Lifestyle Under Threat

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It’s been two decades since I got into the kink scene for the first time, and so much has changed. Sit back, relax, and let me tell you younglings about how things were back in the day.

In the 90’s, religious groups would advertise fake kink meetups so they could prey upon anyone who showed up. It was mostly Mormons, but Christians did it too. I grew up in Arizona, and there was a kink group called Arizona Power Exchange, or APEX. They advertised their meetups with fliers at popular counter-culture hangouts like The Graffiti Shop on Mill Avenue. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop Mormon prayer groups from putting out fliers for fake events, and then telling any “sinner” who showed up how they needed to be saved.

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This is how I came to understand that kinky people were discriminated against by society, and it’s also how I came to hate Mormons. I actually wish Hell was real so those fucks could burn in it.

However, it wasn’t just Mormons and other religious nut-balls who preyed upon us. There were a lot of physiologists who saw kink as a disease of the mind. They claimed that things like rape fantasies made you “sick” and “dangerous.” They tried to lure people into special counselling groups and get them on medication, while lying to them about how unusual they were.

The cat is out of the bag, thanks to the Internet. In a new book called Everybody Lies, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explains that Google searches show us for who we really are, and most of us have rape fantasies and dream of violent sex. So kinky people were not persecuted for being different- as we had always been told. Rather, we were persecuted for doing something that everyone secretly wanted to do, because we were actually doing it.

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It’s ironic, because I remember fellow kinksters saying things like: “They’re just jealous; they wish they had sex like us!” Then we all laughed because it was a joke to us to imagine those bigots being in touch enough with their sexuality to negotiate a scene and play it out. And yet, it turns out it was true. They were always just jealous.

These days, BDSM is no longer in the DSM as a mental disorder. Psychologists and medical doctors are instructed to treat us normally. Sometimes, they actually do.

We got to enjoy the era of CollarMe.com and Fetlife.com and the rise of munches and fetish proms in every city. We got to enjoy kinky people simply going about our lives and being treated with only mild disdain, instead of being thrown in prison. And those younglings who came into the community during this time of openness and acceptance might not realize how dangerous it used to be to be kinky.

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However, our freedoms are under attack. Now that we are threatened, we need to remember what it was like before we were free to meet and be and who we were. We need to look back at our history, and remember that there are people in prison right now for things like having rape fantasies. (Yes, I know one. He was convicted back when kink was still seen as a disorder and we were still considered dangerous.)

They are taking down websites. They use the excuse that these websites “could be used for sex trafficking,” but we all know that is bullshit. My Facebook profile says I am a guy, and I get TONS of spam from hooker-bots on Facebook, so any website can be used for sex trafficking. If I can buy a hooker on Facebook, I can buy one anywhere (since Facebook is where all the old grannies hang out.)

In Congress, they just decided that it’s okay for states to ban gay couples from adopting. This is in spite of all the studies which prove that gay couples are often better parents than straight couples (since they don’t have their kids by accident.)

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If you are a youngling that never lived through a fake kink meetup put on by religious people who blocked the door to keep you from leaving and shouted hateful shit at you, then you might not see the writing on the wall. That is why I am telling you: Attacks on marginalized people like sex workers and gay couples are attacks on us. They are coming at us one subgroup at a time, and they are working hard to criminalize everything about who we are.

What we have built over the years is something I am so proud of. The kink community used to be full of exploitative Doms and abused women. And yet from that, we built a healthy community full of supportive networks of people. We built websites and clubs and spaces where kink could be safe. I am so proud of us and of all the things we have created for safe, sane, and consensual kinky sex.

Seeing the government begin to attack us again is terrifying. Having someone like Mike Pence in the White House is probably the scariest thing I can think of. I know everyone focuses on the buffoon in the spotlight, but he is deeply irrelevant. Pence is the one who is part of the Quiverfull Movement (a group of religious extremists whose ultimate goal is to force all women into the home and to force Christian values and straight vanilla sex on us all.) All the dangerous legislation against us is coming from Pence. And this is something we need to be talking about.

If you are kinky, then politics needs to matter to you. I know it’s easier to avoid it and to just not talk about it, but we can’t do that. We have to fight for the community that we have built, and fight against those who would take our freedom to fuck in fun ways away from us. You might think it can’t get that bad, but it was that bad twenty years ago. It can be again.

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Please vote. Please write to your elected representatives. Please talk to people about the community and how we are just normal folks like them (as opposed to terrifying criminal sinners.) Be open about who you are and how you follow laws. Remind people that CONSENT is our biggest rule.

And as an aside, I wrote a trilogy of books to humanize us. They are modeled after a vanilla romance novel (I read about 30 vanilla romance novels before writing them to get the formula right.) However, the main character is kinky. She starts out a little kinky, and then evolves into a polyamourous dominatrix. The point of the series is to teach vanilla people about consensual kink and how normal and non-threatening it is.

So, if you know a vanilla person who might need that lesson, please buy them The Jamie Johnson Trilogy. It’s not anything super-special to us kink folks (all the kink scenes are pretty tame and standard.) But that is because it’s intent is not to shock. Rather, it is to lull the vanilla folks into a sense of security because we’re just normal human beings who have a few whips and chains in our closet, and it’s not a big deal.

You probably don’t have time to write novels, but any form of activism you choose to do is equally valid. Just fight. Please. We all need to fight for our right to be kinky!

Persecution of Kink

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I have been to several sex clubs and sex-related parties around the world. My favorites include Club Desire in Seoul, and The Velvet Rope in Portland. I have a lot of good memories there, and I hope to get to go back some day.

Most cities don’t grant zoning for a sex club. Portland happens to be one of the few places that does, and so The Velvet Rope is “legal.” Meanwhile Seoul does not grant zoning for a sex club, so Club Desire is “illegal.”

I don’t know why anyone thinks they should have a right to tell grown-ass consenting adults what to do in private clubs. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why it’s anyone’s fucking business.

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Yet, there is a worldwide crackdown going on, and it’s targeting open-minded people who like to have fun.

Recent reports came out about a club in Thailand where consenting adults (mostly married couples) attended an orgy were treated as though they were criminals. First off, if a hotel of all places can’t host an orgy then who the hell can?!? But more than that, how dare the news outlets write it up like the attendees were criminals? They broke no laws, and were released without charges. But of course they were, because having consensual sex is not illegal yet.

Just the next day reports came in about Fetlife parties being hosted at a private home in Colorado. All the windows were shut and shuttered and no one broke a single law, but the news still wrote it up as though people having consensual sex was a crime! The residents admit that no noise ordinances were being violated and there was literally no law at all being broken, but said they still planned to stop it.

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All this comes in the wake of the US law FOSTA-SESTA being passed. This law claims to “stop sex trafficking.” However, what it really does is give the government a license to shut down any website where a person could meet a sex worker. Oh sure, it started with Backpage and the Craigslist Personals, but do you think they are going to stop there?

After all, I have had prostitutes solicit me on Tinder and OkCupid. I have my gender set to “male” on Facebook and I get sex workers trying to add me all the time on there. They claim to be “models” but then offer to meet up for money.

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Basically; our freedom to be kinky and have fun sex is being attacked from every angle. After all, you may be able to get a prostitute on OkCupid, but we don’t use it for that. We use it to meet other kinky people because they have questions that allow you to imply that you are into kink and get matches of other people who are as well.

Of course, I am saying that kink is in danger from all of this -and it is- but that’s not the only issue. I may selfishly be more worried about kink than other aspects of this law because it has a direct effect on me. However, this also really puts sex workers in danger, and I think that is something that everyone should be upset about.

There will always be people who sell their bodies. Coal miners, for example. They are going to die of black lung, but they choose money over their health and do a job that makes them sick. Workers in oil fields are the same, as are fire-fighters. If you put your life and health in danger for money, then you are selling your body.

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Yet sex work is treated differently from these other types of selling your body. Why? It’s the same thing, except the health risks are not as bad. And like all other ways that you can sell your body, these people should be allowed to have unions, healthcare, and everything else any other job has. Instead, we are going the other way and taking away their rights and their safety.

Critics will say “This is about victims of sex trafficking” and then they will lie to you and quote over-inflates statistics for how many people are the victims of trafficking. Don’t get me wrong; sex trafficking does sometimes happen. It is a big deal and we should absolutely stop it. However, it’s far less common that conservatives would have you believe, and the only way to fight it is by legalizing sex work.

I am from Arizona. In Arizona you have to get a license to be an exotic dancer. This licensing requirement helps make sure that all the girls are of legal age, consenting to what they are doing, and not trafficking victims. It is a way to make sure that those girls are doing what they want to be doing. I think it costs $15, so it’s not hard to get. You fill out a couple forms and *BOOM* you’re legal.

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If we did this same thing for prostitution, we could easily catch all trafficking victims and rescue them immediately.

Keeping things in the shadows makes it easy for abuse to happen. Bringing things into the light, on the other hand, helps protect people and stop abuse. There is no way around it; because this is backed up by data from the US and from many other countries. Legal and regulated sex work saves lives, and it stops human trafficking.

Meanwhile, “busting” sex clubs, orgies, and sexy parties just makes you a fascist dickbag. And taking down websites just because someone might meet a sex worker on one of them is insane. You could meet a sex worker on nearly any website on the internet. If you want to shut down all websites where someone can meet someone, all that will be left is places to buy things. It’ll be a digital storefront and nothing else. That is not the internet that anyone should want.

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Women Get Bored Too

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I was talking to a guy on Fetlife who is married, but whose wife doesn’t know he is on there. Basically he messaged me to ask if he could come to an event, admitted that he has a wife, and said he would lie to her about coming.

He seemed to think that people on Fetlife should have no problem with cheating, (because obviously kinky people have no morals?) I was pretty offended (obviously) by that bit. So I told him:

You should tell your wife. Kinky people are not cool with infidelity.

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However, let’s set the issue of morals aside. There is something else I want to talk about.

This guy said that his wife was perfectly happy in their marriage, and that she was not kinky or curious. He said she was a virgin when they got together, and she is never bored with him. He said he just knows that she adores him. But of course, he said he was bored with her, so he needed to cheat through Fetlife “to get what he needed.” That is about the point when I could feel my blood boiling up inside of me.

Obviously, I don’t know these people personally.

But, I do know the facts.

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Women struggle more with monogamy than men. There is plenty of evidence that many women are more likely to report their relationship as “happy,” but that the sex is lackluster.

Sometimes women mistake a lack of sexual excitement for “falling out of love” and then mistake sexual lust for the next person they meet as “falling in love.”

No matter how you slice it, the truth is that women are just less likely to enjoy monogamy (according to science.) Even in a recent conversation with some of my vanilla girl friends, I found that they were very open to swinging or dating outside the marriage.

To sum up, more women report being bored and not feeling sexual desire than men. That is just a fact that we know, and it means that there is a higher chance that your wife is bored than you.

In fact, if you are bored, science can almost guarantee that your wife is.

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So the point is: Talk to your fucking wife/girlfriend/whatever. Don’t make assumptions about how another person feels. That is never okay.

Also, when I told Cheating SOB (this guy’s screen name) that he should just talk to his wife, he asked me what he should say.

First, recognize the fact that: I don’t know your wife! You know your wife. I bet you know better how to bring things up with her!

Generic Advice:

Do some laundry. Cook. Clean. Take her to dinner. Have sex. And after sex in the dark, ask her if she ever feels like the romance is gone, or like she’s not as attracted to you as she used to be. Let her know that it is okay to be honest.

Then, ask her how she would feel about trying new things in bed that she might be interested in. Ask if she has any fantasies. (Yes, it does have to be about her if you want it to work. Keep your own shit to yourself for awhile until you do some stuff she wants.)

If you are interested in being poly, as her if she would ever consider dating someone else. Make it clear that she would date someone else first before you, so you could both see how you felt about it. Because if it is your idea, then it should be her who tries to go on dates first and her who has sex outside the marriage first.

If and only if you are both okay with that, then you can start to date.

This way it doesn’t feel like a free-for-all or a competition, but rather, a careful and considered growth in the relationship.

So what is the key to getting your spouse to try new things in bed or to open up the relationship? Make the focus on what they want instead of being a selfish ass. I think we can infer from Cheating SOB’s screen name and the fact that he is trying to hook up with people off Fetlife that he is a self-centered narcissist. But if YOU are not a self-centered narcissist, then I think this can easily work for you.

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Club Sanctuary

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Oregon has a few options for swingers clubs like The Velvet Rope and Club Privata. They sometimes do kink nights with suspensions and toys, but they don’t have fully-equipped dungeons. For dungeons, there were only a few private choices like Meadhall.  If you weren’t friends with the owners, then you were stuck checking Fetlife.com for kink events put on at various clubs like the Bossanova Ballroom.

So when I heard about Club Sanctuary opening up, I was extremely excited! Portland has needed a public dungeon space, and now they have one.

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Imagine my disappointment when I found out that they have cameras in the front room! I had just written a post about being outed and how it was NOT okay. Then I find out that this dungeon keeps video of the people who play there. That makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Now it’s true, the cameras are only in the main room. And yes, you could wear a mask and clothes that hide any visible scars or tattoos. And if that is your thing, then you should do it. My Pet had a lot of fun there playing kinky Jenga, and if you are fine with being on video at a dungeon, then I highly recommend it.

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Unfortunately, I come from a very old-school way of thinking after 20 years in the kink community, and I am not okay with being outed or risking video evidence of me in a dungeon. So, I did not go in.

I am pleased to say that Pet had a good time. He talked to the owners and said that they seem nice. And he felt that it was at least as nice as the CSPC used to be, minus the library and learning annex.

As for me, if they decide to get rid of the cameras, I will be happy to go. Until then, I can only tell you that if your personal threshold for exposure is lower than mine, you will probably like it and you should check it out.

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Dating Woes

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I sometimes use this blog to vent, and this is one of those times. I know first dates are difficult, and kink first dates are more complicated than most. And yet, even in a complicated subculture, I expect better than my recent meeting.

Recently I was talking with a guy off fetlife.com, and he seemed like a pretty decent human. I agreed to meet him because I hate wasting time chatting with someone for weeks on end only to find out that they are gross in person.

(In my opinion, this is an attitude that most people in their 30’s have. It’s a huge waste of time to message back and forth like teenagers while being nervous about meeting up. I just want to look people in the eyes and see if they are cool or not first thing.)

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We met in a park by my house (it’s a public place so I know I am safe, but not a place where I am obligated to buy anything because I am cheap), and that was when I realized that this guy was clueless.

I mean straight-up without a damn clue.

He had only ever watched kink porn, and it was obvious that he was conflicted about actually doing a kinky thing. It was also obvious that he didn’t look at people in the scene as people; but rather as nothing more than vehicles to fulfill a fantasy that he is ashamed of.

Not only that, but he confessed after some nervous pacing that he is married, and his wife doesn’t know that he’s even into kink.

Best part: I was supposed to just be chill with all those issues.

Like I said: Clueless.

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I didn’t even know where to begin in terms of saying “This really isn’t cool.” I knew it had to wait until he was not in the same place as me because his pacing made me think he could become violent.

So, I waited until we parted ways and then I sent him a message.

It would have been a public service for me to explain to him all the various things that he did wrong. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like getting into a long conversation about why you shouldn’t spend the first date only talking about what you want while pacing like a psycho.

In the message, I just told him that I wasn’t okay with the fact that he lies to his wife. (Which is true. If my husband lied to me I wouldn’t be happy at all.)

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BDSM requires trust, and honesty. That definitely means that you shouldn’t lie to your wife.

However, women who are kinky are also people. No really, we are people. So we aren’t really keen to hear all about your fantasies and all your selfish wants, rather than having you ask us what we are interested in.

You know what else: noobs suck. Be a decent human being and read up on the kink community first before you waste someone’s time on a date. Learn. Read. Get a clue. Don’t go out with someone from the community when you have never been to a single kink event, don’t know anything about it, and have a bunch of issues in your head about kink because you haven’t accepted yourself yet.

And finally, don’t act like a psycho. Pacing like crazy and being unable to talk like a normal person is weird. Don’t be weird.

Gods I hate dating.

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Free Speech in the Digital World

This seems like a really odd place to be writing about free speech. It’s a kink blog. What could kink possibly have to do with free speech, right?

Well, there have been some controversies involving Fetlife.com and free speech over the years. This is something that I have given a lot of thought to. I used to be a journalist, and so the first amendment has always held a special place in my heart, right next to dark chocolate and my favorite flogger.

The first controversy about free speech on fetlife came up after a girl was raped, and she wanted to out her rapist on her own page.

I get all the conflicting issues there. I realize that if the guy was not guilty then it could be considered defamation. I get that social media isn’t like sitting around a table getting coffee, because a third party (the platform) could be held responsible. I took enough law classes in college to see all the conflicts.

However, I was shocked at how unapologetic fetlife was about banning her without even finding out if charges had been filed or if her rapist had been convicted. They (the men running the site) were very quick to punish the victim without even a second thought.

The second free speech controversy that came up was when fetlife started deleting groups. For example, they decided that adult baby play was simply too risky for the site. Of course they cited reasons like legal risk and financial risk, but there is certainly a question as to how anything consenting adults agree to could be illegal.

Again, I know that people have said that it doesn’t matter because the groups can just use codes and only trade pictures/ideas/etc in person. I know people will say that we should all be terrified of the government and therefore censor ourselves before anyone tells us to. And, I know what everyone chants “better safe than sorry” because I remember what the community was like before we had the Internet and it sucked. I don’t want to go back to fliers in some scummy shop and walks down random alleys looking for secret clubs.

So I guess this brings me to the central question: How much freedom of speech do you ever really have right now as kinky people?

To be honest, it seems like we don’t have much.

And, if we want to protect ourselves in an environment where our browser history can now be sold and the President tried to find the address of people who mock him on Twitter, do we even want to speak freely?

My professor in Media Law was extremely insistent that no one should ever write anything down. As soon as you write it down, there is proof that you wrote it. It could be misconstrued and come back to haunt you, and so you shouldn’t do it.

The government is always watching, he said. And, you never know when they are going to decide that whatever you are into is no longer acceptable.

On the other hand, when I was in college, everyone I knew had a LiveJournal account where they poured out their hearts to no one every night when they went home. Friends posted pictures of their children doing embarrassing things with no thought to how those children would feel with those pictures online forever. And, sites like Myspace and Facebook were luring everyone into putting their entire lives online. Some people argue that when everyone’s entire life is online, it takes a whole lot to stand out.

An old woman once told me that society swings from conservative to liberal, and back again. The 1950’s were conservative and rigid, so the 1960’s were wild, she said.

So, I guess I have to wonder if data and freedom of speech online will be the same. Perhaps we were in our 1960’s just now with data, having virtual orgies in a time when the Internet was still the wild west and the government couldn’t track everything you did to an IP address and then arrest you.

Perhaps things are swinging back around to conservative now, and it really is a good time to be careful until we all get better at encrypting our computers.

The obvious solution is to push harder for mainstream acceptance of kink. We all deserve the right to talk about this stuff openly as part of our lives, just like someone would talk about any other aspect of their personality. We shouldn’t have to worry that it will be criminalized, or that someone will put people with a certain fetish on a watchlist.

I would encourage you to write to your Congressional Representatives advocating for protection of Internet browsing, freedom on Internet forums, and laws protecting our community. You don’t have to sign the letter or use your own return address. I understand the desire to be careful. But, put the request out into the universe even if it is anonymous. And if you are in a position to do so, maybe use your real name and address.

When censorship pushes, we should do our best to push back.

 

Dating Online and the Community

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The subject of dating has come up a lot in my life lately. You all know by now about the person I love in Arizona who is going through a divorce. I have been struggling to help him find things to be happy about now that he has lost his home and family.

It’s not easy.

His idea for dating was to go back through old flames and see if any of them were still around. I guess that makes sense. When you are hurt, go for the familiar.

Of course when that didn’t go well, I suggested online dating.

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He tried valiantly to meet girls off several sites, but none were very interested in talking abut ideas, and instead wanted to talk about people and events. If you don’t get the joke there, look up Eleanor Roosevelt.

So thus far, he has met with limited success and this has made him decide to give up on dating for the time being. I tried in vein to change his mind, and tried to talk about the virtues of getting to know new and exciting people, and how wonderful falling in love is.

Then I logged into Fetlife and I remembered that he’s right.

Dating does suck.

My bad.

I was wrong.

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Let me tell you about the two new prizewinning jerks who sent me messaged while I was trying to sell the idea that dating is wonderful.

Jerk Number One:

This guy messaged me with “Wat up you down to fuk?”

Let that sentence (bad grammar and spelling and all) sink in to your brain, and then realize that this is not a person I knew. This is a random stranger. I guess he’s new to the area (that’s literally all his profile said) and he doesn’t realize that it’s a small pond, and you can’t afford to be an asshat to even one person.

I tried to be polite, and respond by saying that he would benefit from having a profile picture and some information about himself. I went on to suggest that he should maybe treat women like people and start with “Hello.”

(No really, you can treat women like people. They even actually are people. I know that is hard for some folks to grasp, but it’s true!)

Naturally, Jerk Number One wrote back:

“Ur ugy anyway u fat cunt.”

So that’s one more swing and miss for me trying to civilize the masses one guy at a time. I honestly don’t know why I try. I should just ignore them like most girls do.

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P.S. It’s hilarious how some guys whine “I message girls all the time and they never respond.” See? That’s how you know they are a jerk. They send nasty messages all the time and women ignore them because most women don’t respond to abusive dickwads. If they were nice guys, women would respond. That’s how that works. 

Jerk Number Two:

This guy actually started out perfectly nice, and said he’d like to play scenes with me.

Normally, anyone who will talk to me nicely gets coffee at least. However, I noted that he was 65.

Now, I was molested as a child, so I have a thing about not dating older guys (and this one is ten years older than my father!) I am just not okay with it. If there are girls out there looking for a “daddy to spoil them” then more power to them! You do you. But I personally don’t do older guys.

I very nicely said that I am on the younger side of the 30’s (as indicted by my profile) and that I am uncomfortable dating older men. I offered to get coffee anyway, saying I am always happy to meet new people.

So what does this guy do? He writes back telling me that we’re all the same on the inside and that age doesn’t matter. Apparently it’s all a state of mind and I am a judgmental bitch.

Now, I doubt that he would have responded kindly to a 90-year-old woman hitting on him. So, I would submit that he is likely judgmental and prejudice about age himself; but only when the woman is the older party.

So that reminded me how much I hate dating, and how sometimes creepers hang out on fetlife.com these days just harass women. I hate that. I like to think of the kink community as a bunch of really nice people who all want to at least be friends. I like to think of us as inclusive and connected as a group by common weirdness.

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And yet, so often lately it seems like real world interactions ruin my hopeful views.

What happened?

I have been part of the kink community for 20 years and I never had to deal with the type of assholes that are around these days. Is this just how men are now? Have they all become total losers?

I mean, I never used to get harassed this much. I used to meet nice people through fetlife.com. Hell, I met my husband (who is my very favorite Pet) through fetlife.com! I feel like nearly every message I used to get resulted in a friendship, and I still think fondly of all those amazing people I used to meet around munches and fetlife and fetish proms.

And yet, lately it’s nothing but penis pictures and guys saying “Wut up slut.”

It’s like the quality of available males has diminished in the last decade to the point that there simply are not any more worth talking to. I haven’t met anyone worth my time in ages, and that is disappointing.

So maybe the person I love in Arizona is right. Maybe it’s time to give up on dating for awhile. At least I will always have my beloved Pet, so that is something!

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