Tag Archive: guilt

As a special treat, I’m pulling out two of my favorite sites from my collection of sex-positive/philosophical/borderline erotic articles and videos so that I can talk about gender roles and submission.

I think I’ve talked before about false dichotomies, but this bears repeating: society likes to pair certain attributes together, especially when it comes to sex.  If you’re a top, you’re dominant and usually butch; if you’re a bottom, you’re submissive and femme.  This is TOTALLY LAME AND INCORRECT.  Now that is not to say that these pairings cannot be fun, interesting, and worthwhile- I identify as closer to femme and frequently play the submissive bottom.  HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that the roles should be restrictive.

Cherry Bomb, a webcast by these 4 incredibly awesome lesbians who sit around, drink wine, and talk about sex, did one of their vlogs about gender roles in the bedroom, which you should totally watch so you can laugh with them.   But it also makes you think.  They touch on the concept of the “pillow princess” and the “stonecold butch” as terms for only feeling comfortable or aroused when giving or receiving.  This is an especially interesting concept to discuss because I think one of the greatest misunderstandings about sex (espcially lesbian sex!) is how both partners can be getting pleasure when only one of them is  “receiving.”   That kind of understanding of sex, I think, leads to bargaining and guilt when it comes to giving/getting head or fingering/handjobs, as if because the one person is acted upon, it is a chore for the other.  Silly.  Specifically silly because it assumes that there’s nothing to be gained erotically from seeing your partner happy, which makes no sense in any context, not just the bedroom.

Think about it… If you give your partner a Christmas gift and she throws her hands up, squees, and runs around in a circle with happiness, you probably feel pretty good too.  Because you like to see him/her/hir happy.  Same thing goes in the bedroom.  Feeding off of your partner’s energy is a HUGE part of having sex.  There are so many other dynamics that go into all of this, like when you consider one-night stands and other non-monogamous forms of intimacy.  Which is why you should watch the video!!

The other linky-link is an erotic piece by Sugarbutch about submission.  For context, the writer is a butch lesbian who is almost always the dominant in her relationships, and in this instance she is writing about being topped by her new femme “lover.”  Actually, she writes about that whole context thing here.  Yeah, read that first.  In the second article, she talks about being a butch top who has played submissive, which is actually rare in a lot of circles, but it isn’t her “default mode.”  The second piece is much more of a mental landscape- how it feels to submit (whether you’re normally a dom or a sub).

You can have me. My body is all nerve endings and convulses at every touch: your hands on the backs of my thighs. No need to open me further, this is all there is, this is all there is. Take me so I can only ever be taken by you. Take me so I wake inside myself screaming your name. Take me to where I feel again, where I feel anything, all of it, open, receptive, receiving, submitting.

That’s pretty much the best description of heavy S/M (from the submissive point of view) that I’ve come across to date.  I think its most indicative because it takes you right to the primal-ness of submission and sex in general- the desperate, unquenchable need that can be awoken within us.  Which is also, of course, why trust and aftercare are so important in S/M relationships or scenes.

This podcast from Realm of Bliss talks about the roles and duties of a dom and sub in BDSM relationships (although through the lens of hypodomination), and is a very interesting listen for anyone who is interested in learning more about this topic.

Enjoy!  Stay cool, queer kids.



LGBT in High School

We were all there at one point- whether you graduated in 1979 or 2009, high school has always been an environment fraught with risks for LGBT teens.  Peer pressure and teenage hormones have been blamed for everything from drug addiction to drunk driving, but they additionally confound our sense of identity as we mature into sexual adults.  What a combination to deal with at 16, eh?

You know the motif: homophobic remarks roam high school hallways uninhibited.  Pressures to know the right people and say the right things are paramount.  And a misplaced piece of gossip, fictitious or not, can make you the object of adoration or shame in an instant.

Now this is not an admonition against coming out in high school- that would be awful, hypocritical advice on my part.  But it is an acknowledgement of certain principles immutable by the drift of time.  Teenagers talk.  They don’t check facts, but spread information like wildfire.  So perhaps this is a recommendation for caution and discretion.

When you come out in high school, news can spread fast, so it is of utmost important that you have made peace within yourself concerning your sexuality.  Because even if you only plan on telling one person, you must be prepared to deal with the possibility that others, those less understanding than your good friends, will find out and bring the issue up.  And even in the most accepting of circles, you will meet with implicit societal animosity (this goes for the outside world as well!).  Do not allow yourself to be guilted.  Love yourself.

It’s totally possible to reconcile all of these things.  The average age for coming out in 2009 was 16, and over 80% of LGBT people in generation Y (born between 1980 and the turn of the century) have or will come out by the end of high school.  Peers and faculty are becoming more understanding and more resources are available every day.

If you are considering coming out in high school, I highly suggest, regardless of how accepting your social group, that you join a Gay-Straight Alliance if one exists at your school.  At their most defunct, GSA’s area group of likeminded, tolerant, allied students meeting to socialize.  At their best, GSA’s are a safe space for LGBT people and allies to seek support, expand their knowledge, and enact social change in their school environment.  The GSA at my old high school carried out an incredible campaign to abolish a discriminatory policy which required students bringing same-sex partners to dances to get a parental consent form signed.  This social activism, in addition to their participation in GLSEN’s Day of Silence (http://www.dayofsilence.org/index.cfm) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=4) made them a powerful voice in the school environment.

But more than that, GSA’s are a place for discussion (which you all know I’m so fond of…) and support.  I will tell you this-without a doubt, there will be times when your friends do not understand the things you think, feel, or experience in relation to your sexuality.  GSA is a wonderful environment for deconstructing and coming to peace with your own situation.

As John Donne said in his Meditation 17, “No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent.”  In high school, this is especially true.  My best advice is to have confidence in yourself and to seek out people and organizations which validate and reinforce this confidence.

Whether you are gay, straight, bi, queer, or anything around and in between, sex has been a subject discussed either in the forbidding whispers and giggles or the clinical dryness of the health classroom.  And that’s a shame.  Because neither forum offers a comprehensive understanding of the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of sex.

For LGBT teens, it’s even worse.  Our assumptively hetero-normative society American society not only totally dis-empowers and vilifies our personal attractions, but refuses to talk openly about the versions of sex that they do find appropriate.  I remember in 8th grade, I attended a school-sponsored overnight aimed at getting girls ready for High School with lectures and workshops on sex, drugs, body image, and media distortion.  One of the workshops featured an analysis of advertisements, including one of Britney Spears leaning over a soapy car, talking up some brand of Chevrolet or motor oil.  Point being, the instructor happened to mention that this ad was not only talking about [insert inane commercial product here], but also advertising a perverse form of sex aka anal.  Even at 13 this pissed me off.  Who is she to decide what kind of sex is perverse or not?  And yet we encounter this all the time- from protesters holding up signs that condemn sodomy to parents who tell their children that their effeminate classmates are “not normal” and do nothing to stop the teasing they encounter.

So with all of these silent, strictly codified rules making us second-guess our emotions and attractions, what do we as ambitious, hormonal, insatiably curious teenagers do?  Well, first of all, we do everything and then deny it.  But more importantly, we create online communities, blogs, confessions into cyberspace detailing all the things society tells us we’ve “done wrong.”

25 Things About My Sexuality is one of the more brilliant blog concepts I’ve seen: it offers online submission forms for anyone that desires to submit often lengthy and detailed “confessions” about their early sexual experiences, partners, and fantasies.

I put confession in quotes because of the completely artificial societal construct that makes 25 Things writers “guilty.”  There is nothing these bloggers have done that an open mind couldn’t fix.  Or better yet, an open dialogue.

FORRRRR EXAMPLE: Today’s post was from a woman who had grown up in a Catholic family where her parents were not very affectionate towards each other in public, nor did they ever talk about sex or masturbation.  She writes: “My parents didn’t talk much about homos at home, but all I remember hearing from them was that they were somehow weird and that it was not desirable to be one. We didn’t talk about masturbation either, I only remember one time when they told me that sex is something a man and a woman do together because they love each other. For a long time I thought masturbation was only for perverts, and I didn’t really try it at all until I was about 15.”

Now, understandably, in Catholic households, masturbation is sometimes considered unnatural and wrong, but this same stigma exists in thousands of non-religious homes too, because the taboos of sex and self-love have completely overtaken society.

This blogger writes further: “A recent post really made me think about how a lot of the people who write here think they’re weird and not normal, but really there are LOTS and LOTS of people out there struggling with very similar stuff.”  So if we acknowledge that there are many people in the world feeling just as guilty and awkward about perfectly normal things, what’s a society to do?!?

Bianca’s prescription is two-fold.

  1. Parents, teachers, mentors, peers- freakin’ TALK.  I know it’s embarrassing and awkward to bring up sex and sexuality, especially across generational gaps, but it’s so important.  Open discussions about what we feel as sexual beings will help smash negative stereotypes and stigma, as well as passing on positive attitudes for children who will grow up respecting people of all orientations and practices.
    1. Sidenote: Unitarian Universalist Churches have started a wonderful sex ed program that addresses these issues brilliantly. I attended one of the classes for a panel on LGBT issues this past year and found the kids very mature and comfortable with themselves.  The program features everything from safe sex practices to masturbation techniques to discussions on homosexuality and gender non-conformity.  I highly suggest that anyone who has this course available to them use it!
    2. Other teens- stop judging.  The terms whore, slut, cougar, perv, fag, cougar, etc. do not belong in our societal vocabulary.  Everyone is entitled to their own variety of sexual practice and you have no right to make arbitrary distinctions about the quantity or quality of their partners, the content of their encounters, or their personal feelings and fantasies.  If you have negative personal opinions about a certain practice, consider if they are grounded in safety or health concerns.  If not, consider re-evaluating.  Whatever makes a person happy is fine, as long as it goes without hurting another person.  Your recriminations only perpetuates a sexual elitism- and one day, the shoe may be on the other foot.

If the concept of sexual privilege in society strikes your fancy, mediate on Gayle Rubin’s “Charmed Circle” from the book Thinking Sex.  http://interalia.org.pl/pozycje/1194044411-533/1.gif

Also, another example of a good “Confession blog” is Queer Secrets.  It’s styled after PostSecret (also a personal favorite, but with exclusively queer material).  WARNING: it is very depressing, as it focuses on people who are forced to remain closeted.

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