May 19, 2009

So I’m back and added a bunch more feminism/politics blogs, and a few vulvodynia/FSD blogs I’m very excited to see (and will be commenting on soon), but I haven’t yet updated the adoption-related blogroll. But I plan to.

It occurs to me that I’m now willing to be candid about sex, including my own sex life, on here (kind of the point of starting this in the first place), but don’t know if I want to talk about my personal relationship to adoption. So, the occasional news/rants about adoption will have to suffice.

News/rants, example of: here in Chicagoland one of the top stories, if not THE top story, in past weeks was President Obama’s commencement address last weekend at Notre Dame (and honorary degree), and the protests of such by anti-abortion groups. Okay. I don’t mind most of what he said in the excerpts of the speech I heard, except it makes me crazy every time I hear the “let’s discuss common ground to reduce abortion” argument floated when, this can’t be said often enough, NO PRO-LIFE GROUP SUPPORTS BIRTH CONTROL. NONE. I am sure many pro-life individuals kind of get the concept of better access and knowledge of birth control helping to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and hence abortions, but none of the major groups endorse it. No, they’re too busy trying to make it sound like Plan B/emergency contraception IS abortion, and therefore, birth control pills (since Plan B is just a high dosage/combination of such) are abortion…I’m not sure the average person KNOWS this. And then there’s promoting adoption as a simple, “oh why don’t more people think of that?” alternative to abortion. (I believe adoption is usually considered as an alternative to the woman’s raising the child herself, not to abortion.) Sigh. If anti-abortion groups endorse more support for single and/or poor mothers who might feel abortion is their only option (and I’ve heard that the abortion rate has gone up in this economy), that’s terrific. But do they? Uh, I probably should have researched this to back it up with studies and statistics, but I still think I’m on surer ground than the “let’s work together for our common goals!” myopia that infects so much mainstream discussion on reproductive rights.

End rant. Next up: references to my personal life that make it so difficult for me to tell anyone but internet strangers about this blog’s existence!


I’m back.

May 19, 2009

I was just thinking how much I wanted to write here again, and checked in on Figleaf’s blog and there’s a recent post about a new-ish blog about feminism and female sexual dysfunction, particularly pain disorders, and I was all excited about that. Then I saw I was blogrolled there! Not sure I’m blogrolled anywhere, and nothing will guilt-trip you into blogging again like seeing that…I have ideas for posts but let me just get this one up to remember how the hell to use WordPress again (for instance, I keep forgetting what my user name is…).

So! Since the last post…nothing happened with whoever I was writing about at the time (someone I lusted after, but who just wanted to be friends, mild disappointment, moved on). Something mostly cool happened with one guy, something that seemed cool but was also confusing and now seems not that cool happened with another guy, and at the risk of jinxing things, very cool things might be happening soon with yet another guy (all the others are out of the picture, so now you know I don’t have some exciting polyamorous life or anything) and that is why these issues are on my mind again. It’s too depressing to write about sex when I’m not having any (and if I didn’t clarify this elsewhere, any time I say “sex” I’m talking about all sexual activity, not the specific act that gives me trouble…). But now…

the view from an hour or two later

September 19, 2008

Nothing’s changed, except I sent an email to the person in question. I am more agitated than depressed, not sad or angry because there’s nothing to be sad or angry about, certainly no one did anything wrong. But.

But I’m filled with a sense of dread knowing that nothing from now on will not be mediated through the Internet. To drop the double negative–everything will happen through our sites and blogs and social networks.

Everything is knowing when they’re online, and why aren’t they writing you or calling you or responding to what you’re doing online.

Everything is, even if you’re not the jealous type and aren’t bothered by straight male-female friendships, or friendships with exes, or them having crushes or flirting a bit, wondering who all those (attractive, single?) friends are. Everything is wondering what everyone “means” to everyone. Everything is needing to know the backstory. Everything is needing to know the future story.

Everything is finding ways to feel inadequate–about your looks, your personality, your wit, your talents–to people you’ve never met. Everything is wondering what they’ve got that you don’t, or if you have it, why other people like it in them more than they like it in you.

Everything is all the women who are sexier than you, either in a conventional way, or the way they work the less conventional sexiness far, far better than you could. Everything is wondering how sexy you can be to attract the right attention and avoid the wrong attention, and knowing that simply isn’t possible.

Everything is watching too closely, reading too much into everything, letting everything wind you up, or wound you, too much. And not seeing any way out, because you need to be online–this is how you meet people. This is how people know who you are. Well, YOU don’t. But elsewhere, they do.

Note: I’m actually not that upset, this is just one of those moments–oh, there have been several of these moments this week, with several different people of past or current interest–that lets the anxieties rush out.

A picture, a picture of something I don’t seem to need and would be somewhat troubled by the idea of anyone wanting to see me in anyway, because I owe you something other than lots of text. And I’m not interested in linking to video clips and whatnot, in borrowing other images right now. It’ll all be by me, and all be things I wouldn’t put anywhere else on the Internet and no one would recognize me by. I would hope.

And: I only had 3 beers in the house so that’s all this is influenced by. And those bite marks on my arm now, those bite marks will be hard to explain, if I had anyone to explain them to. But they’re better than things I used to do.

back from…

September 19, 2008

It’s probably not good that I check this so infrequently that I forget my username every time.

It’s probably not good that I’m afraid to see what comments people are leaving.

It’s probably not good that I feel like I can’t drink this beer fast enough, but at least there’s not enough here for me to write a truly drunken post.

It’s probably not good that I’m waiting by the phone. I’m fairly certain there’d be nothing wrong with me calling, but I’m too freaked out to. I’m jealous over something I don’t need to be jealous of, just something that made me feel inadequate…oh, I don’t want to explain. It’s probably not good that what I’m thinking is that I’m not pretty/sexy enough. It’s probably not good I mention that because I have no intention of posting photos of myself here, or describing myself. To be anonymous I can’t have a neighborhood, an age, a home state, a job, etc. that you know of. So you don’t know if I have anything to base my fears on.

Maybe it IS good that pathetic concerns about not being pretty/sexy enough to be appreciated have even briefly distracted me from the months-long concerns about not ever getting to have sex again (and I’m not just talking about the stuff that hurts me–did I mention vulvodynia? but any really intimate contact, and this hasn’t just been an obsession while I’ve been totally single or mostly single [by that I mean some flirtatious stuff and a little kissing going on but not anything approaching a “relationship”] but when I was in the last “relationship,” because not much was happening there).

Hey, this isn’t so bad, writing here again. Though I didn’t intend to use this as “therapy.” It’s supposed to be a place to write about “Hot Midwestern Action,” if I ever get any or know of any. And sexual politics. A place to prove all that time and money on reading about sex wasn’t totally a waste. I can write about it, even if I don’t get to have it. Even if that’s the pathetic story of my life, the story, in fact, I’ve wanted to tell the person I want to call (that phrase works for either “I want him to call me” or “I want to call him,” I realized), but I’m not sure I should tell. You can’t seduce anyone through pathetic stories. At least I would hope you can’t.

I’m back, sort of.

May 11, 2008

Oh fuck. I’m afraid to look at this blog, afraid to look at the comments, and sort of afraid to write anything new. I think my last post was about starting a new relationship, and I don’t regret what I did. But it’s over, and a number of things about it are really bothering me, and…I’m glad this blog is still here and I remember my name and password and all and maybe I’ll start with writing about big sociopolitical issues and whatnot instead of my personal life. Because even if this is pseudonymous (hey, I spelled it right on the first try!) I still don’t want to say anything about other people I know that could ever upset them.

So, we’ll see if I end up writing here, and actually make an effort to PROMOTE this blog and link to others and all that. It’s fun to have an uncensored space like this but even so I have to hold back. I don’t want to write about my pathetic angst. I want to write political stuff, dammit! I want to write about the intriguing idea of being “sex-neutral,” a term I heard since my last post. I’ve really rethought the term “sex-positive,” although I’ll still defend it against simplistic charges that that means male-identified or totally pro-porn or whatever. I’m going to go Google “sex-neutral” right now. But I’m glad to be back. Coming soon: links, and commenting on other blogs, and all that stuff that might increase traffic here. No photos, though, sorry. I’ll need graphics of some kind.

Oh, and I do have a LibraryThing page for HazelJ or is it AlmostTouching? I don’t know, I lost the password, but there’s a big ol’ list of sex books on there somewhere…

Sorry about the lack of action

October 26, 2007

Where’s the Hot Midwestern Action? Am I going to regret using that phrase? Well, it amuses me, no matter how inaccurate it may be in my own life right now. I’ve found hobbies that are possibly better than sex and I’ve been pursuing them avidly. Of course I have to vague here about any non-sex/feminism/health-related issues.

So, I’ve made this new friend and we’ve been hanging out. I wasn’t sure at first if I had a crush on him, now I blush every time I think about him. It seems likely that he likes me too and I’m all agitated about what to do next. Why am I bothering to tell you about one of the most common situations in the universe? BECAUSE THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE. I only know what it’s like to meet a guy (for the first time, or someone’s who’s a casual acquaintance) and immediately start dating them. Not necessarily fooling around right away (though that has happened), but it’s been clear we’re going on dates, flirting, moving towards physical contact (even if the “normal” denouement [i.e. fucking] didn’t happen).

And then to have it fall apart in some boring, non-dramatic way (no cheating or fights, just drifting apart). And then to be good friends with them. All the guys I’ve dated in the last few years (there was a significant unintentional time-off before that) are people I could comfortably call up and invite to things or hang out with; one is more-or-less my best friend (I’m wary of calling anyone that, especially if I’m not THEIR best friend). I don’t know what “friends first” is; all I know is “friends after.” And I’m amazingly paranoid that this could actually screw up a friendship I very very much want to maintain.

we can fix that “large smoldering vagina” for you!

October 17, 2007

This is graphic, but at least it’s not about ME. That crazy, crazy phrase is something I found in Susan Faludi’s new book The Terror Dream, which I was amazed I was able to get at one of the more popular library branches in Chicago. (I saw her at Women and Children First last week.) It’s about the psychology of post-Sept. 11 America, particularly how retro gender ideology was embraced (manly, heroic men; weak women in need of rescue; feminism as trivial/irrelevant/dangerous). I think the macho war-mongering has been much-covered, but the antifeminist backlash of post-9/11 hasn’t been discussed nearly enough. Oh, the context of that quote: a scary “men’s rights” blogger wrote “The phallic symbol of America had been cut off,” [the WTC], “and at its base was a large smoldering vagina, the true symbol of the American culture, for it is the western culture that represents the feminine materialistic principle, and it is at its extreme in America.” (p. 9) Um, okay.

Anyway, if you’re tired of that old vagina, where can you get a new one? Well, back in time, on the now-canceled “Greg Behrendt Show.” Behrendt is a stand-up comedian/writer, co-author of the “revolutionary” (according to Oprah, but she has rather generous standards for “revolution”) He’s Just Not That Into You and its sequel, an appalling breakup guide. (Appalling because the mainstream idea is always that it’s weird to be friends with your exes, and I’m friends with virtually all of mine, but then these weren’t especially passionate relationships to begin with…). HJNTIY wasn’t as horrible as some made it sound but the “never ask a man out” advice was pretty retro.

So I watched the Greg Behrendt Show now and then and it wasn’t terrible. But the day the woman wanted vaginal surgery…oh boy. To clarify, although these often get mixed up in articles/on blogs/etc., there are several disturbing trends in elective genital surgery: repairing/reconstructing hymens (there’s SO much so wrong about that, but I suppose it could actually be lifesaving for women from extremely repressive cultures that care about virginity that much); “fixing” the external genitals to be more “attractive” (there’s another scary beauty standard), and the surgeries that allegedly “enhance” sexual pleasure, basically by tightening up the vagina.

My stereotype is that the latter is a surgery for affluent white women in their 30s-40s, possibly in the suburbs of L.A. or New York, who’ve had some kids and worry that they’re not “tight enough” for their men anymore, and their husbands will leave them for younger, perkier, tighter women. This is certainly the impression I’ve gotten from stories about it, and the whole thing is depressing, no matter how much the women say they like it. (Given my vulvodynia situation, I am a bit biased on this topic, but I still think I’d be disgusted.)

But that day on the Greg Behrendt Show…well, it was a thirtyish, working/middle-class African-American couple (I don’t know/care if they were married) with one kid. And the woman wanted the surgery, but the man didn’t want her to get it (or want to spend $1000s for it). She wanted it because, well, she was TWENTY-SEVEN and had ONE kid–my god, of course her body was shot to hell!

The whole thing was framed as the unreasonable, unenlightened husband (well, that’s not that unusual on daytime talk shows) who didn’t want to spend money on something his wife really wanted, who didn’t care enough about her sexual satisfaction. They both had their say, the show brought out the sexpert to talk a bit about Kegel exercises and whatnot, but then, the big prize: free “vaginal rejuvenation” from the renowned Dr. David Matlock! (This guy’s in nearly all the articles.)

Happy ending, allegedly, for them; bafflement and despair from me. I’m obviously a little fixated on it; I’ve searched the internet several times and found no discussion of this episode (I don’t know if ANY feminist blogger regularly covers TV talk shows; I know there are many more important things to cover), and weeks ago the official Behrendt show website was vaporized, and this has faded away entirely…I don’t like to seem like I’m opposed to something that improves a woman’s sex life, and since I’ve never had positive experiences of intercourse I can’t know what it’s like to lose your pleasure from it…but still, can’t I be freaked out by this? Handing out a risky, invasive surgery like it’s a trip to Hawaii or consultation with a professional organizer or new bicycle, the sorts of prizes I expect on daytime talk shows?