This is the third year in a row that I've had a sexual dry spell in the fall.

Last fall semester, I had sex only once the whole semester with an old friend who I sort of fell into bed with. The year before that, I also had sex only once between August and December, with an attractive barista who proceeded to treat me disrespectfully afterwards.

Once again, I'm finding myself with the desire for physical touch and affection but without the confidence and comfort I need to go find them. I've got a combo of reasons: the issues with men that I think are obvious from my recent entries, my unrealized feelings for my roommate (which I promise I will write about eventually), and some personal weirdness around my job as a domme.

It's just such a weird trend. I think the consistency of the timing is most related to the fact that I always go through a pretty big move in early fall. This year was particularly big, with the move to New York City, but every other year it's been a transition from San Francisco back to a college whose population has changed (thanks to graduates and dropouts) and where my relationships have altered.

I forget, each time by the time I'm transitioning again, how hard it is for me and how long it takes me to recover from change like that. I want to be someone who can just pick up and do whatever and yes, I survive, but I also don't handle big change well at all. It takes a toll on my comfort level and then on my self esteem. I don't always feel it at first beyond the stress of getting settled physically, but I always see the effects in the end.

I hate being unsettled someplace, having to rebuild my support structure/family of friends. I don't even feel able to meet other people because I'm living in a space of not feeling safe and it's hard to have the charisma or energy to do it. I forget this every time I move, but it's always there and I always have to fight and take a long-ass time to overcome it. I'm ready to be done with it now.

Modern Work

I had a thought the other day.

Work used to be someone people would do to survive. Work was how you killed or grew and ate your food. It was how you had clothes so you didn't freeze to death. You know, essential stuff. You put in effort because that's what it took to have what you needed, and exertion was the natural consequence of getting those things.

We still have work, though, despite the fact that our clothes are made thousands of miles away and our food is grown and picked by strangers. And sure, the people who supply those things are working at it, and a lot of the work that we all do in this country serves to bring those products to their consumers. But also, so many of the available jobs are marketing or crunching numbers or managing other people to do those things. Somebody cuts the paychecks for the best boy on a movie set. Someone writes the copy on the label of fruit juice bottles.

It's a weird thing to think about, with too many implications to write about in a single blog post. We clearly, as beings, need stuff to do, are designed to struggle at something. Even if it's weirdly insignificant.

Also, the fact that we outsource our physical needs allows for so much more population. When we make someone else get our food for us, we give them a job and something to do and a way to get their own food. And also, then we need a random job ourselves, so it creates this weird society beast. It grows exponentially and the result is that we both need and create more and more people and more and more resources. Sad for our planet that its resources aren't infinite. Sad for us that we're killing it.

This post kind of reads like stoned ramblings, and sadly it's not. It's just odd to be an adult and deconstruct going to work every day even a little. No wonder so much art is made about this. I want to go read John Cheever some more and watch some Mad Men. What a strange world I live in.

Ani Difranco - The Story

I would have returned your greeting
If it weren't for the way you were looking at me
This street is not a market
And I am not a commodity
And don't you find it sad that we can't even say hello
'Cause you're a man
And I am a woman
And the sun is getting low
And there are some places that I can't go
As a woman I can't go there
And as a person I don't care
I don't go for the hey baby what's your name
And I'd like to go alone thank you
Just the same
Songs should always perfectly articulate things I've been thinking about. Or rather, the best ones do.


When I was last in a serious relationship, with my ex M who I dated for four years, I was extremely devoted to the relationship and making it work, helping it last. It was an open relationship for almost the whole time, and through it I began to explore polyamory. Within that, though, we were very close and very dedicated to staying together.

Since I broke up with M, I've certainly dated and I've had short-term relationships. I was seeing a girl when we broke up, but that fell apart soon after because we couldn't reconcile our monogamous and polyamorous goals. I had one boyfriend who sort-of-accidentally moved into my room during my junior year of college, but he left school after we were together for a semester. I've had a couple of summer lovers, but nobody in the last few years who lasted more than a season or a semester.

I've handled all these breakups and growing- or moving-aparts really well. Some have been harder than others, but I've stayed friends with each lover and moved on fluidly. I'm very mature about it all, usually calm and forgiving. I've felt good about all the relationships ending, in fact. I cried over some of them and certainly a couple were hard, but I always saw it as a learning experience.

I wonder, though, if that's just because I only allowed myself a certain level of depth in each of these interactions. I have been in love with maybe one person since M. That loss was certainly the hardest to deal with, but I did it. We'd never promised each other anything, and I let it go.

It's been a very, very long time, though, since I made any kind of relationship commitment. When I decide to be in a relationship, when I make promises to somebody and make it a priority, I throw myself in. I feel very strongly and I work very hard to make it go well. I like it when I can be submersed in that way. It feels good.

I'm also really, really scared of it. To be committed like that puts me in such a vulnerable place. I don't think I'm wrong not to throw myself into that; I do need to trust someone before I give them that power over me. It takes time to develop that trust.

I just wonder if I'm missing out, or if I'm limiting my own happiness by being so guarded. I'm having an opportunity to commit, which I'll likely write about soon, and I'm considering a big shove to my comfort zone. The opportunity, and my resulting anxiety, just made it totally clear to me how long it's been since I opened myself up in any real way. It's a long-forgotten feeling, and we'll see how it pans out.

Schroedinger's Rapist

I want to share with you all a guest post at Shapely Prose by writer Phaedra Starling that I found not long ago which has put a lot of my thoughts about public interactions with men into words. It's not a short post, but I really recommend reading the whole thing, especially if you happen to possess a penis.

The post discusses how, when one approaches a woman in public, it's really important to be aware that she does not know whether or not you're a rapist. An excerpt:
Consider: if every rapist commits an average of ten rapes (a horrifying number, isn’t it?) then the concentration of rapists in the population is still a little over one in sixty. That means four in my graduating class in high school. One among my coworkers. One in the subway car at rush hour. Eleven who work out at my gym. How do I know that you, the nice guy who wants nothing more than companionship and True Love, are not this rapist?

I don’t.

When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

Fortunately, you’re a good guy. We’ve already established that. Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, and to make the women with whom you interact feel as safe as possible.
Now, there have been some negative reactions to her tone. I think, given the subject matter, that it's called-for, although perhaps her condescension is unhelpful. If you can disregard the talking down just for a minute, though, and if you hear all the dismal statistics and despair at the state of affairs, if you wonder how you can successfully approach a woman without being a creeper, or if you're just really awesome, read the rest of the article. It's worth it.

What Makes a Woman a Bitch

I want to clarify something about my goal of being more assertive.

I know that it's not very nice to tell a potential suitor to fuck off.* There are damn good reasons, though, for no more Ms. Nice Girl. I've written about a few of them over the course of this blog. The long and short of it, if you don't want to go back and read four blog posts, is that I'm constantly sexually harassed every time I leave my apartment.

It doesn't matter what I'm wearing; it doesn't matter what expression is on my face; it doesn't matter how I respond or even who I'm with. I'm tall and noticeable and have red hair, and I'm apparently hot. Or "sexy baby" or "can I taste that lip ring?" or "look at that pretty tummy." That last one was today.

This puts me in an awfully awkward situation. The thing about hot women in the media is that they're always portrayed as bitches: the blonde popular girl who is too haughty to respond even with kindness to the poor nerdy boy who just wants to love and cuddle her. What they don't show on TV are the good reasons for this behavior.

I don't want to be a "bitch," but I'm fully aware that the reason people use that word is usually to bring women into line. The words "bitch" and "slut" more often have to do with a woman exercising her power and the discomfort that causes in everyone else. If I have boundaries around who I allow to talk to me and in particular how they do it, I'll be branded a bitch. I'll become "that one" who is too cool to give the time of day to a defenseless guy. The thing is, y'all are rarely actually defenseless.

There are things that I respond well to. "Hello, how are you?" is usually one of them. Curiosity about me as a human being with emotions, opinions, and things I like to do is another. "I like you" or "You're pretty" on the street or in a club when my looks are the only thing you could know about me are not. Male folk have an option in how they view and approach me.

Nobody likes to be objectified, diminished into just one part of their person. Maybe somebody who approaches me ham-handedly is just socially awkward and because that's the only thing I see, I judge him as such. I recognize that if I reject someone in a club, that could hurt their feelings. The truth, though, is that it hurts mine to be approached lewdly, to be singled out solely for my looks. So what would you have me do? I'd love a better world, where this wouldn't be a problem. Or just a better solution. Any ideas?

*There's a more specific story there: a group of guys came up to me and my roommate and asked if we'd make out. I asked if they would then all make out with each other and they said "Hell, no!" so I responded with "Well, fuck off then."
On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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