pleasantly decide we don’t see eye to eye. He seems a little over-entitled to me.
(T/W for discussion of both good and bad consent practices)
… A participant doesn’t necessarily need to label a particular sexual encounter as assault or rape to feel like that encounter was shitty or could have been better (although if they want to or they feel like that’s what happened, then yeah, that’s entirely their prerogative to do so).
This is my attempt at outlining what those conversations about consent need to look like for me. This general structure can be used from any contact along the spectrum from cuddling to fucking. I think these questions are pretty similar to the consent questions from Support Zine, but while those are really great for figuring out how you as an individual think about and practice consent, these following questions are a tool for me to figure out with a partner how we as partners want to practice consent.
While asking your partner if they want you to do such-and-such an act as you go along is a good start, I don’t think it’s enough to really make sure that everyone involved is indeed having a good time. Here are the things I like to talk about before gettin’ down with anyone:
- What kinds of things are you into? This is where I list all of the things I’d be interested in doing with a partner. This needs to be done with the understanding that you’re just letting the other person know what you’re open to doing, but those things are only going to happen if they’re also stoked on those things too. I like to think of this part as making a verbal “venn diagram” - we both throw out all the stuff we’re into, then we see where those interests intersect.
- What kinds of things are you not interested in doing?
- Are those boundaries just for this particular encounter, or is that something you might be open to doing in the future, with further discussion?
- What parts of your body can I touch, and what do you want me to call those body parts?
- Do you want me to ask each time I want to touch those body parts, or would you rather just give (or not give) consent once at the beginning?
- What should I do to avoid triggering you? What are your triggers?
- What signs should I look for to indicate you’ve been triggered?
- What do you want me to do if I think you’ve been triggered or you tell me you’ve been triggered?
- How do you want me to practice consent with you? How do you want to practice consent with me?
- How do you want me to check in with you, and how frequently?
- Do you have a tendency to automatically say yes to things without giving yourself a chance to think it over?
- Do you have a hard time saying no?
- How can I create an an environment where you feel safe and like your decisions will be respected?
- What kinds of things should I look for that would indicate you’re not having a good time?
- What’s your STI status?
- When was the last time you were tested? What, specifically, were you tested for? What were the results of those tests?
- What kind of sexual contact have you had since you were last tested?
- What was the STI status of the people you’ve had sexual contact with since the last time you were tested (if you know)?
- What STI-prevention measures did/do you take (if any were needed) with those people?
- How do you want to practice STI- and pregnancy- (if applicable) prevention with me?
I’m sure I’m forgetting things that should go on this list. I’m interested in hearing from y’all - how do you practice consent? How can we continue to improve our consent practices?
File Under: How to Prevent Rape Culture.
I really like all the consent practice questions above. Asking these sorts of questions really, truly, creates opportunities for clarifying needs, boundaries, desires and intentions — something that would be hard to gauge without asking about it (assumptions are pretty careless)!
Asking these kinds of things, having a genuine desire for the answers to these unknowns, is so fucking paramount to this. It’s really important that we aren’t just asking away to expedite the process of getting down someone’s pants. Furthermore, if you take these answers, and then choose to ignore them after you have received the answers, that is extremely violating.
Something that I would like to point out is that taking the time to understand our selves, how we might Answer these questions, is oftentimes what makes up wholesome, cohesive consent: Learning how to say No is important — Learning how to accept No is not merely an assert, it’s a fucking required!
That said, “No”, and other signs of lack of consent (e.g. anything but Yes) need to be present. Saying “Yes”, or providing other affirmations, when you don’t mean it is extremely dangerous!
Finally, I want to mention that for some people, sitting down and hearing these questions one after the next like this can be intimidating and feel like interrogation. We must each learn how to incorporate consideration for these things into daily interactions with partners and friends. There may be some for whom answering these questions all at once feels really good. Allowing these questions to become concerns we care about all the time (rather than right before sex, for example) is going to make sure the answers come fluidly and naturally.
I am super into discussing more about this.
Nutshell: Someone who is “genderqueer” has fluid ideas about gender expression and may not identify as being a man or a woman.
The longer story: Genderqueer is a pretty new term. I believe it started to be used early 2000, mostly by youths, as I was then. When I first saw the word “genderqueer” in a zine, I immediately could identify.
I also loved other terms such as androgynous/androgyne, genderfuck, two-spirit, trans entity, bi-gendered, third gendered, multi-gendered, fluid, transboi, boydyke, boi, and many more. I was drawn to genderqueer because it contained within it the word Queer. It made sense to me as a queer person. My sexual orientation is queer; so is my gender.
What is a man? What is a woman? When you break it down, the only true definition is the one we make for ourselves. There is no gender test. There’s no “right” way to be genderqueer. There’s no dress code, no label, no correct pronouns. For myself, I love the pronouns “they/them”, such as “They are so beautiful” or “I’m going to buy them a beer.” While I don’t mind being called “she/her”, I really prefer epicene or gender-neutral pronouns, especially if it’s a chance to represent me as accurately as possible.
I believe we do not have to have surgery or take hormones to be seen as a “man”, ”woman” , both, neither, or whatever we choose to be. And I believe that queer pornography and the internet will bring the validation of our bodies that we need as a community — something which I think is really powerful because even 50 years ago, we were isolated and forced to go to doctors to be treated as diseased… today, we have websites, YouTube videos, sex tapes, forums, books and most importantly, each other.