The One Where We Aren’t All The Same

•September 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I wrote a little treatise on the nature of empathy awhile ago, posted elsewhere. I think I shall have to finesce that a bit more and then bring it over here, although many of my ideas on it where brought up in my last post on consent. In any case, building on these ideas, I want to talk about another of the Big Myths. The one that says we’re all alike on the inside.

This is one of those ideas which was invented to help combat bigotry and discrimination, but doesn’t actually work. In fact, it’s entirely counter productive.

It’s sort of similar to the current idea of racism as personal failure rather than systemic bias. Most of society has come to see prejudice only in single acts of cruelty, making the prejudice inherent in the system completely invisible. Even as we actively work to fight it, we’re protecting it by focusing our attack on the wrong front.

At one point, hath not a Jew eyes was an essential and revolutionary assertion, but we have reached a point when the idea that, on the inside, we’re all the same is merely a cliche. We listen to it without thought, and even if we were taking the message to heart, it would not be enough.

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The One On The Myth Of Unspoken Consent

•September 5, 2011 • 4 Comments

Trigger Warning for rape, rape culture, violent imagery, and possibly offensive broad generalizations about normative society.

Author’s Note: This entry is edited from a post I made on a fetlife group devoted to the subject of consent.

This is going to be one of my soapboxing like a boss posts, but I regret nothing. I am going to say negative things about romantic love and neurotypicality, and maybe other things, too. These statements aren’t intended as universal, but are just points of reference to discuss flaws in the dominant paradigm and also my own biases bleeding through. I have a tendency to get pissed off at the normals because the normals have a tendency to fear and loath me. I’m a product of my conditioning. Those of you who read my blog ever are aware this is par for the course.

If you read this blog, you probably already know the problem with popular notions of consent is that they define consent as the absence of a “no”, when they should define it as the presence of a “yes”. Because of this we get bullshit notions like “grey rape”. Because if consent only means the absence of a “no”, then nonconsent is only the presence of a “no”. And that idea has mutated to the point where rape means a man forcing himself on a woman and violently penetrating at least one of her orifices with his penis while she screams and struggles. Date rape means a man drugging a woman and taking advantage while she is incapacitated, and is considered not as serious. Like, he only raped you a little bit. Could have been worse. And everything else, whether there was a “yes”, a “no”, a “maybe”, is not rape. So if you’re a man who was raped, if you were raped by your spouse, if you drugged yourself and then got raped, too bad. No judicial system for you.

In fact, even if you say no, out loud and everything, if you don’t repeat it or try to fight your perp off, well, that counts as consent in our society. Consent isn’t only the absence of a “no”, remember? Because silence is consent, and consent is irrevocable, if you don’t keep saying no, you are rescinding that “no”, for ever.

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The One With My Napoleon Complex

•July 1, 2011 • 2 Comments

Here’s the thing. I don’t really have a Napoleon complex. Not exactly. I do not feel that my height is inadequate, and I have to compensate for it. There’s nothing wrong with my height, after all. People come in all shapes and sizes and all that jazz. Some guys are short.

I don’t feel the need to compensate. I feel pissed the fuck off that I have to be a short guy in a society that thinks I need to compensate.

My problem with my height is not a body issue. I came to this realization just a second ago, actually, while trying and failing to fall asleep. Which is why you’re getting this blog post.

Anyway, it’s not a body issue. I do have some body issues, but this is not one. My height related proportions are quite nice. I’m comfortable with the size of my skeleton and it’s relative dimensions. In fact, when I wear shoes with more of a height boost than converse, I often feel precariously far from the ground, although that’s probably just conditioning.

No, my body is fine. The world is too big. Fucking cabinets, man! I have to scale furniture all the time just to get to stuff! That’s irritating.

But that’s not the part that gets me. I don’t mind climbing things all that much. It would be nice if the basic necessities were regularly stored in places I could reach without a ladder or the assistance of a normal-to-tall heighted person. But climbing things can be fun. And sometimes it’s a good excuse to make people do things for me.

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The One About The Importance of Revocable Consent

•June 24, 2011 • 4 Comments

You may have noticed I’ve been absent for awhile. More likely no one is actually concerned, because I think the only people who read this are folks who know me IRL. But either way, I wanted to get back into blogging, and I feel like the conspicuous gap in my posts should be explained. I also think this is an important thing to talk about, much as I don’t much care to talk about it any more.

This is probably where I should put a TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE.

I would guess no one is surprised that it was interpersonal drama that ate me alive and kept me away from this blog. That happens to me a lot. I am pretty used to it by now, but trying to get out of the cycle is mind numbingly difficult. I understand the process now; how my own emotional issues contribute to it. I am too desperate for affection and affirmation, which makes me latch onto people more easily and more tightly than is healthy. I am also very socially inept, which means I have a tendency to accidentally fuck up relationships, and that I am bad at recognizing when relationships start going south. I don’t have a very good model for what is a healthy, sane relationship.

Still, knowing it has not helped me see what is happening while it is happening. I am still working on that bit.

In this case, though, I stumbled into a new kind of badness: sexual coercion.

An individual I was sexually involved with, who shall remain unnamed, had been placing steadily more pressure on me to put out. Interestingly, and frighteningly, he apparently had no idea he was doing it. Many of my friends did notice this, looking on from the sidelines, but it took me quite some time to notice, and he never did. Even once I tried to tell him this, he just couldn’t accept it.

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The One With Hugo Schwyzer

•April 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I stumbled upon a post by Hugo Schwyzer via the blog of Sugarbutch, aka Sinclair Sexmith, a day or three ago (I lose track what with my ever changing personal time zone) and I felt compelled to comment on it. Starting this entry out, I’m not entirely sure what all I will end up saying. But I do hope it will be interesting.

The post in question is called Men Run When They Lack the Words to Stay. Right off the bat, that sounds like it will be full of gender stereotypes and standard issue romanticism, but it really isn’t. Schwyzer uses phrases like “sexist acculturation” and “culturally constructed masculinity” to describe phenomena that are usually reinforced as the natural and correct roles of the sexes. He disavows this notion early on:

“This [behavior] isn’t because of testosterone, of course, or some inherent aspect of the human brain; it’s the hangover from growing up with the “guy code”.

What the post is about, then, if not to reiterate or defend men-are-from-Mars, opposites-attract, heteronormative relationship dynamics, is to explain and unpack the traditionally masculine emotions fail. He says that many men “retreat in the face of intense emotion, particularly in the face of a woman’s anger” and that they/we “feel overwhelmed by what seem to be the superior verbal and emotional skills of female romantic partners”, which is all learned behavior from being socialized male, growing up with the normative boys-don’t-cry masculine ideal. Schwyzer calls it a “learned emotional helplessness”.

Any one who knows me or follows this blog will see why this resonated with me. Whether it stems from my transmasculineness, my autism, or my history of emotional abuse and codependence, I do struggle with a feeling of helpless terror in the face of other people’s feelings, particularly the feelings of women. (By women, as in all my posts, I mean cis women and feminine-of-center CAFAB trans folk.) Where this becomes problematic is when it encounters Schwyzer’s acculturation theory, which, though I agree with, my existence refutes.

When Schwyzer says “men”, he means cis men. He means folks he were raised as male, indoctrinated in the “guy code”. When Mr. Sexsmith responded to the post, she was approaching it as a butch, with all the baggage of a sort of “butch code”, the ideal of female masculinity. Butches, while typically socialized female in their childhood, are retrained by butch culture to closely mirror the same ideal as folks who are socialized male. I’m obviously not saying that stereotypes of butchness are true; for a bit on dispelling them, see Sexsmith’s coverage of Butch Lab’s second symposium. I am, however, saying that those stereotypes are based in the reality of a cultural standard which pigeonholes butches, in the same way the “guy code” does cis men. In the same way gender roles and other stereotypes pigeonhole everyone.

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The One About The Mind-Body Disconnect

•April 13, 2011 • 2 Comments

I’ve been meaning to write up something on this for awhile now, but every time I sit down at my computer, I wind up on Netflix instead. Seriously, BSG is eating me alive.

But what I’m actually here to talk about is – drum roll please – my sexuality. Or pseudosexuality, as I’ve taken to calling it. It’s not really fair to call me asexual, but neither do I fit very neatly into the sexual category. The reason for this is the profound lack of connection between my mind and my body.

As I’ve said previously, I do enjoy select sexual activities with select partners, just not in a sexual way. This is partly my sensory defensiveness, and it is partly that what arouses my mind, what I enjoy, does not arouse my body. I can achieve a great deal of intellectual and tactile satisfaction from the non-reciprocal sex I give, from outercourse, from sceneing, or just from cuddling and talking about films.

I also read erotic fanfiction and, good lords, do I enjoy that. It gets my mind all kinds of hot and bothered, but it doesn’t do much for my body.

The most I’m generally going to get out of a sexual encounter, or even indulging in my mental fap material, is a warm hum of arousal defused through my body. Nothing urgent. Nothing that’s going to end in an orgasm. But I find it quite satisfactory, nevertheless.

My partners don’t always. The prevailing sexual ideals are very penetration centric and very orgasm centric. Even if they except that they can’t get me off the way they want to, they want to help. In theory, that would be nice. If I could engage in some partnered sex I enjoy and have a nice wank at the same time.

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The One With The Hymen

•April 5, 2011 • 2 Comments

Those of you who follow my activity on Fetlife know I’ve had a little bit of a sexual crisis just now. For those of you who don’t, let me bring you up to speed. I know, from experience, that I don’t like genital stimulation, especially penetration. Despite this, I keep experimenting with it, and I often employ my orgasm friend, Alexander, in this. It’s problematic for a lot of reasons, one of them being that, for all his transpositivity and respect, Alexander is still a straight cisman, and has all the preconceptions about my body that go with that. That’s not the biggest issue, though. My inability to communicate what I want, and my neurotic need to repeat the behavior are much more serious.

One of the reasons I feel the need to employ his help in this is the need for a second opinion, which doesn’t work, because he is not equipped to treat sex as science. The reason I need a second opinion, though, is I’m fairly sure my hymen is still intact. And possibly a monster. No one seems to believe this, so I tend to invite them to find out for themselves.

Well, I’m going to lay this to rest right here and now. Blair and I took a break from our regularly scheduled thesising and bumming, respectively, to compare hymens. Blair apparently knows what a hymen looks like, and helped me identify which bits were hymen and which weren’t. (I confess, I don’t know what half of the stuff down there is. It should come with a manual.)

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