Water

There’s a boy who likes to watch me shower. I like to show him, even though too often distance means I can’t entice him to join me in the water.

And sometimes it takes a filter to show the tentacle-haired sea-creature I really am ūüėČ

(The app used to make the picture all bubbly is called Percolator)

Sinful Sunday

Bogeyman in a Red Dress

If there’s one toxic, terrifying thing that (straight) monogamy normalizes, it’s the idea that a partner’s friends are a sexual or romantic threat.

You know. The idea that friendships men and women can never be “benign”. The assertion that these friendships will destroy your marriage. The idea that unless it’s couples being friends with couples as a unit, opposite-sex friendships should peter out as romantic relationships become stable. That men and women can’t be “just friends.”

I had to go three pages deep in Google to find one article saying opposite-sex friendships were sometimes maybe okay for people in relationships*, and that one still said there was always going to be sexual tension. It calls that tension and jealousy a bonus–keeps partners on their toes.

So those of you who agree with this. I got a question.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

Are you literally sexually attracted to every person of your preferred gender?

Really?

If so, don’t you dare ever call bisexuals “sex maniacs” again; your sexuality is clearly an all-encompassing fetish. Seriously. I’m a sex-blogging bisexual with an extraordinarily high sex drive and a preference for multiple partners–and the idea of being attracted to or having a potential relationship with every person I connect with as a friend, even if we restrict to similar ages, sounds absurd.

But fine. Lets say for the sake of argument that any person of one’s preferred gender is a potential partner. If circumstances were different, if they were single, if the right song had played or rain or one too many drinks had pushed them together years ago. If sometime in the future things were different. Of course there are people we wonder that about. Of course it makes sense to acknowledge that potential is there.

We also need to acknowledge that it’s only potential. That friends are capable of choosing to stay friends, that it’s a continual process, and what might have been or what could be are not what you choose, because you value the friendship that is. Banning people from having friends on the off chance that any given friendship could turn into a sexual or romantic relationship based on the slightest hint of desire makes no sense. Anyone with the barest shred of reasonable humanity knows better than to act on every impulse.

If someone is going to cheat,they’re willing to break the agreements of your relationship. Period. It’s not because they were tempted, it’s not because that woman they’ve known since college has been turning up the heat, inching up her skirt and moving too close by increments until he had an affair without realizing it. The cheating partner chose to cheat. Period. Every time. The person or people they cheat with may or may not have known it was an affair. They may or may not have known you existed at all. And if they knew, then yes, they did a shitty thing. But they’re an accomplice. Your partner cheated. Your partner broke an agreement with you. That is not okay. Imposing a rule isolating partners from friends isn’t going to stop them from breaking the relationship agreement and cheating, it just adds another layer of lying and hiding to the formula. If they’re willing to cheat, restricting friendships will not stop them.

Restricting any kind of access to close to half the human population (or all of it, for bi folks) is a pretty extreme form of social isolation.

Isolating partners is necessary for partner abuse. Isolating partners is a form of partner abuse.

I don’t want to hear “It’s for their own good.” You don’t make decisions for adults that are “for their own good.” That suggests they don’t have the ability to make good decisions themselves. It’s demeaning.

I don’t want to hear “It’s a slippery slope.” Your partner will either be honest with you, or they won’t. They will either respect the agreement of your sexual and romantic exclusivity, or they won’t. In either case, it’s unreasonable to ban behaviors that are not inherently problematic to prevent the risk of those that are.

I definitely don’t want to hear “They shouldn’t need anyone but me.” They shouldn’t need you. If you’re isolating your partner to ensure they can’t leave you without being totally, horribly alone, you’re abusing them.

And “It’s not that I don’t trust my partner, I don’t trust those other people” is a lie. It is that you don’t trust your partner. Your partner will not cheat accidentally. If your partner has a friend who is pursuing sex or romance despite knowing that would violate their relationship agreement, then yes, it makes sense to discuss your concerns with your partner, over how they’re setting boundaries and whether their friend respects them. It doesn’t make sense for this discussion to conclude “no friends with this whole gender, ever.”

“My partner can’t have friends of the opposite gender” means “I don’t trust my partner.” That may be fair. They may not be trustworthy. People do cheat, and lie, and the rest. The truth is, people sometimes cheat. If they do, it might mean they’re planning to leave you. It might not. (They might just be lying scumbags who feel entitled to treat partners as things. Why don’t you want them leaving again?) If they cheat, you need to decide how you want to handle that. And it’s hard. It’s fucking hard. I don’t wish it on anyone. If they leave you, of course I offer sympathies. Being dumped is horrible and you deserve ice cream…but they have every right to leave. You have every right to leave. Relationships have to be voluntary. Isolating partners to prevent them being scumbags won’t work, and preventing them leaving (probably) won’t work and it’s abusive if it does.

Oh, and polyamorous people do it, too. “You can play with/fuck/date other people but I can end it/you need my permission.” When rules for protocol surrounding a behavior become more important than the behavior itself…it leads to problems.


 

* Hello, heteronormativity! “relationship advice” is for straight people, unless it says “gay” in the title, and bisexuals just need to pretend they’re [orientation that people assume based on current partner] and use advice for that group.

Rejection, or why I took six hours to say “no, thank you.”

9:12 AM: “Would you like to play sometime?”

Not really, no.

9:26 AM: “Sorry, but–”

Why did I type that? I’m not sorry.

9:31 AM: “I’m not looking for that right now.”

What the hell? Yes I am. I’m in full predator mode. I want to tear someone apart with my teeth. I want them sobbing with desperation. I want to fuck until I’m too exhausted and overwhelmed to move. I am 100% looking for that. I’m not looking for it with him.

9:34 AM: “I don’t think it’s a good idea, because–”

Why the fuck am I implying I want this? If I give a reason it can be rebutted. It looks like it could mean “I’m interested, but–” when in fact I am not interested. It looks like maybe I’m hoping to be convinced. I really, really don’t want to deal with that.

I’m just not going to look at my phone for a while.

12:47 PM: ”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ”

Well, shit, now I just look like an asshole.

Okay, I don’t just look like an asshole, I am an asshole.

1:13 PM “I’m sorry–”

I’m still not fucking sorry.

1:17 PM: “Augh why did you have to ask me that I’m supposed to be fucking working”

Yeah, that’s not fair.

I’m pretty sure I lost the chance to even make a diplomacy check after twenty minutes of silence. May as well get it over with.

1:19 PM: “No, thank you.”

Cold.

I mean, it’s not cold, not really, not any more than any other “no.” It’s honest. Makes no excuses. But I feel the ire of every man who’s ever said “fine, you don’t have to be such a bitch about it,” and I hesitate. How do I say no without making it awkward? Without a late night phone call months from now angrily demanding that I Just Give Him A Chance (which is what the last man I went on exactly one date with did).

Maybe if I don’t answer he’ll miraculously un-ask.

Maybe I should stop being a fucking coward and just say no.

Maybe managing his reaction isn’t my job, and anyway maybe I’m being unfair, assuming he’ll react badly. Maybe I should just get it the hell over with.

Maybe if he knew how goddamn much I cuss he’d want to rescind the invitation on his own.

2:36 PM: “No, thank you.”

Hesitate.

This is ridiculous. I’ve rejected plenty of people. Hit send already. Do it.

He’s going to ask why, you know that, right?

Fuck me, brain, why you gotta say that? None of his business is why.

Okay but he’s going to ask.

I’m just not feeling it.

Weak.

So?

So how are you going to deal with it?

Apparently by not responding to his text for all day, that’s how.

Dick move.

I know! *deep breath* Okay.

2:40 PM: “Sorry for leaving you hanging. I was looking for a less disappointing way to phrase “no, thank you” but I suppose they all come out about the same.”

Send.

Tick Tock (a rant)

“I can just see you counting the days until you have one of your own.”

I’ve just carried a giggle-shrieking goblin child back to its mother. I groan inwardly, but the man who spoke is clearly waiting for an answer. I smile as politely as I can. “No, I’m not having kids.”

“Oh, wait til you get married. You’ll have one within a year.”

“I’m divorced, actually. Anyway I’ve never wanted them.”

“Oh… well, you’re young. When you’re older–”

“I’m thirty.” The man speaking to me can’t be over thirty-five.

He shakes his head. “You say that now. But tick tock! That biological clock will get ya.”

Tick tock. Apparently one day I will wake up in the morning and slap my forehead in sudden realization of the obvious: of course I must want children! What other possible purpose in life could a woman have?

I don’t want children. I have never, ever, ever wanted children. I have never–not even when holding the sweetest, not-screamingest baby or playing make-believe with the most imaginative young person–thought “someday I might want this.” When I watch friends’ kids, I’m grateful as hell when they come home and I can get back to my regularly scheduled ice cream and nudity and cussing as much as I want. I do not want kids.

People want to argue. I’ll regret not having children when I’m old, they say. No one ever wants to talk about what it would mean to have a child and regret it. To raise a whole person that I do not want and be responsible for the survival and love and support and some degree of not fucking them up while also not fucking myself up even worse…yeah. There is no way this could end badly.

Except that’s the wrong thing to say. I can’t start explaining the myriad reasons that it would be a bad idea for me to have a child–the sometimes-debilitating mental illness that runs in my family, the poor vision and bad teeth they’d certainly inherit, my general lack of patience and uncompromising nature. I could go on. But any of that, all of it, I could find a way to overcome if I wanted kids. The real issue is that I do not want them.

I don’t hate children. They’re cute and the young ones’ unfiltered honestly delights me. I don’t think it ruins lunch if a friend brings her son along. If I’m honest, I kind of like them.

In small doses.

As long as they aren’t coming home with me.

I get that kids bring something magical and shiny to some people’s lives. That they can’t imagine enjoying life without that experience any more than I can imagine enjoying life with it. But the fact that I smile at kids and have fun taking them to play sometimes doesn’t mean I want one of my own. I like going to the zoo and no one thinks that’s incontrovertible proof that I want a giraffe. Same with small DIY humans.

People aren’t so adamant about telling me I’m wrong about what I want with most things. “I don’t like mushrooms” is rarely met with more than momentary incredulity. “I want to see x happen at work” is met with questions and brainstorming and support. “I want a tattoo” is accepted by most people who are not my mother (she knows it’s true but she Does Not Like It). But anything that has to do with sex–and children do have to do with sex–if I don’t conform to most people’s expectations of how a woman should relate to sex, I clearly don’t know my own mind. I need to be corrected, for my own good. Of course I couldn’t be bi, and I don’t like sex as much as or more than most men, and I definitely, DEFINITELY will want to have kids.

At this point I’m going to have to have “yes, I’m sure I don’t want kids” inscribed on my tombstone before it’s taken seriously. I know what I want. I don’t want kids.

And if I were wrong? If I am woefully incapable of making the “right” decision on the spawning front without correction from others? Why on earth would anyone who doesn’t trust that I know what I want trust me to be responsible for a whole helpless human being?