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#Me too: Aziz Ansari Pt 1

30 Jan

Disclaimer: Even though I have been an anti-rape culture activist for nearly 7 years, I still don’t understand some things. I have a LONG way to go before I get it and I know a lot of people are like me. So I encourage an honest discussion because that is the only way we will get through this.

When the The Young Turks reported this story, I initially agreed with Cenk and Ana. I thought, “Yeah! That sounds like #metoo gone too far.” I decided to look up “Grace’s” post and read her account anyway. I’m glad I took the time to read it. As I read it, I responded with “Oh, that’s kind of a bummer..” and then

“Oh.. “ ….

“Oh.. dear…”

“Oh no.. “

The more I read, the less I could deny he had not wanted to believe her body language or her statements. It was clear he understood she did not want to have sex. After he verbally confirmed she didn’t want to have sex, he paused.. but then continued to attempt to convince her.

I know many cisgendered men are used to this.

I know many of them think it’s okay.. and so far, it has been accepted.

But I think that time is over.

I don’t believe Aziz is a bad person. It is true if you are aware of problems in the world, you are less likely to contribute to those issues but it doesn’t mean you won’t cross lines. Just because Aziz is a feminist doesn’t mean he won’t cause sexual harm to someone. And that’s what I’m going to call it for now until I know what to call it (please feel free to leave comments and discuss). Technically, in WA state law, this constitutes as rape because he used his fingers orally and she felt pressured to have oral sex with him. But still, it feels like it’s too strong a term to associate with this.

When a person, sexual partner, continues to ask you to perform sexual acts even though you have stated you don’t want to have sex.. That is troubling issue. And it’s also an accepted trouble.

Aziz, despite his “woke feminism”, is still conditioned to go persuade his partner to have sex even if they are not enthusiastic or are unwilling. This is common in around the world. It’s accepted as “male behavior.” Let me be very clear; I do not think Aziz is a bad person. I think he’s a person who does his best to be a better human being every day and chose to ignore her signals and gave into a default.

I also have to give you a bit of grain of salt to pair with that opinion: I have had a few abusive relationships and I have had a difficult time letting go of some of my thoughts/beliefs that allowed me to stay in those situations. I always want to see the best in people. I don’t know if that’s my conditioning as a woman or if that’s my personality.

I can tell you from experience that it sucks to deal with a scenario like what Aziz gave “Grace” on a regular basis. It …. depletes you over time. Even for someone with a healthy sex drive and great relationship with sex. I have experienced this in a long term relationship. The constantly moving down the couch, the inching away in bed, saying “I’m not up to this” and then STILL having your partner continue attempt to persuade you. Over time, it is a coercive, abusive, manipulative thing to do.. to continually ignore your partner’s wishes.

So when I read that this is a part of a one night stand with Aziz, I have to wonder.. is that how he always is? If that is how you begin an encounter with someone, how is it on a long term basis?

Contd..

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Fify Shades: An Abusive “Love” Story

14 May

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Entertainment Weekly’s review is spot on: In a class by itself. I always appreciate writers who know exactly what to leave in and what to leave out.

Criticizing The Fifty Shades Trilogy is an easy task. There are many, many things “wrong” with it but all books are not meant to be pieces of literature are they? No, they’re not. That is a lesson I’ve finally learned to appreciate. I expected it to be bad writing and to be a silly story. It does stem from Twilight fan fiction. The whole vampire love story really isn’t my thing. It doesn’t get me going and I suspected this wouldn’t either. But a lot of people like it and I had to find out why.

There are some decent things about it: It’s a fast read because the characters, the story and the expressions are not complicated. Hell, if you’re confused as to why kind of mood Christian is in, she’ll fill it in for you:

“You’re upset because of what happened last time. I behaved stupidly, and you.. So did you. Why didn’t you safe-word, Anastasia?” His tone changes, becomes accusatory.
What? Whoa-change of direction.
“Answer me.”

Oh well there you go. She told you twice. It’s also a “love” story. A hugely successful man who never lacks control is finding it difficult to maintain for this young woman. That is the story line for the quintessential Harlequin romance book (either the man or the woman in the story has to be wooed. As far as I know, it’s always the same). There is something pleasing about two people being pulled out of their comfort zones and learning to love. That’s a nice thing and one many people can relate to. That is partly what makes for a story that sells. Throw in sex and you’ve probably got something someone will want to read somewhere.

When I think about it, “BDSM” is what separates this book from Harlequin. I placed BDSM in quotations because you should know reader, this is NOT BDSM.

And this is what is incredibly upsetting about the book. E.L. James has not sold a BDSM love story; She has sold an abusive “love” story. I’m currently reading the second one, Fifty Shades Darker. It isn’t making me quite as mad as the first one (yet) because my bar of expectation has been set. I’m only on page 80 and by now I have asked myself the question, “Did she know how popular this book would be? Or at the very least, did she write it with the intention of it being popular?” Did she mean to send out this message that people who are into BDSM go there because they were abused and that they later can’t “love” like other people? That is incredibly disturbing. I hope that is not what she thinks of BDSM people and I hope that is not what she intended to say.. but she has in this book.

So why am I saying it is abusive? Christian doesn’t “not know how to love,” he is controlling, manipulative and a stalker! Within a few days of knowing her, he “growls” at her when she calls him drunk and demands she tell him where she is. When she doesn’t tell him, he tracks her down via her cell phone and shows up. Never asking if that was okay and arrogantly putting her in his car to “take care of her.” Even though she refused to give him her location. Now it could be argued that she wanted him to find her, except that, despite her curiosity, she is clearly afraid of Christian. You could also say here, “Oooooh but he just doesn’t know how to love and he doesn’t mean to be so mean and scary! She can change him!” Except:

“This is not a man I want to cross.. ever.” Pg. 139 in Fifty Shades of Grey

There are many examples of this throughout the book. This is just a small one and I didn’t take note of everything but I do remember reading a lot of lines like this.

Abusive people are constantly written up as “people who need love!” Well, yes, they do but in the mean time, they are abusive people and you will be hurt. I’m afraid this trilogy does nothing but sell abuse to people and to use BDSM as a tool to do it with.

BDSM does often center around “control:” Control the Submissive and the Dom have agreed upon. Absolutely NO ONE should be forced, intimidated, bullied or coerced into it, which is exactly what Christian does to Anastasia. He does make sure to ask her if something is okay but he usually does this after he has thrown a temper tantrum, pouted, been angry or stern with her. He uses intimidation which is always chalked up to him “not knowing how to love because he’s 50 Shades of fucked up.”

Fuck you E.L. James.

He’s constantly telling her how to eat, what to eat, what to wear, he shows up on her doorstep when she has childishly told him goodbye through email. She didn’t invite him. He shows up. That is not romantic, it is creepy. Creepy ass shit. In theory it sounds really nice. “OOooh he loves me soooooooo much he just can’t stay away.” Yeah. He has issues respecting boundaries.

E.L. James.. have you experienced a man not staying away when you’ve made it very clear you do not want to have anything to do with them? It’s fucking scary. At first it’s simply alarming. Then when it repeats itself (as it does in this book) it becomes terrifying.

But Christian is good at getting what he wants. Often people who are “in control” publicly are very good at putting people to ease, even if behind the scenes, they show frightening characteristics. So it’s easy to see why Anastasia would be hoodwinked into think he’s “just so in loooove with me!! Wheeee!” And I’m sure he is but it is a scary love and a very unhealthy one.

A BDSM Dom/Domme would have never allowed any of this to be set up this way. He wouldn’t have fucked her hard her first time as a virgin. That shows a lack of care and consideration (to say the least). I’m not even sure he’d be willing to engage with her but I suppose in special cases that could happen. The problem is not that Anastasia is a virgin (though that is a bit of an issue for a mature Dom, I imagine) but that she has no sexual agency. Why would any Dom/Domme want to engage with someone so incredibly inexperienced and not in touch with themselves. It’s plain irresponsible. This woman hasn’t a lick of an idea of what BDSM is about.

And one last thing: Dios mio! Really? Every time (so far) Jose is introduced, he says this within the first few lines. Also there was no reason to mention he is the first of his family members to go to college. It had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Way to stereotype.

I’m sick of selling damaged psyches as romantic. There is a lot more to say about these characters but I’m still learning them. I’m sure I’ll have more to say.

I think Kate is the only one who had any freaking sense in this book. Way to go Kate.

Shake Your Tail Feather, Fellas

12 Oct

Two years ago in November I went to the Everything To Do With Sex Show in Toronto. It’s an annual event I highly recommend attending (it’s a tour throughout Canada and also makes a stop in LA. Check the link for tour dates). I saw all kinds of things, most of which I don’t remember. What I do remember is how overwhelming huge it was (that’s what she said) and the giant inflatable penis I took a picture with. It was too funny.

I saw glass dildos and wooden dildos for the first time. I asked the wood dildo crafter (what else do you call them?) “Why would anyone buy a wooden dildo and not glass one? Wouldn’t you get splinters?” No, he said. It has that coating over it to protect it. It’s light and safe in water. I’ll never forget what he pointed out about glass dildos. “Sometimes, sometimes, they can break if you heat them up and cool them down a lot.” Revulsion and terror ran through my body thinking about what that must be like. That was the conversation I thought of when reading this story. It doesn’t state she was using a glass dildo… just the thought of something inside destroying.. Anyway, read the story.

*shudders*

*****

A few weeks ago, I read Mistress Matisse’s column, “Control Tower” in The Stranger. Here is what she said:

“In that worldview, women are assigned value based on appearance. We may get a low score or a high one, but we can’t opt out.
Now, it’s sexy to be objectified when you want to be.
Performing a stylized female sexiness on chosen occasions is both a gift to a lover and a narcissistic pleasure.
Trying to be a sex bomb all the time, however, is tiring, expensive, and hard on anyone’s self-esteem.
That pressure creates some female resentment of men, because men aren’t expected to do the same.”

But it’s more accurate to say we don’t allow them to.”

Touche Mistress, touche.
I was dragged to a Chippendale show in Reno eight years ago. I scoffed at the idea and about half-way through the show until I saw someone I thought was super sexy. That made all the difference but the idea of men prancing around in a thong shaking their bottoms was ridiculous to me. You could’ve summed up my attitude with this: “That’s women’s work.” I know a lot of people will not agree with my opinion that objectification is not bad. Listen, I loooove looking at my man. I looooove looking at myself sometimes and whenever I go out on the town, I see women who are freaking HOT. I appreciate that! The truth is we objectify all the time. Objectification is bad when that’s all you’re summed up to be. Don’t lose sight that person is living, breathing and is as equally valuable as you are, as are all living things.

But the idea of objectifying men? Weird.

I was shocked sitting in my anthropology class when I learned about males dancing sensually for women, to turn them on and lure them into their beds. They danced seductively. It was a difficult idea to understand but now that I’m a little older, a little more open, a little wiser.. I see that men just wanna shake up and fluff up their feathers for us too. We should let them.

And no, it doesn’t make them silly or gay. Just makes them a little flashy. It isn’t just women’s work,  you know.

He does what? What would you do?

5 Sep

This afternoon, I read Dan Savage’s advice column, Savage Love. And I was wondering if I wouldn’t find anything to write about today? As if!

WARNING: The following paragraphs talk may not be suitable for work (or if you are around children). The topic is about sexual nature and do not read if you think you might get in trouble or cause trouble. Be sensible.

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“I grew up masturbating in the digital age. So in any given week, I get off on “Wincest,” hypnosis porn, and erotic literature involving cat people. I’m also a young husband who’s gone a few years past your recommended date for laying down his kink cards. I’ve been deliberating whether to out myself to my wife, but there’s a rub: The last time she found out I had masturbated to someone other than her, she hit me. I cried and swore I would never look at porn again. Of course I just became more careful about hiding it.

Is there a limit on the necessitated disclosure of my wet dreams? I don’t have to tell her the one where I’m having sex with her best friend while she, having been turned into a dog, looks on stupidly, right? Can I settle for “I masturbate to women who aren’t you”?

Wife Abusive, Not Kinky”

He does WHAT?! She does WHAT?!  Oy. There is so much wrong with this scenario. He’s hiding. She’s abusive. There is a lot to say here but I’ll only touch on a few subjects because we all know hitting someone else, screaming, yelling at them, calling them names, etc.. is bad. Any abusive behavior is not okay, no matter how angry a person is.

The issue that leaps out at me, aside from the obvious, is the secret the husband is keeping. I don’t know why people find this acceptable. I don’t know why people aren’t willing to accept their partner’s kinks. And those partners with kinky urges should be willing to accept their partner’s discomfort. This passing honesty back and forth should happen, I think. And in a perfect world everyone would be very understanding, giving, willing to participate and allow.. but then I recognize this crosses personal boundaries. I don’t know where to begin with something like this.

What I do know is that I don’t think there should be secrets between this couple. I truly do not understand the idea of marrying someone and not wanting to know more about your partner. But I know that my boundaries are fairly wide and accepting. Not everyone is like me and that’s a good thing. Perhaps I should not be so accepting. *shrugs* Truly, I don’t know.

He has a kinky thing he likes. It’s odd to me but there are plenty of people just like him and truthfully, we ALL have something we’re kinky and freaky about if we’re honest. I’m not so different from him and chances are you aren’t either. Even those up-tight-I’m-completely-straight-laced types have something they fantasize about that’s a little strange.

What bothers me, aside from her abusive acts, this woman chose to marry this man and shuns him when he’s being honest with her. It is uncomfortable to hear your partner thinks about someone else sexually but we know this is natural. Biologically, we are not monogamous creatures. We choose to be monogamous. I’m not sure why that is but I like it too. I like having one partner I am completely dedicated to but our bodies say another thing, sometimes.

What would you do if you discovered this about your partner? What if your male partner decides he likes to wear women’s clothing? Or she likes to be choked? What if she turns the buck around on you, sir, and wants to penetrate you? What if that’s her fantasy? Would you be willing? What if your straight male partner wanted this? Would you be willing to?

And what if your partner wasn’t willing to fulfill these fantasies? Then what?

I am tempted to agree with the way people like to keep things, stuffed away in the corner, hidden in the attic, shoved underneath papers long forgotten… Some things are better left hidden, someone said once. Some things are “too difficult” or “too much” for someone else to comprehend so we hide them but what I’ve noticed from speaking with long-term couples and committed partners is that these things have a way of coming out. Nothing stays in the dark forever.

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