Archive for Styczeń 2017

Sex, drinking, play parties and consent.

Styczeń 5, 2017

Lets recap what we (the people) think about the stuff from the title. We think that (almost) anything sexual can be negotiated beforehand, which includes getting inebriated. We also think negotiating should not be done while under (especially under heavy) influence, although all this gets easier when you know each other well.

We also do not think we should engage sexually with people that do not really seem sober, and err on the side of caution.

Why? Because mind-altering substances can change people decisions so they could do things they regret afterwards. Sometimes regret very strongly. And all this avoids lots of drama and hurt, whereas – or so we think – the price to pay is not very big, especially since we, um, like talking openly and honestly about sexual desires (wow, that was hard to write with straight face…).

Note, that i am not talking about being totally stoned. That is something else entirely, rape stuff (unless negotiated, as in first paragraph) and all.

Onwards. We also think that this applies doubly to things like play parties. Perhaps not inherently, but it (usually?) is a situation with a lot of new people (new in sexual sense), when there is not much time to keep attention to everyone else (all these bodies), and the potential for people not being sure how they exactly find themselves in the situation is higher than usual. So, to minimize risks of something bad, no mind-altering substances at play parties, right? Right.

And it is all shit. Well, for me, at least. See, i am pretty hung up dude. Be it temperament or overblown superego (both, likely), i tend to think a lot. No, i tend to overthink a lot. And it comes very easy to me to inhibit my playful/desirous side. I have something called proces hamowania in the upper reaches of stratosphere. The end effect is obvious, i end up analyzing stuff and get a bit (really big bit) anxious about, well, everything. And the worst thing is that is actually not me. Its all the stupid things i learned or i worry about – if someone would ask me at the moment, i would be pretty sure in asnwering that, yeah, i want that. And the answer would stay the same afterwards. Seriously, of all the bad sex i had in my life (a lot) a miniscule (zero, perhaps) amount happened when i was just getting to know the person. Especially if i was drunk. Yeah, especially! Because, you know, i can actually do stuff against myself for all the wrong reasons like guilt or sense of duty (to social norms i guess, because otherwise fuck me if i know) and not because i might be doing something too forward… despite what it might seem here, i am not shy, and rarely lack the sense of agency.

Thus, while i could answer and confirm that i want this and that, it would be intellectual confirmation, the desire and connection to body long being subsumed under avalanche of thoughts. And here is the connection – what does alcohol do to humans, me included? It inhibits upper cognitive functions (aka thinking) and disinhibits. Exactly the thing that makes me more myself and less of some bloody android-like… thing.

The conclusion? None. I still think we are right in thinking the things i wrote in the beginning. I do not actually thing i should be given a special free drinking pass at play parties, because it obviously applies there (oh, all this is what i realized after the play party that is still in Vegas, so to say). I will obviously keep having sex while drunk, especially first times, and i hope my (potential) partners will not mind that. And keep advicing others to avoid doing exactly that (oh, the hypocrisy…).

Still, i hope someday there will be other way.


The case of Arden Leigh

Styczeń 5, 2017

(If you are here by accident: it is quite lenghty response to quite large FB conversation on some small polygroup. In English because of Sarah M.)

Generally, after some mulling: She seems to put *all* the responsibility, blame even, on people around her. But there is more – i thought a bit: why this pisses me off. Well, the hard part was noticing that there is something special about *my* reaction. I thought – well, what i noticed about her seems true, but this seems not to bother people too much, they enjoy the content, so perhaps there is something in her that angers me, specifically?

From there it was a cakewalk. First try: does she reminds me of any significant people in my life that got on my nerves? My mother, for example… oh. Sure. She – this is important part – sees all the blame in surrounding people, none in herself, feels entitlement for other people modifying their behaviour to fit her standarts. She even seem to perceive the world as a place specifically hostile and evil. More infuriatingly, she seems completely oblivious to the fact she is doing that, or that her emotions are not objective reality. Worst of all, she is visibly smart, intelligent, so she does not have any excuse for that (well, that is unfair on my part, so there. Oh, and that is what i am talking about above – she would think it is not unfair and it is objectively true that there is no excuse if she was in my place).

There are some fun parts i noticed browsing her work – she quotes a book Body Keeps the Score, and a passage about how trauma survivors all sometimes say that its not a worst thing possible, that others have it worse. And she quotes the author as interpreting it as people diminishing their hurt. Which is a thought i heard before, but… it is not true. It is easy to think that, because it makes sense in the context of abuse, but the actual purpose of saying that is exactly the opposite – that it could be worse so the world is not so bad and there is strenght and purpose in living. Oh, and a reality check. Yet, she clenches to it and uses it to reinforce the belief of uniqueness of her absolute tragedy. (yeah, okay, she never had anyone acknowledging her pain… so she needs to defend it. Too bad she is well-known and the effect is bad for others)

Or another example:

By my late 20s I lost the ability to even feel physical pain. I broke my hand in parkour and the only way I knew was that one of my knuckles was moving in a way none of the others were

Or, perhaps, it was adrenaline that kicked in and negated the pain signals?

And last fragment, from the comment threat, which originally tipped the scale for me:

Yates Sherlock:
Listening. One my first poly parties i overstepped the mark. I took note and corrected my behavior. There have been some from the poly community who I’ve needed to weed out. But now I have found a core community that I so love and trust.
There is nothing like being made to feel like you are family.
Arden Leigh
Cool for you, bro
Arden Leigh
Did you ever think it’s really shitty to essentially come onto my thread about feeling devalued, dehumanized, and having my self-esteem eroded by people’s poor behavior and counter with what a great experience you have had in the poly community as a dude, even though you started out by „overstepping”?
Yates Sherlock
all are experiences are different. I did not mean to cause you any problems. For me the community saved my life, quite literally. What has had the most profound impact on me have been the powerful and understanding women in it.
Arden Leigh
Ok maybe keep that to yourself on a thread where I talk about it traumatizing me
Yates Sherlock
I will in future

Coming to the end of the part about her as a person: i actually relate to a lot of what she wants and needs. And i think it is part of the reason she pisses me off. Maybe because i think she goes way too far or perhaps because i would like to do the same and envy her, dunno. But her strong desire for her emotions to be acknowledged is my desire too. But whyyyy she has to be so stuuupid…

To sum it up: she is way too egocentric (concentrated on her desires and pain), blaming (others for her discomfort without any thought that it could be her or no one fault), demanding (that others accomodate her needs) and narcisstic (convinced that she is special and awesome and simply better) for me not to disdain her.

Hm, i did not give examples of her overblown ego, so here is a quote:

In 2012 I began my journey into the study of intimate relating. I started meeting educators who weren’t pickup artists, I became a proud sex geek, I eschewed the deception prevalent within (but not necessarily inherent to) PUA culture in favor of the straightforward, positive, thoughtfully crafted, formulaic communication styles of the relationship elite.

And of course the cringe-worthy point #6. I mean, rereading it now… does she actually read what she writes? Because it borders on satirical portrait of delusion of grandeur for me.

Okay, onwards to her actualy post (and this time i will try to think what you folks did get out of it)

1. I’m really tired of the assumption that I’m available for whatever your relationship style is just because I’m single and a sex educator. Poly people will plow straight into flirtation with single people merely because both are available, with zero thought to whether they are able to meet their needs. These assumptions lead to mismanaged expectations and the idea that there is something wrong with the single person for not wanting to participate in something which is not designed to end in any satisfaction for them. I understand that poly people may be bucking against the heteronormative monogamy assumption in mainstream culture, but it’s not my job to adapt to your orientation either.

Flirtation is a stage that is by definition devoid of many obligations. This is mutual play, getting to know each other, more in style than substantial things, and gradually exploring intent/desire. Knowing needs is a process that takes months. Expectation that someone will know she want relationship is nonsensical. She does not want to flirt or casual thing? She needs to say so. If someone persist, tell them to fuck off. The problem is her.

2. I have had multiple poly people assume without asking that my spending time with them was a date – one man asked if our dinner plans were a date halfway through dinner (which is half a dinner too late in my opinion), another referred to our afternoon together as a „third date” on instagram when I was not aware that any of the time we had spent together had been about dating, and a woman thought I was asking her on a date when I texted her asking if she wanted a spot on my guest list to a club (an assumption I had to awkwardly find out from a mutual friend). Stop this. Stop putting me into your narrative without my consent. The implication is that I’m only worth hanging out with you if there’s a chance you get to fuck me, and that’s fucking awful of you.

Date is just a word. For a poly (she is not one, btw – her blog posts reveals as much), she seems quite hung up on a stereotypical meaning of a word. The reality is that people can use words that have slightly different meaning for them. For what is worth, i have no idea what is a date for her! I mean, it seems to be something serious, but the last sentence suggests that it means hook-up? The person putting others into a narrative is hers – with her insistence on one true meaning of words, and assuming that people perceive her in one way.

3. We’re not talking enough about how poly people overstretch their bandwidth and resources when taking on lovers. Our community has recently seen the damage that can occur when a person takes on more accountability for partners than they can handle, and yet I see more warnings about whether people are ready to own a pet than take on a new lover. If it seems like it shouldn’t be that difficult to interact with another autonomous human being, let me regale you about the poly lover who exposed me to bedbugs last year, and the other poly lover who mercilessly made fun of me at a dinner with mutual friends. These were both sex-positive people in sex-oriented communities. If you can’t take care of a single person, let alone refrain from physically or emotionally endangering them, don’t take them on as a lover.

Finally something real… yeah, the new shiny syndrome. Funnily enough that probably also applies to our little community – we have almost none resources and our discussions are rather vague, and people generally do not read stuff… >fortunately< most of us are way too afraid of intimacy for it to become pressing problem.

Still, bedbugs? Oh, the atrocity, the terrible, unspeakable horror, how did she survive? :p And making fun of her? That is like kicking down a crippled, sick puppy… :p No, seriously, that is indeed not fun, and something i struggle with. In more than one way.

4. The assumption that anyone in our community is up for „untethered intimacy” ignores the fact that many people have deep triggers around abandonment. Treating people like you can just seduce them without consequence is often to tell them that you feel they are disposable. I and most other single people don’t need that belief reinforced. You are hindering our healing in a death by 1000 papercuts. The continual offer of sex without attachment erodes a person’s feeling over time that they are worth getting attached to. Stop collectively implying that people are worth a fuck but not a relationship. You are reinforcing their abandonment triggers and killing their self-esteem.

Well, apart from the fact that it is true she is not worth getting attached to… well, maybe she is indeed worth a fuck (doubtful, considering point #6), but not a relationship (well, that is obviously true :p). Damn, i am cruel. More seriously, if she has such fear, the onus on communicating it – and not getting involved in casual sex (is not she a female PUA? What is the point… nevermind) – is on her, not on the whole world or even small community changing according to her needs. Sex without attachment needs not to erode any self-worth, it is special thing for her as a person. Nor is such sex – a play in essence – an indication of disposability. Unless she never had playful/primordial sex… sweet Zombie Jesus, she is sex educator *cries*

5. When you are already in a poly relationship and you attempt to seduce or flirt with a single person, you are ignoring the enormous power inequality at play: that you have an emotional support system already in place that they likely don’t. If your lovership with them fails, you can theoretically receive support from your existing relationships while they cannot. Their risk is substantially greater than yours. Sometimes even the unspoken power balance is enough to trigger anxiety, or often the single person will just feel that you’re rubbing your abundance in their faces.

This is actually somewhat valid point and very important point, although not in the way she presents it. The power inequality is not inherent in such situation, it exists when someone (like her) is desperate for relationship, care and attention. Then, indeed, there is way too much incentive for her to put up with bad stuff because the stake for such person is much bigger and important than for their single mono partner that generally feels okay with their life and has fulfilled basic social needs (yeah, it has nothing to do with being poly… again). It is also something that is often mentioned in good poly literature. Oh, and dont get me with rubbing abundance in her face. Seriously, you stupid shitty person, not everything is about you!

6. The assumption that a person is going to get anything out of casual sex with you is egoic in itself, but when you’re talking to a sex educator (hi) it’s doubly so. I have spent the past decade becoming fluent in all love languages, erotic blueprints, and kinks, so if sex is all that’s being offered to me it’s unlikely to be an even exchange. It reminds me of the music producer who complained to me once of people who came to him with a few shitty lines written on a piece of looseleaf and asked him to make it sound like a million-dollar Taylor Swift song that had a team of 12 people on it. If you really think a sexual experience with you will benefit me, then pitch me as a practitioner. I would far rather pay a somatic sexologist for that time/space container than fuck you for free.

Oh, the humanity… she is probably the worst lay in the whole west coast. Fluent in all love languages *snicker*
And that is the end of my comment for this point.

7. I got (rightfully) called out in the comments last night for saying that I felt differently about girls, that with girls I still feel safe to be poly, which reinforces a toxic notion that lesbian relationships don’t count. I don’t believe that on a transpersonal level. What I mean is that my orientation doesn’t create the same attachments with women as with men, and that in most cases with women (excepting the one who mistook a guest list for a date), I have not felt that they were trying to escalate sexually before establishing trust and friendship. Therefore it’s been safer for me with girls to add sex on as an extension of friendship and not a potentially dangerous situation where sex and flirtation is jumped to without trust.
For these reasons, I will continue to identify as a primary-oriented non-monogamist (or „monogamish”), but I am completely disassociating myself from the orientation of polyamory.
Poly people, please check yourselves. Single people are not a buffet for you to pick from when you feel like trying something new. Stop treating our availability as consent when you cannot take responsibility for the feelings you create.

It actuall reinforces something else – the thinly veiled message that you display elsewhere that you are subconsciously sexist. Oh, i know, you were abused, probably by a man, too. You know, people get abused by others without managing to indulge in steroetyping a whole group of people. Try it sometime.

So she will stop calling herself poly? THANK CTHULHU!

EDITED TO ADD: There’s something that’s bugging me about this that feels like an unsolvable puzzle, and it’s in #4. Here’s the problem:
I have no problem with: an individual person approaching me with an invitation for sex, even if they are not available for a relationship with me. I have no problem with this because I believe that asking is not inherently coercive, because I believe I have the right to say no. In fact I love it when people ask for what they want! Then I can say yes or no and we can proceed.
I DO have a problem with: being bombarded with invitations for sex from people who are not available for a relationship with me while receiving few or no invitations from people who are interested in exploring sex as part of the process of intending toward a primary relationship. This pattern, which has persisted strongly throughout my time as a single person in LA (so since early 2015), has been, as I’ve described, a death by 1000 papercuts leading to a breaking point this weekend where I have had to violently reclaim my self-worth as a relationship partner and not just as a sex object.
No one is individually to blame for this. But the collective 50-100 people who made these invitations and who did not show up in relationship space for me are what resulted in the pattern. I’m not going to tell people to stop making individual invitations but the collective pattern has been damaging beyond belief.
For my part I’m going to own my share of responsibility and get better at intending, holding space for my self-worth, asking for my needs to be met, and holding up my personal boundaries around sex.
But I want to hear from others as to whether there is a solution to this not becoming a collective pattern that damages people.

Yeah, another thing. She is a public person. I dont know if she gets approached by all sorts of random people due to her being a sex educator (Jesus, why?), if yes, then my condolences. If not, and its simply a desire not to have any of such stuff, well, there is no obligation to having 5000+ facebook friends or to quote Maupka, being the most famous female PUA. It is actuall sort of a privileged position. She can, well, change her name and do whatever. Jennifer Wesp did it.

Ugh. Seriously, i do not know anyone with less social skills than her or with head deeper in an ass. Including all of you, my dear polys from polygroup, for all your flaws.

As a bonus, regarding how many of us struggle when we experience jealousy or some other >non-poly< (ugh) feelings: a quote of her quoting someone, that is very applicable: but for now let's just say that Sri Krishna Menon once said, "That which a man considers his virtue can arrest his development far more than that which he considers his faults," and man, that's real. You know, getting attached to being that true poly poster girlboy can really fuck one up. Applies to other things too – for myself, it does tend to make me insincere with myself in just the wrong way.

Now, for anyone who managed it to the end, please do spend some more time and tell me what did you get from her post. I mean, it resonated with many of you so you saw something important there. For example, Marcinie K., you spoke about something being useful in contacts with others…