I’m well past the stage of keeping track of how long Belle’s had me locked up or when my last orgasm was or anything like that. I used to, excessively. I knew what my record was and was always advocating for beating it or whatever, but ultimately I figured out (as I hope any guy will who wants to be in my kind of spot) that if you’re going to let someone else control you, they have to be the ones to make those decisions without your input or concern. This ends up being quite a bit hotter, to be honest.

I say that to preface the next bit. I’m keeping track of when I’m locked up and in what purely for the statistical data. I’ve often said things about how often I think I’m wearing a device or how many times I come in a year, but I don’t really know. I lose track. So I’m using a little time tracking app on my phone to quantify these things. I hope to create a log that covers the whole year. I started tracking at the end of December when we got back from Hawaii. For instance, I know I’ve been in the Steelheart 313 hours this month. That’s out of about 345 elapsed hours in 2016 as of the moment I’m writing this. That’s about 91% of the time. I’ve had one orgasm this year back on the 3rd. 

The nerd in me thinks it would be very interesting to have this quantified data about myself. I’m all about quantified data. I love that my watch quantifies a bunch of stuff and if I can’t run with some kind of tracking device that adds my mileage and performance stats to what’s come before I nearly feel like it doesn’t count. There are people who get this (like me) or people who don’t (like Belle, actually). In a perfect world, this record would reflect the way Belle managed my erections and orgasms when left to her own devices. I don’t lobby, I don’t comment, I don’t say what my desire is regarding orgasm one way or the other. The only input I have in her decisions is how I act and that’s not entirely under my control. 

Of course, there’s this thing called the Hawthorne Effect in which the act of observing a human behavior affects how the behavior occurs. It’s possible now that I’ve said I’m doing this that Belle will somehow change what she otherwise would have done, but if that happens I don’t think it’ll be by much. I wouldn’t want to keep this a secret for a whole year. That seems wrong. 

Over on the Tumblr, it was pointed out by someone that my previous post about scales and ranges and the different vectors that make up human sexuality was flawed because I used the Kinsey Scale to demonstrate innate gender preference as opposed to reported experiences which is what it was designed to describe. This is true and I knew when I wrote it I wasn’t being perfectly true to the scale’s intent. In my defense, it seems to me that how I used it is in keeping with how most people think about it nowadays. It’s become a shorthand for what we desire. Or even how we identify. In any event, what I’m really interested in when discussing human sexuality is the differences between innate desires versus expressed desires versus actual experience and then all that versus how we identify. I’m super interested in how we are as opposed to how we say we are or how we allow ourselves to think about our desires. 

Belle is off on one of her overseas trips which means the Steelheart (barring some kind of emergency) will be on for 100% of the time over the next two weeks. I hate it when she leaves. Bah. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately and usually when she’s not around to regulate my cycle I tend to get worse sleep. Hopefully that’s not what happens. We’ll see.

Kinsey is not enough

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Alfred Kinsey’s scale. You know, the one that supposedly explains the difference between gays and straights by assigning a number between zero and six where zero is totally, 100% straight and six is totally, 100% gay. And I’m thinking, not for the first time, that it’s totally insufficient to describing human sexuality. At least, my sexuality. Probably yours, too.

First off (and forgive me as I’m not a biologist, sexologist, geologist, or really any sort of oligist at all) there’s this concept called normal distribution. The idea in nature that any given set of variables measured over a large population of beings will end up distributed on a scale in a shape resembling a bell. You know, the bell curve. Why do we think that’s not applicable for sexuality? According to popular culture, human sexuality is more the inverse of that. Lots of straight people, a smaller yet significant number of gay people, and then a bunch of confused weirdos in the middle who, if we’re honest, are probably going to end up gay once they get their heads out of their asses. In my experience, both internally and externally, that’s a load of bullocks. Humans have way more variability in what makes their sexy bits throb and plump than that simple binary (especially women). But anyway, that’s not really the point of this. It’s just an observation. 

Seems to me (and I apologize because I may very well have expounded on this at various times and in various ways already), the Kinsey Scale is one axis of minimally three axes that describe our sexuality. Kinsey’s is all about that sexy throbbing and plumping. As in, what gets us going. What do we want to fuck/be fucked by, etc. I think it’s the most lizardy aspect of our sexuality as it’s the most deeply wired and involuntary. There’s little thinking about it. Dicks get hard or they don’t. Pussies get wet or they don’t. We see what we like and our bodies respond. 

I spent years thinking that was it. I also spent years bought off on the idea that if I wanted to have sex with men I was gay, period. Based on some previous comments from readers, there’s a fair chance you think something like that yourself. It’s wrong. Yes, I do like having sex with men. But I also like having sex with women. I might also like having sex with a trans man or woman, but I’ve never had the opportunity. Bottom line, based on old Kinsey’s reckoning, I’m right down the middle. And, because I’m a know-it-all bisexual, I have the feeling you’re probably somewhere on the scale yourself. Not a zero or a six. Maybe a one and a half. Of a four and three quarters. Or even a .25. Doesn’t matter. I believe in absolute zeros and sixes as much as I believe in the Easter Bunny. 

Which is not to say there aren’t straight people and gay people. We round ourselves off. If you’re a 1.5 you likely identify as straight and that’s fine because it’s simple and you’re really only a little more than incidentally bisexual. Likewise, if you’re a 4.75 you might decide to call yourself gay. That’s cool, too. I’m saying there’s a difference between what we are and how we indentify. I also think identification is very much a higher brain activity that’s influenced by all kinds of emotional and cognitive bullshit our sex organs care little about. Who do we feel more comfortable with? What do we feel more comfortable being? If there’s one thing living as an orgasm denied person can teach you it’s that our brains and our genitalia are on entirely different tracks in the old sexuality train yard. 

Bottom line, for me, I’m less interested in identification politics as I am in actual in-born stimuli reactions. I don’t think and would never say that a man who identifies as straight is not what he says he is because seeing two dudes go at it makes his dick chub a little. But I think it’s critically important for us to acknowledge that that is a thing that can happen and aforementioned dude should not feel weird or end up bashing some poor gay boy because it threatens his image of himself.

Anyway, that’s the part I most closely associate with Kinsey. Involuntary response, not identity. The second dimension is emotional capacity. There’s probably a scale to that, too, but it’s often rounded off like sexuality. Homoromantic vs. heteroromantic vs. biromantic (not to be confused with New Romantic which is what I styled myself as in 1985). For simplicity’s sake, imagine the same zero to six scale. If on the sexual response scale I land at about a three, on the emotional response scale I’m more like a five. I can almost get to the point where my feelings for someone of my gender could reach critical mass and become romantic, but it’s never quite happened with anyone and I assume never will. I am totally into chicks when it comes to emotional response. For me, guys are for sex. And playing video games. And seeing a ballgame. Maybe both video games and ballgames as long as I get to suck them off after. You get the idea. 

I think this emotional response scale is where we tend to find our sexual identities. A “straight” man who falls at about a two on the Kinsey scale rounds off as straight because he feels deep and satisfying emotional connections to women. A gay man might occasionally think about a particular kind of woman sexually but finds himself fitting into a relationship with a man so he’s “gay.” This is where I think the idea of “sexuality is a choice” comes from. Someone might occasionally get a boner from a person of their gender but they choose to do nothing about it because they love someone of the other gender so therefore anyone who “goes gay” is choosing to do so. Of course, that’s nonsense but since we only think of sexuality as a linear A/B scale it must be true. 

The third axes of our sexuality involves power. As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” I believe we’re all on a spectrum of being more interested in having power in a sexual dynamic or giving up power in a sexual dynamic. Or sometimes enjoying a bit of both. I think this is drastically under appreciated when we think about sex and relationships probably because being overt about it is kinky and kinky is weird and bad and why can’t we just be happy falling in love forever and fucking like missionaries until we die, right? But the internet is rife with stories of men who have discovered their submissiveness later in life and how that plays havoc with their partners who are either totally out of touch with their own “power response quotient” or are simply incompatible power-wise or too hung up on the weird kinkiness of the whole thing to be able to cope. Also, not withstanding my bell curve rant at the top, there seems to be a lot more submissives of all genders than dominants. So who knows. Personally, on the power spectrum (assuming zero to six again), I’m like a .75 absolute tops. Probably not even that high.

Imagine a world were we were aware of all three of these spectrums and our places on them and were able to communicate openly about it to one another and our prospective partners. I have to think it would lead to so much more satisfaction and intensity of experience. 

The more I think about it, the more I think there may be more spectrums. Is pain one? Either the desire to feel it or the desire to inflict it? Is there something more about gender in there? Not just what we respond to but how we need to express our own? Where does androgyny fit? What about bondage? Is that a thing unto itself or just a manifestation of the power exchange thing? Like I said before, I’m no sexologist. I’m not trained in anything useful, really. This is just a bunch of stuff that’s been bouncing around in my head for a long time. 

At the end of the day, sex and sexuality and human relationships are infinitely more complicated than we tell ourselves they are via popular culture. Once you have a peek into the complex nature of it, you realize there is no “weird” because there is no “normal.” There are just too many possible combinations to think there’s one predominant way of being. There’s the way we all choose to believe is “normal” but hardly any of us are that. We just play at it. We fill the roll chosen for us because we think it’s what’s expected and we typically so badly want to fit in. That’s too bad. And it’s too bad too many of us don’t figure this shit out until we’re middle-aged. But at least we figure it out at all. Well, some of us anyway. 

Be your damned self

Reader Andrew commented on my last post:

This may be a personal question, but during any of this have you wanted to hide your bisexuality or end the Drew relationship out of a way to feel “normal” before realizing that those are just part of the new normal? I ask, well, because I tend to shun my bi side and I am trying to stop that.

I’ll take those in reverse order.

You cannot “shun” your bisexuality. You shouldn’t even try. If you don’t want or can’t act out on your desires, at least accept them. Trying to shove them down deep and ignoring them is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve not wanted to do that myself at all, not for a long time and certainly not recently. My attraction to each end of the gender spectrum waxes and wanes over time and when I’m feeling especially anxious or depressed, I find I’m drawn even closer to Belle since she’s the stabilizing force in my life. Her and my family. That means I’m less attracted to men, but it doesn’t mean I’m not bisexual. I know how I work by now.

Regarding Drew, as I’ve said, he’s gotten the short end of the stick. I withdraw from those all around me and he’s in that group. My waning attraction to men also impacts my relationship with him. It can be a challenge to give him the attention he wants or perhaps should expect, but again, that’s my problem with everyone when I’m feeling bad.

I try not to focus on “normal” even though I ended my last post talking about it. I am who I am, physically and emotionally and mentally, and that’s all good. I actually like who I am with regard to my sexuality. I find my bisexuality to be a bit of a superpower. I’d never want to give it up or see it go away forever. I am grateful I have the opportunity from Belle to engage others outside my marriage. I feel that’s a benefit and in no way a bad thing. To be clear, my issues with anxiety and depression are not based on any angst or guilt regarding my love and sex life. Anxiety attaches to them, but that’s not where it’s coming from.

So anyway, be your damned self. I am and I like it.

Turn and face the strange

It’s funny because I was thinking about writing something more or less on the topic of change. Specifically, change in how one expresses their sexuality or identity because, you know, that’s the kind of shit I talk about here. Then this shiny turd appeared over at Drew’s blog (emphasis mine):

Drew, you will always be the one who changed Thumper and forced your sissy feelings on him. This is all garbage that further justifies why the concept of gay marriage is bad. You can’t keep it in your pants and want us to accept that?

The comment was left after Drew composed (the second part) what must have been a difficult post on the subject of actually being in an open relationship when it’s the other guy who’s about to get lucky (Axel, not me). He bared his soul to a certain extent and wrote what must have felt like pretty raw and exposing stuff. But this post isn’t about that, specifically. And it’s not even about the comment, really, but it popped into being in the midst of me pondering this topic so it kind of has to be part of it.

I mean, after I point out the vile and disgusting prejudice on display. What a fucking asshole. Truly. I’ll say again, if you feel as this person does regarding marriage equity, know that I can’t stop you from reading my words and gaining value from them, but also know I begrudge that benefit and think you’re amongst the most terrible and reprehensible people on the planet. I hope you choke on it. Have a nice day.

Anyone who’s read this blog for a while (like, earlier than about a year ago) knows that I haven’t really changed at all since Drew appeared on the scene. I was always very open about my bisexuality and the sundry kinks I enjoy. Drew has only provided an outlet for some of my kinks and, to a certain extent, impacted the kinds of things I write about here (like these very words — oh, so meta!). If that’s the change the commenter takes issue with, I’d refer them to this post.

In fact, the fetish core to this site’s raison d’être — enforced male chastity — has probably been with me for as long as I’ve been alive. My sexual attraction to members of my gender goes as far back as my attraction to those of the opposite gender. But, I was not always aware of my interest in things like bondage and masochism and I never thought of the concept of an open marriage as being anything like something I could do.

It seems to me that we’re overly invested in wanting to be “normal” when it comes to sexuality and sex. We’re saturated with images of what that looks like from our earliest exposure to media. Boy, girl, happily ever after. It’s only recently that it seems as though our culture is starting to be OK with recognition of the other dynamics that make up healthy human sexuality. That there is no one definition that fits all. I think the younger generations are going to be significantly healthier than mine was.

Personally, I think we’re born with all our various kinks and preferences fixed in our heads at an early state (maybe before we even emerge). We don’t develop kinks as much as we unearth them. We don’t “turn gay” as much as we allow ourselves to accept that part of ourselves. Why do I say this? Not because I have science on my side (not that I’ve looked), but because it seems perfectly apparent to me. Before I knew what chastity was, I liked the feeling of penis constriction. Before I knew what gay was, I was drawn to some males more strongly than others. Before I looked into BDSM, I knew I responded strongly to images and scenarios involving capture, containment, loss of control, and domination. I also know that I psyched myself out over many of these things or simply disallowed myself to think about them outside of masturbation. But no, I didn’t become kinky at some point in my forties. I finally let myself be kinky.

But I do think we evolve from a relationship standpoint. I think what we want from a partner changes over time. I never thought about openness with Belle because early on my feelings for her were such that I didn’t want anyone else. Saw no point in anyone else. There was no room inside me for anyone else. Now that’s changed. Luckily, we still have a connection and I still want her and need her in my life, but we’re both fundamentally different. We know more about ourselves and each other. We are much more confident in our bond. We have already made all the extra people we’re going to make and they’re well on their way to being self-sufficient. So now, the intensity and perhaps the motivations of how we once felt have changed.

I think we need to allow ourselves as people to change more than we do. To see that in some ways our sexualities are fixed but the way we express them is more fluid. We need to not feel guilt for feeling the way we do if it’s different than “normal” or how we’ve been identifying for years. We will always be left- or right-handed, but we will not always draw with a crayon or write with a fountain pen or paint with a brush.

We are so much more complicated than we allow ourselves to believe and capable of so much more variety and experience than we’re aware. We should embrace that, not bury it. We should revel in it, not feel shame. We should especially not let others make us want to bury who we are or feel shame because of their internalized self-hatred.

Touchy bunny

Reader Mike left this comment to my last post:

Do you ever think the day will come when you are simply not bisexual and the phase will be over? I’m sure that would be welcomed news to Belle and Drew’s husband, but I think it would make you unhappy and I’d hate that. So, best of luck with the kryptonite.

Drew read that as well-intentioned but misguided. I just read the misguided part and called him an idiot. Why to touchy?

I’ve been thinking on that because the comment today doesn’t seem as obnoxious as it did yesterday. I think there are a couple of things that set me off.

Do you ever think the day will come when you are simply not bisexual and the phase will be over?

Ugh. So, so close to calling my sexuality a “phase.” I literally cannot think of a more demeaning and insulting thing to say to a person who identifies as something outside the heteronormative hegemony. Also especially problematic for me since I totally bought off on that “phase” narrative for years and had no real emotional or sexual relationships as a result. I’ll grow out of it. I’ll “decide.” And I was wrong. There was nothing to grow out of. No decision to make. I am what I am.

And, in a theme that will be repeating, I’ve blogged about my sexuality many, many times. My assumption about anyone who reads me is that they’ve been reading me and know the whole backstory and that’s probably wrong. I don’t know anything about Mike or if that post was the first he ever read. Maybe. But it still set me off.

I’m sure that would be welcomed news to Belle and Drew’s husband…

How many times have I written that both our spouses are really, super OK with me and Drew’s relationship? I grow weary defending it and the implied damage our combined openness must be inflicting on them. I am tired of the assumption that what we’re doing is cheating. I’m so fucking tired of the judgement. Ugh!

…but I think it would make you unhappy and I’d hate that.

Which, OK, I totally skipped over the first time through. I was already seeing red and didn’t pick up the apparent concern/care. But even this suggests I’m perfectly happy to make Belle unhappy so I can have gay sex with Drew…?

So, best of luck with the kryptonite.

I read that as, “I hope you continue not being bisexual,” though I admit it could be interpreted otherwise. So many comments that are judgmental and homophobic and really awful that never get approved (here or over on Drew’s) carry a friendly, caring tone so that can almost set me off by itself.

He replied to me calling him an idiot with this:

Dude, im on your side here. I know you’ve always been a bi guy but since you are in a new stage of acting on it with your outside “relationship” I wondered if that’s maybe all you needed for your satisfaction. It’s only been a month or two, right? I don’t know what I meant about the spouses and I know they support you but it has to be tough at times dividing times and lives is all I meant but glad for you they do.

Again with the phase talk. As if all I need to scratch my bi itch is a cock in my mouth a few times. That’s not how sexuality works. Not from an orientation aspect, not from a kink aspect, not really in any aspect. Also, I’ve been with Drew a month or two? Nearly a year. Yeah, I know, maybe he’s new, but it doesn’t sound like it. More like there’s a reading comprehension issue.

Whatever. I overreacted. I shouldn’t have. I can be mean sometimes. Sorry.

The inconvenient ebbing

Have I mentioned I’m bisexual? Oh, that’s right. We’re calling it biflexipan now. I feel like I must have brought it up at some point…

When I was young, I didn’t really understand my own sexuality or how it worked. I say now I’m a Kinsey three (and I know I am since Buzzfeed proved it for me — where were they in 1989!?), but that’s something that vacillates. I only average out to a three. I couldn’t get a grip on who I was for a long time because I didn’t realize that the oscillation around three was something I didn’t really control. I assumed that I must be gay (or mostly gay) because other guys turned me on and I wanted them to fuck me and only gay men want to be fucked by other men (at least as far as I knew). My pesky insistence on also being turned on by women and really enjoying sex with them (plus my inability to feel a real emotional connection to another guy) had to have been rooted in my inability to let go of the assumption and expectation that I should be straight. Like I didn’t want to disappoint my mom by turning out gay so I never let myself feel it and live it. Also, many of my gay friends told me “bisexual” meant “gay as soon as he figures it out.” Perhaps I was only fooling myself into liking women because I was afraid of the alternative.

I remember a gay friend telling me at about this time that I was confused. I also remember reacting very negatively to that word (mostly because this same guy told me I couldn’t exist and I really felt that maybe I did), but really, I was confused about how I worked. I didn’t get that how my attraction changed was natural for me and not something I could influence. That it just happened. I also had no understanding at all that emotional sexuality is separate from…sexual sexuality. It wasn’t until I met Belle and the enormity of the emotions I felt for her swamped everything else I felt that I decided to stop worrying about it. I still didn’t understand me and I knew I wasn’t “cured” of my attraction to men, but because I loved her as much as I did, none of it seemed to matter as much. For the first time in my life, I was with someone with whom I felt a deep need to procreate.

FF about twenty years.

So now I’m in this part of my life where on Wednesday I have my face buried in snatch and on Thursday I’m sucking dick. On the one hand, how fucking awesome is that!? But on the other, it’s a bit jarring. I am not the perfect Kinsey three I average out to. There’s a certain fluidity to it, but there’s zero fluidity in the logistics of how it plays out. I see Drew when I see him and those dates are set weeks or months in advance. Whether or not I am especially interested in his…er, services, there they are.

Up to this point, it hasn’t really been a problem (and even now, to use the word “problem” suggests there is one and there really isn’t). Some visits, I’m really into the idea of him being here and others perhaps less so, but this time I was way over at like a Kinsey one-and-a-half. However the tidal forces of my sexuality work, they were ebbing relative to the idea of mansex. But, you know, even one and a half twigs is enough to kindle a campfire with, so things weren’t awkward or weird. He knew something was up. I dropped vague hints. Still, a fine time was had by all.

I suspected this mismatch of opportunity and desire was going to happen when, in the days leading up to his arrival, I found myself rolling my eyes at things he would say to me that otherwise would have been funny or whatever. This wall, or whatever it is, has always been there and when it’s up I can never get over. Whatever guy I was with or who wanted to be with me would say or do something and I’d be like, Oh god, what a fucking guy thing to say/do, and get immediately turned off. Often enough, the “guy thing” works for me, but when it doesn’t, it does not. This kind of experience used to really throw me for a loop. Cause me to spin into a kind of perpetual re-evaluation of who I was and what I wanted out of life. Now I’m just kind of, Feh. I’ll get over it.

Of course, this is in no way a reflection on Drew. Luckily, I like him as well as have sex with him so even in the middle of this little episode, things are good between us. There have been guys in my past with whom I really only wanted sex and, when this thing came along, I’d run away from them faster than Jerry from Tom. My affection for him is genuine so this isn’t a crisis. Just a little thing.

Just about nine hundred words into this post and I realize I have no way out of it. Seems a pretty fair metaphor. This is just who I am and there’s no way out of that, either.

The wide world of porn

Yesterday, I tweeted:

My first exposure to porn was a brief flash of printed penis when I was young. Had to be quite young as my recollection is it happened when we lived in the first house I can remember so maybe about five years old or so. I was at a friend’s who lived with his single mom and I remember a Playgirl magazine (at least I assume that’s what it was) open to its centerfold on a chair. That was the first time I saw another guy’s dick and I remember it totally blowing me away. It wasn’t hard (since that would be vulgar), but it was big. You know, compared to a five-year-old’s, they’re all big. This entire event lasted seconds but has stuck with me my whole life.

How I started to look at porn in a serious way is almost too cliche to admit: My dad’s Playboys when I was ten or eleven or so. He stashed them in what he may have thought was a good hiding place in the bathroom, but it wasn’t. I poured over these magazines, eventually even reading them. I wasn’t just interested in seeing the woman, I wanted to get a peek into this secret world of grown-up naked stuff. The things they would never discuss with or around a kid. The first time I saw the term “cock ring” was in a Playboy and they were not fans of them (they said it was a gay thing — the Playboy editors were fairly conventionally prudish, considering). I was also unsure of the dirty Alice in Wonderland comic where Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum stood side by side with their hands in each other’s pants and the mushroom, instead of making Alice taller or shorter, made her tits so big they burst out of her pretty blue and white dress.

Soon after, I recall looking at those and other magazines with my friend Larry (who was from Florida and profoundly racist) along with some other dude from next door and me saying something about how all these naked women were fine, but seeing a guy every once in a while would be good, too. They both thought that was pretty funny and laughed at me. Like, why in the hell would you want to see a dude, dude? That was the first time I realized that maybe what I liked (re: naked people) was not what the other boys liked. Or, at least what they’d admit to liking since Larry was yet another in a long line of purportedly straight boys who was happy to have naked play time with me.

In general, I think porn is a good and natural thing. Sure, it can cause issues (like unrealistic expectations of what real sex is like and body image issues for all genders, etc.), but wanting to look at porn and enjoy it is, I think, a basic human desire. I think it has a lot to do with our fundamental inclination towards sexual promiscuity (see: Sex At Dawn). We get off seeing others fuck because we’re wired to. Anyway, I think the modern version of my dad’s Playboys is way, way better.

The thing I really appreciate about Tumblr over the hidden stash of girly mags thing is that the act of using someone else’s porn at such an early stage fixes in your mind to what’s “normal.” You have no exposure to anything else so you don’t even know there’s a spectrum of erotic imagery and words from which to partake. And then you might innocently say something like, “Gosh, it’d be nice to see a naked guy every once in a while,” to your pals and get laughed at. On Tumblr, you can find the entire breadth and depth of human sexual expression laid out before you. And that’s a social benefit.

I believe that exposure to people who are different than those your immediate life experience typically includes leads to an understanding of them and their motivations and that leads to tolerance. I’m a big fan of tolerance, as a general rule. My main Tumblr is a pretty good reflection of my interests in that it’s filled with images of men and woman and men with men and women with men and women with women. A bisexual’s paradise. Over the time I’ve been curating it, 3,403 people have chosen to follow it on Tumblr (and another couple of hundred visit its URL every day according to Google Analytics).

Typically, what happens is someone stumbles upon my stash and likes or reblogs a whole bunch of stuff all at once, along the way following me. I can see through this reblogging/liking  and visiting their own Tumblrs what kind of stuff they’re interested in and nine times out of ten, they go for one gender or the other exclusively. But they also often follow me which means they’re going to be exposed to their non-preferred gender frequently as the images I choose to include get posted. So, when they’re on the Tumblr and getting all hot and bothered and playing with their fiddly bits (or clawing at the containers covering their fiddly bits), they’re exposed to all manner of erotic stuff. Stuff inside their comfort zone, stuff outside their comfort zone, stuff they never even thought about before. And not just from me. Tumblr is littered with this stuff. I wonder how many kids today identify as flexible or bi or pan or whatever word they choose (let’s all try and get “biflexipan” in our conversation today) because they saw things on Tumblr that got them off they wouldn’t have otherwise seen had they been paging through the stuck-together pages of Dad’s magazines?

I also wonder how Tumblr is affecting women’s sexual empowerment. Boys finding their dad’s stash is pretty common (or at least it was when the stash was physical rather than virtual), but I’ve never heard it said the same was true for women. At what time was porn for women even a thing? For how many women was their first exposure to the stuff through their boyfriends or husbands? Now, they can sample the entirely of human sexual interests in their own time and follow their own bliss. They can form an idea of their sexuality prior to going out and trying to practice it in way I just don’t think was possible before. I think this is a big fucking deal.

I know my son’s looking at porn because he’s a) 16, b) a human male, and c) has internet access. I’m actually pretty happy for him that he’s coming of age in this environment and not the one I grew up in. Eventually, my daughter will start to be interested in sex as well (come on, Dad, she already is). Perhaps the easy access to porn, which bothers so many, might end up being something good for her, too.

Based on the things I’m told and hear from my peers who have kids, my thoughts on this are pretty far out there. We like to pretend our children will never be as we were. That we can keep them from seeing that sex and sexuality is a thing in the world until they get married. But I remember being young. I remember the lengths I went to to explore sex and I also remember all the things my friends were doing right along with me (and sometimes to me). Humans are sexual animals. Even the young ones. I hope being able to see all of it like they can on Tumblr will help them find themselves faster than people of my generation or older.

Fuck you and your fucking binary scale of human sexuality

Yesterday, HuffPo’s “Gay Voices” published an article titled “Larry Kramer On His New Book, The American People, Which Identifies George Washington, Ben Franklin And More As Gay.” WOW, I thought. Ben Fucking Franklin!? The septuagenarian notorious in France for his  dalliances with the ladies while serving as American ambassador? A homo!? Let alone old George. Poor Martha. After all this time, we find out she was just his beard.

In The American People, Kramer describes George Washington as a man who had sex with men — a “big queen,” he said in an interview — and writes the same of Alexander Hamilton, who “was in love with George,” Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and “the most powerful gay man” in American history, J. Edgar Hoover.

Oooooh. I see. Not gay. Just “men who had sex with men.” Excuse me while I go bang my fucking head against this fucking brick wall.

I’m not going to argue the historical elements of the text because I’m not qualified. For the sake of the argument, I’ll concede that all these guys had sex with others of their gender. But for fuck’s sake, it’s two-thousand fucking fifteen. Can we stop reducing all same-sex sexual activity to “gay!?” Ben Franklin was not fucking gay. He loved the ladies. That wasn’t for show. Maybe he loved the boys, too, but he wasn’t “gay” as defined as “homosexual” as defined as “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex.”

Jesus Christ.

I get that the whole “bisexual invisibility” thing is heavily driven by the fact that bisexuals melt into both the gay and heteronormative social structures absent a concerted effort to make their distinction known. But this kind of shit doesn’t help. Bisexuality is a known thing in the world, but nowhere in the piece does the writer even pretend like there is anything other than gay or straight. And HuffPo’s not the only one. The Guardian also published a piece on the book with only one reference to the word “bisexual” and only in passing.

This kind of shit perpetuates the myth than human sexuality is binary. That we are defined as people by the acts we sometimes do. Occasionally, I pick something up with my left hand but that doesn’t make me left-handed. Maybe George Washington once sucked a dick, but that doesn’t make him gay. It doesn’t even make him fucking bisexual unless he really, really liked it. Maybe Lincoln “enjoyed the company” of the other men back in his circuit courts days, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t also passionate about Mary (before she turned into a psycho, anyway).

Why? Why does this still happen? We don’t live in the Seventies anymore. The world is full of great big beautiful gradations of experience and identity. Why can’t these articles even hint at it, let alone embrace it?

I’d argue that by perpetuating the binary myth the author damages his own premise. We need to publicize that it’s perfectly normal and incredibly common for humans (even old historical ones) to have sexual contact with others of their gender at some point in their lives. Once that becomes common knowledge, a lot of the stigma around same-sex sex would evaporate.

Everything else will follow

The other day, over on the Twitter, a young man (whose account is private, so I won’t say who it is) tweeted the following:

I hate who I am, the things I like… They complicate my life so much and took away what meant most to me. Why can’t I just be ‘normal’…?

This tore me the fuck up. I mean, I don’t know this guy really. We’re both on Twitter, that’s it. But I wanted to sit down and talk to him right then. To give him a shoulder to let it out on.

I have been that kid.

At various times of my life and for different reasons. When I was young (like he is) and regardless of who I was with or crushed on, I couldn’t stop thinking about someone else of the opposite gender. Or when I tried to make a go of it with the one guy and just couldn’t get myself there and knew I was going to hurt him. Or when I simply shut down sexually and emotionally and went years without touching another person in an intimate way. Or when I was with Belle and feeling like a total freak for liking the shit I do. Why can’t I just be normal!? Again and again, I asked myself that.

And I want to tell him, Dude, there is no normal. Normal is a myth. A lie. Normal is what we call the straightjacket of societally approved acts. In my experience, nobody is fucking normal. And life? It’s always complicated. Every second of every day in some way. By definition, that shit is complicated. It’s just we get used to some of the complications. We make room for them and stop feeling them.

From my perspective just this side of the half-century mark, let me also say “normal and uncomplicated” sounds as boring as hell. It’s only the not-normal and totally complicated that make life worth living. Truly.

I don’t know this guy’s situation. I don’t know what he’s even talking about, really. No idea what he lost or how, though I assume it was an S.O. and because he’s got some nifty little kinks. Let me say that again: Nifty little kinks. Those are what make you fucking awesome. Those are what make you you. There is nothing to hate there. Nothing.

I get the pain. I get the frustration. But you cannot change who you are. You can’t stop wanting what you want. And trust me (TRUST ME), someday you will find a person (or more than one) who wants to be the opposite of your desires. Who desires to feed your desires. It will happen.

If we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard for others to love us. If we don’t accept ourselves, it’s hard to be accepted. If we don’t acknowledge our inherent specialness, you can’t expect anyone else to. Acceptance of one’s self and one’s superpowers (which your sexual predilections absolutely are) is necessary for a happy life.

This is my thousandth post on Denying Thumper. One would expect I’d burn it waxing poetic about chastity or denial or being a little subbie rabbit. Maybe, in a way, I am. Because accepting those things about myself has led me here. A marriage with a wonderful woman who loves me for the freak of nature I am and I love her back fiercely. In fact, we love each other so much, I’m able to have a fucking boyfriend on the side (and I mean that literally). In a way, this entire blog and every word I’ve ever written on it is a giant example of what this post is about.

Accept yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself. Everything else will follow.

Label maker

Some good comments on the post about bisexuality and the words we use to describe ourselves. Mrs. Fever said…

The problem with labels is that they are labels. Words attached to packages in stark lettering that can only be deciphered through the lenses of each individual’s experience. Which sticker “fits” according to our own self view has little to do with others’ interpretations. How we interpret what’s inside another’s Self, based on the label they slap on themselves, varies far too greatly for labels to be unifying. After all, one person’s tuna surprise is another person’s cat food.

I get that. I do. But the thing is, we need to label things around us. It’s what our little monkey brains do, whether we want to or not. I think we fail, though, when we try and make labels to describe ourselves that carry the entire genome of who we are and what makes us us.

Sexuality is hardly the only thing that struggles with this. Politics, for example (at least in the United States), is similarly problematic. You are either a Republican, a Democrat, an independent unaffiliated voter, or you associate with one of several marginal parties (Green, Socialist, etc.). But that’s not all there is to it. All Republicans are not created the same. Nor are all Democrats. And an independant might still always vote for one party or another.

There are these people who cut hair and we call them “barbers.” However, within barbers there are those who cut hair with their left hands. And within that group of lefties, some have red hair. And within those ginger leftie barbers, some have facial hair. And drive a Prius. And are Geminis. It’s entirely possible those left-handed, ginger, hirsute, eco-freindly and astrology-obsessed hair cutters really want to stand out as distinctly unique among the other barbers and come up with their own word (which I can’t possible even imagine because my example is so silly). But if they did and, when asked what profession they were in, answered with it they’d probably get some rapid eye blinking in reply. “You mean like a barber?”

Which is not to say that these very specifically distinct people don’t deserve their own identity. As I said in the original post, I love that we live in a time when there is so much diversity in our understanding of sexuality. When I was a boy, there was none of that. Barely two buckets you could put yourself in. Now, you can roll your own. But, I appreciate Suggestive’s point on this:

I found bisexual the easiest language to pass along a simple message. “I am not straight.”

I would only change that to include, “…or gay.” “Bisexual” means I’m living on something other than either end of a bipolar, black and white world. Somewhere in the middle gray space in between.

No, bisexual is not a perfect word. But it is one most people will have some understanding of when hearing it and that’s not nothing. We need labels because by creating that word we also create an identity that is greater than ourselves. An identity that requires acknowledgment by others. However, I think we need to see these labels as not the end of the conversation. They don’t need to perfectly summarize all that we are. They should be seen as a jumping off point for further discussion. No matter how well we categorize and label, at the end of the day, we are all unique and deserving of respect. Any label is nothing more than a broad categorization.

I’ve struggled with this before. I’ve even thought of myself as not “bisexual.” I’ve honestly hated that word most of my life and have only recently decided to reach an understating with it. If I want to have a conversation about myself or sexualities other than those dominant in the popular culture, I need to start somewhere.

That’s all “bisexual” is to me. A starting point that says I’m not straight. Or gay. I’m different. Let’s talk about it.