Gender is Different for Everyone

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I recently made a transgender woman very angry.

In the kink scene, you meet a lot of transgender folks. It’s a community full of taboos, and since there are such rigid gender stereotypes in most of the world, the “freaks” have to stick together.

And usually I’m good with that. Usually I’m very okay with letting people be whoever the hell they want to be, and to define themselves in any way they like. However, much like religious freedom, your gender identity and gender concepts do not define me. I get to be my own person too.

There was a conversation going on about hormones, and how much they effect a person’s personality. Often, people who mess with their hormones for any reason find themselves truly shocked at the personality changes this can cause. We all like to think that we’re 100% responsible for who we are. But we’re really not. We’re made up of all sorts of chemicals and hormones that effect us much more than we like to admit.

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So I chimed in. Because I had thyroid cancer, and the unbalanced hormones threw everything off. I found myself with more testosterone than a lot of men, plucking thick black facial hair and feeling aggressive all the time. But also, I stopped having my period.

For some girls, that wouldn’t effect their gender identity at all. They would still buy shoes or love styling hair or care about fashion. Or maybe they would still bake and do craft projects. Whatever. Because they were socialized as female, they would still have “female” traits that helped them identify with their gender.

But my dad wanted a son, and he raised me to be a boy. My childhood was all baseball, basketball, remote control cars, and blowing up my sister’s Babie Dolls with fireworks. I never identified with the female gender role cast by society, and I still don’t. So for ME, having a period was the thing that my guy friends teased me about that made me a girl. It was the only thing. I was as strong and fast and brave as them, but I had to buy tampons. And they teased me about it. I don’t mind. Guys often show affection by teasing. It’s part of how we/they are.

However, for me, when my T-levels spiked and I stopped getting my period (which to this day I still don’t get,) that’s when I no longer felt like a girl.

I made the mistake of saying this to the group, when talking about the profound consequences of a change in hormones.

And this transgender girl threw a fit at me. She said I was a horrible person for thinking that having periods has anything to do with being female. She said my idea of my gender was messed up. She totally flipped out on me.

It’s not like I don’t understand why. I get it. She has XY chromosomes and even if she has surgery to change her genitalia when she’s done with the hormones, she’ll still never have a period.

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And you know; that does mean something. Transgender women act like it doesn’t mean something, but it does. It means they will never know the fear of getting pregnant. And they’ll never know the fear of BEING pregnant. So many teenage girls have truly horrific experiences with late periods and serious stress over accidentally finding yourself pregnant. And we stress about birth control. And we stress about the availability of abortions in some cases. An enormous part of being female is the fear of pregnancy and the consequences thereof. So no, trans women can take hormones and get surgery, but for now, that is one part of being female that is forever closed off to them.

Beyond that, it’s ridiculous to tell me that my gender identity can not be effected at all by my not having periods. Of course it can! It’s MY gender identity. I’m not defining anyone else’s gender or telling them how to feel about themselves. I’m just saying that I lost the thing that made ME feel like a girl, and now I mostly feel 100% male. I might live in a girl’s body, but that’s just the outside and I don’t place a lot of value on that. To me, I lost the thing that made me feel like a girl.

And if anyone should understand feeling like a gender whether or not your outsides match, it’s transgender folks.

Mostly I respect them because I would never have the courage to do that. I was born with XX chromosomes, and no matter what I feel like on the inside, my outsides will always reflect that. I’m not getting my breasts removed or having a fake penis installed. I’m not comfortable doing that to my body. But I respect people who do, because they have far more commitment than I do to make their outsides match their insides.

I just think everyone should remember to let people define their own gender how they want. It’s not fair to try to tell others what criteria they should define themselves by.

Fresh Eyes

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When I was in High School I was… not your average kid. Everyone called me a slut, and they were not wrong. I figured out that sex could be fun, and so I had a lot of it. I de-virginized many people, and I enjoyed opening their mind to a whole new world of amazing and wonderful feelings and fun.

I still try to open people’s minds whenever I can to the fun and liberating ideas I enjoy.

A few months ago, I came across a guy who had spent 20 years in an unhappy marriage with very little sex. His recent divorce had him sort of depressed and miserable. I decided I was going to help him cheer up a bit and realize that being single meant sex and fun. And so I did.

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Bringing someone into the community can be such a wonderful feeling that I just have to brag. The timid feel of holding a flogger for the first time. The feeling of taboo about rape fantasies or handcuffs. Just that whole thing where everything is bright and shiny and new.

I guess I am apathetic. I hate to say it, but it is true. There’s an expression that “It’s only kinky the first time.” And while I think it takes much longer than that for the newness to wear off, it does wear off eventually. After so many years, a person hanging from meat hooks is kind of just a Tuesday night. Things like a flogger or a dildo are so far from “kinky” in my mind that they seem fairly vanilla. I am jaded and I know it. It feels like it’s all been done, and it has for awhile now.

But bringing someone knew into the community can make things sparkle again for the first time. You can see it all through their eyes and it can all seem exciting again.

So remember, opening another person’s eyes to kink can be wonderful for you, as well as for them.

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Things You May Not Know

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A recent reddit thread upset me to no end, and I want to talk about that.

It was a thread about Herpes, so naturally, most of the people in the thread had HSV-1 or HSV-2.

As such, they all talked about it with this completely cavalier attitude. “It’s no big deal,” one random idiot said to me. “It’s only made to sound like a big deal because drug companies want to make money off of treatments.”

Wrong.

I am going to set the record straight for all the people in that thread right the hell now: If you have ANY kind of STD at all it really, really IS a big deal. And if you knowingly spread it to other people because “It’s just a rash, so who cares?” then you should be locked away for the rest of your goddamn life.

 

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Lots of people in this thread confessed that they did not tell sexual partners about their infection, even though they knew there was a 70% chance of passing the virus to their partner even while using a condom.

I have said before that it only takes one cell for an STD to be passed from carrier to new host. I have said that condoms aren’t enough, and that you need to have clean STD tests going back 6 months. (By which I mean, one from right then, and one from 6 months back.) I have again and again cautioned that STDs are spread by skin to skin contact, and a condom does not prevent some guys balls from touching your ass and giving you a rash you’ll have for the rest of your life.

And I am pleading with all of you; take this seriously.

*NSFW*

(And I’m going to show you some very graphic images so you might take this more seriously.)

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Obviously, what I want is for everyone to get tested often.

I do.

And I think every single responsible adult should. Because if you end up with an STD that can not be treated, then you need to stop having sex with people that don’t have that STD. Seriously. And I don’t care how much that sucks for you.

I knew a girl when I was living in South Korea who had HSV-2. (That means she had genital herpes.) And she would often take guys home from the bar and have sex with them. She justified this with excuses like “Well I was drunk” or “We used a condom” or “I’m not having an outbreak right now.”

I want to dispel all those myths right now:

1. I don’t care how drunk you are. If you have an incurable disease there is no fucking excuse for spreading it.

2. Condoms are only 30% effective in preventing the spread of Herpes between partners. Ergo, that still isn’t okay.

3. The virus “sheds” even when you are not having an outbreak and so YES you can absolutely pass it on when you don’t have sores.

4. And, because I hear this one a lot too, NO it does not matter if you are taking medicine to help prevent you from having outbreaks. You are still contagious. You are always contagious. Period. We have no way to prevent the spread of Herpes.

I am not saying you can never ever have sex again. Far from it. You CAN have sex with the millions of other people who are already infected, just like you. There are loads of special dating sites just for people who are HIV positive and HSV positive.

But the sheer amount of infected people on reddit who told me the disease was “no big deal” and that they’re fine with spreading it made me furious.

Look, I want you all to take a moment and consider this amazing fact:

STDs could die out in one generation if we stopped spreading them. 

Think about that. I mean really think about it. Sure, 10,000 years ago there was no way to kill off an STD. No one could get tested, and loads of people can just be carriers and never actually have symptoms. So all those people spreading STDs couldn’t really prevent it the way we can now.

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See now, you can get tested. And if you find out you have something, you can choose to be a responsible adult and not have sex with people who don’t have it. You can choose to not spread it. And if everyone does this, STDs will not get passed on. The viruses will die out. And we’ll make a way better world for everyone.

Now, I ask for STD tests before sex. I do this to spite the fact that I mostly go for innocent-type folks who haven’t slept around. I do this even if I trust them. And I get a lot of negative reactions. People can be downright mean.

“This means you don’t trust me.”

“Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to get an STD test?”

“Why should I have to prove I don’t have an STD if we use condoms?”

Etc… etc…

And society is on the side of these folks. That’s why I know preppies who actually brag that they have never been tested, because they’re happier not knowing if they have something. No one wants to talk about STDs. Even my fucking doctor last time I went for a test was a dick about it.

“Well,” he said, “why do you want the test? I mean, what have you been doing? Anyway the HSV tests are expensive and you should only get them if you think you have been exposed.”

Fuck you doctor. And fuck you people who don’t get tested. And fuck everyone on reddit who knows they have HSV 1 or 2 and thinks it’s “no big deal.”

If I sound angry, it’s because I am. We’re talking about the wanton spread of disease. We’re talking about people who don’t care that they’re infecting others. And that is NOT okay. I don’t care what rationalizations you use. It’s just not okay.

Fun things I learned from the reddit thread (for those too lazy to read through it.)

1. You can get Herpes anywhere. It’s most commonly on the mouth or genitalia, but you can get it on your forehead if you’re a wrestler who ends up with your sweaty head against some guys sweaty balls (yes, this happened to a guy.)

2. A huge portion of new cases on genitalia are actually HSV-1, and are obtained when a person with a cold sore performs oral sex on someone.

3. Viral researchers think Herpes is 100,000 years old.

So those were neat things to learn.

Now: One last thing. I want to talk  about how I would solve this issue. I think the system that porn stars use is great. Mandatory tests every six months. And when you test positive your name is EVERYWHERE so everyone knows.

No one talks about STDs. They get really uncomfortable if you even bring it up (and this includes my doctors.) But there is no reason for this. If we taught kids the truth about STDs, and if we would all be more mature about talking about them, then we could actually eradicate these diseases. And that would be awesome.

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An Ode to Chemistry

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A friend of mine just got hit by that animal instinct that is crazy chemistry. Some people refer to it as “love at first sight.” But of course, the urge to have sex with someone is not the same as love, so I don’t think it’s accurate to call it that.

I want to disclose up front that I’m not sure you can base a relationship on chemistry, since it seems to be purely physical. But I don’t know. Because the three times I’ve been hit by this phenomenon, it didn’t work out.

So what is it? Well, it’s hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t had it. But sometimes, when you meet someone, you are very drawn to them in a very primal way.

The first time it happened to me was with a Court Jester from The Renaissance Festival. (He wasn’t in costume at the time.) I was selling tickets to an element a440 show. I don’t remember what club I was at, but he was on the dance floor in black velvet. When he saw me he walked over and asked me to dance. And though I had never danced before (and dancing together at a Goth club is sort of weird as Goths generally dance alone) we somehow wiggled against each other in a way that just fit.

I ended up giving him two tickets to the element a440 show before I left the club.

I thought about him all week. It was agony waiting. I didn’t have his phone number. I had no information at all. I didn’t even know his name.

But when the day of the concert came, there he was. He pulled me aside and handed me an old-fashioned key on a chain.

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“I got this for you,” he explained. “I was in a shop and I couldn’t stop thinking about you. And there was two… so I just bought them.”

He pulled on a chain around his neck and revealed an identical key hidden under his shirt.

“I know I just met you and it’s soon and all, but I dunno, there was just something about you.”

And THAT is chemistry. The illogical and unexplainable attraction that is stronger than anything you’re ever felt.

I ran away with Kronk and the Renaissance Festival a week later, leaving a magazine I owned and a job I liked behind. But it wasn’t just big irrational decisions that I made. It was all of them. Sex in public bathrooms. Karaoke. I’m telling you- I did not act like myself at all.

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It’s the most irresponsible I have ever acted, and it was some of the most fun I ever had. It ended horribly, of course. Yelling, stuff thrown off a second floor balcony. Me hitchhiking home from Texas. Etc…

But I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. And I think anyone who’s been hit with crazy chemistry knows what I mean.

My friend, who is just having his first experience with this, is 40. I guess some people go a long time without being hit by this sort of thing. Maybe some go there whole lives. But trust me, when it happens to you, you’ll know.

On Distance

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I have done a lot of long-distance relationships in my life, because I have traveled a lot. I have the bad habit of picking up and leaving places. In my 20′s I randomly moved to Hollywood, took off to Colorado, and ran off with the Renaissance Festival doing leather work. Then, at the end of my 20′s, I moved to South Korea. It’s been a planet-wide wander lust since then.

Because of this, I have a lot of experience dating at a distance. If you’re poly I think it’s easier because you end up spending time with other people. Cuddling, even if it’s not with the person you’re thinking of, will still produce cxytocin (a bonding hormone) and have positive effects on your overall well-being.

 

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Usually I am fine with distance. I’m an independent person and I do well even if I am on my own. This is why picking up and moving various places seemed less insane to me than it did to my friends who had more roots. (Not having parents really probably helped with the lack of roots for me.)

But some moments distance is hard.

I had an acute moment of soul-wrenching pain the other day. My pet sent me a picture of himself, all dressed up in the leather harness and collar I bought him. And I immediately felt his loneliness, and knew that he put all that on wishing I was there to play with him. And I knew he missed me. And I felt just sick about it.

 

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I think it’s a scaled-up version of how sad your dog looks standing at the door holding its leash in its mouth and looking all tragic. You KNOW they wanna go for a walk. You KNOW they wanna play outside. And worst of all, you know they depend on you for this thing.

And here I am, thousands of miles away, unable to take my pet for a walk.

I think this is the plight of any long-distance Domme. You feel responsible for the happiness of your pets and care deeply for them, so knowing they are lonely is such a tragic and painful feeling.

I hadn’t felt anything quite like that in a really long time. It may be the most I have ever missed anyone in my entire life. And I just wanted to share it, in case anyone else is dealing with distance right now and knows how I feel.

Last, because my pet is human and this is a metaphor:

For A Vanilla Friend

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A friend of mine whom I have always considered vanilla got sushi with me a few weeks ago. She expressed interested in whips and chains and things. And I was surprised. I know some kink folks go around assuming that vanilla people WOULD be kinky if they were a little more gutsy or a little less sheltered. But I have never thought that. I know quite a few people who tried kinky stuff just to see how they felt about it, and decided it wasn’t for them. Ergo, I never presume to know what someone is like inside their own head.

But this friend of mine asked about a few things, and I thought I would do a basic overview of each of them.

First, responsible sex.

I have written about this topic before when discussing poly relationships, but I think a quick summary here would be beneficial. My friend expressed horror about getting STD tests from people. But as I have said before, one little cell can ruin your life and skin to skin contact can transfer cells; condoms or no. If you’re interested in being poly, understand that getting an STD can ruin the lives of a lot of people, and learn to take this seriously and not to be afraid of it.

Yes, vanilla people often avoid openly talking about this kind of thing. Yes, some of them see it as a lack of trust when you simply want to use a condom, never mind trading paperwork. But if you get into the kink community then people expect this, so don’t be shy about asking!

Second, where to go. 

I have found that the best way to find kinky folks where you live these days is to go to a fetlife.com munch. I know us kinky folks have our issues with fetlife from time to time. But let’s be honest, before that web site came along, finding freaks in your town involved walking up to scary people and asking them in person. I did that back in the early 90′s when I moved to L.A. and I am sure it wasn’t safe.

So make a profile (dear god don’t use your real name!) and find a munch near you. Choose one in a public place where the dress code is listed as “vanilla.” Then just go and talk to people. Most munches will include folks who can tell you where the dungeons are and the good clubs to hang out at.

Third, what to do.

It’s not like you have to jump in with both feet. If you’re nervous about getting started, just keep dating vanilla people, but ask them if they ever thought about trying kinky things. Practicing with another person who is mostly vanilla can be fun and harmless. Get one of those silly kinky “starter kits” they sell these days as sex shops (due to the popularity of a certain series of shit books) and try things out. You don’t need to be part of the community to be kinky. It can be nice to have the support, but if it’s too overwhelming at first, then don’t do it. You should never do anything that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable.

And remember the BDSM mantra: Safe, sane, and consensual! 

Drama

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This is the most stupid and childish rant I will ever subject you to. I’m sorry, but I needed to say it somewhere. Please bear with me.

So, I have always tried to stay far enough outside of people’s circles to avoid the drama. I absolutely don’t see the point of getting worked up over other people’s lives.

Recently at Fetish Prom an ex of mine called me over and tried to make me jealous because he was there with another girl. Now of course, being poly, this does not bother me at all. And he should have known that, since he and I had never dated monogamously and in fact, I have always been more in love with the people I was dating other than him. He’s really more of a back-up guy. Not responsible enough to be allowed to be an emotional primary, and too bipolar and given to lying to really be trusted with much.

I suppose often HE was only dating ME, but that’s just because he’s really annoying. (He earned the name “Pretty” because he was good looking, but my friends claimed his looks were his only positive feature. As my friend Elyse used to say; he’d be the perfect guy if we could just sew his lips shut.)

It was actually really sad to see him at prom because he is loosing his hair, and it was one of his better features. He really did used to be pretty. But now… well… a balding head and a gut ruined it. Not to mention the obvious laziness of not brushing the hair he has left or dressing up at all.

 

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Some people age gracefully, but when Pretty came up and tried to start shit with me, I was actually sad for him at how poorly he has aged. It took me off guard. How had this happened so suddenly? When did he get so fat? What made his hair fall out?

I hoped that my casual avoidance would cause him to give up, but he promptly set about trying to bother my husband. I am grateful that the husband is patient, though he is only 23. I am extremely grateful that he simple listened quietly and walked away. Had he risen to the provocation (at one point Pretty even said “I bet you want to hit me, don’t you?”) it would have been giving Pretty what he wanted. Because for whatever reason (maybe because he got ugly and the girl he was with wasn’t very attractive?) he clearly wanted drama to happen.

So this is sort of my PSA to all the people who post their drama on Facebook or who try to start physical fights like little kids; just stop it.

 

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You know, we are adults and we are kinky. That should make us very responsible people. I am currently responsible for the lives of my two boyfriends in Oregon and my husband, and so I am very careful about STD tests and condoms and all of that. That’s how a mature adult acts. We fill out paperwork, get signed consent forms, trade STD tests, and talk things out when we’re upset.

I can not tell you how much I have grown and changed in my lifetime, and it amazes me that some people can stay mentally in the same place they were 25 years ago, and not grow an inch.

If you’re upset about a breakup and you want to do something about that, the correct thing to do is not to attempt to fight with the person who was the other half of said breakup. It is not to try to fight her husband either. And yes, I overheard all the shit-talking that was carefully done in my earshot, but that was also childish.

I was upset about the breakup a year ago when it happened. So I made a photo album of all the good times over the more than a decade that we saw each other, and then I got rid of it. I also wrote about it a little. I think, in a weak moment I might have brought it up to my husband long enough to say I was a little bummed.

But after about a month of being sort of sad, I moved on. Because the thing is, shit happens. I am grateful for the people I still have in my life, and they don’t need to see me all sad. And because I have them it’s hard to be sad. I get a lot of emotionally support from my little harem.

Now yes, Pretty was always immature. He was always kind of a pathological liar who was bipolar. And you may wonder why I kept him around at all. But to be fair, I have been very busy over many parts of my life. Too busy to be a single human. I needed to have someone to deliver my magazine to venues while I was at work, and to run errands for me while I was running shows. I needed a gofer, and for more than a decade Pretty did that with minimal attention required in return.

Of course, I’m doing less in my 30′s than I did in my 20′s, so I really don’t need a gofer anymore. And I realized that among other things during the breakup a year ago.

But to try to cause drama so long long after… well… don’t be like that, folks.

My point is, no amount of provocation will drive me to have a verbal argument or a physical fight. I’m a grown up, and if you want to act nasty, I will ignore you. I will not hit you, nor will I yell at you, nor will I act like an immature asshole. I do not come down to that level.

I hope all of you are like this as well. I’d like to think most of the community is. I hope you can all act like adults in public, and avoid using verbal or physical violence unless it is part of a pre-negotiated scene. Drama is stupid, and if you didn’t leave it back in High School… well… you’re kind of stupid too.

And what did I do at prom? The same thing I always do. I smiled and said “I’m just here for the party.”

 

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