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Shifts in the Tectonic Plates of My Self Conception

June 10, 2010

So I’ve been catching up on blogs, and Dev said:

I generally think it unwise to apologize for sporadic posting, especially since apologies for sporadic posting generally signal the end of a blog’s life, but, wow, I haven’t posted anything since November.

Just insert ‘for six months,’ instead. I’m not actually sorry though, as I had about zilch desire to write here. In my absence Subversive Sub, Jones, and it seems Ireen have followed Sara Eileen with a ‘Good night and good luck.’ Nameless is nowhere to be found. I feel a little sad, because these people were gateways, catalysts and travel-partners in my own self-understanding. I enjoyed reading about their joys and travails and thoughts. But I also understand about moving on, and the fluidness of change.

In the same post Dev wrote:

“It seems, however, that a lack of angst and a steady happy life do not make for scintillating blogging.”

Which is what it was like sometimes (certainly not all the time) during those six months. I’d contemplate writing here, and reflect that I was not feeling angsty about cultural oppression, or anyone else’s point of view. And most of all I’m no longer feeling desperate. So I didn’t know what to write about. Which says a lot about the emotional place I was when I when I started this blog. Rereading some personal writing from that era, I realize I was basically spiritually suicidal.

Which is not to say that everything is currently shiny, fuzzy, and tinted pastel. I live in an oftentimes challenging (and equally often rewarding) emotional environment. I’m learning so much about myself, and sometimes I’m twisted into pretzels and feel confused and a little crazy, or unmotivated and weighed down. But other times I feel at peace with where I am and what I’m experiencing, and I’m more connected to my body, my feelings, and the people around me than I ever have been before.

My entire understanding of my sexuality has radically shifted. I started exploring my sexuality as a sickness I could not be healed from, and now I’m exploring it as self-expression and understanding.

I know I live in an oppressive culture, and I know that the laws of profit portray my sexuality in untrue and demoralizing ways. Yet I am responsible for my own feelings, and capable of being my own fulfillment. I can be as happy with my sexual circumstances as I want to be.

I have now been physically separate from partner for twice as long as we were sexual together. I’m learning how to have satisfying sex with myself, not just because I have no partner, but because I want to nurture my sexual relationship with myself.

Orgasms, have, to my surprise, entered into the category of ‘feels good.’ Sometimes. Tangentially, I realize that the line between pain and pleasure is blurred for me. Not because I experience pain as pleasure (the most common understanding people seem to have of my masochism), but because pleasure as I always conceived it doesn’t really seem to exist. There’s just things that feel good, that I enjoy, and certain kinds of pain happen to be some of them.

I’ve finally gotten down to conditioning some hemp rope, with the possibility of being able to practice with someone in a not-having-sex-or-potentially-having-sex relationship. I realize how much I want those relationships. I realize how I want asexual relationships, sexual relationships without sex, sadistic relationships, masochistic relationships, dominant relationships, bottoming relationships, having-sex relationships, fluid there are no words to describe it just happens relationships. I want it all.

Related to this I’ve been coming to terms with how sadism isn’t just sexual for me (and just when I want to talk about it I find a post of Maymay’s I’ve never read before that’s talking about it. Synergy). It just isn’t. And that scares me a little. I don’t know why. Maybe because if it was confined to a masochistic sex partner, then it was safe in its box. And if it’s just a part of the way I move in the world, it’s not. It is, divine entities forbid, free.

Which is not to say I go around hitting people, but when I observe pain I acknowledge that I sometimes relate to it in a different way than some, and that it doesn’t necessarily mean I get off on it. Other times I observe pain, do what needs to be done to help the situation, and only realize later that I had no sadistic reaction at all. Every situation is different. When I experience pain that I don’t enjoy, I step back and try to experience it as its own unique sensation rather than being wrapped up in how uncomfortable I am. And, in the right circumstances, I’d love to be able to incorporate pain as a part of my daily interactions with people who I’m intimate with and have no interest in having sex with.

Lately I’ve been able to look at the different ways so-called BDSM can manifest itself without trying to find the ‘right’ or ‘natural’ or ‘correct’ way. I’ll put myself through these mind-trips about how ‘This is the healthy way to do it, and that’s not’ or ‘I only want that because of conditioning so it’s unhealthy but I can express it in a healthy way if I make sure to do this–’

But sexual experience can be healing, it can be sexy, it can be dangerous, it can be joyful, it can be frightening, it can be giving, and sharing, giggle-to-death hilarious, fun, intimate and scare-the-fuck-out-of-you vulnerable. It’s different things to different people at different times. It can take people beyond their boundaries or stay firmly in their comfort zones, it can be perfectly safe or perfectly dangerous, it can be light and intense, and there are no rules except communication and mutuality and responsibility for your own feelings and actions (or other things which may or may not fall under those categories). I don’t even want to throw consent in there because it seems so irrelevant now. If there was no consent we wouldn’t be sharing it.

It’s all exploration. Exploration of everything. It simply is.

For a while my sexuality more or less fell asleep, and the biggest identity issue in my life was actually about gender, which deserves a post of its own.

People around me have given me so much support, even when what I was describing was beyond their current ability to think of as real. Still, coming back and perusing this nebulous little patchwork online community was such a breath of fresh air. This is possibly the first time in my life where that cliche really just fit. Just being able to relate to people who share my experience and understand things as I understand them, even if just in some ways and not in others, is incredibly powerful. I’m glad I found this community, which really gave me support when I needed it. I want to keep being a part of it, keep growing and reaching out.

Now that I’m feeling more able to express my sexual self, I don’t feel as threatened by what I perceive as a misrepresentation or twisting of the image of that sexual self (essentially, the ravening machine known as femdom). I understand that I don’t have to take that onto myself, it does not change who I am or what I can experience no matter how much marketing it has at its disposal, no matter how much more it influences people’s understanding than I ever will.

I’ve been growing into not thinking of a dichotomy between privileged ‘vanilla’ and oppressed ‘other.’ I’m pretty sure this culture makes it hard for everyone to authentically sexually express themselves, and there is no homogeneous category of people who have the same kind of sex known as vanilla. I still feel challenged around understanding that, especially when most people around me had no previous conception that my sexuality actually existed and yet can instantly relate to each other about penetrative vaginal sex with their monogamous other-sex partners. Which is not to bash any of that, because boy did I find out I liked vaginal sex, and I love other-sex partners, and I only had the one out of circumstance.

I don’t know if I feel like I’m ‘different.’ One person I live with says my sexuality is perfectly normal as a point along the spectrum of human sexuality. Even that my sexuality is present in all of humanity, just to varying degrees. Another person says they’ve never met anyone like me, never even really heard of it, and even when they try they can’t really understand it. It seems like fewer people experience the world even remotely similar to how I do than people who don’t. I don’t know if that’s just because there are actually more people but they’re not visible because of cultural oppression and taboo, or if there is just a legitimate minority. If it is a minority, I don’t know what that means.

I do know I want to be here, sharing myself. I want to be a part of the growth and the openness blooming around sexuality and gender and personhood in all these little corners.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Dev permalink
    June 11, 2010 6:24 am

    It’s always interesting to read about your thoughts and your journey (as it were).

  2. June 11, 2010 10:18 am

    How nice to hear from you again. I’d been wondering how things were going beyond the hills.

    I started exploring my sexuality as a sickness I could not be healed from, and now I’m exploring it as self-expression and understanding.
    I’m learning how to have satisfying sex with myself

    It makes me happy to read things like these from others. I guess compersion also exists with regard to people one isn’t in an intimate relationship with.

    Errr… yep, please don’t ever think there’s any need to apologise for being lazy about blogging. ;)

    Yes, narrow cultural directives can make it hard for anyone to be honest about sexual desires in one’s personal life. Those are larger cultural problems about sexuality in general. It isn’t difficult though to see the instances where culture makes honest self-awareness and self-expression in our love life even more difficult for those of us who are part of sexual minorities. We don’t need to construct a false vanilla-other dichotomy. Neither do we need to fall for a ‘Everyone is really kinky (or whatever) to some degree, if only they acknowledged it’ projection, which is merely a variant of the usual ‘Everyone is really like me lalalalala’ wishful thinking song. It’s possible to be part of a sexual minority and at the same time, as minority, part of the diverse spectrum of human sexuality.

  3. ranat permalink*
    June 11, 2010 12:30 pm

    Thanks Dev, it has definitely been quite the journey, and I expect more adventures await.

    Ranai, it’s neat to see your perspective on how all of this fits in to the larger picture. While I’m not quite as hung up on it as I have been at other points, it’s definitely one of those larger jig-saw puzzles sitting in the back of my consciousness.

  4. June 15, 2010 6:31 pm

    It’s really good to hear your voice!

    “Nameless is nowhere to be found.”

    I’m still here! Just… maybe got tired of talking about things, and got to a point where I felt I was just treading the same ground over and over, in the absence of actual experience to shed new light. And then other aspects of life intervened and demanded attention.

    But in my absence, I’ve had some limited experiences of a sexual but non-kink nature, which do feel like progress and re-awakening. A small start, but a start.

    So glad you’re still out there and still questing.

  5. ranat permalink*
    June 16, 2010 1:23 am

    Glad to know you’re still floating around and exploring! I can relate to tired of talking about things.

    The experience thing is tricky. It’s like the desire is there, the space is there, but for whatever reason the circumstances are not. At least the circumstances I want. So there’s all this inner exploration and kaBLOOM. We’ll figure it all out somehow…

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