Tag Archives: sexual politics

Friday classes-Shibaricon 2011

The first class I attended was one on the current state of research about sexuality and kink, presented by Dr. Richard Sprott from CARAS. Having just finished my own degree, and being slightly jetlagged from traveling across the pond, this was the perfect way of starting the Shibaricon weekend, as any attempt to tie would have been a foolish one.

Sprott first did a short review of the current state of sexual research in relation to BDSM, fetish, sadomasochism etc. What transpired was that there is a lot of work done, but it is often lacking in nuance, and furthermore, still ridden by a pathological bias, especially in relation to the field of psychoanalysis and psychology. Studies on so called sexual sadism mainly feature samples which are taken from offenders, i.e people convicted of sexual violence and the like. Now, I am pretty sure I know the difference between myself and a sex offender but if these are the only studies being made, and the assumed framework is one in which this is violent pathology, and if these narratives are the dominant ones, we do have a problem. There is no denying that there are people out there that are violent, who need help, who abuse people sexually, but there needs to be a stronger and more clear divide between the narratives of pathology and the understanding of kink. Furthermore, there is actually very little done on sexual masochists, in any field. And do no get me started on those damn switches ;)

If you move towards the field of anthropology or sociology, there is much more stuff being done, and in a pretty much completely different light. As I am writing this, I cannot find all my notes from the class, so will return to this presentation sometime in the future. Needless to say, it was a very good review, which was then followed by some very interesting updates on recent research into pain, pleasure, and all of those things which kinksters like. It was a good presentation, mainly because it encouraged us to think about kink.

The next class was that of Lochai, and he spoke about the subject of Rope Intentions. That is, what do you convey, what do you wish to convey and how do you do that with rope? The intentions of rope can all swift, from day to day, and nothing is better than the other. Sometimes, we seek different things you know? Perhaps to create an object, something for pleasure,  amusement,  that creates a shift in the ‘us’, as the nominally human object of pleasure or practicality is removed from its position as a subject. But even then, I would guess, for me, my focus remains on those or that involved, reaching out and reaching inwards, towards lust,deep longing into dark alleyways  and relying on terrifying lust or even a will to serve. These are not exclusive of each other, the objectification, the submission, tenderness, intimacy. They are just all a part of the huge pot of great that is boiling during a scene. Lochai sought to point out how we pronounce our intentions with the rope, what it is that we communicate in ways of tying, but also how that communication and the wide spectras of lust are pronounced by the rope-bottoms. To high-light this, he tied his two demo-bottoms in two completely different styles, with different rope and also got different reactions from them.

Ava was tied with palm frond; a harsh, scratchy rope, which coincidentally is really painful to even tie with, as your hands will go sore very quickly. Ava hates that kind of rope,  making faces when it is taken out of the bag, reacts to it with discomfort written on every part of her body. But she still accepts it, and Lochai keeps on tying. After a while he turned towards his other demo-bottom, Duracell and starts to tie her in the completely opposite manner. It was much more close to her, with a hemp/jute rope, long movements, letting the rope caress her body, and Duracell drifted away. He kept on demonstrating different ways to interact while tying, to know your abilities, to clearly define the parameters of the scene, if it is a scene at all or if it is practice time (if this is going to effect what is happening or not). We also discuss the way in which the bottom/submissive communicates, and it is here that an interesting discussion about archetypes comes up. Lochai mentions the signal tat the person who dresses up in a school uniform sends out, how they can quite clearly be perceived as a bottom, etc. But it gets hard to resist to point out that these are assumed roles and signals, because it might as well be a school girl that cannot wait to gag the teacher with the apple she brought with her and then fuck his arse until he screams… So I tend to be careful around those archetypes, because they can as easily be something completely else. But anyhow, this class was a very good reminder of communication through body language and movement, and the presentation really got that through.

The next class was Michael Sol’s ‘Binding the bodacious’. I wanted to do more of the classes like this during the weekend, since there are so many people who find that standard ties are ones which are very tough to be in. Now, all of us know that sometimes,rope just happen, it is not planned, it is not structured from A to Z, but there are some important things to think about how we do it, and why.  Sometimes, it can actually be about just doing a specific thing for the sake of it self, but most of the time, we go somewhere with our ropes because, well, we are just supposed to, almost by default. A takate kote, a hip hope and a side-suspension, over and over again. Becoming mechanical, a perhaps well-oiled machinery, but what else are we, but creatures of habit? We are also creatures who are curious and feel, each and every day we process and engage with our world, not only through a script of what we are supposed to be doing, but also through the unexpected, the unknown, that which gets our blood pumping. I’m finding myself being caught in that very easy trap of the takate kote, but it can of course be tied without being a mechanical reproduction. It probably has to be, as each and every person who you tie is different, shaped differently, moves differently, speaks and communicates with you differently. But in more than one situation, I’ve seen irritation over how someone who ties the standard can’t seem to ‘get it to work’, simply because they are trying to tie the person into a preconceived standard tie, instead of seeing the person in front of them. Worst example of this was the man who said ‘ You have too short arms’ to a playpartner of mine. ‘Too short arms’ ?! Phuleaze! I find that classes like Sol gave are very well needed. He spoke a lot about how the box-tie is dependent on the configuration of the rope-bottom, shape of the shoulders, mobility, etc. Also, there are many possibilities to tie the arms behind the back with out the common box-tie, there is indeed. For the future, this is something that I might start to dig deeper into, and try to learn much more about, as there really is a need to not just applying one set of standards upon bodies that are so different.
The class itself was good, Sol was interesting to listen to and clearly had a good appreciation of how to approach the subject and demonstrate it. Will definetely go to more classes like these next year.

These were the classes on the Friday, then there was also the play party in the evening. You can read about that here


Pr0n, baby, it is all about Pr0n

 

 

During a talk at Stockholm Pride this summer, we where listening to a talk about the possibilities or rather apparently the inpossibilities of feminist pornography. Now, I don’t view a lot of pr0n, simply because I’m not very interested in the expressions and most of the time find hot things in other places, even if they are not intended to be anything erotic. I’m sorry but I guess that is how I am wired. What I am interested in is different erotic expressions amongst people, and with that comes certain discussions that I do know are reoccurring and sometimes really frustrating.
There is doublebind and a difficulty when it comes to porn and feminist theory. Not because there is something inherently problematic about porn itself, but because it has been made in to being so problematic. It does not matter if you come from a rightwing nutplace like the one below

or if it is a rethoric coming from what is framed as a feminist, because they can both frame pornography as something pwetti evööööööl. It turns men into murderers, women into wanton sluts or depraved victims and wrecks families, lives and it is also the ultimate expression of the patriarchal society in which we live. I.E porn, according to some, is the blueprint of the oppression of women in our society. Etc. Etc. I could go on forever and ever on the massive effects that pornography is supposed to have on mankind. Yeah, that is MANkind, because it is the man who can never separate fantasy from reality, who can’t control himself, who turns into broken rapists and sadists (the bad kind).

I can’t say I’m totally positive towards the sex industries, but that is in the same way as I am not totally positive towards many other industries. We are not perfect human beings, we can’t really claim that everything is alright, fine and dandy, because hey, I make a choice and if I make a choice that must automatically be good, right? Not really, but my point here is to discuss the implications of a possible feminist pornography. The project ‘Dirty Diaries’ from Sweden was filmed with mobile cameras, and with another approach than what porn production usually has. Furthermore, it was also given funding from the Swedish State (which many saw as proof of how twisted the Swedish society had become, funny enough…). Now, I’ve seen bits and bobs and for me it did not do anything, sexually, but I found the approach being interesting. With a mobile camera filming and the participants being a very active part of the creation, the lines between the viewer and the viewed became blurred. By turning voyeurism and exhibitionism on it’s head, I think there is a lot that can be done, especially if it is for someone else than the viewer. This is already in full throttle  with the masses of amateur porn that is produced each and every day by people shagging away in front of the camera.

The thing then is, for whom is pornography produced and why? Usually, the answer is something like, “People who want to get off on watching other peeps shag”. Now, I can fully understand that it is how it is defined, because definitions are important to us, especially in the West with our obsessions of taxonomy here and there and everywhere. But is not definition to narrow? Does it not exclude all of those who do amateur pornography for themselves, for their own private pleasure? Or those who view it with other perspectives than the hands-down-pants intention? There is of course a question of art here, if art is a part of all of this, and also a question of value.
I think many people would say that ‘The Swing’ is different from the picture from the CCTV with the creep who is harassing women. And I would agree.

 

The Swing, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

 

I’m going to touch on the issue of consent first actually, just because it is a simple but still important bit. The painting depict a playing couple, whereas the CCTV image is, as far as I know, a man who clearly don’t respect women’s boundaries. A sexist pig indeed.
Second of all, I think I’m far more impressed by the work of Fragonard, simply because it is such a beautiful painting. I’m talking workmanship here now, the craft of an artist versus the developed technology which enables the act of the Peeping Tom to be caught on camera. The intention of one of these images is that it is an object d’art and the other is a candid image never meant be put on show or hung up in a gallery.

But to get back on track, or back to the pornography. There is also a thing about what the intention behind an image is. What reactions does The Swing conjure, and how do you feel when looking at the Peeping Tom?
First of all, the reaction to the Swing and Peeping Tom are contextual and situational. They depend on what society we live in, what kind of norms we have, so once in a time, the painting was erotic. It showed skirts, it showed nature and people enjoying themselves, it showed stockings, legs and hints of something more. And yes, the Peeping Tom-idiot can also be seen as erotic, although I personally have a problem with sexualizing images like the above.
In what I am going to say now, is not that we should not take responsibility, but that it is possible to shift the focus of struggles. Feminist pornography is used as a way of escaping the problem, by phrasing it slightly differently, it is supposed to be something completely else. In the discussion at Pride, a member of the panel started to connect art and feminist porn, like they are interchangeable and that pornography has to be art in order to be (feminist) pornography. I don’t know how many turns this logic can take, but it does certainly create a scary binary,  where pornography has to show something special, something specific, as if it would be responsible for for what the viewer might see.
Here is some news: you can’t control the viewer. You can adapt and work with different ways of influencing the viewer, in the same way as Fragonard works with his composition or in the same way as a CCTV erotic image can make us feel a bit uneasy, but I repeat, it is not possible to control the viewer. Just  about anyone can pick up any kind of pornographic movie and it would not matter what the intentions were of the producer. What is possible to control is the conditions that the people on the set work are subjected to, to push for safe sex practices whenever possible.  And this is where the focus needs to be.

I am a sex-positive feminist and don’t see anything inherently bad in connecting sex and money, but my beef is where the focus is and who holds positions of power. This connected with us living in a patriarchal society that does not help young people to shape their lust as well or learning how to take responsibility for ones fellows, in the same time as people choose to pinpoint blame on pornography, creates a really toxic situation.  And is really, really irresponsible and stupid. It is like bombarding someone with images, impressions, values, language, norms and feelings  but not giving them the tool to interpret and relate to them.

As a fan of queer pr0n, on many different levels, I believe that there is more to pr0n than exploitation and misery and I don’t really believe in feminist pr0n, but I don’t want to put the ones who are shagging on pedestal either.

But it is time to stop blaming the pr0n for everything, and turn the attention wider.

 


Slavic Pride in Belarus interrupted by the police

Updates:
Here you can read the account of an activist who was arrested, beaten and humiliated by the Belarussian Policeforce.
Here is another  post, which rightfully shame the lack of media-coverage.

These videos says it all really, but if you want to read more about it, go to this blog and read more.

I visited Belarus in 2005. It was eyeopening, for many reasons. For those of you who are unaware, it is a European Dictatorship, in which people who dissent are punished by jail or worse. A friend of mine died, he was an activist. I don’t want to give any details, but all in all; the Belorussian president Lukashenka got blood on his hands. And the conditions for queers is horrendous.

Please distribute this widely and remember that an army of lovers cannot loose, even when it feels like we are sometimes.

All my love to the brave queers in Belarus. I so badly want to stand next to you. I so badly want this shit to end and for you to live the life you so deserve.


Coming out kink

So, how many of you readers have fully disclosed your life for your friends and family? What have you disclosed? Is there anything that you feel you don’t have to tell? I’m sure there is, because I myself is struggling with the whole concept. I am as out as I can be in regards to me being queer, I am open about girlfriends and boyfriends as well as being open about my non-monogamy. But when it comes to kink, I am not out. I don’t know if I want to really. As much as my sexual practices are important to me, they are that. They are practices which are a part of me now, but they are not written with non-removable ink on my body, and might very well change. Believe it or not, I’ve been asexual as well.
I suppose I would not want to question my father on if he likes blowjobs or not, or ask my mother about what kind of bodies she find being the hottest (I would assume my father is not really on that list). I respect their privacy, and would assume mine would be respected in the same way. Except that it is not.
A couple of months ago, some smart-ass (well-meaning?) sent a gift to me anonymously. To my address in Sweden, an address that the person sending the gift must have known my full name in order to do. The thing is, I don’t live in Sweden, so I changed my Swedish address to the address of my parents. Everyone who knows me well enough to know my full name also know this. In any case, I received this gift and I’m not going to disclose what it was, except that it gave away pretty much everything, including words like ‘kink’ and ‘vanilla’. In the end, I blamed everything on a art-project for university (you can always blame art for anything, it is brilliant!) but still had to navigate questions at the X-mas table. Lots of fun, and even if I know laugh about it (and I sold the gift) it was also scary at the time.

My mother told me recently that another packet had arrived. And I keep on debating if I should just come clean. The thing is, I don’t feel guilty. I don’t believe I am guilty and I don’t believe that I am obliged to come out to any one against my will. It would be different if I would be a high-ranking politician building my career on discriminating against sexual minorities while still being in the closet. But I am not. I don’t have that privilege and for the record, if I would I would use it in a better way than via discrimination.

But the real reason for this post is not my story, it is this story. A letter together with applications for law schools was sent. The letter stated:

To come out fully, in my case, requires three separate disclosures, each as potentially confusing and alienating as the last. I share them now for reasons that are political as well as personal: I am pansexual. When I say this I mean that I seek physical and emotional partnerships with people of all genders, including men, women, and transgender individuals. I am polyamorous. By this I mean that I see monogamy as one among many stable ways in which people are capable of forming romantic and familial bonds. I mean also that I find joy in my partners’ joy, including when that joy comes through companions and lovers other than myself. Lastly, I am a member of the BDSM community. When I say this I mean that I find fulfillment in consensual relationships and sensations that are not always soft and fuzzy, but can indeed be painful and challenging. Taken together, these three facts mean that I have found love and fulfillment in a wide spectrum of relationships and with a variety of people, and that this diversity of partners figures importantly into my identity.

They mean also that I inhabit a small, overlapping sliver of three poorly understood, largely invisible, and utterly unprotected sexual minorities. I am acutely aware that to share these details about myself represents a risk both personal and professional, and in some cases legal. But one reason I have chosen to out myself is to help legitimize my identity, and the identities of those I care about. It is my great hope that taking this risk openly and often will yield benefits both for me and for all those minorities who seek public recognition.

I am an activist, but I am no partisan, no bloodthirsty separatist. Instead of engaging intolerance and divisiveness, I have invested my energy in positively increasing the visibility of diverse sexual identities and normalizing the discussion of sexuality in my immediate environment. This is why I co-founded the Male Sexuality Workshop at Brown University, and for three years took the lead role in designing its curriculum and organizing its activities, affecting more than two hundred and fifty alumni of the program. It is also why I wrote a weekly sex advice and sexuality column for Brown’s student newspaper, why I currently work at Planned Parenthood, and why I have volunteered with the Boston chapter of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism over the past year. Most importantly, it is why I am applying to law school.

The communities I hope to support are at best underserved, at worst the victims of fierce and unchallenged discrimination. How best to contribute to their advancement, whether through labor or constitutional law, family or criminal law, is not crystal clear, and I will allow exposure and passion to guide as I move further into my career. But the larger society can and will come to a better understanding of the diversity of sexuality and gender expression it contains, and in the slow crawl toward that understanding, the first and most profoundly personal step I can take is to state unabashedly who I am: to come out.

Read the full story, it is very well worth it, and I can’t really describe how warm and fuzzy I felt inside after I had read it all.
He was admitted to Law School and I hope he will be one more of the kink-friendly professionals that are so very well needed.


This just in: Erotic Awards double-standards

Erotic Awards held their prize-giving ceremony this past weekend. I just wanted to raise awareness of how the event went down, especially considering that the person who was awarded the ‘activist of the year’ was denied (due to the lack of accessibility) the possibility to receive the award on the stage as well as giving an acceptance speach. This is mostly a post consisting of quotes, I am afraid you have you live with that. (Revision period, exams starting in a week)

These are the words from De (also known as Clair Lewis,or Dennis Queen) who works with Consenting Adult Action Network:

Just back from trying to attend the Erotic Awards in London, I won ‘campaigner of the year ‘ award. What a sham! Given how I was excluded yesterday by an inaccessible stage, venue which was impossible to move around independently except for outside in the cold.. and a very rude awards compere, I don’t know if someone from CAAN will be going tomorrow to deliver my speech at the Rally after all, despite me having spent hours writing a powerful speech designed to pull more people into active campaigning. And anyway who knows if we’ll even get on the platform!

My costly attendance last night was unnecessary and a waste of my desperately needed personal resources, but we were told it was very important to have someone there by seven (judges decided days before who won) .. the event started two hours late.. and basically we didn’t get to accept the award on stage or say anything so we lost the opportunity to use this for publicity, be filmed and photographed or do or say anything useful.. or to just even identify myself to anyone – every other award winner was invited to the stage, something was said about their work and they were then invited to talk for a minute or two about it. My trophy was passed down (via others, not the person who was doing the presenting) across to where I had been asked to sit in my wheelchair, with the other winners by the stage.. the compere said CAAN is a campaigning group our website is www.caan.org.uk – and that was it. Didn’t even mention I was there (other CAAN people i saw later thought I hadn’t attended!!)

It would be good to hear the views of other CAAN people and supporters what we should do with this token gesture of a golden penis trophy.. Do you think other CAAN people should further personal time, energy and money on publicly supporting this event? and should we keep any kind of relationship with this archaic organisation which is too busy patronising disabled people to let us join in on an equal basis? They didnt even seem to think this was a problem. Really unimpressed.

:-( ended up having to get a hotel cos couldn’t stay at the event as I was so cold it hurt, because it was so late by then that there were no more trains :-( after wandering the streets in the rain.

De

……..

I’d have given these thanks for my award, were I given the mic like the otherErotic Award winners. I know I couldn’t get on the inaccessible stage in my wheelchair, but I *can* still communicate. I will instead use my voice where I am welcome and let the ignorance of the people running things on the stage – Tuppy Owens and Helen Croydon (who were raising money ‘for the disabled’ (!)) – speak for itself.

“Thank you to everyone involved who has worked hard to support me in my role as National Convenor for our Consenting Adult Action Network.

Thank you to the Erotic Awards judges for this great compliment, which is due to everyone involved in our inclusive network, really, and well deserved.

All of us at CAAN are volunteers, donating our personal time, skills and resources, in all sorts of different ways. Many CAAN people work behind the scenes due to the personal risks of being outed.

Please continue to support us and join the fight against state-sanctioned discrimination, exclusion and criminalisation of consenting adults, just because of our sexual choices.

……

To read more about De, activism with CAAN and activism in general, check out the blog

I really don’t know what to say, except that it is embarrassing for Erotic Awards, that pride themselves upon being alternative, open and accessible.


Gush! G-spotting?

So, ‘recent’ research has showed that apparently the G-spot does not exist. Or does it?
I don’t have any scientific credentials, but here is my own take on the matter:

The G-spot phenomena has been thoroughly exploited on many levels. This is nothing unusual when it comes to female anatomy and sex. While Dr. Whipple and John Perry in 1982 coined the term for a sensitive area right after the entrance of the vagina they probably could never imagine what it would lead to, in terms of hype. Let us consider how this can be and how the issues concerning female sexuality are so easily exploited and how they constructed as truths or falsifications. We can do that by looking at another part of the female body that has been considered, used, reconsidered and now even re-named. I will not at any point claim there is or is not a ‘ G-spot’ though, for that I’m not enough qualified.
But my main theme in this text is about control. The control over women’s bodies. So, let’s take the hymen as an example that has to do with female anatomy and power over women’s bodies.
It is now proven there is actually not any membrane covering the entrance of the vagina and thusly, the patriarchal invention is one of mythological proportions A mythology that still haunts our modern society as well as many other societies. I’m not going to dwell to much of the impact it has had, but let’s just say that people has died because of it, and that there is a huge business, now, in the 21st century, in to ‘restoring’ something that has not ever existed. It’s big bucks…to maintain an idea about the whore and the madonna.

For those interested, it is more of a wreath, following the anatomic contours. That is why in Sweden, they have renamed it to ‘vaginal wreath’ in order to dismantle to dangerous notion of a membrane.

Now, what the fuck has this to do with anything? Well. I would not dare to say that there is not areas within the body that react in certain ways, and that gushing does not happen. What I do doubt though, is the exact specifics of it and how it’s been used as a holy grail.In one sense we need more research, but it comes with a problem. The problem of how science can become ridden by assumptions that are not scientific. Bodies change, lust is not the same for everyone, and sexual activity is not always streamlined.
The G-spot phenomena has been an amazing thing to exploit, and also something that has benefited many women. But as many as swear by it, there is also many who claim to never found, no matter how many hooked fingers with a bit of a bent, pressuring against the wall of the vagina they have experienced.That does not mean that one is right or the other is wrong. It means that we are different, and react differently.

I soaked the sheets less than a week ago, but for years I did not understand what people were going on and on about. The toys specified for g-spotting was ridiculous. And I would not say that my gushing has anything to do with the spot and it might be that my largest objection is against the name. The Spot.
I had a reaction on a action at is was very pleasurable and fun. I had the benefit of being able to enjoy that and is that not what it comes down to? Enjoying your body in a way that gives you pleasure that is not haunted by a competition.

It can be hard though. I’ve meet so many women who have been frustrated because of their partners frustration in the quest of g-spotting. I remember a moment that I’ve classifed as the biggest turn off ever. The guy was fingering me, kinda nice, then did something with his fingers, and very smugly said “And there..!..is the G-spot.” The expecting look of his face, very much like a kid waiting to recieve an applaud for doing something, implied that I would turn into a gushing mess, screaming like a banshee while orgasming. I might add I did not. Instead, it became boring and I was annoyed. My body is not a map, or a quest. I am not a problem to solve or a puzzle to piece together.

The competition to find the map to the g-spot is utterly bonkers, not helped by porn, crap sex-industry, ill-informed advisors and wrong focus on lust and education. Not helped by bad research, ridden by old and weird assumptions of the female body and lust. Assumptions that haunts the appreciation of the male lust as well.

So, how about trying to move away from the competition, appreciate that there is an AREA inside the vagina that can react in a very distinct way, but that it is not only technique that create a reaction, it is not about a direct correlation between action and reaction? In the same way that our sex-drive is not constantly exactly the same, our sensitivity is not.
NO-ONE, NO-ONE has the right to make you or anyone else feel pressured when it comes to sexual activities. You are the person who can decide what you want, and roam around in any way that you need to make that decision. Make mistakes, laugh about them, hit the right notes and come in any way you like, but always, always remain sceptical. And you don’t ‘need’ to come. Don’t allow anyone to treat your sexuality like a problem, or non-consensually turning you into an experiment, and

For more, really, really good reading on the G-spot take a look at this link:
Yes, there is a G-spot


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