Reclaiming A Body: Learning to Accept Body Positivity as Healing After a Disordered Past

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(Content warning: discussion of disordered eating behaviors, calorie counting, restricting, binging, purging, mental illness, etc. If any of these topics are at all triggering for you, please don’t read, or read with extreme caution)

I have a secret. It’s not a complete secret because there are people in my life who know about it, or at least parts of it. But it is secret because it is not something that most people know about me, would suspect about me, and not even something that is recognized even by some people I’ve told about it (namely therapists, doctors, and the like).

I have a history of disordered eating habits. I’ve restricted. I’ve binged and purged. I’ve gone through periods where I ate less than 500 calories in a day.

I am also fat. I am also invested in the body positivity movement, and fat acceptance. I hate diet culture and understand that it doesn’t work and is dangerous.

I have spent years, and am still working on, learning to accept a body that I have spent a lot of time and energy hating. I am working every day to reclaim a body that was stolen from me by the media, well-meaning parents, coaches and teachers, 8 year old girls, the diet industry, eating disorders, and so much more.

I remember the first time I ever really thought consciously about my body. I was about 9 years old and it was at my friend’s birthday party. We were at her house and all off just playing around, the party activities pretty much done, and someone had the bright idea to all gather around the scale in the bathroom and each take turns stepping on. It came to my turn and I got on, and it hit somewhere in the ballpark of 90-100 lbs, and everyone had a field day. “Oh my gosh, you weigh 100 pounds?” someone said. There were snickers, and whispering and I quickly got off. I was tall for my age, and at least a year older than all of the other girls there, I was a dancer, I was athletic so I had muscle, and I also had never thought about whether I weighed more, less, or the same as other girls. I was me, I’d never had anyone concerned about my size – not even my doctor – and I had never felt fat. All of a sudden I was questioning everything. I was not a fat kid, but from that day on I thought about my body differently.

I remember in middle school when they sent the “fat letters” home to kids whose BMI test was in the above average percentile, but I still wasn’t fat. I had already grown bored with sports and had recently quit dancing due to multiple foot and ankle injuries, and a lack of interest, and I had gained a bit of weight, but I still was a pretty healthy and active kid. I had started my period before I got to middle school so my body was going through a ton of changes already when my parents received this letter about my weight, and luckily they were not the kind of parents to buy into all that bullshit…but it didn’t matter, because the psychological damage was done. My body was already becoming foreign to me through puberty, and then my school or the state or whoever sent those heinous things out was calling me fat, and I felt like that 9 year old girl again.

Flash forward through countless times I hated my body, times I wished I could look like the other girls in my high school who were skinny and had boyfriends, who wore size 2 prom dresses and had dates that weren’t their closeted gay best friend they were secretly in love with. My junior year of high school was the year I experienced my first bout of severe depression; I wore sweatpants to school every day (which if you knew me then or know me now, I don’t wear sweatpants in public) and didn’t care at all about what I looked like, and it’s sad that the period of time where I actually didn’t care about my appearance was a time that I wanted to just disappear altogether. I had never experienced that feeling in a healthy time, and I wouldn’t really until after college.

College is when my manic-depressiveness showed up and also when I was at the height of body issues, and when my eating disorder really took hold. I also have a history with self-harm, which I thought I had conquered by the end of high school; however, when my illness manifested and I was also dealing with my eating issues and body dysmorphia, it all bubbled back to the surface. Not only was what I was doing to my body through my disorder a form of self-harm, but I also was back to old habits…it wasn’t as bad and not as frequent, but it all goes hand in hand with each other. At the height of my disorder I was cycling through different dangerous behaviors. Some days I would meticulously eat less than 500 calories, others I would just go smoke anytime I felt hungry, I would go on disgusting binges where I went through 3 or 4 different drive thrus, it was a vicious cycle and mixed with the up and downs of mania and depression, I was a wreck.

In my depressions, I wouldn’t care what I looked like, dressing in big sweaters and just going about my day, or skipping classes to lie in bed. Or in the height of my manias, I would skip class to go shopping, go drink black coffee and chain smoke, or get dressed up like I thought I was the hottest person in the world and go out to bars and get trashed. I was a wreck, and I was living completely recklessly, all the while I didn’t know who’s body I was living in but it surely wasn’t mine. I was out of my body, I was out of my mind. I was using coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, and shopping as a substitute for food when I was on my highs…and then I would come crashing down and go on a binge. I would hate myself, berate myself for eating so much food before going to the bathroom to purge. The funny thing is that in movies and tv they make it look like it’s easy, and like it’s not disgusting, and both of those are false. As someone who hates vomit and throwing up, how did I do that to myself for years? It still baffles me.

I have had therapists that one of the first things I mentioned during intake was that I had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body, and out right told them I struggled with disordered eating habits. They would nod, seem to make note of it, and it was never mentioned again unless I was the one who brought it up. Mind you, this was when I was in the height of my disorder. I knew I had a problem, I was practically screaming for help, and no one did anything.

I’ve never had doctors who ever sensed that there was anything wrong. I have never been what anyone would consider a “typical” eating disorder candidate. I have never been severely underweight, in fact, throughout even the worst points of my disorder I remained overweight (not as uncommon as mainstream media would have you believe). However, this assumption is dangerous because I was suffering and doing really dangerous things to my body, like popping laxatives like candy and restricting to the point my entire body was in pain from hunger…but no doctor would ever think there was a problem because I wasn’t rapidly losing weight, and even if I had been, I’ve always been encouraged by doctors to lose weight since I’ve always been the “big girl”, in fact the last time I went to the doctor was for a routine meds check in to get refills. He spent about two minutes talking about how I’m doing with my medications before coming out with “what are you doing about your weight?” When I said “not a whole lot” he was less than thrilled. He immediately launched into an attempt to push me and shame me into a diet that not only sounded physically dangerous for anyone, but also specifically volatile for someone with a history of disordered eating – fasting and hyper-restriction just isn’t a good idea for someone with an eating disorder. I didn’t bother to tell him about my disorder (which is nowhere in my medical records, by the way) because I knew that if he was saying the things he was and already had, he would dismiss me the same way so many others had.

It’s more common than the general public would think for people suffering from eating disorders to not look like the stereotype of hyper-thinness and be severely underweight, though this is the image that is perpetuated, and the knee-jerk image we think of when we hear the words eating disorder. This stereotyping becomes a big problem when it comes to those who have average or even overweight bodies, an arguably dangerous problem. A lot of people who are struggling – and yes, their struggle is just as real and legitimate – may think it’s not bad to keep hurting their bodies because their pain can’t be “that bad” because their behavior isn’t as extreme as somebody else, because their weight isn’t down to double digits, because they’re not as sick as some other girl they know with a disorder, because they’ve never had to be committed to a hospital or gone through inpatient treatment, because it’s just not that bad.

But no matter your size, your pain is real.

If you have an eating disorder, and if you are “curvy”, or “average” or fat, or “seemingly healthy”, your pain is still just as real as all those other people. There are many forms of scars left by eating disorders, even when it may be invisible. I have premature acid reflux issues from purging, and stomach issues that were never a problem before, probably due to laxative abuse. A dear friend of mine has suffered with bulimia for more than a decade. She has never had a body type that looked like the typical image of someone with an eating disorder, but her throat is internally scarred and damaged from years of purging. She has put in the work for her recovery, she has gone to therapy and is doing well, but she is still left with those scars – physical and mental – of an eating disorder, even though you couldn’t ever “see” it. That doesn’t make her suffering less valid, doesn’t make her pain any less real. Another good friend of mine whom I have known her entire life was one of those girls who got scary skinny, at her lowest point she dropped to about 87 pounds and was threatened with hospitalization and a feeding tube (this is the friend that had the birthday party with the scale when I was 9, fyi). She refused to go to therapy, she somehow never ended up in a hospital, she never ended up with a tube, and she’s doing okay now…but she was lucky, we were all lucky. She doesn’t own the fact that she ever had an eating disorder even though she hit that threshold. The first friend has never been “that girl”, yet she will forever wear the scars left by bulimia. I’ve never been “that girl”, yet I wear my eating disorder, I own it, maybe more than the second friend ever will because for me it’s always been invisible.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition that I spoke about times I felt like I wanted to disappear, and how invisible this struggle has been and still remains to be.

My disorder was never dealt with in a h formal setting and therefore, I am still violently triggered at any suggestion that I regulate what I eat in any form that resembles calorie counting or restricting. I still picture purging any time I throw up for any reason, to the extent that I often keep it secret even if it is due to illness, because eating disorders are built on secrets, and those habits die hard. And though I personally have half-dealt with the actual behaviors, I still haven’t mended my relationship with food.

For a long time, I haven’t been what anyone would consider “small” in size. I’m tall, and as a kid I was always tall for my age so my weight, while still above average, was distributed fairly well. I don’t remember exactly when I became fat, somewhere in college maybe? Or was it during high school? I guess it would depend who you ask. But I do know that I’ve never felt, since I was probably in middle school, that I had a normal or average body type. I’ve always felt like the “big girl”, whether I was or not.

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Source, Quote: Kelly Duarte @kellayday, Artwork: Shannen Roberts @cusicoyllurmusic

So I find myself at an interesting crossroads. I love the body positivity and fat acceptance movements, I love the Health At Every Size movement in the medical community, I have read and resonated with countless articles, blogs, and books such as Jes Baker’s “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls” and “Landwhale”. I have preached that being fat isn’t the terrible thing that the media and society tells us it is, that we don’t have to fit into the image they perpetuate to be happy or successful humans.

But there is also a large part of me, despite my knowledge of the horrors of diet culture, my issues with eating disorders, and the like, that still wants desperately to lose weight, and not necessarily for the right reasons.

I want to be able to wear a smaller size, having been in the same size jeans the majority of my adolescent and adult life. I want to be able to go into any store and find clothes that I love and that fit my body, not having to order special sizes because they aren’t sold in that store but the company carries them, not having to shop in specialty plus size stores where clothes are twice as expensive, not having to settle for clothes that aren’t my personal style just because they fit. I want to look the way that I’ve always thought I needed to for people to want to date me or sleep with me. And I also hate that there is a part of me that wants all these things when I also know that I am not the problem, my body is not the problem. But how do you unlearn a lifetime of these feelings? Having them legitimized and reconfirmed by everyone and everything around you? How do you reclaim a body that has been forever stolen and twisted by these ideals we’ve always been told it’s normal to have?

How do I teach that part of myself that the fashion industry has pigeonholed me into the category of plus size because they have, for centuries, dictated what “straight size” meant and what sizes were included in mainstream stores? How do I teach that part of me that there are people out there who will want to date me or sleep with me with this body and actually find me attractive without wanting me to be a certain size or body type, and also not fetishize my fatness?

I know that diet culture is bullshit; always unhealthy, and often unsafe. I know that a body can be “overweight” but also still healthy (mine is mostly, as far as physical health). I know that women’s clothing sizes are arbitrary and that clothes are just clothes, and it doesn’t matter what number is on the tag inside. But how do you reconcile this knowledge with a society that still has all these size-based oppressive systems in place?

How does someone live happily in a body that has been under constant scrutiny since they can remember? How do you put an eating disorder to rest and also try to have the best body for you, even if that means that it doesn’t fit the mold of “acceptable” or “attractive”?

How – after nothing but criticism, dysmorphia, disorder, chaos, and hatred – do you reclaim a body?

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or disordered behaviors, body dysmorphia, or just an unhealthy relationship with food or your body, please check out the National Eating Disorders Association for resources.

If you want to learn more about accepting your body, I encourage you to check out some of these links to amazing babes doing the work:

Jes Baker – The Militant Baker (also author of “Landwhale” and “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls”)

Sonya Renee Taylor – The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

Megan Jayne Crabbe – aka @bodyposipanda (author of “Body Positive Power”)

AND SO MANY MORE!!

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: Review of Sixty from SXOhh

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First Impressions

I was recently sent the Sixty, currently the only toy from a new line, SXOhh. I love that this is a woman-owned company.

The Sixty is a sleek, aesthetically pleasing design made with buttery-soft silicone, the magnetic charging makes it waterproof which is always a plus, and the small size of the charger makes it easily portable if you like to take your toys on the go, or if you don’t have a lot of room for clunky charging docks. So overall, I think the visual design is attractive, streamlined, and practical.

The product marketing runs on the claim that the Sixty will take you from 0 to orgasm in under a minute which we will discuss more later, but just know that this isn’t a part that I’m totally in love with.

Okay, but how does it actually perform?

I have been testing out this toy off and on for the past couple of months, and we’ll get to why it’s been off and on.

Right out the gate, the vibrations are powerful. And I mean powerful. The lowest setting is like a jackhammer (not necessarily a bad thing), and while I understand the gimmick and branding of the whole “orgasm in 60 seconds” thing, that’s not always the case.

Every body is different and it’s also not necessarily a desirable outcome. Sometimes orgasm isn’t the number one goal of sex or masturbation, I personally love edging and a nice drawn out session before I orgasm, even when I’m masturbating.

This toy has a lot of patterns…and probably about 90% of the time, I hate patterns. I’m sure that there are plenty of people who enjoy them, though I feel like lately I’ve heard or read from many others who feel the same as I do, so why don’t toys have a wider range of power settings and less patterned vibrations?

Another thing about this toy is that it is really loud, largely due to the sheer amount of power in the toy. This isn’t going to be a negative for some, however, I and many other folx my age do not live alone, or just don’t want a toy that’s so loud and indiscreet. Because it is so powerful from the beginning, it makes a lot of noise. To the point where I don’t use it unless I’m home alone.

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My critiques aside, I do enjoy the toy, but I don’t find myself reaching for it frequently, hence the off and on testing. I am not typically at home alone, especially at times that I want to use a toy (e.g. night time after I’ve gone to bed), so lack of discretion doesn’t make this a good toy to reach for when I want to get off before I go to sleep and there is someone in the next room that I’d rather not hear my vibrator buzzing away.

I have gotten off many times with this toy, though not in sixty seconds. I don’t love internal vibration, and don’t typically orgasm from penetration, at least not penetration alone. My favorite thing is intense (but not too intense!), prolonged clitoral stimulation which I find tricky to achieve with the Sixty, though not impossible, it just takes some finessing, and I have rarely ventured past the lowest setting during actual play as the higher settings tend to make my clitoris want to retract into by body and run away screaming.

Most of the times I have used this toy, it was more like a large bullet – which is arguably my favorite kind of toy for various reasons – rather than a small internal vibrator, though it does have a length that works for penetrative play if that’s what you want, and it does a good job of g-spot stimulation due to its shape.

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Final thoughts

This toy is an aesthetically pleasing, well functioning design, and while not for everyone, there are definitely aspects that make it a great toy. If you are a power lover, you may have found your new favorite vibrator, or if you sometimes just want to go full throttle with some intense vibrations then the Sixty may be for you.

All opinions are my own, however, I do have an affiliation partnership with SXOhh. If you are interested in testing out the Sixty for yourself, check it out here.

Goals for Bidentity in 2019

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image taken from: https://blocktribune.com/blockchain-and-cryptocurrency-2019-predictions-vol-xx/

 

I am writing this and posting it to the internet in an attempt to keep myself accountable this year. I started my blog with so many great ideas already banked and the best of intentions for all I wanted to get done between last June and now, however, I failed to accomplish a lot of it.

I tend to start projects with full steam enthusiasm and set lofty goals for myself, and then fall off a short ways in, which is what sort of happened to me. Also, every year between late September and about late January, early February, I tend to turn inward; I’m focused on my favorite Sabbats and the holidays and don’t usually focus much on projects or other activities.

But now the holidays are over, it’s a new year, and I am determined to really turn Bidentity into what I envisioned it as this year.

Goal #1: Finish all of the pieces I have already started (most of which are already half done, I just can’t seem to finish).

When I began my blog and posted my introductory post in June, I already had a list of ideas that I knew I wanted to write, even though I only got through three of them.

Goal #2: Reviews.

Even though I established Bidentity as a sort of catch-all blog for my own personal identities and experiences, I did always intend to think of it as a sex blog and with that, comes toy reviews. I have one coming up probably in February or March thanks to my new affiliation to SXOhh, but I want to dive into many more in the coming months.

Goal #3: Make more friends.

I really love the sex blogger community on the internet, and am mostly on the outside looking in. Sarah Brynn Holliday of Formidable Femme is one of my dearest friends and has been super helpful to me, answering my panicked questions about how to communicate best with companies, or stuff that should be simple like how to put links in my website’s side bar. But I would love to make friends with even more of the amazing babes that I follow and admire from a far on Twitter, Instagram, and their blogs.

Goal #4: Make it to Woodhull

While I know that Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit has its issues, it is my goal to go at least once; after all, it is one of the biggest sexuality conferences in the country. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to make it this year, so if not, I’d like to at least lay the ground work to go in 2020…but we shall see. You never know what the next few months will entail.

Goal #5: Trust Myself, and the process

Part of me feels like I need to grow Bidentity at an exponential rate and that I need to try to be at the caliber of my peers right off the bat…but the logic center of my brain understands that so many other bloggers have been at it for years, growing their blogs and their followings over time, and that I haven’t failed if I’m not at that point in 6 months, or even a year or two. I just need to be gentler with myself (in this and other aspects of my life)

 

So here it is. It’s put out in the world, and for some reason to me, that makes me feel more accountable than if I had just kept this list saved on my computer. Here’s to 20biTeen!

My Vagina Is Relieved

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[image credit from Planned Parenthood website : https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-pacific-southwest/blog/the-shocking-evolution-of-period-products%5D

 

We take so much care in thinking about what we’re putting inside our bodies when it comes to food, medicine, drinks, and sex toys, so why don’t we talk so much about period products? If you are someone with a period and you use pads and/or tampons, I urge you to do your body a favor and go get better products.

Last month, I had my first period using organic cotton pads and tampons that are chlorine free, and free of other harsh dyes or chemicals, and it has changed everything. A typical period for me used to mean discomfort and irritation for at least a few days, and I thought that was just normal. I figured that the burning and itching of my vulva was just a side effect of having a pad resting against it for several hours, however I now know that it was because of what is in the pad that is irritating my sensitive skin.

Common brands of disposable, single use menstrual pads and tampons use a host of harmful materials. I had heard these things, but didn’t think too much of it until I decided to try an alternative.

I have also tried out a menstrual cup (which I just can’t get to work) and a soft cup (which leaks and, much like the regular cup, I can’t figure out to save my life), so for me, disposable products – though still pretty wasteful – make the most sense, so the least I can do for my body is to purchase products that are natural and more gentle to some of my most sensitive areas.

I also was probably exposing myself to even more harmful ‘ingredients’ by buying generic store brands rather than name brand, because they are cheaper. The new natural brands, however, are fairly comparative in price to name brands like Tampax and Kotex, so while a bit of a jump from generic pricing, I don’t feel that I’m hemorrhaging money for these products.

There are several brands popping up at various big name retail locations, and you can probably find some at your local co-op or health food store, but I personally picked up the “This Is L” brand from Target (not sponsored). I picked up regular absorbency tampons, and overnight pads (this is when I typically use pads, or on lazy days at home when I don’t feel like dealing with changing my tampon) and they also happened to be on sale which saved me a little bit of cash, which is always nice.

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I just finished my second month of periods using organic products, and even did an experiment one of those days and used some of the other product that I still have left. It was the only day out of my entire period that I had irritation and discomfort, further solidifying my conclusions.

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I understand that the allure of cheaper and more readily available products is tempting, especially for those of us who are twenty-somethings with student loan payments and hourly wage jobs, but I urge you – if it is at all within your means – please do your body a favor, and ditch the chlorine loaded pads and tampons, your vulva will thank you.

This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

Kinky, Submissive, and Still a Feminist

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So I suppose if I’m writing about my entire experience or identity as a kinky individual, I should probably start at the beginning of my sexual discovery. I wasn’t oblivious of sexuality until I was a teen or a young adult and then one day, had some miraculous sexual awakening.  I wasn’t having vanilla sex for years and then one day had a partner spank me or pin my arms down and then realize what I’d been missing all along. I started discovering my kinky side when I was probably about eleven or twelve, though I didn’t have words for it yet and it was definitely surrounded by a feeling of shame and secrets, which I am still in the process of unlearning.

I had my first period the summer I was eleven, and in the time surrounding that was when I started exploring my body and learning the different things it was capable of.  I distinctly remember the first time I masturbated, not having the vocabulary to know that’s what I was doing, but grabbing something in my room that looked like it might work and going to town in front of my Orlando Bloom poster.  After that initial experience, I was addicted, finding any free time and short moment of privacy I had to recreate this new thing I had found out my body could do…typical adolescent behavior right? I eventually discovered porn – and we can get into all of the problematic themes and practices later, I didn’t know better, I was like 13 – which just upped the game. With no concept of what BDSM actually was, I ventured into that section for some reason, and the plot thickens. I had moved on from Orlando Bloom and started watching and masturbating to some of the raunchiest BDSM/bondage porn I’ve seen to date. I was always met with feelings of shame afterward, not knowing what any of this meant but feeling sure that I was wrong for enjoying it to any degree. When I started getting a little more creative and experimental, I would come up with scenes in my head of what was happening or being done to me. I would tie myself up with bathrobe belts, and regular belts (I had to be inventive) and get off while I was in these precarious and, I now realize, dangerous positions.

So these early discoveries and explorations of a sexuality I knew nothing about were somewhat forgotten for a while. I would still watch and get off to kinky porn, but it stayed fairly on the surface and definitely wasn’t something I ever shared with anyone or talked about…until college.

I am someone with a very strong, independent, dominant personality. I am a feminist and believe in women thinking, succeeding, and doing for themselves; we don’t need men to help us get through life. So how do I balance that with also being sexually submissive? What does that look like? And how does one navigate these two seemingly contradictive paths? To me it feels immensely empowering to tell someone that I am kinky (though this doesn’t usually happen except with people I trust or in a setting where I know I am not in a position of harm). It feels like an act of rebellion in a way, because being deviant from the sexual “norm” is still fairly taboo, even with the recent popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey […we can talk about my thoughts on that later…], the mainstream public still has only gotten a very tame and mild taste of any sort of “alternative sexuality”.  People who practice and perform “kink” are not necessarily a small group, but because of the stigma and taboo associated with “sexually deviant lifestyles”, there are not always many who readily talk publicly about it.

The biggest moment in my adult kink discoveries (so far) is probably when I created a FetLife profile. I had never had access to so many people involved in or interested in some part of this community, even having attended conferences with BDSM/kink focused workshops and a seminar given by a professional dominatrix, so many people were hesitant to open up much about their interests and experiences. I, of course, have encountered plenty of men who want to control me, want to bark orders via chat messages, or who are only there to demand nudes with no respect to the community or practices of a proper BDSM relationship or encounter…but I have also come across people who have been helpful and become friends or mentors able to carry on intelligent conversations and impart knowledge of how to navigate the BDSM world, particularly as a female submissive who are often taken advantage of in numerous ways.

So how does a feminist with a strong dominant personality navigate also being a sexual submissive? The honest answer is that I’m still figuring it out and learning what that means for me. It is an interesting balance.

As a feminist, I believe in equality. I believe in equal rights for all genders. I hate the idea of women being the “fairer sex” that needs to be taken care of and helped through life by men. I am not an object for consumption. I have seen toxic masculinity running rampant, I am immersed in a patriarchal society full of misogyny and sexism and these are things I am dedicated to fighting. Because of this, many think or ask how I can, in turn, let a man control me and tell me what to do in bed. Firstly, this is making the assumption that I have only male partners, which is not the case. Secondly, and most importantly to me is the distinction between a situation in which I am choosing to give control over to someone, rather than situations in which it is assumed that I should not have the choice to make my own decisions.

Submission is a choice, and something that is given, not taken. And I believe that in many ways, it takes more strength than dominance. That is not to discount or discredit the dedication and attention that is required to be a successful and good Dom…but the level of trust that a sub is placing in their partner takes great strength of will.

collar and button  [me, wearing white collar with silver studs and a hot pink button that says feminists are the majority]

Many women are taking back and reclaiming pleasure, whether after sexual trauma, a bad relationship, a long period without any sort of sexual stimulation, etc. Women’s sexual pleasure is most definitely a feminist act, particularly in a society where we are taught to be ashamed of sexual desires and pleasures…that men are the ones with the sex drive, and the focus is almost always on their pleasure over anyone else’s. Well, we are flipping that narrative on its head, because not only are women (and other non cis-male bodies) interested in sex, but we desire pleasure from it as well. That may not always mean orgasm, but pleasure nonetheless.

For so many that are making this reclamation of their pleasure, masturbation is where it starts, and for me, kink is an integral and important part of masturbation, and my pleasure. Therefore, by association, my kink too is a feminist act because it is through kink and BDSM that I am reclaiming the pleasure that I have been denied in numerous situations and for myriad reasons. As an overweight woman, for a long time I felt that I was undeserving of the same sexual pleasures others were afforded, or at least that they were not available to me, because of my size. There have been plenty of vanilla interactions in which pleasure was not made readily available to me because my partner’s focus was on his own pleasure, and there was no stimulation of any kind really, for me. Keep in mind that only around 25% of women (I feel that is a generous estimate) orgasm just from vaginal penetration*, and while orgasm is not always the ultimate goal of sex, and sexual pleasures, I am definitely one of the nearly 86% or so of women who require some other sort of stimulation (whether it be clitoral, anal, etc.) to reach orgasm.

So while many may look at a sexually submissive woman and think that she is backwards, subservient, and the exact opposite of a feminist…look again, and think about whose choice it was for her to be on her knees, or to be tied to a bed post. She wasn’t forced there, she chose to be there; if you removed her bonds, she likely would remain in the same vulnerable position because her submission has already been given, the cuffs and ropes and blindfolds are merely tools to carry out fantasies.

 

*Castleman, M., M.A. (2009, March 16). The Most Important Sexual Statistic. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/200903/the-most-important-sexual-statistic

 

 

Why I’m Not Celebrating America Today

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[above image: in the military, the upside down flag is used as a signal of distress]

 

With everything going on in our country we should all take a good hard look at what this “holiday” is meant to stand for and whether that is something we want to celebrate at this time. What does it mean to be an American right now? It could mean a lot of things on a personal level, differing from one individual to another. But as a whole, America is in trouble.

Our country was “founded” by people coming to a land that was not their home country, coming to get away from oppression and persecution. How easily some of us seem to forget that fact. Our country’s first settlers invaded and took over land that was not theirs to claim, and pushed out an entire race of people that were living here long before Columbus “discovered” it. American history has been white-washed for centuries, and painted in a light to make these men look like heroes and figures to be lauded for their acts, while the reality is and has always been much darker.

How can any of us, in good conscience, spend today celebrating a country that is committing heinous acts against thousands of people? Or working to strip rights that we have fought decades to obtain? I have, for most of my adult and adolescent life, never been much of a patriotic person, questioning how great this nation really is. There are many things I am extremely grateful for in regards to being an American, and freedoms I may not be afforded elsewhere, but I have also done my best to look with a critical eye to make sure I wasn’t too complacent, or complicit.

At this point, we are looking at the imminence of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, legislation that has been nothing short of life saving to anyone seeking available options when it comes to pregnancy. To overturn this ruling would set us back over forty years, which is a setback we cannot afford. We can’t afford to return to a time of people dying from illegal abortions, improper healthcare, and the shame and stigma attached to these issues that we have fought tooth and nail to overcome.

There are still thousands upon thousands of children being split apart from their parents and families, while being shipped all over the country and held in facilities for indefinite amounts of time. There are a few thousand children that have just been essentially lost and the government is doing nothing to change or fix it, much less admitting that they have made a grave mistake.

I won’t sit here and pretend to know everything about these issues and what’s going on, and I also won’t lie and say I know how to fix any of it. There is so much going on, even more than I’ve covered here, and I think we are all really at a loss right now, and it’s scary because there is so much that needs to be fixed.

Every American should be outraged at what Trump does in our name and actively resist by whatever means available. Why we need to pay attention, reclaim our democracy, and ensure that America emerges from this collective nightmare as a nation we can be more proud of tomorrow than we were yesterday.

The moral arc of the universe does bend toward justice, but only if we stand together in moments of crisis and bend it ourselves.

America isn’t without flaws or dark chapters, but wallowing in those mistakes doesn’t advance the cause of freedom or human dignity. We must acknowledge the past and learn from it, but our task here in the present is to accept responsibility for the future and, through our actions, continue to perfect the union.

Our nation may not be living up to the aspirations or values of the American people right now, but without it the world is a much darker place.

Sure you could look at my non-participation in the fourth of July as some sort of act of political protest, but it is also an act of self-preservation and sheer lack of patriotism or pride in my country. As Americans, we should be more critical than ever, the government and current administration should be ashamed…and all of this and so much more is why I’m not celebrating America today.

Coming Into My Identity

 

I suppose I’m taking the cliché route and writing my first official blog post, on my queer blog, about my “coming out” story, or my queer/bisexual journey.

But I figured it would be a good place to start, to give some insight into how I got to this point, where I stand now with my queer identity, how I came to call myself queer proudly, and just a general look at me.

In the queer or LGBTQ+ community, there is a lot of emphasis still put on the “coming out” narrative, and people are still obsessed with folks’ “coming out” stories…but for most individuals, it’s more complicated than one succinct, compact, tied-with-a-ribbon story, because “coming out” doesn’t just happen one time, and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.

I personally prefer not to look at it as “coming out”, but more as a “coming in”. We are finally stepping into and occupying these identities that we hold. The idea of the closet holds so many negative connotations, and many queer individuals feel a lot of pressure to come out because being “in the closet” is still so stigmatized within the LGBT community.

The reality is that coming out is an extremely personal decision, and for reasons of privacy, safety, job security, etc. it should be left to that individual to decide if, when, how, and to what extent to “come out”. I have been coming out since I was sixteen, and am still not truly 100% “out” (we’ll revisit this topic in a later post), but I chose when and who to tell, and did so because it was what I was comfortable with and what worked for me.

I stepped into my “non-straight” identity for the first time when I was sixteen years old by telling my best friend at the time. I had been confused and questioning my sexuality for about a year because I believed I had a crush on another friend of mine that was a girl. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian because I was still very much attracted to guys, but I went back and forth on thinking maybe this was just a fluke and I was still straight, it was just this one girl. Finally I was honest with myself that this wasn’t a fluke, and I told the one person that I told everything to that I knew I was attracted to girls…but I still didn’t use the term bisexual.

The time I was in high school was, I feel, the peak of when people would say that anyone who said they were “bisexual” was just looking for attention or making something up to be different. I never felt that way about anyone, but because that idea was so pervasive at the time, I shied away from associating myself with it.

So I told my best friend I knew I was attracted to girls and guys, and he was the only person that knew for two years. Over that time I struggled to figure out even what to identify as to myself, because if “bisexual” meant slutty and looking for attention, then that wasn’t me, and I began to internalize that idea. For a good part of those two years I ignored it all and got wrapped up in a crush that I was convinced was love, on the aforementioned best friend, and I focused on him.

Fast forward through those times, the biggest heartbreak of my life (so far), and the ending of our friendship (which I’m sure we will come back to in a later post), to the first time I called myself bisexual, and it changed everything.

In the Fall of 2011, I was in my first year of university. It was around early October and I had just discovered my school’s student-led LGBT organization. I still wasn’t “out” to any of my roommates, friends at school, or friends back home, and I wanted to explore and discover this on my own, so I went to my first meeting by myself and it was amazing. I had been involved in my high school’s GSA (gay-straight alliance) and was always accepting of anything LGBT, but I had never seen so many out, loud and proud people in one room before. I made a friend that night and he became my introductory mentor to the group. After the meeting, we were talking and he casually asked me how I identified, and without thinking about it much or skipping a beat, I told him I was bi, he accepted it as my truth as easily as if I had told him my hair was brown, and in that moment my life changed.

I started telling my new friends at college, I started going to every meeting each week and quickly making new friends, and like the old cliché, over Thanksgiving break, I came out to my best friends I’ve kept since middle school.

It continued on like that, my queer community and chosen family forming around me, and I completely immersed myself in all of it. The word that I once had shied away from and been ashamed to associate with was now an identity I had thrust myself into full force, and with pride.

Why bisexual? At the time I began learning about and realizing my sexuality, I had a limited lexicon of terms to choose from, and it was the only one I had to describe what I was feeling. As my bonds strengthened with my university organization, and my LGBT family, I began to learn more about the spectrum of gender and sexuality, and the different identities that people occupy.

The first time I heard someone identify as Queer was in a panel held by my newfound organization. The individual who held this identity explained her personal definition of the term and something clicked inside me. It just described everything I felt I was, even things that bisexual never quite reached, and I knew it was a term I liked and identified with.

I still use both; for myself because both still resonate with me, for different situations because in some settings one may feel more right or fitting than the other, and for others because as much as many folks don’t like the idea of labels, I find them liberating. It is an identity that I can step into and feel validated, I can share my truth and have a common ground on which to connect with others who share at least part of that identity.

The process of “coming out” is never truly done, and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all. But this is how I discovered myself and came in to being bisexual.