Desire to me is one of the most complicated subjects in the world. I don’t think it can ever be exhausted. If I could understand why it is that I want what I want, I’m afraid that I would stop wanting it.
—Sarah Nicole Prickett, Adult Magazine Founder
(via QUEERING THE GAME OF LIFE)
Pleasure is the measure of sexual wellbeing – not what you do, where or how often or with whom you do it, but whether or not you ENJOY what you do.
–emily nagoski, “talking to girls about their own pleasure” | the dirty normal
Spending good quality time together. This is not time where we’re sitting on our computers, basically in separate worlds but next to one another, but time where we’re actively engaging with one another, either having a conversation or doing an activity together, or even just snuggled up in bed not talking. Feeling like quality time is a thing that my partner enjoys, craves, desires, wants as much as possible of.
Touch. Touch is so valuable to me. I feel most connected to a partner when we are in physical contact, even if it’s just holding hands while we’re driving somewhere. JJ makes it very clear how much pleasure he derives simply from having his hands on my body, even from things as non-sexual as my cheeks. Sexual touch brings this to another level, especially when combined with verbal affection. Sex can be an amazing expression of love, and cuddles are just as important.
Attention. I’m giving attention separate emphasis from quality time, because attention can be given from afar. Gchatting during the day while we’re at work, or even when we’re spending time with other people, counts as attention-giving, but not as quality time. Undivided attention is very important to me. Listening to me, devoting your attention to me to the exclusion of everything else.
Affection. Saying we love one another, expressing gratitude for one another’s existence in our lives, saying things that we appreciate about one another, taking the time for kisses in the middle of life routines.
Future-Planning. Making decisions about a shared semi-distant future makes me feel secure, be those decisions about leases or vacations, etc. Even just speaking about the future as a thing we will exist as a unit in.
kissing is so good and it makes me feel so happy and content. it doesn’t even have to be mouth on mouth kissing just cheek kisses, forehead kisses, holding my hand and picking it up and kissing it I love kisses I want so many
^I have always loved kissing from the very first time I experienced it. Right now I mostly just want it with one person, although LS’s cheek kisses make me feel like a shot of happy just ran through my veins too. Hmm. Truth, Dare, Kiss, or Cody should make a resurgence at Drangler New Year’s lol.
I don’t think so. Multiple romantic connections don’t feel like a thing that could develop organically in my life. Nothing about what my life looks like with JJ feels forced to me; this wasn’t what I expected us to become when we got together, but this feels like the right level for us to find for me. More than Two advises letting relationships seek and find their own levels without trying to prescribe a direction they should go/grow in, but what happens when the involved parties find different levels natural? Trying to prune our relationship back into something smaller or less entwined would feel much less organic to me. Whenever I ask, he says he doesn’t want me/us to be smaller, but I don’t see a way around that; if he has other partners, I have to fall back and give space and disappear. The things about our daily life that we currently share exclusively will be chipped away at, cut up and divided and distributed among others — I don’t know how to not feel neglected at the very thought of that, let alone the execution.
Him going on dating sites and seeking out new partners makes it feel inorganic on his part as well; he’s working to create this, rather than meeting someone by chance and wanting to explore a connection with them. But I understand that it is important to him on a fundamental level, that it feels like a part of his identity, so it makes sense that waiting for things to happen organically with someone wouldn’t be what he wants, especially when you consider how organic connections in the real world happen and the fact that he is a person with social anxiety.
When I’ve pushed myself to form sexual connections with others, even under the guise of romance, I was unable to develop any sort of romantic feeling for the others, even if I genuinely liked them as people, enjoyed spending time with them, and felt able to be fully myself and vulnerable with them — again, these things are not associated with romance to me in any way. Sexual connection and romantic feeling are not linked for me in any way; the overwhelming majority of my experience with the former has been in the absolute absence of the latter. I recall JJ once telling me that he can’t really have physical intimacy without emotional intimacy; for me it’s more like, emotional intimacy raises the experience of physical intimacy to new heights, but physical intimacy can exist on its own and still be enjoyable.
I want a partnership to build and design my life around. A cohabiting life partner. A person that wants to be part of a larger whole with me and go through life that way. I want to sleep in the same bed with the same person every night and go through our morning routine together every morning. JJ asked me if that means just that person, and that that person has to want to only build and design around me. I want to be able to say no, but it’s hard to envision a future where he’s building multiple relationships and I’m only building us without feeling like I’m getting the short end of the stick, like I’m giving more than I’m getting back, like everything is unfairly uneven. I want reciprocity and I don’t know how that can exist if we’re building unevenly. I don’t want to give my whole self and only get half of someone in return. That feels unsustainable. That seems incapable of fulfilment and peace and comfort. That feels inherently not okay. Fear and a sense of being threatened aren’t absent in my lack of interest in such configurations, but it goes deeper than that.
I can imagine having occasional sexual partners outside of that life partnership though. Not really people i see regularly and build a meaningful relationship with, but people with whom I have a rapport and great sex, perhaps sex that is different from that I experience with my partner. I don’t really know how to build those relationships without dating, though, and I really want to have to do as little of that as possible going forward. I don’t really know *how* to be open to developing a new romantic connection through typical dating while I’m in a relationship. The thought process I was going through around LS and what it would be like if romance was a possibility for that relationship still interests me though; what would happen if I had a close friendship with someone I was attracted to and whose orientations lined up with mine and who was open to polyamory (a whole lot of ifs) that seemed like it could be something more?
In relationships, I need companionship and intimacy, preferably both emotional and physical. It is strange for me to be close to someone I cannot casually touch. I need physical presence for a romantic relationship to be viable — time spent together and physical/sexual intimacy/touch are the defining things that set romantic relationships apart from close platonic friendships to me. I need quality time, easy affection, and regular consistent attention in romantic relationships. I need to feel accepted and supported. I need to feel like I can be emotionally vulnerable around this person safely. I need to feel valued by this person. I need being around that person to feel easy and right, not like something I’m forcing myself to do or struggling to find enjoyment in the majority of the time. For a romantic or otherwise sexual relationship, I need to feel sexual desire and sexually desired, and like I have free range of sexual expression. I need to feel reasonably sure that we both want the relationship to continue in the future. I need to share common interests and enjoy common activities with the person. I need to have fun with this person, to enjoy their company both alone and with others. In terms of what needs are attached to specific relationships, I couldn’t be in a non-sexual romantic relationship. Sex is an expression of romantic feeling, love, desire for my partner, closeness, and pleasure for me in romantic relationships; it is vital. I can have sex that is more purely pleasure-based and casual, but this doesn’t feel fulfilling or really even generally desirable outside of specific moments when I’m in a romantic relationship.
No. I have only ever felt romantic love for JJ. I have felt platonic love for multiple people simultaneously, and I have felt romantic love for one person and platonic love for multiple people simultaneously. I have felt romantic love for someone and sexual attraction to/sexual attraction for someone else at the same time. I have felt romantic love and a spark with someone that could be a romantic interest at the same time. It can be hard for me to know whether my interest in getting to know a person is romantic or platonic at first. ‘This person is interesting and I enjoy spending time with them and I would like to get to know them better’ doesn’t fall clearly into one camp or the other for me, and feeling physical attraction/sexual desire doesn’t really help either, because I have learned that I can have a regular sexually fulfilling relationship with someone I care about and still not feel romantically enamored with them. I feel as though I have felt sustained romantic attraction very infrequently in life; I’m not sure to what degree this is an inherent aspect of who I am as a human and to what degree it is learned in reaction to the fact that it has almost never been reciprocated when I feel it.
I’m normalizing TV.
I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL.
I am NORMALIZING television.
You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, any one you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you.
You are not alone.
–Shonda Rhimes at the humanrightscampaign Gala in Los Angeles. You can read her entire speech on “normalizing TV” here.
(via because i am a woman)