Varying Stages of Attachment

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Note: Someone told me recently that being kinky and being poly are not orientations. In this post, I want to describe how my brain works as a poly person, and why it is fundamentally different than that of a monogamous person. It is absolutely my orientation, and I can’t understand or accept the way monogamous people see relationships.

First you should know that I move around a lot.

This did not start because my husband is in the military. In fact, that actually causes me to stay places longer, since we have to stay until he completes a set of orders.

Long before my husband was a part of my life, I moved a lot.

It started because I was poor and lived in a neighborhood that was in the process of being gentrified. I would sign a six month or one year lease, and then at the end of the lease, the apartment complex would try to double the rent and I would have to move.

After awhile, I just got used to moving a lot. I ended up really liking it, since it is a chance to go through all the things you own and figure out what really matters to you. Do you actually need to keep that receipt from that one date? How much do you really care about that book you read that was only so-so?

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However, the older I got, the farther the moves got. I actually even traveled from state-to-state with the Renaissance Festival for awhile.

This kind of lifestyle means that you will leave people behind. I know that in the movies and on TV, you would never leave someone if you really loved them. But in real life, it’s pretty normal to choose travel and adventure over a person. In particular, it is pretty normal if the relationship is less about love and more about sex.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not some heartless bitch. I have at least a fondness for everyone I sleep with for any respectable length of time. I mean obviously you don’t always get names at an orgy, but other than that, I get names and remember birthdays and cultivate an emotional attachment to some degree.

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And yet, an emotional attachment does not mean that I will stay with that person no matter what. In fact, the one time I chose a person over an experience, I really grew to regret my choice and resent the person I made it for. I had been offered the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica for a semester via a scholarship my Spanish teacher put me up for. I said no because the person I was with at the time would have failed out of college without me to wake him up and kick his ass to class. It was a huge mistake, and I wish I would have spent that semester in Costa Rica.

So that being said: What happens to a relationship or attachment when you leave the place where the other person is?

It turns out that most people consider the relationship to be over at that point. I find that extremely sad. Maybe it is because I am poly, but when someone matters to me, they just keep on mattering to me no matter where they are or where I am.

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Example: There is this guy who wouldn’t like me using his name, so let’s call him Chris (just swapping one common name for another.) I met Chris in South Korea when I was a teacher and he was a medic in the air force. We had sex and talked and stuff, and then he got deployed to Afghanistan.

He did two tours in Afghanistan, which was hard for him.

Then, he was shipped to a base in Tucson Arizona when his enlistment was up. I came to see him while he was out-processing from the air force, at his tiny little house with no air conditioning.

Later, he came to see me at a fetish club in Phoenix.

We met up for sex, but also for company.

When someone travels similar paths, you share a bond. We had lived some of the same places, for one. And for another thing, I had seen a lot of violence and death in my teens. We had common ideas because we had common experiences.

Leaving on a jet plane

When he got out, he moved to Kansas and I moved to Oregon. Both of us had families to go spend time with after our time abroad.

However, we still talked on the phone and kept in touch.

Later, I moved to Guam. He is still in Kansas. And yet, we still keep in touch.

The other day, I sent him a picture of me in the bath to try to cheer him up on Valentine’s Day, and promised that he was always welcome to visit my bed whether it was here in Guam, or in Hawaii when we move there.

And I meant it.

See, my thinking is this: If you had sex with someone and it didn’t suck, why wouldn’t you do it again? And if someone moves away but you still like them, then why wouldn’t you still talk?

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This has gotten me into trouble here and there. Sometimes a guy will stay “in a relationship” with me, but start dating a monogamous girl. Then I will turn up to visit and we will have sex (because he does not tell me about the monogamous girl,) and then she ends up getting hurt.

Now first, that is on the guy for not telling me that he started a new (and monogamous) relationship.

But second, why does it have to be this way? What is actually so bad about borrowing someone when you are in town?

I mean, if I had known about the girl, I would have asked her permission (obviously) but it just seems to me that people you have had sex with are part of ongoing relationships until someone says stop.

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Example: There was a guy that I dated on and off for fifteen years. We were never soul mates or anything, but he was pretty and I liked to have sex with him. I also liked to just sit and talk with him and stare into his eyes, because he always looked so loving and devoted.

However, a few years ago he started seeing a girl who convinced him that I was “taking advantage of him” by not wanting to marry and be committed, but still wanting to hang out and have sex sometimes.

As a result, he made a huge show of saying “We are breaking up and I never want to see you again.”

This hurt my feelings. I don’t like breakups. Wandering away from someone but still keeping the connection open is fine. I like to explore and try new things, so I am always moving forward. But just because I am wandering, doesn’t mean I sever ties with everywhere I have ever been.

He broke up with me.

So I did the rational thing: I decided that he was dead to me, and I moved on with my life.

Divorce

Several times since that day, he has written me e-mails and Facebook messages and whatnot trying to reconnect with me. He keeps saying that he misses me and that we were good together.

But for me, the relationship is over.

It ended when he hurt me and I stopped seeing him as an ongoing relationship and started seeing him as an ex. It cannot be restarted again, because in my mind, a relationship is over once it ends. It is a final thing. I have to set a boundary (which I have few of) and tell myself “this is really over.” After that, I cannot change what has passed because boundaries stay in place or else nothing makes sense.

Besides, there was no reason to say that he never wanted to talk to me or see me again. He could have just said: “I want to go for this monogamous girl, so we need to keep this friends-only for a little bit to see how things go.” I would have been fine with that because we were living in different states at the time (although he was only in Washington state and I was in Oregon, so it was a short drive.)

Anyway, the point is: There could have been the lesser boundary placed of “no sex right now but still friends,” or even “Let’s take a break for a few months or a year.” But that was not what happened. Instead he placed the boundary of: “I never want to see you again.” And I respect boundaries. Forever.

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My point is this: How you view relationships is probably different from me.

Monogamous people tend to do this really uncomfortable thing where they feel that they own a person. They do not want to share that person with anyone, and they expect that person to terminate all other relationships as a condition of “being in a relationship.”

This is idiotic.

Think of it this way: I have always been a guy, but I live in a girl’s body. I decided to just accept this, and so I am (as the Native Americans would say) “of two spirits.” It’s fine, but it means that I really need my guy friends to go drinking and blow off steam with. I need time to get my male energy out, particularly if I happen to be dating men at the moment.

Two of my oldest friends are male. One is a few years younger, and one is a few years older. I have never had sex with either of them because they are my designated male friends. But in order to keep them as friends when dating, I have always had to call them my younger brother and my older brother. This is because both men and woman that I have dated have found our relationship to be “too close.”

 

As an introvert, I happen to feel that I value relationships more, since I have to stretch so far to make them. But more than that, being close to another human in a non-sexual sibling kind of way should not be considered unnatural.

Yet monogamy dominates society and so we are all expected to whip ourselves into a frenzy of jealousy for every little thing.

I adopted a kid as well. He was homeless and his mom was in jail. I grew up homeless, so I had a desire to help him based on personal experience. However, everyone I dated saw him as an “unrelated male” and I have been accused of sleeping with him since he was thirteen (who fucks a thirteen year old anyway?!?)

Jealousy is seen as some sort of value in “normal” world, and so the fact that I would run my fingers through his hair when he had a nightmare was seen as “wrong.” But he had been literally tortured as a child by a meth-crazy mother, and he had awful nightmares about days of being duct taped and locked in a closet without food, water, or anywhere to relieve himself. What kind of care-taker doesn’t show sympathy and compassion for a torture victim? And after I had similar experiences when I was on the streets!

I think you can see that jealously is often beyond the rational. It can be so unbelievably uncalled for at times that I have been utterly incredulous with people. Their heartless expectation that all relationships outside a romantic one should be cold and without touch is unreasonable. I think any sane person should be able to see that.

In the same way, I do not think it is reasonable to expect people to just stop communicating with a person that they wandered away from. If I made a connection with someone, sexual or otherwise, and then wandered out of their country and into another, this does not stop them from being part of my life.

To me, relationships are threads in the fabric of my universe, and they should run continuously in an unbroken cloth from the point of entrance in my life until my death. I hate to cut a thread out of the tapestry of my life, and a person must do something pretty bad to get me to do so.

Plus, I think relationships can (and should) evolve over time. Sometimes it is harder than others. For example, I have this ex who I just really like having sex with. I don’t know why. We just had awesome chemistry, and he intuitively understood what my body wanted. It was awesome.

He has decided that we should no longer have sex (no reason given.) I respect that, but it doesn’t mean that I want to lose the relationship. After all, he carries some of my memories, and therefore a part of who I am. So he is still a Facebook friend, on my Christmas card list, and someone I visit when I am in the same country/state. But the relationship has evolved from sexual to friendship.

Another example is literally laying in my bed right now. She is my ex girlfriend, and she is visiting with her husband. Her husband is not the sort to be interested in sex with me or my husband, so even though we used to date her, she is now off-limits.

That doesn’t mean I want to stop talking to her! She is this amazing and talented person who I admire. Now, does she still make me turn into a complete idiot around her because she is so beautiful and refined? Yes. Totally. But pretty girls have always done that to me, whether I was sleeping with them or not.

My point is, both of these people are part of my tapestry, and I value them as people. They are not just pieces of meat to me. And so, I prefer to keep them woven into my life in whatever way is appropriate at the time.

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Anyway, this is how a polyamorous person views relationships. They are ongoing. They may go in and out of being sexual, but they continue.

It is worth noting that some relationships never really get started, and those don’t count.

I have a habit of meeting people and having sex with them pretty soon after, because I want to see their soul and decide if I like them. Sometimes I decide I don’t like them. Those are the ones who don’t get a call back. One guy just stuck me as a shit person. Another was angry and became violent when I asked to change the nature of our relationship because the sex had lost my interest. A girl I used to date started cutting herself and saying she was a sinner for being a lesbian, and I quietly backed away from that because gods are not my thing.  So, I do end relationships with people that I don’t really like.

However, for the people who are good people, I see no reason to ever stop being attached to them.

This brings me to the final thought on the matter. People ask me how many people I am dating, and I am never sure how to answer this. To me, dating means:

Staying in touch with the person, have had sex with them, and would have sex with them again if the opportunity presented itself.

I feel that this is “dating” because it is closeness with the potential for sex. And, by that definition, I would say that I am casually dating W, Z, other Z, M, J, and R. So, seven people. And yet, I am only in one in-person relationship at the moment because I am stuck on Guam.

I guess you could say it is shades of dating.

Currently I am engaged in threes shades of dating, but there are others:

1. Level One: Dating in-person, with all the in-person obligations. (R)

2. Dating, the exchanging of gifts on holidays and birthdays, and sex when in person. (M,J,W)

3. Dating and keeping in touch, with sex when in person. (Z,Z)

Is that too complicated? Maybe for you. But, it is how the world exists for me. I did try to be normal when I was young. I tried to end old romantic relationships with people when I started a new romantic relationship, as the monogamous folks tell you that you must do. But when even that wasn’t enough and people were accusing me of sleeping with my brothers and my kid, that was it for me. Monogamous people are insane.

 

Sexist Bullshit

I was trying to write a post about something to do with my husband and I as a poly couple, so I looked for a picture to illustrate the idea. I Googled “polyamory,” and was really unhappy with what came up.

Nearly every image that appeared on my search was of a guy with two women!

Even the images that were not people somehow implied that polyamory means two woman and one man.

Google is portraying polyamory (loving several people of any gender) as synonymous with the type of polygamy (the term used for the men who marry several women) in Mormon and other cults.

This makes me angry because it is some sexist bullshit.

 

I disagree with Polygamy as it is practiced in cults like the FLDS, because I used to volunteer at a shelter for homeless teens. Over the years we got several young boys who had been run off the Mormon compound in Colorado City. They nearly all killed themselves because of the horror of being rejected by their cult, and because they were taught that they would be nothing in the after life unless they had several wives.

Why were these boys run off? Well obviously, that would be so fat old men could marry the girls their age.

Gross.

Polygamy is always bad for boys from families without power, and bad for women overall. I base this on reading Under the Banner of Heaven and Escape in part. But I also base it on statistics and personal experiences. I have a lot of data that I have collected over the course of my life, and a lot of it relates to how Polygamy is the main cause of abuse and child abandonment everywhere it is practiced.

So to see my relationship orientation of Polyamory portrayed as a man with multiple women and nothing else in Google makes me sick. I actually felt physically ill scrolling through the pictures.

Not only did the search results conflate Polyamory with Polygamy as if they are the same, but I had another issue as well.

As a woman, I felt underrepresented.

Where are the pictures of women like me with our many boyfriends at our feet? Why was there no woman at the center of a bunch of men? Where were the pictures that accurately depicted my life?

Feeling angry, I did a Google search specifically for polyamory MMF (male-male-female) couples. Only then did I see a few images of a woman with two men.

I was disappointed that there were no women with a harem, but at least Google thinks a woman can date two men. (Although the default is a man with two women.)

And yet there was something even worse:

It was literally all pictures of three people. Just three. So apparently that’s all you get! My husband can date or I can date, but we cannot both date different people. And that cuts to the heart of it:

Polyamory is more than two.

I have boyfriends and girlfriends. My husband has boyfriends and girlfriends. Those people also date other people. So it is a lot more than two people involved.

Another important point:

Polyamory is not about orgies. I am sick to death of my husband and I saying we are poly, and guys turning to him and saying “You must get so much ass.” First, he really doesn’t because he is kind of a disaster of a person a lot of the time.

Second, it is not my job to “share” the people I date with him. I do not look for people to convince to join us. I look for people who want to date me by myself. So there are nearly no orgies and there are not even a lot of threesomes.

We date other people. But, the important point is: We do it separately.

See, it’s not about orgies or threesomes. It’s about how we love the feeling of falling in love. We love getting to know people in that way that you can only do in bed. We love variety, and we love learning new things about the world from new people.

For example: I have a thing for scientists and engineers. I love laying in bed and talking about experimental particle physics or aerospace engineering with the guy next to me. I love hearing about the latest in gene research from the girl in my bed. I love getting to hear their innermost thoughts on how our species is progressing.

And the thing I love the most about my husband is that he understands me, and he respects that I like to go off on tangents and explore things.

In fact, he likes that I come back with cool stories and facts. He enjoys my adventures from the perspective of a friend sharing exploits, and as a husband who likes to know that other men and women find his wife desirable.

From my perspective, I like him dating because he gets to be around girly girls who like makeup and hair. I will never be one of those girls, but I know he loves all of that. Plus I know he likes to be dominant in bed sometimes, and that is just not our dynamic. So, I like that he can have that with other people. And like him, I like knowing that the person I am mated to is desirable to others.

In other words: Polyamory is more than two people. That doesn’t mean three. It means more than two. (Sometimes lots more than two.)

And, in spite of the sexist bullshit, it can be just as rewarding for a woman as it can be for a man. I believe very strongly that this is my orientation, and that I have always felt differently about relationships than monogamous people. I don’t feel at a disadvantage as a poly woman. I don’t think the Google search results reflect my experience at all. And, I hope other women won’t be discouraged by the fact that cultural feelings about polyamory are widely sexist.

Views on us might be sexist, but we are not.

Note: And for the record, both my husband and I are feminists.

So You Want To Find A Domme

This is on my mind because I will l be moving soon. In preparation, I changed my location on Fetlife.com to Oahu. I wanted to start looking at events, and it’s easier to look for events “near you” (which is based on your current location setting.)

Since my orientation on Fetlife says “Domme,” several men have decided to introduce themselves to me (in hopes of being submissive to me.)

I hate to sound mean, but I can hardly stand what a waste of my time it has been. I mean, of course I want to meet people in Oahu before I get there! I want to get an idea of what things there will be like. Doing research ahead of time is always important. However, the submissives who have reached out are so tedious.

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Never start a conversation with “What are you doing?” That is ridiculous for two reasons:

1.Who Are You To Ask

It is impertinent to ask a Domme what she is doing, because it implies that you have some right to know.

You do not.

If I want you to know what I am doing, I will fucking tell you. You asking is not okay.

2. It’s so Middle School

Asking “What are you doing?” is the most boring thing on Earth!

What will the answer be 90% of the time?

I am sleeping.”
I am eating.”
I am at work.”
I am grocery shopping.”

Who wants to talk about boring-ass shit like that? Not me! I have better things to do with my time.

And yet, when I give my phone number to people, they invariably start with asking me what I am doing. If you want to start a conversation with someone, start by assuming that they are busy. You might have a boring life where nothing on Earth is going on for you. Fine. But don’t assume that everyone else is like that. Here is how you should picture me:

I am on an elliptical machine running. In my car right now is a bag of swim gear. After the gym, I will be taking my camera out on the reef where I will swim from end to end taking photos, because I do reef monitoring for NOAA. I am married, and I plan to spend the night chatting with my husband because we are very much in love and we enjoy each other’s company. I also need to put in several hours on the certification classes I am taking, build a website, and proofread about 50 pages of stuff.

My phone is blowing up because I keep in touch with several friends that I have met in various parts of the world. I don’t have time to respond to everyone all the time, but I do my best because I genuinely care about people. Most of the people that I am struggling to find time for are people that I care deeply about and have a real connection with.

Now, you are trying to break through all of that and get my attention.

Is the best line you can really come up with: “What are you doing?”

I mean, sure, it may have worked in Middle School. But if your conversational skills have not advanced since middle school, then what are the odds that I am going to find you interesting? Seriously?

Your job is to get my attention.

 

Why is it that way?

Well first, let’s talk about scarcity. There are not a lot of dominant women, right? But there are a lot of submissive men. This means that each dominant women will get messages from a lot of dominant men at once. Ergo, you are not unique. You are just a face in a crowd.

Keep that in mind.

Next, let’s think about what most dominant women do: They have ads on BackPage and charge $500 per hour. People pay that because in a market with a lot of scarcity, it’s very easy for a dominant women to charge for her time. However, I am not advertising any kind of services that involve charging for my time, am I? So that makes me even more rare than the average Domme.

Remember that.

And finally, I am well-traveled and experienced. That means I am not going to hesitate or flinch. I know what I am doing. We’ve all seen the Pro Domme video that makes fun of the newbie Dommes who have no idea what they are doing, and let’s admit that there are tons of them out there. Not me. I have been in the scene for more than 20 years, and I know exactly what I am doing.

Ergo, I have more propositions in a week than I could fill in a lifetime. And yes, that does matter. It means that you have to come up with something interesting to say if you want me to care about you. Having ten guys a week not be able to come up with anything better than “What are you doing?” is a huge waste of my time, and it makes me really fucking mad.

 

Are You Actually Submissive

There are a few things every potential submissive should think about. You should start with figuring out if you are actually a submissive, or if you are just self-centered.

Ask yourself:

1. Do you expect to do nothing but “look cute” while some poor soul has to “train you”?

2. Do you plan to “be bratty” the whole time by not listening to what your Domme is saying?

3. Do you expect your Domme to lead the conversation and do all the emotional work in a relationship?

4. Do you think it should be an honor to do all the emotional and physical work while you sit back on your lazy ass and “dress pretty”?

If so, you are not submissive. You are just self-centered.

 

Note:

As an interesting aside, let’s talk about why straight vanilla women are actually the ultimate submissives:

I have often said that being submissive comes more naturally to women because they are already used to having to start all the conversations, structure all the discussions, and do all the emotional work. In a vanilla relationship, a women is submissive in the sense that the man is allowed to pretend that he is “not emotional” and “doesn’t care,” which forces the women to take charge of all emotional work for both parties.

Furthermore, in a vanilla relationship, a woman is pushed into doing the cleaning because the guy “doesn’t notice” the mess. She is pushed into making all the plans because he “doesn’t care” if they do something or not. And, she is pushed into starting all the conversations because a man will stew for YEARS when he is angry, claiming that he “doesn’t care” enough to just have an honest conversation about feelings.

In this way, vanilla women are forced to submit to men if they want to be in a relationship. And it is some bullshit that I won’t put up with.

Makes it sound like I should just choose a female submissive who will rub my feet, worship me, and bake me cookies, doesn’t it?

If you want to compete with someone who will do all the planning, emotional labor, and baking; you are going to have to be pretty fucking special. And there are men that special. My husband is the most adorable ball of cute, kind, and devoted.

Ergo, I absolutely know that there are men who are capable of being a good submissive.

If you start out with a stranger bragging that you are a “bratty sub” and you think someone should have to “train you,” then you are not a submissive. You are a self-indulgent, lazy person who had read too many novels.

On Training a Submissive

If a Domme has the particular kink of wanting to make someone march or do push-ups, then fine.

If they have the kink of wanting to be served tea on a silver platter by a sub in a maid’s outfit, then fine.

If a Domme wants you to learn to walk a certain way or rub their feet a certain way, then fine.

Every Domme wants different things, and some of them want nothing more than to be obeyed when they command you to do something.

However, there is a reason that “training schools” that pop up for submissives are always extremely expensive. I have seen prices as high as $5,000 for a week. This is because no one wants to spend a week telling your ass what to do every second of every day and whipping you if you are naughty. If people wanted to do that much work for free, the training schools would be permanent fixtures instead of pop-ups, and they would be free.

The reason that your average Dominatrix will charge $500 an hour, and the reason that “training schools” cost so much money, is because it is work.

Your average Domme wants a submissive that does not need to “be trained.”
Your average Domme wants a submissive that does not want to “be a brat.”
Your average Domme wants a submissive that can be a steward of their own emotions.

What I Want

I am a really together person. I am comfortable with my sexual orientation (bisexual.) I am comfortable with my gender identity (male; in a female body.) I am comfortable with my kink identity (80% Domme 20% Sub.) I am comfortable with the situation in life, my emotional primary, my friends, and my hobbies.

I am not seeking validation from a relationship.

Therefore, I am not looking for someone that needs me to validate them with constant attention.

If you need constant validation and you can’t do your own emotional work, then you are a hot mess and you need to find someone willing to put up with that. That someone is definitely not me.

I want someone who:

1. Can bother to read my Fetlife page and my blog before taking to me.

2. Has something interesting to say.

3. Wants to play scenes where they get tied up, hit with things, and dominated in various ways.

4. Is not boring to lay next to after sex.

5. Will agree to an STD sex before contact and STD testing any time they sleep with someone other than me.

No, I don’t think that those five things are too much to ask.

And no, I don’t want to hang on chat all the time and listen to you whine. I also don’t want to meet your parents, help you raise your kids, or spend my valuable time trying to help you figure out who you are, what you want, how you feel, etc…

Some of you don’t need a Domme; you need to see a trained Psychiatrist. That is not something I want to get involved in. If I am going to listen to anyone whine, it will be my husband, one of my boyfriends, or one of my best friends.

The moral of the story is this:

Do not come at me with “What are you doing?” or some other boring-ass bullshit that wastes my time and shows your lack of personality.

And please, for the love of god, do not come at me with a bunch of feelings about how confused you are.

Example:

I think I am femme and I want to dress up in panties, is that okay?”

That is up to you, dude.

It doesn’t happen to be my kink, but it is not my responsibility to tell you if it is yours or not, or if it is okay. Only you know that.

Figure out your own shit because I am not your shrink. It’s not my job to do emotional labor for you, and you would have to be pretty interesting for me to want to set up scenes for you.

Also, if you want to be “trained” then pay for it like everyone else. (But not from me because I am way too busy for that shit.)

Setting Up A Scene

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One of the most common questions I get is how to set up a scene. I have written about this before, but it never hurts to go over something again. (Please click the links to see more information.)

Note: For me, I find that the atmosphere is the biggest thing that can improve/ruin a scene. I take special care to set up an atmosphere that is conducive to play, and I recommend that you do this, too. With the right music, you can hit a submissive longer and harder. With the right toys laid out, you can quickly switch from one punishment to another.

In other words: A little work in advance can make everything better later.

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First: You should have already done scene negotiation with the person that you are setting up the scene for. That is an important step, and you should never play a scene with someone until you have talked about limits and STDs and all of that.

Second: You should have already made a playlist of kinky music to have sex to. Music is important because it helps you get into the right headspace.

Third: If you have your scene negotiation done and a good playlist ready to go, then it’s time to figure out what you plan to do. If you’re using a trap-on or a dildo, you might consider rubbing it down with some coconut oil before hand (so you don’t have to struggle with lube while you are in the middle of something.)

I like to lay out all my whips and paddles so that I can see all my options at a glance. It’s also nice so that my sub can see them before I blind fold them. (Keeps the imagination going.) If you are doing anything with rope, laying it out in advance is really important. You will bore the crap out of you sub if they have to wait for you to untangle or uncoil ropes.

Anyway, once you have your toys laid out and prepped, you’re ready to play!

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Since it has come up before:

Remember that at the beginning of the scene, you should move slowly. Things like impact play are better with a slow build up. My favorite toy is a flogger, and I find that it’s always best to hit softly at first, and increase intensity over time.

Setting up a scene in advance, and then building up your scene slowly, are the keys to making it more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Also, remember if things get stale that there are lots of fetishes out there, and you can always renegotiate and try something new if you need to!

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Consent as a Matter of Law

Note: I was talking with Jay Wiseman, who is a prolific author of BDSM-related materials, and he offered up his latest handout, which is about consent as a matter of law. I thought I would share it here, so all of you could benefit from his efforts.

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Here’s a brief summary on consent as a matter of law:

From a legal point of view, consent is: A mentally competent, informed, limitable, revocable, willingness to have a legally protected interest affected by the behavior of another person who might not have another legally defensible reason to affect that interest.

There are three basic parts to this rule. Let me unpack each one.

(Part One)

A mentally competent — the person has sufficient mental capacity to understand what’s going on. They are not so young, so intoxicated, so senile, or their level of consciousness so depressed that they can’t understand what’s involved.  There are few hard and fast rules around this point (age of consent as expressed by a statute would be one exception) so every incident need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

informed — the person has been given information that is sufficient and accurate enough to enable them to make a good decision. For instance, if a top were to tell a bottom that the top had “over a decade” of experience in using a single tail whip when in fact the top had less than an hour of experience in using it, then the bottom can’t make an informed decision and therefore their consent is invalid. (Note: there is an interesting doctrine, particularly in rape law, about the distinction between what’s called “fraud in the inducement” and what’s called “fraud in the factum.”  As a general rule, fraud in the inducement is a defense to a rape accusation whereas fraud in the factum is not a defense.  I’ve included at the end of this letter a link to a page that has a pretty good introductory article on this topic.)

limitable — consent can be limited.  For example, one person might tell another, “You can touch me above the waist but not below the waist.” or, “You can come into my apartment, but only for ten minutes.” It’s a good idea to make sure this limitation is clearly communicated.

revocable — consent is generally revocable.  For example, in the situations described just above, a person might say, “I’ve changed my mind.  You can’t touch me anywhere,” or “Come to think of it, no. You can’t come in at all.”  As with limited consent, it’s a very good idea to ensure that revocation of consent is clearly and unambiguously communicated.

willingness — the person’s consent was not obtained by duress. This generally means that consent was not obtained by a credible threat of immediate physical harm to the person or to someone they are close to such as a spouse or child. Note that the threat generally needs to be of immediate physical harm.  For example, if a burglar were to say to a woman who’s house he has broken into, while waving a large knife, “Have sex with me or I’ll kill your baby.” and the baby is right there in a crib in her bedroom, then she would be acting under duress and her consent would be invalid. On the other hand, let’s say that Boss says to Employee, “Have sex with me or you’re fired.” That generally would not be sufficient to constitute duress as a matter of law. (A sexual harassment case would, of course, be a different matter.)

(Part Two)

to have a legally protected interest…  What this means is that if one of your legally protected interests is violated then the offender could end up in criminal and/or civil court.  You have a legally protected interest in your person (battery, false imprisonment), your peace of mind (assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress), your property (theft, vandalism, trespassing), your privacy (invasion of privacy), and your reputation (defamation).  This is not a complete list of legally protected interests.

(Part Three)

affected by the behavior of another person who might not have another legally defensible reason to affect that interest. Consent is largely about human behavior. If your car is damaged by an act of God, then your consent hasn’t been violated. If your car is damaged by your crazoid ex, then your consent has been violated. Also, if the cops show up at your house with a warrant for your arrest, then they can take you into custody without your consent and not face accusations of assault, battery, false imprisonment, etc.

 

Types of Consent

There are five ways of expressing consent, which consist of expressly stated consent and four types of implied consent.

Expressly stated consent is consent communicated through words, spoken or written.  An example would be when a hospital patient signs a “consent for surgery” form.

Consent can be implied through behavior, for example if Person A says to Person B, “I’d like to tie you up.” and Person B smiles and puts their hands behind their back, then it would be reasonable for Person A to believe that Person B had consented to being bound. (Hopefully, unless they already know each other pretty well and they negotiate more than this before proceeding further but you get the idea.)

Consent can be implied as a matter of law.  This usually involves giving first aid to someone who is unconscious, or whose brain is not functioning adequately due to intoxicants, head injury, diabetes, and so forth.  These people can be treated even if they do not consent without the rescuers risking being charged with battery or other offenses because the law presumes that the victim would consent to being given such aid if their brain was working properly.

Consent can be implied by social custom. For example, tapping someone on the forearm to ask what time it is is not a battery under our current social customs.  Obviously, how far such touching can go varies in different societies.

Consent can be implied by failure to object where a reasonable person would object.  As I mentioned, this is the old “never ask a girl if you can kiss her” rule.  This rule is becoming more unpopular with time but is still the law in most jurisdictions.

So there you have it.  I hope you find it useful.

 

http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/criminalLaw/otherAgainsPersons/Rape.asp

Munches and Thoughts

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I have had some time now to rest and relax, and to reflect on my trip.

I had to cram a lot of things into far too small an amount of time, so I was only able to make it to two kink events.

Sydney Board Game Munch

I want to say that the Sydney Board Game Munch was fabulous, and it really helped me get an idea of what the scene there is like. Plus, I played two new games; Joking Hazard and Ticket to Ride. Both were a lot of fun! It’s wonderful to be around kinky geeks because we all have so many little quirks in common, and I feel so much less strange around other people who are kinky and geeky.

Sydney Monthly Munch

Second, the Sydney monthly munch was nice, and I wish I could have stayed longer. It was really delightful to be around kinky people again, and to be able to talk about kinky things. I played a game of BDSM Jenga, which I hadn’t done since Korea. That was a lot of fun. And, I talked up my books and passed out business cards.

All The Gratitude 

I had spoken to a guy named Kinky Panda online before I came, and it was wonderful to meet him and to hear his thoughts on kink, Australia, and everything else. Plus, he introduced me around a little to other people, so I didn’t feel like a stranger in a room of cliques I wasn’t part of.

By the way, that is something that I think a lot of people overlook- making a connection before you go somewhere.

It’s important because kinky folks are often secretive. This is justified, because being “outed” can ruin someone’s life. Therefore, being mindful of that is important when traveling. Join some groups and chat with some people before you go to a new spot. Ask to be introduced around at events. It really helps.

I was glad that I had put in the effort, and that I had lucked out and met a really cool person who knew everyone. So if you are reading this, thank you Kinky Panda. You are the bomb!

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The Bad News

However, it was not all sunshine and roses.

Being around a community again also reminded me of some of the bullshit that you have to deal with. I guess I had completely forgotten that stuff. It’s amazing how isolation makes things fade away from the forefront of your mind.

Yet, you have to remember that I did spend twenty years in the community before I came to Guam. And, it turns our that memory floods back quite quickly with the right trigger.

My time with the Sydney kink community inspired me to want to tell you a few things that I think need to be said more often. But, don’t take this as a reflection on Australia! This stuff applies to every community I have been in, in South Korea, France, the USA, etc…

Again, I want to emphasize that I loved the Sydney community and I loved Australia. BUT I also remembered some old gripes that my subconscious has had a lot of time to turn over and think about since I have been forced to live in solitude the last four years.

So, here goes:

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1. Do not criticize events unless you are planning to pay for, create, and promote your own. This awful woman at the board game munch went on and on about how she was tired of seeing rigging work at kink parties. After awhile, I really wanted to scream in her face for being such a whiny downer when she has never planned a single party.

I have planned parties with burlesque dancers and had people complain that they wanted rigging. I have planned parties with rigging and had people complain that they wanted bands. I have planned parties with bands and had people complain that they wanted parties with scenes. And, I have planned parties with scenes only to have people bitch that there were no dancers.

Look: unless you have something constructive to say (Example: I like burlesque dancers, but I think instead of a stage with entertainment I would prefer a vendor area) then keep your mouth shut. And you know what? Even if you have something constructive to say: Say it nicely. We promoters work hard for you!

Planning events is a thankless job. I never made much money at it (and what I did I always put straight back into the scene.) I just did it because I wanted to be able to go to good parties, and there weren’t already good parties going on. So, I made some. And I really don’t think that people who just show up to things and whine add anything to the world. I think they are just soul-sucking harpies without an ounce of happiness inside them.

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2. Do not make generalizations because it makes you sound like an asshole. The same loud (and quite rude) woman who was whining about events basically said that all riggers are rapists. She went on and on about it.

When I said that I had never raped anyone and I didn’t think it was a fair thing to say, she simply carried on with her stream of vitriol towards anyone who does rope work (now I am often too lazy to bother with rope, but I do know how to do rope work and I do think it is a beautiful art form.)

The thing about people who want to attack an entire section of the community and slander them with lies is that their words do not reflect on the people they are talking about. Nothing that Angry Girl said about riggers in any way affected my opinion of the rope community in Sydney. What it did affect was my opinion of the girl saying the nasty things. I found her to be bitter and mean. Her words made her look horrible, and thereby improved my opinion of riggers in Sydney considerably. I now think that they must be fabulous people, because a really terrible woman doesn’t like them.

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3. And finally: Kink is an orientation. Those of us who are kinky were born this way, and it is not something that we can change. To say that we don’t have to be this way is to not really understanding what kink is. If you think that kink is not an orientation, then you don’t belong among us.

It is just like those men who say that doing certain things will “turn you gay.” You know what I mean. All those pastors who claim that men listening to Taylor Swift or watching Frozen will turn them gay. Those men only think that because they are already gay, and they are lashing out at the things that make them feel like having sex with men (which is most things since they are already gay.)

If you think kink is not an orientation, that is only because it is not your orientation. Maybe you think you are into kink because you like shemales or furries. But if you don’t understand that kink is an orientation, then you are not really one of us. You have just someone who has a fetish.

Because, if you were kinky, you would know that it is how we are. I feel it in my bones. It is as much a part of who I am as my sexual orientation, and I couldn’t change it if I wanted to.

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In conclusion:

I really did have a good time in Sydney, and I am glad that I went to some munches while I was there. However, it did remind me that some people in the community just suck. It’s a shame, but it is how it is. They make drama, criticize instead of create, and generally ruin everything that others work hard to build. And the worst part is that they think their shitty attitudes are good for the community because they think everyone needs to hear what they have to say in order for things to get better.

This is a lie.

Things in a community get better when people STOP bitching and moaning, and start doing actual things.

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You are either the person who says that riggers are rapists and that they are the worst people in the community, or you are the person that learns Shibari and puts on beautiful displays for your fellow kinksters.

You are either the person who whines that events are not good enough and that you don’t like the entertainment, or you are the person that plans events and does the best you can to make them awesome.

You are either the person who creates drama and is mean to new people, or you are the person who keeps a blog and helps new kinksters to learn about BDSM.

Don’t be the shitty person. If your life sucks and you are miserable and bitter, fine. But keep that toxic shit to yourself. When you whine and bitch, it doesn’t say anything about the people and things you complain about; it says something about you. No one likes the person who complains all the time. No one wants to be around that person, and no one values that person’s opinion.

I would urge all of you to be the change that you want to see in the world. That is how we have a good community.

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Valentine’s Nightmare

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Every year Valentine’s Day looms; that pain-in-the-ass day where you feel obligated to honor all of your intimate relationships. Yuck.

Personally, I am much more interested in buying gifts for people when the mood strikes me (if I see something they would like.) And yet, if you don’t get a gift for your significant others on Valentine’s Day then you are an asshole. Also, it has to be a gift they would like; not something that you want (Example: Do not get your girlfriend lingerie and then ask her to wear for you unless she asked for it.)

If you are monogamous, then you really only have to worry about one person, so that is a relief. In this way, you can stress about Valentine’s Day like a vanilla person, with only the concerns of what to get and where to go. It’s still uncomfortable pressure on what might otherwise be a comfortable relationship. But at least you only have the one person to concern yourself with.

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If you are Poly, then you either put a lot of thought into planning something special for everyone you are dating, …or you are me.

Normally I am pretty good at this stuff. I have been poly for a long time, and I know that I need to make sure that everyone feels valued on important days. But sometimes (like right now) I am a little overwhelmed and it all falls apart.

The story goes like this: I just got back from Australia and I am still recovering from the trip. I won’t bore you with the details, but I am not as young as I used to be and I have medical issues that make traveling hard. So, I needed to catch up on doctor’s appointments and sleep.

I bought my husband a card and some chocolates and I thought “that should be fine.” After all, the rest of my relationships are long-distance right now, so what are the odds they will want to exchange gifts? I guess I knew in the back of my mind that I was lying to myself, but it felt so good to choose the option that didn’t involve getting out of bed, so I did…

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Then a very sweet card arrived from one of my guys in the US, with a gift card inside.

Fuck.

So of course, I panicked like the basket-case that I am at the moment.

I jumped on Amazon.com and send him a gift that is probably over-the-top because I feel guilty. Then I grabbed my address book and picked out a book for the other guy I am in a relationship with as well (just in case he got me something.)

Then, sitting by myself on my floor having just spent $100 on amazon, I wondered if I am also expected to call.

Probably.

On the day, or the weekend before?

I have no idea.

Le Sigh.

And this is just the distress of a person who is casually dating people who she is geographically separated from. When we all lived in the same place, it was much more complicated. Who gets Valentine’s Day night? My primary? Or since they get me all the time, is that not fair? What if my primary says they don’t care about Valentine’s Day and so I make other plans, but then they realize last minute that they do care?

This is different for poly people who don’t have separate relationships. Sometimes a couple dates another person as a unicorn and they can all spend Valentine’s Day together. Sometimes two people are dating two other people and each other, and they can just double-date. There are lots of situations that can work out to be less complicated, depending.

Mine just isn’t currently one of them.

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Anyway, you can tell I hate Valentine’s Day. It is, and always has been, my least favorite holiday. It’s full of pressure to have the perfect dinner, the perfect scene, and the perfect sex. Not to mention the pressure on Poly folks to decide who you see on the day, and who gets a day that isn’t really Valentine’s Day but you can pretend.

You can say that I am just contrary, (since if you know me, you know I also hate Christmas.) But I would argue that I have very good reasons to dislike the holidays that I dislike, and that I make up for it by loving Halloween five or six times more than normal.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day. Spend it with people you love and don’t let the societal pressures and expectations bum you out!

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