Something i particularly enjoyed when i was active in the Melbourne swing scene was being around people who were open and direct in their sexual interest and expression.

As i wrote in a recent blog entry, i'm not particularly au fait with what are apparently commonly recognised ways of expressing sexual or romantic interest in someone. In swinger circles, however, i found this was often not an issue. People would directly ask if i'd like to play. Those with whom i'd developed friendships would do things such as casually fondling my cock, or going down on me, whilst a group of us were sitting around chatting. i didn't have to tie myself up in knots trying to work out whether or not people were flirting with me not because they wanted something more, but as an end in itself. (Or indeed, whether they simply didn't know how to say 'yes'.) And of course i very much loved and appreciated the 'integration' aspect of it all.

i've missed being in those sort of environments ....
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.
i'm notorious for my inability to know whether or not someone is coming on to me. My first instinct is to assume that they're not, for three main reasons:
  • Many years of it being made clear to me that no reasonable person would find me attractive.

  • Being prank-flirted1 with on a number of occasions.

  • In cases where the 'someone' is female, my desire not to be "that guy" who assumes that any sort of friendliness from a woman indicates sexual or romantic attraction on her part.
As a result, behaviours that seem to generally be regarded as considered 'obvious' signs of interest are often lost on me. One of my favourite examples of this occurred not long after i'd completed by BA and started working full-time. A female uni student in my social circle regularly asked me to "buy her a drink", and i did, thinking "Fair enough; i'm working full-time, she's studying full-time, i have more disposable income than her, it makes sense that i buy her a drink". It was only later that i became aware of the so-called "common knowledge" that saying "buy me a drink" can be a way of expressing one's possible interest in someone.

In this context, having someone indicate that their interest in me by simply saying so directly, as happened to me recently, is quite refreshing (and indeed, a relief): instead of having to speculate, and wonder whether i'm reading too much into certain behaviours, and try to figure out how i can determine what's going on without making the other person uncomfortable or me stupid, i can simply focus on getting to know the other person better to get an idea of how compatible we actually might be. Which, oddly enough, i find far more enjoyable. :-)

1. By "prank-flirted" i'm referring to the practice of flirting with someone one actively knows one is not interested in. i don't have an issue with flirting as part of the process of working out whether one might have something with someone else; but prank-flirting is a different matter. i would suggest to people who like to flirt with people they know they're not interested in, but who are also not trying to prank-flirt, that they be aware of the fact that there are people who have been teased and mocked via prank-flirting, and that flirting-as-an-end-it-itself does not necessarily come across as inherently fun to such people.
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.


2010-07-01 18:51
Argh. i'm finding it difficult to write at the moment. Not in a physical sense, but in the sense that i'm finding it difficult to move pieces - of which i have several - beyond the 'rough draft' stage. i'm not sure why. It might be that since so much of my focus for a number of years has been on reading rather than writing, my current attempts to find a better balance between the two requires more effort than i'd expected. Particularly when there's still so much i want to read! Although i do feel i've become more disciplined in my reading: if it's not to do with spirituality, sexuality or maths, i'm more likely to answer the question "Do i really need to be reading this?" in the negative. Of course, these topics are not themselves small, so i also make an effort to try to maintain some semblance of focus within each of them. So in terms of maths reading, for example, i'm consciously limiting myself to general topolgy and game theory, with a bit of measure theory thrown in. But is that enough to allow me to reorient this ship? i guess time will tell.


2010-06-18 13:56
On Wednesday i sat the final exam for my maths unit, having spent the greater part of the previous several days revising for it.

It went badly.

This was the first 3-hour exam i've sat since developing CFS1. During the semester i did several 45-minute online tests, and one 1.5 hour online test, and handled those reasonably well. But about halfway through the exam, i felt my ability to focus dropping off considerably. i tried taking a couple of breaks - first a shorter one, then a longer one - but that made no difference. i was reading questions that i fundamentally knew i could do, but my brain just couldn't process them well enough to actually let me do so. Many people are familiar with the experience of reading the same sentence several times over before realising that one hasn't actually read the sentence at all; this was like that.

So i had to give up. It was most upsetting, particularly given that i'd achieved reasonably good marks for the assignments and tests during the semester.

On the advice of [personal profile] sacred_harlot, i went to the university Equality and Diversity Centre, where i'd previously registered as having a condition that impacted my studies. They gave me paperwork for me to apply for special consideration, which was good, but repeatedly semi-misgendered2 me whilst doing so, which was bad, and which i wasn't in a fit state to take up. As the paperwork needed to be lodged within 72 hours of the exam, i spent yesterday going to the doctor to get medical support for the paperwork in question, and then lodging it at uni. Thankfully the public transport system was kind to me, and it wasn't as tiresome as it could have been (and indeed has been in the past); but i was still knackered by the end of the day.

What happens from here - whether i'll be able to resit the exam, for example, and whether i'll be able to do it in two sessions if so - i have no idea. The exam counts for 75% of my mark, so it's quite possible that, if my application for special consideration is rejected, i'll fail the unit. Hopefully it won't come to that.

1. Or whatever the currently acceptable name for it is.

2. i say "semi-misgendered" because whilst referring to me as a man and using male pronouns is technically correct, since i'm bigendered, i'm pretty sure that in this instance such language was based on being read as a cis male in a dress.
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.
One day i'm going to be the indirect cause of a road accident. Whenever i'm out and about, there are always several drivers - usually male - who, as they drive past me, start rubbernecking: "OMG, is that a guy in a dress??" To which i think: "Why yes, yes it is a guy in a dress. But it's also a woman in a dress, and seriously, haven't you ever seen a woman in a dress before? Keep your eyes on the road!" :-P
Rants retracted. i couldn't work out how to say what i wanted to say, and i've subsequently reached a point where i want to write about other things instead. :-)
i haven't posted for a while due to dealing with a variety of difficult situations that have come up. But i've had some rants percolating in my head, so i think it might be time to start posting again. :-)


2010-01-16 13:04
i've been feeling particularly horny of late. i suspect this is due to a number of reasons:
  • i have hot partners who i constantly find a turn-on. :-)

  • In recent times i've been moving in communities / circles in which i feel much more attractive. For most of my life, with the exception of the time i spent in the swinger community, i've had vibes from people which at best basically communicate "You're . . . . nice, but i don't like you like that." Whereas more recently i've been in environments where i've regularly been getting what feel like 'interested' vibes. And it's a turn-on to be desired.

  • People on my f-list have been posting stuff i find a turn-on. In particular, i've learnt of the sexisnottheenemy feed on tumblr, and a certain exhibitionist on my f-list has been posting things involving hirself which have got me all hot and bothered. (You know who you are. :-) )

  • As a sapiosexual, good mental stimulation gets me stimulated in other ways as well. :-) As i've been attending maths camp - more formally, the AMSI Summer School 2010 - i've been getting lots of the sort of mental stimulation i love.

Whatever the causes, expect to find more sexually-oriented posts here in the near future. :-)


2010-01-06 14:45
Some things i would like to do in 2010:
  • Get handfasted to [ profile] sacred_harlot, yay! At this point we're hoping to have the ceremony / ritual on 1 May.

  • Start a Graduate Diploma in Mathematical and Information Sciences at LaTrobe, focusing on mathematics.

  • Do more trans activism. There seem to be many opportunities in this regard, particularly given some of the discussions i've had in recent times with various members of Melbourne's trans communities.

  • Try to make some progress on a couple of non-fiction books i'm writing; one by myself, the other with someone else. Both have been stalled for a few months now as i've dealt with other stuff. The former is an intro to process calculi; the topic of the latter i've been asked by my co-author to not reveal for now. :-)

  • Continue working on my mental health / psychological issues. In the last couple of weeks i had a small breakthrough in which i 'got' the meaning of a dream setting i experience night after night. It feels like i might be getting to some fundamental issues and the opportunity to address them.

  • Try to do some FOSS-related programming. For someone who considers hirself to be a programmer, i seem to continually struggle to find the time and headspace to actually, you know, program. :-P If i manage to get into this grad. dip., i'm sure i'll be doing some programming, but that's different from programming in the form of contributing to some kind of FOSS project.

  • Expand my wardrobe and develop a better sense of style. i have acquired a personal consultant to assist me in this regard. :-)

  • Body mods. i recently started stretching my lobe piercings, and am currently up to 10g; i can see myself going at least as far as 2g. i'm also hoping to get my nipples re-pierced in the very near future: i previously had nipple rings, which my nipples seemed fine with for a few years before suddenly throwing a hissy and rejecting them.

  • Get my sex life back on track:

    • Play with my partners more regularly.

    • Develop skills / techniques in the areas of bondage, spanking and fisting.

    • Have more group sex; at the very least, have more same-room sex with other people.

Here's to them all happening. :-)
i've just written a post on [ profile] trans_jews regarding coming to acknowledge the possibility of identifying as trans (in my specific case, a trans woman), and the possibility of identifying as Jewish.

Edited 2013-02-05

In case the trans_news LJ community disappears, and that post gets deleted, i reproduce it here:

Hi all,

i'm a bit nervous about posting this, as i'm not sure what sort of response i'll get . . . . i hope it's at least a thoughtful, and not flamey, one. :-)

i was born into a technically Anglican household, but one that was not at all observant. For many years i strongly identified as an atheist, but several years ago began to move in a consciously spiritual direction. (i still defend atheism against the ludicrous claims levelled against it, however, e.g. that atheists inherently lack morals or ethics.) Eventually i've settled on self-identifying as a Judeo-Satanist witch. A typical response to that is "Zuh??", so i'll explain. :-)

i identify as a 'witch' due to the fact that i practice 'magic' by working to develop "the art of changing consciousness at will". i identify as a Satanist not in the e.g. LaVeyian sense, but in the sense that i regard the Adversary as an aspect of the Divine which constantly challenges us and tests us in a way that gives us insight as to whether we're on the correct path or not (as in the story of Balaam and his ass). And i modify all that with 'Judeo' because although i'm not halachically Jewish - even in the Progressive /
Reform / Liberal senses, let alone more conservative senses - i am nevertheless finding myself increasingly immersing myself in Jewish spiritual thought, which influences my beliefs and practices. Indeed, preferentially, i would identify as Jewish.

So here's the thing that's recently occured to me: i see parallels between coming to acknowledge the possibility of identifying as trans (in my specific case, a trans woman), and the possibility of identifying as Jewish. In both cases, there is an inner sense that is difficult to explain to anyone else that "this is who i am"; in both cases, there are many who would say that i'm not really trans or Jewish because i haven't gone through some sort of 'official' conversion process (i.e. SRS or giyur); and even were i go to through the 'conversion', there would still be many who would, on various grounds, claim that i'm not really trans, a woman or Jewish enough.

i've actually considered formal conversion to Judaism - the strands of Judaism i feel closest to are, primarily, Renewal and secondarily, Reform (which has given me the impression of being slightly more progressive than our equivalent here in Australia, Progressive Judaism). i suspect, however, that i would be unable to find people willing to support my conversion, particularly given that i'm not intending to lie about the 'Satanist witch' bit, even though i do genuinely think that my beliefs are coherent and defensible within a Jewish context (to the extent that, say, Reform beliefs are coherent and defensible). And part of me feels like i shouldn't need to formally convert anyway, because - even though many would say that i'm the embodiment of chillul hashem in my approach to Judaism and the way in which i'm increasingly taking on Jewish spiritual practices - i tend to feel that in the end, HaShem will be my judge. Finally, given that i'm bigendered - i.e. identify as both female and male - i'm not sure how any putative conversion process would work, given that it's typically rather gendered. :-)

So there it is. Thoughts, comments, anyone?
Most of my posts here of late seem to be of the form "i've been incredibly busy", and this one is no exception. :-P i constantly feel like i'm not getting enough done, even though it's probably true that i am doing a fair bit, particularly for someone on the tail end of several years of CFS. Still, i must apologise to many of the people on my f-list for not commenting of late, particularly as a number of you have been going through some rough stuff - sorry!

i've actually joined Twitter recently, and have been finding that microblogging better fits my current time-poor lifestyle; if you're interested, i'm flexibeast there also.
i feel like i'm about to burst with happiness!

That is all. :-)
So [ profile] naked_wrat and i are now handfasted. :-)

The ritual was held in Oldis Park (labelled "Northcote Park" on Google Maps), under a lovely tree and weather that was kind to us, and surrounded by family and friends. It went well overall: there were only a couple of small mistakes that were probably only apparent to those who had been involved in preparing the ritual, and we were very grateful to all those who participated in the ritual - especially [ profile] sacred_harlot and [ profile] poetical_sailor, whose assistance and support was very much appreciated. :-) We were also showered with many lovely gifts, despite having tried to tell people that their presence was present enough. :-)

One gift in particular overwhelmed [ profile] naked_wrat and myself: [ profile] sacred_harlot came up with the idea of gifting [ profile] naked_wrat and myself a honeymoon in the Dandenongs, and so the evening before the handfasting she and [ profile] poetical_sailor revealed that they and my parents had together paid for two nights' accommodation in Clarendon Cottages' Camellia Cottage, near Sassafras. So on Sunday [ profile] poetical_sailor and [ profile] sacred_harlot drove us up there - neither [ profile] naked_wrat nor myself drive - to begin our honeymoon. The pictures on the Clarendon Cottages Web site don't do the cottage and grounds justice. It was so cosy, surrounded by lots of peaceful greenery. Just wonderful!

One of the owners of the cottages graciously drove [ profile] naked_wrat and myself to Upper Ferntree Gully train station Tuesday lunchtime, and we arrived back home late Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, though, that meant there wasn't sufficient time to catch up with the awesome [ profile] radicalyffe before he headed back to Canberra. :-(

Since getting back, i've not been feeling too well; it may be a cold, or it may be, as [ profile] poetical_sailor suggested, my sensitive system reacting to coming back from the clearer air of the Dandenongs to the more pollution-laden inner north suburbs of Melbourne. Either way, i'm now much in need of rest. :-)
i've been terrible at posting here in recent times, mainly because there have been so many other things vying for my attention.

One of those things is that [ profile] naked_wrat and i are getting handfasted this Saturday, the day after our 5th anniversary. :-) We're going to be having a small ceremony in a local park, to which we've invited family and friends, followed a bit later in the day with a small dinner just for close family.

In other news, i'm hoping to move into providing mediation services, specialising in relationship mediation. i currently have a business providing sysadmin / IT support services, but feel that mediation is more what i'd prefer to be doing. This has emerged from discussions with [ profile] sacred_harlot (who herself has recently launched her own counselling service) in which she suggested that mediation is something i would be good at.

Nevertheless, i'm going to continue working on a textbook i'm writing on process calculi, and which i'm planning to release under some form of Creative Commons license: i'm not expecting to make any money from it.

Finally, i'm hoping to begin posting here more regularly again from now on. :-)


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