Monthly Archives: January 2012

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference—those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older—know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”

–Audre Lorde (via Choosing Pancakes)

Touche

“To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.”

I’m still thinking about sex/sexuality

or I guess, like, myself as a sexual entity. 

Snippet from a post I just read over at Met Another Frog that got me thinking more about this: 

When you get naked with someone and sleep with them, you not only let them see your body. You’re also letting them see you at your most basic level. The part of you that you spend a lot of time trying to pretend isn’t there. We’ve been taught to separate our hedonistic sexual selves from our demure, proper, tax-paying selves, and to keep the sexy part under wraps. To borrow from the ineffable Lil John, we are all supposed to be “a lady in the street and a freak in the bed.”

So when you get intimate with someone, you’re letting that part of yourself off the leash. You’re introducing another person to a side of you that even you don’t even always see. And that’s a scary prospect. It becomes much easier if we embellish our sexual selves and mask those drives we have with a more theatrical approach. If we distance ourselves from our sex lives, then maybe we won’t be held responsible if we do something wrong…

We become the embodiment of who we think our partner wants to be with because it’s safer than being ourselves. We act out a script in our head that’s been successful in the past, or we embellish our moans and cries of pleasure because we think it’s what our partner wants to hear. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad strategy. Sex can be stressful and each new partner presents unique challenges, preferences, and learning experiences. Retreating behind a sexual persona can make it a bit easier to have confidence in yourself.
This only becomes negative, in my opinion, when our obsession with being “perfect” prohibits us from enjoying ourselves. Even though having sex with another person is a shared experience, it is still a way for us to express ourselves. Becoming a caricature can alienate us too much from what we want and need. I think this tends to fade naturally when we develop a long-term sexual relationship with a partner, and this facilitates the development of those lovely little layers of intimacy.

  

As I’ve mentioned before, I have streaked my eating club. Twice. I also regularly go around shirtless for varying lengths of time, usually on Thursday evenings but sometimes other days of the week too. No one is really sure how shirtlessness became a rule of Middle School Drinking Game night, but it is one we hold people steadfastly to (unless they’re realllllly uncomfortable with it, because violating people isn’t cool). Occasionally I will lose my bra too, for various lengths of time. This Thursday night my pants eventually came off too and I watched (really really terrible) porn with a bunch of my friends from my eating club while caressing and being caressed by a female friend (which was turning me on way more than the porn, which was legitimately horrible for reasons we don’t need to get into). And I was entirely comfortable in this situation. I like these situations because they help me get comfortable with my sexual self, in the context of hanging out with a group of my closest friends whom I feel will accept all of my selves. 

The problem is, I don’t think I’m that same sexual self when I’m actually in hooking up with someone. At least, not necessarily or not always. I’m always wondering what that person is thinking, or what they’ll think about me if I do Thing X or don’t do Thing Y. If my partner suggests a different position or that we do something else, I comply; at least, when this has happened, I have always complied. And that’s not to say that I’ve never initiated anything or taken control, because that’s entirely untrue, but…how much of my compliance is me wanting to be exposed to other things, and how much of it is wanting to please my partner, and how much of it is for my own pleasure, and how much of it is me letting myself be bent (pun very much intended) into a sexual mold that is not my sexual self? How much of it (a large part, I fear) is me being terrified of doing something wrong or not being able to do something and being judged for it? 

How do I determine who gets to see which parts of my sexual nature? Is that an intimacy I should give to people I’m only physically intimate with? What do I lose by letting people see that side of me?

How do I learn more about who that side of me IS without letting people see/participate? But how do I know that I like what I like in the act BECAUSE I like it, rather than because the person I’m with wants me to like it and I want to make that person happy? I suppose that I know that the things I recreate when I’m having private sexytime are things I know that I like. But then I also suppose that I don’t necessarily have to like the same things with Person B that I like with Person A. Different personal relationships can (and maybe even should) engender different sexual relationships, right?  And I also suppose that the first time or even first couple times you get intimate with someone, you’re doing more figuring out what they like and the ways in which you’re compatible than you’re actively expressing yourself. And I’ve never really been past those first few times.

It’s becoming clear to me that many of my sex-related questions/concerns/thought experiments can’t really be addressed until I have a longstanding sexual relationship with someone. Boo my sex life.

TFA needs to hop up off my metaphorical dick.

My response to some TFA recruiter guy’s FIFTH email asking me to meet and/or talk on the phone with some other TFA recruiter: 

Hello again Joseph,

My opinion regarding Teach for America hasn’t changed. I greatly respect the work you guys do, and I know that a great teacher can change a student’s entire life, but while I will always support teachers, I could never be one. I have not the patience, the interest, or the ability to know that my actions will have, at best, a localized effect. I just had my final interview for a position that would allow me to help conduct survey and observational research for the US Department of Education; I am all for the cause, just through a radically different means. I am flattered by your additional outreach, but remain uninterested in joining my friends in TFA’s corps.

Best,

Maya

Translation: see post title.

Contrary to what I said a few days ago,

sex is evidently NOT the one thing I really wanted for my birthday, because a somewhere-between-acquaintance-and-friend of mine came to celebrate my birthday with me, proceeded to finish the last few shots of a bottle of cake vodka straight from the bottle after he was already drunk because we’d just won two games of three-on-three beirut (which some of you may inaccurately refer to as “beer pong”), walked me home, and then asked if I wanted him to come in, and I sent him home. He’s slightly taller than me, not unattractive, and I’ve known him since I was a freshman. But as soon as he started getting flirty last night, I started repeating a little mantra in my head: ‘Do not sleep with ****.’ 

The question is, why? 

  1. Okay, well, he used to date a friend of mine. And before you say that that obviously hasn’t stood in my way before, I mean with a good friend of mine, and it ended badly, rather than with an acquaintance who later became a friend and after a situation that ended at least somewhat harmoniously. And he had a weird interaction with the good friend of mine whom he used to date once last year after getting similarly drunk at an open bar at Quad and from what she told me was kind of harassing her. And he may have been in a relationship then, because he was dating a girl seriously enough to be sharing a car with her when I ran into him on the train like a month later. (Hmm. There may not need to be more reasons after this, but I will continue anyway.)
  2. I once hooked up (though only 2 bases worth) with his current roommate, who had also been at my little birthday celebration, but left before he started getting all touchy-feely. But feelings had actually been involved in that hookup, and I wouldn’t want the guy I didn’t do anything with to brag to the guy I did stuff with, because though we were never anything but friends, guy-I-did-stuff-with matters to me.  Though attractive somewhere-between-friend-and-acquaintance is like, the perfect level of knowing someone to develop a buddy, which is not unappealing to me at this time, I’m just uncomfortable at the idea of becoming involved in any way with roommates, particularly roommates for whom my level-of-caring-about differs so greatly.
  3. There was neither pretense of romance or lust. In the past, I have been fine with one or the other leading to sex, but just we’re both drunk and we’re both single is insufficient reasoning. I’m not necessarily against doing something just because it’s there, but…idk. It just didn’t feel right in this case (though this was heavily influenced by reasons 1 and 2). Changing the terms of a relationship is a tricky situation, and I felt no need to introduce sex into ours, I suppose. I have learned that I can be physically intimate with people I am emotionally intimate with, either in the course of romantic relationships or friendships that won’t be complicated by seeing the person often, and that I can be physically intimate with someone with whom I have no emotional connection at all, but anywhere between these sections of the spectrum is dangerous territory, it seems. In retrospect, it almost seems like he felt entitled to hooking up with me because I have established a capacity for casual sex, and no one is entitled to the wonder that is me but me. Forever fact. 

Anyway, five minutes after I’d sent him home, I was opening YouPorn and preparing for a little private birthday fun with The Conqueror and wondering why I didn’t let him stick around to be part of it…but when I put it like this, that wondering ceases and I’m glad I don’t lose my ability to be rational and make smart decisions when I’ve been drinking for hours. Important life skills ftw.

Question for furthering pondering that this analysis prompts: I have firm beliefs about which practices constitute safe sex from a physical standpoint. Should I establish a similar set list of situations/things that constitute safe sex from a personal (or even emotional) standpoint? I conceptualize overall safety in more ways than just physical…thus it seems like I should conceptualize other things for which I have developed specific ways of being safe in terms of more things than just the physical too. Does that make sense? This was a situation in which I was uncomfortable hooking up, and I want to think more about other such situations. To a hypothetical better understanding of safe sex!