Tag Archives: rant

Trigger

Apparently people are yet again taking a bold and righteous stand against trigger warnings. As usual, the arguments against them show that people opposing them have no idea what a trigger warning actually is, or why they are useful.

So just so we’re on the same page: a trigger warning is a note that a piece of media or discussion contains content that may trigger an episode or lapse in persons with certain mental or neurological illness, or in those likely to develop such an illness such as those who have recently experienced trauma.

The conversation revolves mostly around PTSD, as does my experience, but trigger warnings can also be used to warn people with seizure disorders about strobing lights, people with major depression about discussion of suicide or self harm, people with substance use or eating disorders about drugs, alcohol, or disordered eating.

And apparently this is Awful Censorship and also Coddling and also Bad For People and also an Undue Burden, according to people who do not understand what trigger warnings are.

Trigger warnings are not censorship. They do not alter the content of media or discussion, they simply note what that content is. They are only censorship in the sense that a “warning: contains peanuts” on a package is a ban on the sale and consumption of peanuts. In other words, not at all. I am told that a warning still counts as censorship because people may choose not to engage in media or discussion that might trigger them. If this is true, it is still not censorship. Peanut sales are not banned because some people do not purchase or consume peanut products. Trigger warnings are really the opposite of censorship, in that they provide more information up front, allowing people to make more informed decisions about the things they will be exposed to.

Ah, but that’s coddling, isn’t it.Bad for discussion. After all, if we just let people say they’re triggered every time they get upset–Well. That’s funny, isn’t it? I don’t recall anyone mentioning getting upset. It’s almost like this is an attempt to minimize and trivialize what a trigger is, and its impact. Being triggered is not being offended. It is not being upset. Yes, obviously, it is upsetting to be triggered and offensive when it is done deliberately, those are not the core of the experience. Triggers set off different things for different people. It can be a panic attack. A seizure. A month in a depressive episode. Fugue states. Suicide attempts. Lapses and setbacks to recovery and self-management. The warning might mean choosing not to engage, but not always. Someone may choose to leave rather than risk it. Someone may take a deep breath and mentally prepare. They may make sure to have medication or a coping mechanism available, much like I make sure to bring an Epi-pen to restaurants. This does not stop a discussion. It makes discussion more possible, by giving people the tools needed to participate, or, if they can’t, letting them leave. I promise, someone having vivid flashbacks and hyperventilating in a classroom is far more disruptive than their walking outside would be. (I’ve been there. Not fun for anyone in the room.)

But triggers are Bad For People. Letting people decide what they do or do not want to be exposed to. That’s not how the Real World works. We should expose people to triggers for their own good. If they can’t take it, they can’t take the Real World. I’m going to take a deep breath here for a moment. Because they’re right about one thing: the Real World doesn’t let us escape the things that cause these triggers. That’s a huge part of why many of us have triggers in the first place–if trauma were avoidable, we probably wouldn’t have PTSD. If we have triggers, we are going to have to face them. Similarly we’re all going to experience physical pain over the course of our lives. Shockingly, that doesn’t make it ethical, compassionate, or in any sense of the word right to smash people with a baseball bat at the site of their most recent injury. Seriously. “We all get hurt” should not lead to “therefore it is acceptable to hurt you without your consent in this way that you’ve specifically told me to avoid.” The fact that the harm is psychological does not exempt it from being harm. Exposure therapy is usually mentioned here, and yeah, that’s a thing, but two funny things about exposure therapy: 1) it’s not for all people with trauma and 2) exposure therapy always includes clear, detailed trigger warnings and a controlled, easy to stop environment.

Of course trigger warnings are an Undue Burden. Anything could potentially be a trigger, so what, are people just supposed to warn about every component of content? That’s impossible! Except actually it’s pretty easy. Sure, someone might be triggered by a specific song or sunflowers, and that’s probably unforeseeable, but turns out the most common triggers are really quite obvious and pretty easy to mention briefly beforehand.

Warnings for physical violence, sexual violence, death, serious illness or injury, weapons, themes of abuse or suffering, and natural disaster will effectively help most people with PTSD. Add warnings for suicide and self harm, drug and alcohol use, and disordered eating. And flashing lights that could cause seizures. It’s really not a long list. Most people don’t need it. But for those who do, it makes all the difference in the world.

I know people aren’t going to stop lashing out at the idea of trigger warnings. Which means I’m going to have to have this conversation again, and again, and again. And honestly I’m just tired. I’m tired of being told to face the world by people who have not seen its teeth bared. I am tired of being told that I am weak because I ask for a warning before I dive in to fight monsters by people who have only seen them taxidermied and behind glass. I am tired of hearing “I don’t need this so neither do you,” as though the two have any relation to each other at all. If your reaction to trigger warnings is anger and you think they must be stopped, maybe ask yourself why. What makes you so certain that you, and not the person affected, are such an expert in what that person needs. Why you think you know what’s good for them, better than they know themselves. I promise, you don’t.

Be a Better Lover

It’s not about lasting longer. It’s not about a set of techniques.

I love the idea of getting someone so turned on they can’t hold back from orgasm for more than a moment. So when a man (it’s always a man) tells me he’s deliberately holding back an orgasm to “be a better lover” or “because I don’t want to be selfish,” I want to tear my hair out. “Better lover” looks like code for proving some kind of masculinity or winning an internal endurance contest, not about a partner’s pleasure. Most women don’t orgasm due to penetration alone at all–prolonging it isn’t going to eventually overcome the secret barrier to unlocking her orgasm-from-penetration, it’s just going to chafe eventually. I am one of the ones who can get off that way, but that doesn’t mean I want endless PiV intercourse (see chafing above).

Another common “better lover” technique that has to have high failure rates is taking something that worked with another partner or partners, or something seen in porn, read about in Cosmo, whatever, and ignoring its effectiveness on the actual person you’re in bed with. If a partner stops you, says or signals that something doesn’t feel good, or just doesn’t respond positively to something, odds are it’s not super amazing for that partner. And for god’s sake if your partner says “that’s not working/I don’t like that,” stop doing it. Don’t just obliviously continue. Don’t try again after a few minutes. Just stop. The last time I was with one partner he kept trying to do this uncomfortable two-finger thing to my clit while we were fucking, even after a “that’s making me cringe. Not good.” I’m not real keen on sleeping with him a next time, no matter how exciting his other partners find it. And don’t act like your partner is malfunctioning if they don’t like Magical Finger Technique #3 that was so great with your girlfriend six years ago. You wouldn’t sulk or suggest something’s wrong with a partner who doesn’t eat shrimp just because six-years-ago-girlfriend loved them, would you? Why is sex different?

If you want to be a better lover, stop listening to magazines and ads that tell you what women like or what men want. They’re useless. Listen to your partner. No woman is the amalgam Woman of a Cosmopolitan magazine poll. Ask what they want, listen to the answer, and (unless it crosses some boundary of yours) do that thing. Listen to feedback. Improve. If one of my partners did all the things that I find fucking amazing in bed to someone else, the most common response would be along the lines of “Jesus fuck what is wrong with you? Slow down! Not so hard!” If someone tried slow, sensuous, light touches with me and didn’t escalate relatively quickly…I’d probably suggest we watch a movie instead. There’s no manual. There are no cheat codes. There’s just talking and trying and finding what works.

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.

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?

 

Not by Halves

New Orleans Pride is this weekend. I’m attending. I’m volunteering, for part of it. Event updates and memos are coming at me through facebook and e-mail and text, and with every one I remember, a little more, that Pride is not for me.

“New Orleans Pride creates not only an atmosphere where everyone can be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, but unity within the heterosexual and homosexual communities.”

I’m told we’re “fighting homophobia and transphobia [but not biphobia] through visibility and education.” Stonewall is referred to as “lesbian and gay men [why mention queer trans women of color?] who decided spontaneously and for the very first time to fight police harassment.”

“The Gay community” is referred to over and over, and “Gay Pride” is used as a stand-in for LGBT, LGBTQ+, or queer.

The flyers say “Gay Pride Weekend,” across the top, in case the LBTQ+ parts of the our community were still under the mistaken impression that this weekend included us.

I correct, when I can. “Not, ‘gay,’ ‘LGBT.'” I’m told I’m splitting hairs. Bi and trans people are welcome, ‘gay’ is just an umbrella term. Lighten up. (There is, this year, an event specifically focused on the trans community. Good. As there should be.)

There is no mention of bisexuality in local pride events outside of the LGBT acronym.

And yes, it matters. It matters because we’re reminded that the gay community doesn’t see us as whole people. If bi folk exist (and many of them don’t think we do), we’re half gay, half straight. Pride is for our gay half. The other side? The one the gay community codes as straight? Well, just for Pride, can’t it stay in the closet?

I know the arguments. We confuse things. We confound the assertion that being gay or straight is a simple on/off either/or state. And besides, when we’re with a different-gender partner, aren’t we really just allies in a straight relationship?

Except we’re not straight. I’m not straight. I’m a bi woman whether my partner is a woman or a man or a nonbinary person. I’m a bi woman during the straightest-looking sex with the strictest Kinsey-zero straight man alive, and because I’m queer it’s still (for me at least) queer sex. That needs to be visible at Pride, too: that sometimes queer people in relationships don’t look it, that you can’t tell by looking at us even in a sexual context, and that even a cis woman and a cis man in a relationship may not fit heteronormative assumptions.

Pride is supposed to be about LGBT authenticity, not for half of our selves or half of our experiences but for all. It’s no place to be in the closet. We’re not here to be convenient any more than anyone else. We’re there because we have a right to be. It’s tiring to see, again and again, that event organizers and promoters don’t see us.

 

 

Erased

We know bisexual erasure is real. The San Francisco Human Rights Commission published a detailed report addressing it. Meta-analysis of published medical literature shows a stark difference between the number of articles that use the term bisexual and those that actually analyze or discuss it. Bisexual erasure even has its own Wikipedia page. We know it exists because we know what people say, over and over, when we try to come out.

What I didn’t know was how pervasive it is, how few resources exist for individuals, health care providers, researchers, anyone.

Search for “bisexual” on cdc.gov, and it returns 1520 results. That’s respectable. Hard to complain. Except those results aren’t real. After a few pages of seeing “bisexual” only in the context of the larger LGBT community or in the phrase “gay and bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” I looked closer.

Of the first thousand results for “bisexual,” five address bisexuals separately from other groups. Five.

cdcsummary

Those five aren’t stellar, either. None is a useful resource for individuals or healthcare providers. One explicitly chooses to refer to women who have sex with women as lesbians regardless of their self-identity or behavior with men. And my favorite exists only to warn straight women of the dangers of bi men:

case example bisexual cdc
Biphobia as edutainment!

The page about stigma for gay and bisexual men talks about homophobia. It talks about same sex relationships and legal rights.

It doesn’t say a word about biphobia. It doesn’t mention the struggle of coming out and being told you’re wrong, you don’t exist, you’re lying. It doesn’t address that bisexuals are stigmatized by gay communities as well as straight. It doesn’t talk about the higher rates of intimate partner violence bisexuals experience.

And people don’t think it matters. They derail. “What is on that page is important, it’s a useful resource!” Yes, it is. For gay people. For those aspects of the law that affect bi and gay folk similarly. But it is not a page for gay and bisexual men. It is a page for gay men. It assumes bi men are just men with a gay half that can use those resources and a straight half that doesn’t need them. Either that or it’s just paying lip service and doesn’t actually acknowledge bi folk exist.

This is important. We need resources, acknowledgement, information. We don’t need these things because there’s something wrong with us, we need them because we’re human and everyone does. Gay and lesbian needs are finally being taken seriously. Not enough and not by everyone, but it’s happening. That’s fantastic. What’s not okay is tacking “bisexual” on as an afterthought to the name without seeing if what’s offered is helpful or useless or even actively harms us and telling us to be grateful to be included at all.

I’ve e-mailed the CDC about this. They’ve not responded. But I’d like to note it’s not just them. The NIH, APA, and WHO resources appear at first glance just as likely to elide bisexuality into the LGBT or “gay and-” label. I just don’t have the graph porn finished to show it yet.

Let’s Talk About Sex

“Sex only lasts like two minutes on average.”

It’s an offhand comment we’ve all heard too many times. It isn’t true: more recent studies put the average duration of PIV intercourse between three and thirteen minutes[1]. But that’s hardly the biggest problem here.

Sex only lasts” is the phrase. Not PIV intercourse (which is what the study typically cited measured), but sex. Sex starts when a penis enters a vagina, and ends when it stops (usually after ejaculation).

Everything else just doesn’t count. Well, a couple of things count, with qualifiers. Most people agree that anal sex is sex. People are more divided about oral sex, but there’s a sizable base of support for it. But that’s it.

There are problems with this definition.

Stamina is emphasized over quality of experience.
There are two measurements that are all too often used as a stand-in for male sexual prowess: cock size (usually length) and staying power. These are treated as more important markers of how good a man is in bed than either (any) participants’ actual enjoyment of the act. When men focus their energy on increasing latency to ejaculation* at the expense of reading partners’ reactions (or–god forbid–talking to them) and doing the most enjoyable things they can with their bodies, it’s real likely to lead to mediocre sex. A Vine that hits all your buttons is sexier than a three hour documentary about architecture**.

*Could I make that sound less sexy?
**Unless you have an architecture fetish. In which case, enjoy your documentary

All else is foreplay.
Foreplay isn’t “real” sex. It’s a rite to be observed before getting to the main attraction: always an appetizer, never the main course. If your goal is to have sex, foreplay is going to be rushed. It’s something to hurry through to get to the main event. It always comes before the main event. When sex is separated into foreplay and sex instead of treated as an inclusive experience, a lot gets excluded. There’s a progression of events. First base, second, third–and going backwards or deviating from these steps is considered a bad thing. It’s patently ridiculous.

Baseball: a terrible metaphor for sex. xkcd gets it.

Sex requires a man.
PIV is sex. PIA is sex (according to most). But two or more people without penises can’t have “real” sex, right? Men who can’t get erections or who prefer not to insert them into orifices don’t have “real” sex. And this gets so twisted: those men are treated as less masculine. Relationships between women carry less social weight. Sex is a pretty widely accepted marker of intimacy, so those romantic partnerships that can’t or don’t include sex don’t really count. I hope it’s obvious that this is misogynistic, homophobic, ableist, and (as usual) erasive of asexuality.

Sex is over when the erection is gone.
This belief is why every queer girl has to hear “so what do you even do in bed?” over and over again. (It’s a rude question, by the way. Also it makes us sad for you and we think it’s proof you have the most boring sex ever.) The sex does not have to end just because the cock is done/needs a break. There are so many things even the straightest of straight couples can do after (or between) male orgasm. Oral sex. Manual sex. Kinky play. Making out–one should never underestimate the intensity of kissing. Hell, put a strap-on on the guy and keep going. It’s one thing to choose to end a sexual encounter with male orgasm (I often do, in fact), but there is no reason it should be the default.

tl;dr
Straight cisgendered people: sex is so much more than you say it is.

Who doesn’t love sources?

1 Corty, E. W. and Guardiani, J. M. (2008), Canadian and American Sex Therapists’ Perceptions of Normal and Abnormal Ejaculatory Latencies: How Long Should Intercourse Last?. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5: 1251–1256.

“Doesn’t it hurt?”

I’ve just mentioned wanting another tattoo to the girl I’m partnered with on this project. She’s surprised to hear I have any: they’re not large and easily covered. She doesn’t ask what design, or where, or what ink I already have. She doesn’t even ask why I like it. She asks what most people who have no body art do when talking to those who do: “Doesn’t it hurt?”

Well, yeah, it does a little.

So?

First of all, I’m a sexual masochist. I get off on pain. So I wouldn’t call the pain a drawback.

That’s hardly relevant though. The pain isn’t the reason I go for piercings and tattoos, but if I didn’t like pain it still wouldn’t be a reason not to get them. Pain is a side effect, usually fairly mild.

“But doesn’t it hurt?”

My partner plucks her eyebrows. She goes to the gym regularly. She’s lamented that a sunburn would be “so worth it, if I could just tan!” Pain for beauty is a transaction we widely accept. If someone believes the misery of yanking out eyebrows one by one every [however often one plucks eyebrows] for years on end is worth the result, surely they can understand that a single sitting followed by a brief recovery in exchange for a permanent desired modification is a better return on investment.

We do things that hurt. Not because we like the pain (though some of us do), but because we value what it brings us. Pain is a side effect.

“But doesn’t it hurt?” is a stupid question. Of course it hurts. If something breaks the skin and there’s zero pain you’re probably looking at some serious nerve damage. Anyone who asks already knows this. The question is really “what kind of person would endure pain for body art?” The question shows a certain idea about body modification: that it’s barbaric, disgusting. That (unlike a perfectly arched eyebrow), it has no value.

That’s actually okay. I don’t care if this girl, or my mother, or any number of other people think piercings and tattoos are worthless or shameful or otherwise problematic. That’s a conversation I’m willing to have. But “doesn’t it hurt?” can only be answered with a “yes,” and it’s in no way fair to use that yes as evidence against body modification as a practice. It really isn’t relevant.

Also, seriously? I beg folks to hit me with blunt objects until they can’t lift their arms anymore. I’m supposed to be scared of half a second with a piercing needle? Please.

Sleeping Arrangements

It doesn’t have to be a problem. It shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s a problem.

Spouse has been seeing this girl a few months now. The young one who used to date the Techie. Let’s call her Polly Pocket: she is adorable and just about pocket-sized.

We’re all going to a play party tomorrow night. We’re going to be out late–some parties I’ve barely hit the front door by dawn–and it doesn’t make sense to drive her all the way home and then turn around and go back to our place.

There are two logical options. (1) We can all take one car, Polly Pocket can come home with us, she and Spouse can share the bed and I can sleep in the living room. (2) We can take two cars, Spouse can go back to Polly Pocket’s place and spend the night, and I can come home and have the whole bed to myself.

Spouse wants to invent options 3-7 and get upset at me for not liking them. Option 3: we all three share a bed. Hell no. We tried it when she crashed here after the Techie debacle. I got up and moved to the couch. Too crowded, and I’m not a cuddler, and there was unfamiliar movement and breathing…ugh. There are very few people with whom I can share a bed and not be miserable. All of them are either partners/former partners or my sister. Option 4: Polly Pocket and I share the bed, Spouse takes the couch. This is ridiculous. They are both snuggly types, I am not. He is in a relationship with her, I am not. I don’t want to share personal space that closely with someone I’m not in a relationship with. Option 5: make Polly Pocket take the couch. I guess we could, but again with the snuggle compatibility and I don’t want to make her feel exiled. Option 6: I get the bed, they inflate the air mattress and sleep on the living room floor. This makes sense if I am an evil and insane person who will make Spouse and his partner sleep on a glorified pool raft that is likely to be punctured by bad cats in the night. Since I’m not, and it isn’t cat-proof, and loud to set up, and also this idea is crazy…no. Option 7: “I just can’t date anyone else this is too complicated.” *facepalm*

Spouse keeps saying it doesn’t seem fair to kick me out of the bed. He isn’t kicking me out, he’s not listening when I say I don’t want to be there. And yeah, this would’ve been more navigable if we still had a two-bedroom apartment, but we don’t. Sometimes I’m going to have to move over a little to make room for other people in Spouse’s life. It shouldn’t be a problem.

So why is it a problem?