i can't relate to most so-called 'alternative' porn i've encountered. It seems to be populated by the sort of 'trendy' looks which i associate with people who are too hip to interact with the likes of me. And it makes me ask: What's alternative about it? Tattoos, piercings, coloured hair? i don't (yet) have tattoos, but i do have several body piercings, and colour my hair regularly, and i don't regard these things as a particularly significant axis on which to measure 'alternativeness'.

Consequently, though it may seem odd, i can find myself more able to enjoy non-'alternative' porn because at least it's not making any putative claim to be significantly different. "Significantly different" porn to me would, at the very least, and amongst other things, include bodies that the BMI would call 'obese', and that have been in existence for more than 40 years. That, to me, would be a more truly 'alternative' porn.
Yesterday i got some blood test results back. The tests show me as HSV2-negative.

In other words, despite a GP claiming years ago that i had genital herpes, it seems that i've never actually had HSV2.

The belief that i was HSV2+ has strongly affected my life for several years (cf. this post from 2006). It has meant i've severely curtailed my sexual interactions. It has had a significant impact on my mental health due to the stigma surrounding genital herpes. It has even caused the breakup of a relationship between one of my partners and someone else.

All based on a misdiagnosis.

i don't know how the misdiagnosis came about: whether it was a genuine error on the part of the GP, or whether the GP - who knew i was involved in the swing scene - was being a moralising, judgemental prat, and wanted to "give me a scare". Either way, as a highly sexual person, it's a misdiagnosis that's affected my life in a major way.

IANAL, but i suspect that this might be actionable under law, i.e. that i have grounds for a malpractice suit. Even so, i'm not going to litigate. This situation has already enough impact on my life and the lives of others close to me; and i don't have the financial, emotional and temporal resources to handle the shenanigans that litigation would involve.

i will, however, say this: If you've just been given a life-changing diagnosis, get a second opinion - preferably, if possible, from a service which doesn't base its health advice and diagnosis on moral judgements.
Further to my post about libido, i wanted to make some comments about my experiences of being a highly sexual person.

It's fairly obvious to even the casual observer that sexuality is a really important part of my life. i've recently started calling myself a 'sexuality activist', because i have a passionate interest in the social, political and spiritual aspects of sexuality, in addition to having a strong underlying sex drive and interest in various forms of sex play.

In my ideal world, i'd be able to talk about sexuality in general, and my sexuality in particular, without constraint. But of course, we don't live in my ideal world. Most people don't feel comfortable talking about sexuality in general, let alone about my sexuality in particular; and i have no desire to force people to do so. So i often avoid sexuality as a conversation topic, and am very wary about sharing 'TMI' when the topic does arise. But this can at times make conversation difficult for me, particular when people ask "So what do you do?" or "What have you been up to?" Since i've gone back to uni, i've at least been able to say "Studying maths"; but then, many, if not most, people, have mathphobia, and tend to be uninterested in pursuing mathematics-related discussion. Thus, i have even more motivation than usual to ask questions about the other person, or people, in the conversation, to maximise the likelihood that it's about topics with which they're comfortable.

Another complicating factor in all this is that i'm often read as a 'crossdressing'1 cisgendered male2; so many cis men use sex talk as part of their pickup process that it's not unreasonable for many people to feel nervous or threatened by any apparent guy who seems to be doing just that. So even though, sure, i would / do like to talk sex with people i'm sexually / emotionally interested in, i would / do like to talk sex with people in general; but since i don't want to come across as "that sleazy guy", i tend to hold back from doing so.

This is one of the reasons i love being on Twitter, DreamWidth and LiveJournal: i feel able to stop hiding a core part of my self and what i care about, to express it and share it with others. Those who don't want to have can simply stop following me. Not only that, but i also get to meet other people similar to myself, people who are comfortable talking openly about sex and their own sex lives. i've been finding Twitter in particular to be great in that regard; it's been wonderful to be able to regularly have sexually-explicit exchanges with others. Nevertheless, i'm still at the stage where i can't yet have too many sex-positive conversations and interactions in my life. :-)

1 i feel it's absurd that my society still believes that a man wearing a skirt is 'crossdressing' whereas a woman wearing pants isn't.

2 Which is one of the reasons i regularly wonder if i shouldn't remove my goatee, even though i strongly feel it's an important part of me.
In talking about libido, i find it useful to distinguish between what i term 'core libido', 'expressible libido' and 'expressed libido'. i suspect that most people would find my core libido to be pretty high; i'd like partnered sex at least twice a day, in addition to any solo sex i might engage in. Of course, a combination of CFS and a variety of life commitments - housework, study etc. - means that i don't necessarily have the spoons for this, and so my expressible libido is frequently lower than that. And then expressed libido is lower again, due to time constraints, lack of willing and able sexual partner(s) at a given moment, other priorities, and so on.

When i experience a disjunct between my expressible libido and my expressed libido, it's sad, but oh well. The regular, and substantial, disjunct between my core libido and my expressed libido is a different matter: i find it annoying through to frustrating when i experience a strong inner sense of desire and horniness, but physiologically, my body is either not interested or only vaguely interested at best. It doesn't help that i'm someone who spends too much time in her head, constantly analysing and turning things over in my mind; such tendencies are not particularly compatible with the in-the-moment-ness that helps one become physiologically aroused.

i'm hoping that as my health slowly improves, the core libido / expressed libido disjunct will lessen. In the meantime, working on mindfulness might help me not only in this regard, but in other areas of my life as well.
An underlying theme to much of my sexuality-related activism is what i've come to call 'integration'.

i want to live in a world where human sexuality and its expression are openly celebrated as an integral part of people's lives. i want sexuality to be regarded in the same way as Westerners usually regard food: for it to be acceptable to openly discuss flavours and methods and ingredients; for it to be acceptable to eat in private or in public; for it to be acceptable to eat by oneself or with someone else or in a group; for it to be acceptable to purchase an experience or to share it gratis; for it to be acceptable that everyone has different tastes. That's the long-term goal i'm working towards.

In the short- and medium-term, however, i want to move in sex-positive circles and communities. i want to be around people who consider sexuality and its expression are an acceptable topic of conversation; who are enthusiastically exploring their own sexuality and the sexualities of others; who are supporting or working for sex-positive social and political change; who feel comfortable expressing their sexuality in front of others and who are comfortable with others expressing their sexuality in front of them; who want to share or make porn in a variety of forms; who consider sexuality to be as central to their lives as i consider it to be to mine.
Further to my previous post, i love the idea of multi-gender group self-pleasuring. i suspect that many people might, like myself, find it to be a liberating experience to reveal oneself and one's sexuality, both literally and figuratively, in a space where one can feel it's safe to do so because others in that space are doing the same thing. There's a scene towards the end of Betty Dodson's film Selfloving where a group of cis women all pleasure themselves in the same room; i love this scene for the overall lack of self-consciousness, the abandonment to sexual pleasure regardless of the presence of others. Of course, i don't know the extent to which the women involved felt guilty or ashamed afterwards, but i certainly hope not. Gandhi once said:
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
Although in Western society self-pleasuring isn't as 'officially' morally questionable in as it once was, it still carries quite a degree of social stigma: many, if not most, people would at best accompany any mention of their self-pleasuring activities with a nervous laugh. My feeling is that there are at least two significant drivers of this anxiety around masturbation:
  • In our extrovert-dominated society, any activities perceived to be 'solitary' are regarded as dubious, since they're read as implying that those who engage in them are 'flawed': one is either an antisocial for not wanting or needing social contact as part of the activity, or worse, one 'obviously' has significant character / personality flaws such that others don't want social contact with oneself.

  • Self-pleasuring tends to bring with it a fair amount of vulnerability. If we're physically engaged in sexual activity with others, there's often a certain amount of quid pro quo going on: those we're engaging are revealing themselves as sexual beings as we do the same. With self-pleasuring, however, this is not necessarily the case.
It's a pity, because positive self-pleasuring has many uses in addition to bringing one pleasure: helping one to learn about one's body, relieving tension, exploring one's sexual psychology, and so on.

One use not typically mentioned is self-pleasuring an an integral part of meditation. At the beginning of a meditation session, slow self-pleasuring relaxes me, helps to remove many distracting thoughts and reduce the distractiveness of others, and eventually brings me to the liminal state i want to be in. The main problem i've encountered is that it can be too relaxing, such that i end up falling asleep; but that's a problem i've also encountered with other methods of inducing a meditative state. Self-pleasuring is not only just as effective for me - it's also more enjoyable. :-)
i've just given the Pleasure Activism Australia Web site a small makeover. i feel it's better than it was, but still not particularly great - the navigation bar in particular needs more work - so i'd be happy to consider any suggestions people might have for improvements. :-) And of course, as always, please let me know if you'd like to contribute something to the site, regardless of whether you live in Australia or not - even though the site is indeed Australia-oriented, there's no shortage of sexuality-related issues that cross national boundaries. :-)
On Tuesday afternoon [livejournal.com profile] sacred_harlot, [livejournal.com profile] poetical_sailor, [livejournal.com profile] naked_wrat and i got back from spending several days at a poly camp near Bendigo. i had a wonderful time overall; as i wrote to the PolyOz Yahoo! group, i very much enjoyed spending time around such genuine people in an environment i felt was full of love and abundance. And in fact, being in such an environment enabled me to confront and make breakthroughs on a few personal issues that i've been stuck on for a while.

Whilst there, [livejournal.com profile] poetical_sailor shouted me a tour of the Central Deborah Gold Mine, or at least parts thereof. We both particularly enjoyed checking out the old machinery, some of which had been restored - great stuff for a steampunk fan like myself. :-)

This was actually the first time i've been camping for ages - i used to regularly camp at a nudist club myself and a former partner were members of - and i'm glad it was such a positive experience. :-) Thanks to S. and [livejournal.com profile] poetical_sailor for lifts up there and back!

In other news, i'm going to be giving a presentation on Pleasure Activism Australia to the First Annual Australasian Conference of Sacred Sexual Educators, which is going to be held in early January in the Yarra Valley. Unsurprisingly, i'm very excited. :-) Personally, i feel this opportunity has come about due to the work done by [livejournal.com profile] naked_wrat and [livejournal.com profile] sacred_harlot in letting people know about Pleasure Activism Australia and contributing to building the group - big big thanks to both! :-D i'm also going to be an extra in an upcoming film by a local independent filmmaker, which is a first for me, and which i'm sure will be an interesting experience. :-)

It feels to me like life just keeps getting better. :-)


2008-09-20 15:38
Sex worker service 'disgusting waste of money', says the Queensland Shadow Health Minister.

Yes indeed; why pay to provide people who do sex work with safe-sex materials and education when one could instead engage in moral indignation for free? :-P And of course, we know that not funding such things will bring about an end to sex work, because no-one would ever engage, or be pressured to engage, in unsafe sex! Apparently the Shadow Health Minister's idea of helping people who do sex work is to tell them to "Just Say No!" to sex work - OMG, *slaps forehead*, why didn't anyone think of this before??

Dear host of a certain entertainment venue,

i and my partners have, over the course of several years, both regularly attended your venue and recommended it to others. After the events of last Saturday night however, we will no longer be doing either, and you have only yourself to blame.

  1. You referred to a former partner of your husband's as "a Jewish bitch". Yes, she sounds like an unpleasant person. No, using Jewishness as an insult is not acceptable. Strike one.

  2. You said that poly parents and carers of young children are wrecking those children's minds and lives, using the same sort of language used when people claim that single parents or same-sex parents are bad for children. This is also not acceptable. Strike two.

  3. You proclaimed that i am not a woman whilst i still have a cock. In doing so, you provided two things: a) an example of the size of your ignorance when it comes to issues of sex, gender, hormones, in utero development and so on; and b) strike three.

  4. Bonus strike: You insisted on calling me by the name i was given at birth, rather than my chosen and legal name. Oddly enough, i find this to be incredibly disrespectful.

The fact that you were drunk whilst saying these things is no excuse. But i am glad you got drunk, because the alcohol loosened your inhibitions enough for you to show your true colours. From now on, i'll be actively avoiding, and recommending other people avoid, a business and environment run by someone who is such an ignorant bigot.


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