Tough Love Thursdays are about real issues facing alternative sexuality communities. These can be external pressures or internal struggles - not for the faint of heart.
Ableism permeates our culture and alternative sexuality communities are not exempt from participating in a system that makes people with disabilities or different abilities invisible. We do this by assuming that everyone’s mind and body work the same. I was told a story by a top who had to sit down to play. The side-eyes and negative comments implying they were just being “lazy” made them so uncomfortable they left the space with no desire to return. This casual ableism can make a play space unsafe for a person with disabilities or different abilities. Ask yourself:
- When you negotiate a scene, do you check in about a person’s physical capacity? Previous injuries? Emotional triggers?
- Does your favorite Leather contest provide interpreters?
- Is the dungeon equipment spaced to accommodate a wheelchair?
- What can you do to address these issues in your community?
Before you judge a scene or person you are not involved with, remember disabilities and different abilities can be visible or invisible… and that unless a scene is harmful or breaks play space rules, it’s not your job to judge.
How to Put On a Condom.
Think that all you need to do is open the package and roll it on? Wrong. There’s a lot more to using a condom correctly than some people think. Watch this quick video (it’s shorter than three minutes!) to make sure that you know exactly what to do so that your condom usage is as effective as possible.
Happy Trans* Awareness week everyone!
I am wishing my trans*, genderqueer, and non-binary followers safe spaces which foster self-care, loved ones to lean on, access to any medical intervention you need to feel safe in your body, the ability to cope with dysphoria, and time in your week to seek after emotional well-being.
Los Angeles County voters have approved a measure requiring porn performers to wear condoms while filming sex scenes, prompting a pledge by the adult entertainment industry to sue to overturn the measure.
I can’t be the only one who thinks this is a really good idea, right?
lawz I love Meredith Stern.
Mary Roach: 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm
“There was a case report of a woman who had an orgasm every time she brushed her teeth. (Laughter) This was something in the complex sensory-motor action of brushing her teeth was triggering orgasm. And she went to a neurologist who was fascinated. He checked to see if it was something in the toothpaste, but no — it happened with any brand. They stimulated her gums with a toothpick, to see if that was doing it. No. It was the whole, you know, motion. And the amazing thing to me is that now you would think this woman would like have excellent oral hygiene. Sadly she — this is what it said in the journal paper — “She believed that she was possessed by demons and switched to mouthwash for her oral care.” It’s so sad.”
and“There was an empress Maria Theresa, who was having trouble conceiving. And apparently the royal court physician said to her, “I am of the opinion that the vulva of your most sacred majesty be titillated for some time prior to intercourse.” (Laughter) It’s apparently, I don’t know, on the record somewhere.”
Although gender essentialist throughout, this is a fascinating watch. I love Mary Roach.
I was looking around for something that gives strategies that men can do to prevent rape and rape culture. Outside of Jackson Katz’s “10 Things Men Can Do To Stop Rape,” I didn’t find anything that was more recent. I put this list together as a handout for the male-identified training. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with this, but I feel there isn’t anything that is just a quick list of how to interrupt rape culture. Comments, questions, criticisms encouraged.
Male Ally Tips – Things You Can Do Every Day!
Being an ally isn’t just about attending trainings and volunteering with RVA – it’s mostly about the way we carry ourselves on a day-to-day basis. With that in mind, here are some things to be mindful of…
- Watch how much space you take up. Often when we are sitting on the train or bus, men tend to take up more space than women. In some cases, it may be because we are physically bigger than women, but in others it is an unearned (and unnoticed) sense of entitlement. When you ride the train, compare and contrast how much space men take up versus women. Remember that your size can be intimidating.
- Learn to step back… From an early age, boys are encouraged to voice our opinions and to speak when we feel something needs to be said. However, that can lead us to dominate a conversation or meeting. Instead, practice not talking. Let others, particularly female-identified people, speak first. If they have said something you thought about saying, you don’t need to echo it.
- …and to step up! Use your voice for good – when you hear other men telling a sexist joke, or statements that support rape myths, or words that belittle survivors of domestic and sexual violence, interject! You’ll be surprised at how effective (and appreciated!) a statement such as “I really don’t think that (joke/comment/remark) is funny” really is.
- Attend feminist events. If male-identified people are welcomed at the space, show your support by attending talks by feminist authors, film screenings by female filmmakers, and concerts with feminist performers.
- Support feminist media. Go one step further – if we want to put a stop to rape culture, we need to work on dismantling it. Supporting alternatives to mainstream, corporate-owned media is imperative. Get a subscription to Bitchmagazine, buy albums of feminist performers and buy tickets to movies that feature strong female leads and/or positive depictions of gender non-conforming folks. As the old saying goes, “money talks”- if companies see these movies doing well they are more likely to continue making them!
- Volunteer! If you have the time, volunteer for a rape crisis or domestic violence center. Men NEED to be doing this work. Most of the time violence is perpetrated, a man is the perpetrator. This is not being anti-male, it’s just being honest. Call your local rape crisis or domestic violence center and find out how you can help. You may not be able to work directly with survivors, but you can do prevention work – which involves talking to other men – and that is equally important.
- Make your space feminist. We don’t want to take up more space than necessary, but rather, to make the space we do take up feminist. If you work in an office, push for a sexual assault 101 training. Hang up posters in your cubicle that are supportive of gender-equality. If you’re a member of a fraternity, do a service project that benefits a local rape crisis or DV center. It’s possible to do this in any space – not just the social work field!
- Be an active bystander. Obviously if we see a sexual assault taking place we should intervene, as anyone would do. However, sexual violence exists on a continuum. Verbal street harassment and groping are also forms of sexual violence, though they are commonly accepted. If you see a man talking to a woman on the train, ask the woman if the man is bothering her. When you see a man taking upskirt pictures on his iPhone, tell him that is not only illegal but wrong. If a man grabs a woman, tell him, in your own words, to leave her alone. Most of these behaviors continue because the men who perpetrate the actions feel justified since they have never had another man call them out on it. Equally important, we want to think of our own safety – intervene if you feel comfortable, but we’re not superheroes, nor do we want to feel that just because we are men we need to be “strong” enough to fix everything. Taking your own safety account is imperative!
- Reflect the type of masculinity you want to see in the world. If we want to break the association of masculinity and violence, we need to portray the type of masculinity we want to see. This means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, being nurturing and supportive of children, taking responsibility for our actions, and apologizing when we’ve hurt someone’s feelings. It also means supporting men who are “outside the gender box,” as well as supporting women and gender non-conforming folks. If we continue to harbor the negative qualities of masculinity, we can’t effectively change it.
- Be accountable. Finally, recognize the ways that you are being oppressive. Always keep yourself in check. Being an ally means being accountable to feminists and to female-identified and gender non-conforming people. Though we may have the best of intentions, it is common to make mistakes. That’s how privilege works, after all – we will always be unlearning sexism. Being an ally is a lifelong process, and you’ve started on the road to making the world a safer place for women and girls (as well as boys and men!). That should be commended. However, we do not deserve praise for doing the work we should be doing; for taking responsibility. Make sure you are self-critical, self-aware, and knowledgeable about your words and actions.
I got a question about this last week- passing it on!
So tell me. How far can I walk on my own at night? How many metres, exactly, can I walk unaccompanied without having to fear for my life?
How many drinks am I, an adult woman, allowed to have after work on Friday night before being dismissed as a “party girl” or “asking for it”? How high can my heels be, and how short a skirt can I wear, before being implicated in any crime against me? And, just so that I’m clear, how many metres can I walk to get myself home?
And if something happened to me, how harshly would I be judged? If I vanished on that walk to my front door, what would you have to say about me? Would I be tut-tutted at for not accepting the offer of an escort home? Would idiots take to Facebook to admonish me for supposedly leading some guy on?
Would do-gooders and commentators and Twitterati-types take my parents to task for not raising me to act sensibly? Would they lambast my friends and lovers for not taking adequate care of me? Would everyone in my life suffer because I exceeded my allocated metres of solo walking?
Would every media outlet in the country view my disappearance as an opportunity to point out that, as it happens, women have more to fear in our world than men?
Would you, quietly, at the back of your mind, think that if I’d just stayed home with my partner, like a good wife and woman, none of this would have happened to me?
Are you just looking for one big, smug fucking excuse to say that you told me so?
And just so that we’re absolutely fucking clear, how many metres am I allowed to walk on my own at night?"
Originally posted by victimblaming (in new post to add on more images).
These are posters from the Backbone Zone, here is a little from their website about the program:
For years, prevention has been primarily about victims, and the ways they can and should change their behavior to avoid sexual violence, sexual harassment, and gender-based bullying. More recently, this approach has been seen as putting the responsibility for sexual violence on survivors. Instead, across the country, there is a movement toward ‘primary prevention’- a kind of prevention that seeks to end sexual violence before it begins, and to put the responsibility of doing so on everyone.
The Backbone Zone project is an innovative approach to bystander intervention, and is about helping people recognize the actions that everyone can take to change the world they live in. Recognizing sexist and homophobic language, realizing that it has an impact, encouraging students to choose different words, and giving them the skills to be active bystanders when they hear sexist and homophobic language: these are steps that each one of us can take to end gender-stereotypes, and to help end sexual violence. Everybody has a backbone. The Backbone Zone project is a campaign that speaks directly to students, helping them to find - and use - their backbones.
Thanks for sharing!
Here’s a random fact: Did you know there is actually no medical reason to wear a bra?
That’s right. None. Contrary to popular belief, bras don’t prevent sagging or anything else.
I know it probably seems a bit strange for me to be saying this. After all, I am a lingerie blogger so I should be Team Bra 24/7, right? But I’ve been thinking about the whole bra/no-bra thing for awhile, and some of the language we have around bras (and the women who don’t wear bras) kind of bothers me.
As much as I love bras (and I really love them), even I don’t wear one everyday. I wore a bra more often when my nipples were pierced, but since I’ve taken the piercings out, I’ve gone back to wearing most of (but not all of) the time. Which should be fine because no one has to wear a bra…in the same way no one has to wear corset or has to wear a girdle.
(Click the link to read more.)
Because the closet is a sanctuary.
Because of survival.
Because communities aren’t safe.
Because of survival.
Because your sexuality is yours.
Because of survival.
Because your existence is validated not by who you tell but the fact that you do what you need to to stay alive.
Because you define what “coming out” is on your terms.
Because community priorities are not ur priorities.
Because telling no one is just as important.
Because not being “out” does not mean you are less than.
Because of survival.
We had a dental dam laid out on our Freshers’ Week stall & so many of you asked us what it was & how it worked that we thought we’d write a short introductory post, which should hopefully answer all your questions.
What is a dental dam?
A dental dam is a thin rectangle of latex which can be used during oral sex to reduce the risk of STI transmission - they work in the same way as condoms, by creating a barrier between bodily fluids & skin. People often view oral sex as less risky, but both herpes & HPV can be transferred through mouth to vulva contact, so it’s important to protect yourself.
Dental dams are also great for reducing your risk of getting a vaginal infection & for annilingus, since they prevent any direct contact between the mouth & anus, which some people might not feel comfortable with.
You can buy dental dams in most large pharmacies, get them from the GUM clinic, or though the C:Card scheme on campus. They come in lots of different flavours, or you could add flavoured lube (although be careful if you’re susceptible to yeast infections, since sugary flavoured lubes will up your risk of infection).
So, how do I use a dental dam?
- First off, check the packet. Dental dams usually come in a thin, film packet, so check that there aren’t any tears or that the packet is particularly wrinkled, since these both up the chances of the dental dam being damaged. Next check that the dental dam is within it’s use-by date, & has a CE Mark, & preferably also a kitemark (these guarantee it is safe & effective).
- If everything looks ok, open the packet, being careful not to tear the dental dam itself. Dentals usually come folded up with a little latex band to keep them in place, so take this off & then unfold the dam.
- At this point you can add lube (not oil-based as this will make it more likely to split) to the dental dam (on one or both sides) & place it on either the vulva or anus, making sure it doesn’t get folded.
- You can now perform cunnilingus or annilingus to your’s & your partner’s delight! The important thing to remember is never to move the dam from one orifice to another, & never turn the dental dam over since this stops it from being an effective form of protection. Feel free to add some extra lube if it dries out.
- Once you’re done, wrap the dental dam up in some tissue & throw it in the bin. Dental dams are non-reusable so make sure you have a new one each time you have oral sex, & for each person who has oral sex performed on them.
I can’t get hold of dental dams, are there any alternatives?
If you can’t get a hold of them, both latex gloves & condoms can be used as a replacement. Simply cut the glove or condom down the sides to create a rectangle, then you can use it just the same as a dental dam.
In a push, you can also use non-microwaveable saran wrap or cling film, although this is obviously not ideal & likely to be less comfortable.
Can I use a dental dam for scissoring?
Absolutely! STIs can be passed between vaginas, so if you & your partner both have a vulva & want to stay safe whilst grinding or scissoring a dental dam is a great option. One of you simply clips the dental dam in place using a garter belt or a dental dam harness (although these are usually expensive & difficult to find), & then you’re free to go. Just make sure that the dam doesn’t tear or shift & you’ll both be protected.
Dental dams are rarely discussed in sex education at school (this is part of a wider problem with schools only focusing on penis in vagina sex) but they’re a great way to get the maximum amount of fun out of sex whilst keeping you & your partner(s) safe.