53 PiV and Me

January 9, 2013

So, this is something that’s been on my mind for a really long time (about 8 months now, all told), it’s something i’ve struggled with, along with gender, gender expression and everything else.

(apologies for binarist language; i’m going to be talking about media messages, which are are terribly binarist)

As i’ve gotten older (and have had a lot more of it), PiV sex, aka “the old in and out” has become kind of… distasteful for me. Not that i don’t want to do it, but i think that the way it’s often depicted in media, and the way those of us who are read as men are taught/supposed/expected/socialized to be, sexually, is pretty fucked up.

For example, if you look at the standard lads mags (Maxim, FHM, Stuff, Playboy) or at any visual media that actually tries to talk about sex (whether seriously or not), when it comes to men, the general axiom is LAST LONGER, because apparently every man on the planet comes in 30 seconds and their partners all are going to leave them unless they have porn star stamina. Men are also told that unless they make their partners have like 15 orgasms a night, they’re worthless.

But then if you look at magazines like Cosmopolitan, the message is always “how to make him come,” “here are his secret sex buttons,” etc etc etc. So, wait a minute, are men supposed to last two hours, or 20 seconds? Because according to that, women want men to come as soon as possible because that makes women feel sexy, and that’s all any woman wants because sex appeal is the end all be all of their self-esteem.

::side eye::

So, here i am, kinda caught in the crossfire of all this. I can tell you from experience that lasting longer does impress people, and can derive greater pleasure from my partners. I can also tell you from experience that orgasming quickly brings a different kind of pleasure to one’s partner for completely different reasons. How, you may ask? For that i must tell a story…

Once upon a time before we had a child, my wife and i fucked pretty much ALL THE TIME. At one point she’d been off the pill because the hormones were messing with her, and we were using condoms exclusively. This lasted about 6 months, i think. Now, my staying power has always been pretty good, because i took the messages from lads’ mags to heart, and read many sex books and did a lot of practicing (read: masturbating) to train myself to hold off orgasm. So, with condoms in place to take away some of the sensation, lasting a while was pretty easy. When she got back on the pill, the first time riding bareback again provided a notable difference in sensation, and i orgasmed in about 90 seconds. I was pretty embarrassed by this, but after a good laugh (which actually didn’t help with the embarrassment) she assured me that it was all good, and in fact hot that i came so fast, because it was sexual self-esteem booster that i just couldn’t help myself, and it sent the message that I was just THAT hot for her. Also, of course that just because i came ONCE, didn’t mean the night was over (and it certainly was not).

So here i am now, years later, actively polyamourous and having had PiV sex with a fair number of people at this point, and now i’ve got this mental block around orgasm. And not just that, but around PiV sex in general. Honestly i just don’t enjoy it anymore. I’ve been trying to figure what my deal is, and i’ve figured out a few reasons why:

1. I’m SUPPOSED TO. Being someone who is consistently read as male (whether i want to or not), the general consensus in conventional society is that i’m supposed to be all about sticking my dick in something, as a kind of biological imperative. It’s supposedly “in my nature.” Well, to hell with that.

2. Coupled with that is the general expectation that PiV sex is the pinnacle of human sexual connection. I disagree with that completely. There’s nothing particularly special about it; nothing that sets it apart from any of the many other types of sex and forms of intimacy, except for the fact that it can lead to babies. I’ve already got the baby part covered anyway.

Those are the main things, but there are couple of media components to it as well, aside from the aforementioned, that relate to gender and race. Basically, that since i’m an ostensible man, and because i’m black, there’s a subconscious societal expectation that i’m a grunting, jackhammering sex maniac. This has been perpetuated centuries of racist narrative that considers me and “my kind” to be something other than (and usually less than) human; typically animal, and thus more oriented toward physical activity as opposed to higher functions, like SPEAKING. So, compared to our white counterparts, we’re simultaneously desired as sexual objects (toys) but once that purpose is served, we are useless except for possibly some other mindless labor.

This narrative about black people is perpetuated contemporarily in various forms of media where we are viewed or depicted as sexual (movies, music videos, magazines, etc), but also in porn. BBC bull porn, cuckolding, and just about any porn with black people present seems to perpetuate the stereotype, gay porn included. Besides the fact that the characters (if there is a plot) are rarely anything but “ghetto fabulous” tropes, once the sex begins, it’s this constant rapid fire thrusting and pumping (which, honestly is the same as any porn, but from what i’ve seen it’s even worse), often with a “woman as receptacle” angle. And “straight” porn in general is just so misogynistic that i feel like someone with my desires and fantasies is pretty much left out of mainstream society. Not that i’m mainstream, but, y’know.

Anyway, these expectations permeate pretty much every encounter, and they totally aren’t *me.* While i’m glad to pleasantly surprise people, i wish that it wasn’t quite SUCH a surprise that i don’t have any desire to engage in 200 horsepower piston-fucking. Even in situations where i’m not “bearing the aerobic burden” as one friend of mine put it, i find myself feeling, if not unsatisfied in general, simply let down. That, or i feel like i had to *put up with* the high energy, high friction workout (and it does feel like WORK), to get to the actual human contact and real intimacy that i’m craving. Also, in these cases the encounter can feel phony and staged.

I’ve been avoiding sex in general because of all these things. If i’m not going to be satisfied with the encounters, i’m not going to bother.

So, what WOULD satisfy me?

Well, first off, the abolition of all of these expectations based on what i look like and my genital configuration. If my partners (current and future) pay attention to what my individual desires are and not what they think *should* be the case, that would go a long way. But also, a *feeling* of intimacy is very important to me, and the things that feel like intimacy when it comes to sex are the kinds of things that almost seem childish in their simplicity. Perhaps this is why supposedly sexually sophisticated adults tend to avoid them? I dunno.

Kissing and cuddling, for one. These are greatly lacking in the majority of my sexual encounters of late. This can often be a factor or time available (whee parenthood), but for me, time NEEDS to be made for these. Also, these are not FOREPLAY. Kissing and cuddling (and physical contact, and touching with parts that aren’t crotch-adjacent) are integral to my sexual enjoyment. I can orgasm without these things, but i usually feel empty after the hormone rush wears off.

Speaking of orgasm, the assumption that orgasm is the POINT of every sexual encounter is extremely wrong-headed. Orgasms are pleasurable, of course, and yay for having them organically. But aiming specifically for orgasm at the outset takes away from being in the moment with my partners, which dissipates the connection. So for me to have a sexual experience that doesn’t leave me feeling empty, that expectation has to be removed. If i’m honest with myself, it is something that i need to remove from my thought process as well.

When discussing this with a friend the other night, they mentioned that one of their biggest turn-ons (and i agreed wholeheartedly) was extended make-outs, to the point where the participants are dry humping each other because they’re so worked up. Not as a conscious act, but as an instinctual extension of the activity; because they’re so into what they’re doing that their body takes over regardless of what they might actually be thinking, if anything. This is exactly what i want out of my sexual encounters. Relaxed, in-the-moment, partner focused, and non-performative. Not to take away from the performance aspect of fucking; there’s a time and place for showing off and being all “let me impress you,” and that can be a LOT of fun, but i’m at a point where i’m tired of it because it’s been such a large part of my sexual life, and my ego doesn’t need any more inflating.

One delicate issue here, when it comes to partners who may be interested in the same thing, is physical compatibility. Sadly, sometimes bodies don’t interlock as easily or as well as we’d like, and no matter the desire in place nothing can be done about that. PiV just has to be taken off the menu in those cases, but so far that hasn’t happened very often.

Thankfully, non-performative expectation-free sex has been something that i’m finding people are into, and more so than i thought. So, it seems that i CAN have a mutually satisfactory sexual encounter. I just need to keep myself open to the possibilities and honest about what i’m looking for when they present themselves.

This is an update of my user manual from last year. As before, it has been restructured and revamped in lieu of the past year’s experiences.

I am a 30-something married polyamourous, queer, genderqueer parent of one. I’ve decided to split my two queer terms into distinct categories because they’ve both become clearer since last year.

-Family/baggage-

  • I’m from a fairly typical nuclear American family. Both of my parents are still alive and still together. I have one younger sister. My in-laws are likewise alive, married, and together. I have one brother in law. My daughter is a precocious 3 year old, fully able-bodied, able-minded and typically loves to get into trouble. My wife and I have been together for seven years (married for six) and have been non-monogamous and kinky the whole time, though on an active basis mostly for the last two years.
  • I have a strained relationship with both my blood sister and my brother in law. My sister is openly antagonistic toward me so i don’t contact her much. My brother in law is ok in limited doses. Mostly i feel uncomfortable around him because i can’t fully be myself, but then that’s the case with most of my family. With him the strain is heavier because of having lived with him.
  • My parents are both christian, and because of that, don’t know a lot of things about me, nor should they. Growing up was fine, i often had more communication with my mother about personal/life issues. Mom is a little high strung and always trying to give me advice and or stifle my online voice, which is why personal/angry/emo status updates are only put up in places where she can’t see them. She was most often the disciplinarian at home (spankings, etc.) Dad is laid back, and could probably deal with things in my personal/online life a little easier, but since they would afterward have to go thru my mother, no dice. He ever only spanked me a few times, and they were VERY painful. Not sure if i ever really processed that. I have left any formal religion behind, and it holds little sway in my day to day life, but having been raised christian i was stifled sexually (i was also taught that “friends first” bullshit, which really didn’t help). I didn’t have PiV sex until i was thirty (though i’d given and received both oral and manual sex by the time i was 23), to my later-to-be wife.
  • Because of that, it is only now that my sexual development is maturing, and i have come a really long way in that regard. So i’m very excited and open to talk about sex/sexuality/gender at any given time. Since i was so stifled and now feel free to explore these things, i’m kinda chomping at the bit to do so. I am still nervous at being so open and scaring people away, so it’s sometimes difficult for me, even though i really want to. This can depend on the crowd i’m with, and as i hang with a more kinky/queer/etc crowd, this is becoming easier.

-Me at a glance-

  • I’m a nice person. By that i mean i’m actually nice, not a Nice Guy ™. I’m athletic, artistic, and creative. I’m a talker. I’m a belly dancer. I’m also the quintessential black nerd. I love videogames, martial arts/sci-fi/fantasy movies, animation, comic books, rpgs… I’m all over the map with my nerdiness. I’m also an older nerd, so i’m a little bit of an elitist about it, and i make no apologies for that. I also really love music of (almost) all types, but my love of hip-hop and R&B stops at about the year 2002 with a few exceptions.
  • I’m also detail-oriented and hate being interrupted when i’m working. Just a random fact.

-Things i value-

My family, my health, my creativity, my gender expression. I’m very into social justice, and i’m not a fan of the government right now because they tend to suck at that.

-Things i like-

  • Conversation. I crave conversation on whatever subject. If you’re a talker, i’ll instantly be more attracted to you, assuming you’re talking about something we have in common. For some reason i love minutia (might be related to the detail orientation). All the the little, seemingly silly and neurotic things that people think about are exactly what i like hearing about. I think that sometimes, it’s not what you’re talking about that matter so much as HOW you talk about it.
  • Languages. I have a bit of an affinity for them, though i’ve studied very few. If you speak more than one language, i’m always curious about that.
  • Physical activity. I’ve always been into sports of various types, and i like doing new and different things. Also, i like watching other people do stuff. So let’s do stuff!
  • Dancing. Falls in line with the physical activity bit above. Dancing with/near/around/in the vicinity of me will ALWAYS get my attention.
  • For both of these things it comes down to the fact that i like watching bodies move. It’s just fascinating to me. Also, how i move is an expression of my gender, so it’s important to me in that way as well.
  • I like singing too. but that’s just because i like music.

-How to connect with me-

  • Movie references/quotes. Double points if they’re from kung fu movies.
  • Look me in the eye when you’re talking to me. You’d be surprised how many people don’t.
  • I’m an artist and photographer; model for me.
  • Spending a day together is awesome, whether that’s going out to places in a city, hiking, or just nerding out watching DVDs all day.

-How to impress me-

  • Proficiency. In anything. Seriously, ANYTHING. If you’re awesome at something and show it to me, i’m very likely to be impressed. Also, see -things i like-
  • Be comfortable in your own skin. As one co-worker of mine put it: “I am the queen of not giving a fuck. You can’t out-not-giving-a-fuck me.” YMMV on this since we all have our issues, but the thing is that i’m not always comfortable in my own skin unless i’m so occupied that i’m not thinking about it. So it puts me at ease if you are just comfortable with yourself all the time (or even if you fake it convincingly).
  • Be passionate about whatever your interests are. If you really like what you’re into, you’ll probably get me interested in it as well.
  • Take me out for interesting and different food. Bonus if you can cook/prepare it.
  • Speaking of food, if we go out to eat and you’re paying, generous tips (20% or more) give me warm fuzzies.

-How to turn me on emotionally-

  • Let me know that i’m allowed to be myself and that no aspect of me will be treated as weird in a negative way. This is especially important in light of my realizations about my gender.
  • Trust me and let me know that i can trust you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with me.
  • Include me in activities with other people. I like doing new and different things. If you’re in another relationship, i want to meet them and connect with them as well. You should also get to know my wife and child.
  • Return communications. This is a big deal. Whether phone call, chat, text message, carrier pigeon, WHATEVER. Doesn’t have to be the same type of communication either, just at least acknowledge that you heard me.
  • Listen to me rant if i’m freaking out. I have a tendency to overreact (i’m working on it) and as long as i get that out early then i can think rationally afterwards.

-How to turn me on sexually-

  • Physical touch means a lot to me. It says a great deal more if you touch me when you talk to me, or hold my hand in whatever situation.
  • Kisses, hugs and cuddles will ALWAYS work. In fact, the longer any of these go on, the more turned on i will be. I am very much NOT goal oriented when it comes to physical affection, and by that i mean i really just enjoy being in the moment and savoring what’s going on physically. I don’t generally try to push forward to the “main event” whatever that means. For me, a lot of times, what others call foreplay is the point of the interaction. I will make out with you for HOURS if you’ll let me.
  • Once clothes start coming off, massages absolutely turn me on whether i’m giving or receiving them. You honestly can’t touch my back enough, either with your hands or your mouth. Ditto for my nipples and my ass.
  • That said, i do enjoy sex a LOT. I define sex as anything requiring protection to perform. So, if we need a barrier of any kind to do it (or if it has the term SEX in the name), it’s sex. This includes, oral, PiV and anal. If at any point you are confused on this, ask. BDSM play, while it is often sexual, isn’t the same thing as it requires a different kind of trust (and protection) than sex. At this point the two have never intermingled (with exceptions made for D/s dynamics), but i’m open to it.
  • It is important to note that while i am working on it, i have a mental block about orgasm. I’m perfectly capable, but in my quest to control my orgasms, i seem to have internalized a “don’t ever come EVER” thought pattern. I want to be able to separate the ability to hold off from a *need* to hold off. I’ve also internalized a “make your partner orgasm 9 million times” thought pattern. These being said, when i’m in a situation where PiV sex will occur/is occurring, both of these have become a type of internal peer pressure. So, in order for me to really enjoy myself, i have to know explicitly that there are no expectations about orgasm for either party. The best PiV sex for me would basically be a really long makeout/cuddle session, but with that little extra.
  • With BDSM, i’m a bottom, a rope slut, a pain slut, and I get very subby very quickly. I like claws, knives, electricity, fire, and especially thuddy impact play. I recently discovered a love for having my face slapped. I’m willing to try almost anything, but it helps me a great deal to see something done to someone else first before i’m willing to have it done to me.
  • Wrestle with me; try and overpower me. Bonus if you actually can.
  • Watch porn with me. And not the boring heavily made up implant porn, i mean stuff like The Crash Pad, Chemistry, and ShortBus. Tell me what you like in porn and what you’d like to see in porn.
  • I also really love helping other people fulfill their fantasies, either scene-wise or just sexually, whether i’m directly involved or not.

-Queer Stuff-

  • I am queer both sexually and in my gender.
  • Sexuality: I’ve often been to events with a sign that says “all genders welcome.” I really am open to anyone at this point, but my attractions are still oddly narrow when it comes to how people actually look; it’s mostly in the face. If i’m attracted to your face, i’ll be attracted to the rest of you. As for what else attracts me to people on that visceral, heart thumping, cold sweating, cheek flushing, makes-my-underwear-get-tight kind of level… i got no idea. There’s no definable list of criteria at this point. It basically boils down to the fact that if i think you’re hot, then i think you’re hot. Sorry i can’t be clearer.
  • Interestingly, i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the first “alternative lifestyle” person i ever met was my godmother, and she was the coolest person on earth when i knew her, so on some kind of subconscious level, if i’m attracted to you, no matter your gender, you exude a quality that i saw in her. Couldn’t begin to tell you what quality that might be, though.

-How to turn me off-

  • Racist, sexist, heteronormative, cissexist, transphobic, homophobic, classist, ableist, or binarist crap, and doubling down when called on it. We all make mistakes, and life has given different people different experiences and that’s all great, but there’s a limit. I’ve become very tired of trying to explain why things are problematic.
  • On the race side especially this includes but is not limited to racial fetishization. If you see me and you think “big black cock WANT” you can die in a fire. Don’t ever invite me to a BBC party unless you want me to just start throat-punching the other attendees. There are plenty of bigger cocks you can buy for relatively cheap. I am not a sex toy. I am a person.
  • Conceit. Self-confidence is great, but self-absorption is full of fail.
  • Insult me, or treat my interests as “weird.”
  • If you don’t communicate clearly with me, things won’t work. I’m really seriously NOT psychic.

If i’ve missed anything, or you feel i was unclear, feel free to ask me in the comments!

51 (Genderstuff)

August 30, 2012

(template semi-borrowed from Albizia)

A: Basics

  • I’m gender queer. Not a man, not a woman. Somewhere in the middle, i guess?
  • I prefer the term “queer” over “fluid,” because while i often go back and forth between the typical binary with how i present, i don’t ever feel very much one way or the other. If anything i feel on the femme side of neutral and so far that’s been pretty static. Sometimes i feel MORE femme, but i only ever go back to neutral.
  • My pronouns are he/his, but only because i haven’t found something neutral that i feel speaks to me. “They” is not bad, but i’m considering just making up my own.

B: Body

  • I appear to be a cis man, and thus have male privilege.
  • I have never been read as anything but binary, and probably never will.
  • When i was born, the doctors said “It’s a boy!” so you can guess what my bits look like (or just look in my pictures :p ).
  • FTR, i do prefer that they be called bits or junk. They don’t become a cock and balls unless/until you’re planning on doing something very nice to them (or otherwise at my discretion).
  • It’s very unlikely that there will any kind of medical modification made to my body.
  • Me and my body have an interesting relationship. I’m pretty physically strong, i’m athletic, i’m coordinated. I’m most comfortable and confident when moving my body, and i enjoy these aspects of it very much. However, when applied to what my body looks like, people think that these things make me more of a man, when they do nothing of the kind; they just make me strong, athletic and coordinated.
  • I get (minor-ish) dysphoria from time to time. While breasts are an extremely low priority for me, I really wish i had wider hipbones. I’ve got the ass already, i mean, come on! :-/ I also wish my bits were detachable cuz DAMN they get in the way sometimes.

C: Clothing stuff

  • I currently have about a 90% “masculine” wardrobe. I have really cute femme stuff, but i can only wear it to kink events, because it’s a little too cute (read: sexy) for daily consumption. Plus, though i look amazing in it if i do say so myself, fear of harassment, abuse, and frankly, gunfire, keep me from wearing it anywhere BUT a kink event or in my bedroom with the doors closed.
  • Though i don’t have what would classically be referred to as breasts, i do like wearing sports bras (aka “pec snugglers”).
  • In general, clothes have no gender to me. We just have to wear them because public nudity is outlawed. I tend to be pretty utiliarian (and thus, neutral ie pants) in my day-to-day unless i’m going out of my way to be cute. If the world were perfect, i’d have a nice mix of everything and i’d probably look like a dancer a lot of the time. I’m working on achieving that.

D: Language in reference to me

  • I honestly don’t have a problem with being referred to as “male” or “male bodied.” For me, i relate to my body as binary, but my gender as non-binary.
  • I do have a problem with being referred to as a “man.” A lot of that has to do with gendered expectations that are typically associated with “manliness” that i simply do not live up to.
  • I don’t mind being called a “boy” in a playful manner, however.
  • I try not to use “ASAB/CASAB, FAAB/MAAB” etc in reference to myself or anyone else unless i’m explaining things to people.

E: Other

  • Like i said, i’m thinking of making up my own pronoun. Right now “se/seir” has been in my head and i haven’t seen it anywhere else.
  • I love it when people call me pretty; makes my day because i don’t often feel pretty.
  • Movement in general, and dancing in particular, is an expression of my gender. Bellydancing is a particular style that resonates with me, though recently i have some appropriation issues with it that i’m trying to unpack and deal with.
  • I like shoes (i wish my feet were a little smaller), capri pants, and shirts with super long sleeves and thumb holes.
  • In an ideal world, i’d look like this.

OK, so i’ll get to the Fusion write ups later, but i had to put this out there first. And a big h/t to my friend Eden for the editing help. ❤

note: The concepts of misandry and masculism are inherently binarist — and this is in fact, a criticism I have of the two. Because of this, any critique of the ideas of masculism and misandry will deal with binarist claims. I’ve done my best to not be binarist in my critiques, but I felt this needed to be pointed out.

I have to say that i have a problem with Masculism (and misandry and other supposedly equal but opposite terms to feminism) as a concept for the same reasons that “reverse racism” is bullshit. The things that people call “man hating” are, in my opinion, not anywhere near on the same level as systemic misogyny because they are NOT SYSTEMIC and do not in anyway result in “female privilege.” I blogged about this a little while ago here .

As i said in that blog, while i do totally believe in, and have experienced, something that could be called sexism against people read as men, i don’t believe that it’s actually misandry. What i do believe is that as traditional gender roles continue to shift and break down, the sexism (against people read as women) that has pervaded society and has become systemic is now hurting men.

It’s a backlash.

So when men feel like society is coming down on them for performing in a way that is considered traditionally feminine, it’s not because men are hated, it’s because women and femininity are hated. Thus to take on what’s considered to be a feminine role is considered to be degrading to men, or lowering himself, or otherwise not performing in a “manly” way.

There are many ways in which this manifests, which those who call themselves masculists are perfectly valid in discussing and breaking down, and they do, so that’s great. But my issue is that it’s framed in this idea that such a thing is systemic, and (from what i’ve seen) completely devoid of the context that all of the traditional and assumed roles that are set up for people in society are rooted in sexism against women, not men. One passage that i saw was: “Many people find it so unthinkable that men might want to have traditionally feminine jobs such as nurses or teachers that they tend to promote men out of those jobs and into more traditionally masculine positions such as administration; this sounds like an advantage, but most people become nurses to take care of patients, not to deal with paperwork, and it’s based in misandric stereotypes around what men can do.” In my opinion, that last sentence is problematic because it ignores the systemic reality that misogyny dictates what women can do. As a result, it ALSO dictates what men can do, but this is not misandry. It’s simply the backlash of misogyny. The sentence is more correct when phrased this way: “it’s based in misogynistic stereotypes around what women do.” That, of course, IS systemic, and conversely this affects what’s expected of men as well, but that’s not the dominant issue.

If masculists acknowledged that more often (i have seen it in a few places), i’d have way less of a problem with masculism as a concept, i think.

48 (3 things on my mind)

March 22, 2012

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and it’s all been kind of jumbled together, so i’m going to attempt to make some sense of it here. If this ends up being a long rambly thing, i apologize in advance, but i’m going to try and keep it at least SEMI organized. So, stuff on my mind…

Sex:

It seems that lately my sex drive has increased. I’m not sure what the contributing factors are, and maybe this has always been the case, and i’m only recently paying more attention to it. But i feel like i’ve been wanting sex WAY more than before. Certainly i’ve always wanted more sex than i’ve gotten and there was a considerable drop in sexual activity since my daughter came into the picture, but now i’m chomping at the bit practically every day. No amount of masturbation sates me for very long, which leads me to believe that this is just an increase in what i’ve always lacked, which is human contact.

One reason that i’m pretty sure that it’s a human (skin to skin) contact issue is because about two weeks ago, as part of a grander experiment, i went to a play party in a cute outfit with a blindfold and this sign:

I sat down in a chair in a fairly high traffic area of the party and it was barely five minutes before i was beset upon with kisses and all manner of attention from just about everybody at the party (there were about 75-90 people in attendance). Two hours later, i had a sore tongue (which seems to have only JUST recovered), a huge smile on my face, a pleasant happy-hormone high, and when i went home, it was the first time in a REALLY long time that i actually felt physically *sated*. It was also the first time in a long time that i’d felt desired, which is a big thing, given some stuff i’ll talk about in a later entry. The only problem with this situation is that now that i realize that it’s possible to get what i feel like i need, i’m becoming very impatient. Also, since i did receive so much attention that night, it’s like the seal is broken and i need more.

Another thing is that when i actually have had sex, it’s been since a while since it’s been the kind of sex that i feel i need with the people that i love. While there is a silver lining to this, that being that i’ve been experimenting and discovering more and varied types of sex that i like, and there’s no shortage of orgasmic release regardless, there’s a certain core element missing, and this goes back to the whole “human contact” thing i was saying earlier. Something i’ve noticed looking back over the course of my life as far as i can remember, is that touch has always been important to me, on a really deep, visceral level. It was so extreme at one point when i was younger that i had sexual physical reactions to dogs licking my hands (aaaawwwwkwaaaaarrrddd…). While i’ve, thankfully, grown past that, i still crave touch on an only slightly lower level than food. I’ve heard this called “skin hunger” before, and described as a deficiency in oxytocin levels in the body which is relieved by skin to skin contact. Yeah, i’d believe it. But it doesn’t matter what you call it, the fact is that i’m not satisfied in this area for very long if at all.

I’ve been feeling pretty slutty lately and i wonder if this has something to do with it. Like i’m at some kind of breaking point and i’ve decided that my fear and anxiousness over social interactions is no longer enough to keep me from going out and just fucking EVERYONE. Not sure, exactly, but something’s got to give, because if this keeps going, i’m going to explode.

Speaking of fucking everyone…

Sexuality:

It was only about a year and a half ago that i fully realized and came to grips with the fact that i wasn’t straight. As you may know from reading the most recent version of my user manual i use the term “queer” to describe my sexuality at current, because it clearly defines me as not straight but after that stays good and nebulous. The reason for this is because i’m still trying to figure it all out.

My makeout corner actually came in pretty handy for this. One thing i noticed about it all, once i got over the nervous anticipation and subsequent excitement and relief that people actually DID want to partake of me in such a way, was my own reactions to people as they came up and did whatever they wanted to do to me. One thing i noticed was my lack of sexual arousal toward what i perceived to be more masculine types. Since i was couldn’t see, i had to rely on the rest of my senses (especially sounds and touch), and what i found was that scruffy faces on my face REALLY don’t work for me. Stubble hurts in the bad way, y’all. Combine this with the fact that most people who were sporting stubble or more were rather forceful and even a bit clumsy in the kissing department (and would use force in a way to disguise the clumsy, it seemed). There were more than a few who would pin me down, but it was only a very rare one who would do so in a way that i found to be hot; the rest just had me thinking “Dude, get off my face.” On the other hand, when it came to those whom i perceived to be more feminine, i definitely felt a higher level of sexual arousal. I’m not sure if this was a strictly physiological, chemical reaction to sensation and signals my body was receiving, or if i was, on some level, thinking “i attribute femininity to this person for whatever reason and thus this person is more sexually attractive to me.”

There were a few seemingly more concrete things that i did discover about myself thru this, though:
– Certain types of sensation were arousing regardless of perceived gender. For instance while kisses on my lips were hit or miss, kisses anywhere else resulted in the same positive reaction from me. Similarly, biting, nibbling, scratching, massaging, etc on my neck or anywhere else other than my lips resulted in the same positive reaction from me, regardless of who did it. This leads me to believe that within certain parameters, even when i CAN see, the sensation itself is the more important thing to me, not the gender of the person providing it. This is similar to my reaction to sensation thru BDSM play.

– When i’m on bottom or otherwise designated the receiver, i’m much more receptive (lol, redundant), physically and psychologically to any sensation brought my way, regardless of the gender of the person bringing it. I wonder if my brain says “you’re getting what you want, don’t worry about who’s giving it; DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH, YOU FOOL!” or something. Leads me to the classic Margaret Cho bit: “Am i gay??? Am i straight??? Nope, i’m just slutty.” Though in my case it makes me think more like “i’m just desperate.”

These will require more looking into. But hey, there are plans in motion for that.

Gender:

As with anything that is an aspect of one’s existence and how one relates to the world, i don’t think i’ll ever really figure this out, especially since it was once so grounded and is now so up in the air.

In attempt to make this sound less weird i’m going to preface this by saying that i have always had a VERY active imagination that has often run away with me. I can feel the emotion of imaginary characters (in movies or any media and my own mind) so strongly that it can affect my mood for hours depending on how strongly i relate to said characters. So when the character in an imaginary scenario is ME, it’s that much stronger. That being said…

I have a recurring daydream where i come home frustrated and muttering to myself and i slam the door upon entry. My brother-in-law, whom we live with and is always trying to be a peacemaker, makes some comment about how the door didn’t do anything to me. I then respond angrily, saying that the door will live, my frustration is not his business, and that he wouldn’t understand what i’m upset about anyway (he’s not really in the loop about gender and sexuality issues/politics/stuff). He pushes the issue: “Try me.”

“No way, you wouldn’t get it.”

“What wouldn’t i get? You’ve been freaking out for months and you never talk to me.”

“I don’t talk to you about this because i already know that you wouldn’t understand!”

“What wouldn’t i understand? Explain it.”

“No; trust me, you wouldn’t get it.”

(agitated) “Let me be the judge of that, just tell me!”

“I’M A WOMAN!”

This is followed by dead silence. Aaaaand SCENE.

Now, i don’t know if i actually am a woman. I wasn’t raised to be one and while i have felt occasionally dysphoric (at least that’s what it seemed to be), i don’t generally feel like i should be the opposite of what i was assigned. At most i feel like i just shouldn’t have been assigned any gender and left to make up my own mind about it (wouldn’t that be nice). If i were to pick anything at this point i’d say i was pretty gender neutral, but my issue with even saying that is that everything that i would say defines my gender is completely external.

I bellydance, i like wearing “opposite” gender clothing, i carry myself in a way that is sometimes perceived to be feminine when it’s not simply functional or utilitarian, i don’t like (and often remove) my body hair, i prefer to move gracefully whenever possible, i’m very nurturing, i love children, when it comes to physicality, while i value strength, i prefer flexibility and aesthetics, i’m detail oriented in many ways. When it comes to my body, generally like what i see, and even those things i would want to change to be more “feminine,” are only so that they’d look like what society has told us is feminine, and when these things intersect with my sexuality and desires, i don’t think to myself that i would like to have different genitalia (though that would be fascinating) because as i said earlier, the contact with another person is more important to me than the orgasm (i can get those anywhere and i do just fine with what i have). Maybe i’m over-thinking or trying to dig too deep, but the fact is that none of what i’ve enumerated here speaks to the idea that my “inner being” or my “true nature” is actually a woman instead of a man. And even the idea that i would have to pick one or the other bothers me, because the only reason i would do so is to make other people less confused. If i were a cisgender woman adding attributes, interests or activities to my life that people consider masculine, very few people would worry that i wasn’t being a “real woman.” But when a cisgender man is doing so-called feminine things, he’s a blight on society and is everything wrong with the world today (and i’m not even going to bring my blackness into it; that’s a whole separate blog entry). In the end i’d like to just be a person with interests that are my own, and don’t call my gender into question because my gender shouldn’t matter. But of course, it does matter to everyone else (save for a few people for whom i’m thankful), so i feel stuck with this need to label myself just so i can feel comfortable around people when i just want to wear a skirt and be comfortable.

Anyway, i dunno. Lots swirling around in there.

46 (things)

January 14, 2012

I’m having one of those moments where i feel like i’ll never get what i want out of my sex life, for all kinds of reasons. Some reasons are legitimate obstacles that need to be worked out one way or another, and others might just be in my head.

My kinks as a bottom and my wife’s kinks as a top don’t really line up. There’s some crossover, and the fact that as a top she’s pure sadist helps, but when i’ve discussed my needs with her, the fact that they’re *needs* is a barrier to her. I’ve yet to discuss many such things with other partners (potential and kinetic), because the timing doesn’t really feel right to me yet. But as i’m trying to be more honest with myself and with others, as per my new years resolution, i’m going to have to start speaking up.

I feel as though i’m running up against barriers in the scene in general as well. As i’m not a white, bisexual, thin cisgender woman, i’m not the ideal bottom for like 95% of the tops out there, in my estimation. Not to say that play is unavailable to me, but i can’t just walk into a play party at this point in my social development and expect people to want to play with me just on GP. As a queer, black, cisgender man who often cross-dresses in scene-space, my options are limited without a LOT of effort on my part before ever walking thru the door. And knowing that this is the hand i’ve been dealt doesn’t do much for my self esteem when such efforts come up fruitless. Doubly so when i can’t (thus far) get what i need at home.

In non-kink areas, when it comes to sex and just physical affection in general, i don’t get anywhere NEAR enough. I’m already a very skin-hungry person; i need (there’s that word again) to be touched in a way that lets me know that i’m loved (or at least liked and appreciated), and it’s not often that it happens. Bottom (no pun intended) line is that I need to be on the receiving end of things. I don’t want to kiss, i want to BE kissed. I don’t to touch, i want to BE touched. When it comes to penetrative sex of any kind, no matter who’s penetrating whom i don’t want to fuck, i want to BE fucked (h/t to Maymay for the terminology, cuz it’s perfect). I don’t know why that need is so prevalent, but it’s there.

Maybe i just want to feel like i’m wanted? I think that might be it, and that’s something that’s been around for a LOOOOOOOOOONG time.

Part of me knows that these things will change as time progresses. I’m being a lot more active in the scene this year, and getting to know a lot more people (gaining social capital). Eventually my number of play partners will increase and some of these needs will be satisfied, if temporarily. Another part of me wants to give up and not bother putting forth the effort, but i’m trying to shut him up because he’s had too much of a say in too many areas of life and i’m about tired of being jealous of the rest of the world.

I have to keep going with this. It’s WAY too early to call it quits. I’m really tired right now and recent events have left me, though determined, tense and frustrated.

But tomorrow is another day, and i got shit to do. Raaaarrrrr… or something.

45 (RTFM v.2)

December 19, 2011

This is an update of my user manual from last year. Been restructured and revamped in lieu of this year’s experiences and personal changes. So without further ado:

I am a 30-something married polyamourous queer father of one. Queer, for me, is an umbrella term encompassing sexuality, gender and gender expression, and for me those three things are all over the place, but I’ll enumerate them for you as best I can.

-Family/baggage-

I’m from a fairly typical nuclear American family. Both of my parents are still alive and still together. I have one younger sister. My in-laws are likewise alive, married, and together. I have one brother in law.

My daughter is a precocious toddler, fully able-bodied, able-minded and typically loves to get into trouble.

My wife and I have been together for six years (married for five) and have been non-monogamous and kinky the whole time, though only recently on a more active basis.

I have a strained relationship with both my blood sister and my mother in law. Neither of them seem to have the ability to stop insulting me, though they claim to try. I’m not out of the closet to anyone in my family beyond my wife and my brother in law (but only on a limited basis with him).

My parents are both christian, and because of that, don’t know a lot of things about me, nor should they. Growing up was fine, i often had more communication with my mother about personal/life issues. Mom is a little high strung and always trying to give me advice and or stifle my online voice, which is why personal/angry/emo status updates are only put up in places where she can’t see them. She was most often the disciplinarian at home (spankings, etc.) Dad is laid back, and could probably deal with things in my personal/online life a little easier, but since they would afterward have to go thru my mother, no dice. He ever only spanked me a few times, and they were VERY painful. Not sure if i ever really processed that.

I have left any formal religion behind, and it holds little sway in my day to day life, but having been raised christian i was stifled sexually (i was also taught that “friends first” bullshit, which really didn’t help). I didn’t lose my virginity until i was thirty, to my later-to-be wife. Because of that, it is only now that my sexual development is maturing, and i definitely haven’t ARRIVED, yet. So i’m very excited and open to talk about sex/sexuality/gender at any given time. Since i was so stifled and now feel free to explore these things, i’m kinda chomping at the bit to do so. This is, however, coupled with a sometimes overwhelming nervousness about being so open and scaring people away, so it’s sometimes difficult for me to open up, even though i really want to. This can depend on the crowd i’m with, and as i hang with a more kinky/queer/etc crowd, this is becoming easier.

I also REALLY hate being interrupted when i’m working. That’s completely unrelated, though.

-Me at a glance-

I’m a nice person. By that i mean i’m actually nice, not a Nice Guy ™. I’m athletic, artistic, and creative. I’m a talker. I’m also the quintessential black nerd. I love videogames, martial arts/sci-fi/fantasy movies, animation, comic books, rpgs… I’m all over the map with my nerdiness. I’m also an older nerd, so i’m a little bit of an elitist about it. A geekery quality enthusiast, perhaps? I also really love music of (almost) all types, but my love of hip-hop and r&b stops at about the year 2002 with few exceptions.

-Things i value-

My family, my health, my creativity. I’m very into social justice, and i’m not a fan of the government right now because they tend to suck at that.

-Things i like-

Conversation. I crave conversation on whatever subject. Tell me what you think about whatever’s going on in your life, and let me talk about what’s going on in mine. For some reason i love minutia. All the the little, seemingly silly and neurotic things that people think about are exactly what i like hearing about.

Languages. I have a bit of an affinity for them, though i’ve studied very few. If you speak more than one language, i’m always curious about that.

Physical activity. I’ve always been into sports of various types, and i like doing new and different things. Also, i like watching other people do stuff. So let’s do stuff!

Dancing. Falls in line with the physical activity bit above, but this is bigger than that because it’s a form of personal expression. Dancing with/near/around/in the vicinity of me will ALWAYS get my attention.

I think for both of these things it comes down to the fact that i like watching bodies move. It’s just fascinating to me.

Ditto for singing, but that’s just because i like hearing people sing.

-How to connect with me-

Movie references/quotes. Double points if they’re from kung fu movies.

Look me in the eye when you’re talking to me. You’d be surprised how many people don’t.

I’m an artist and photographer; model for me.

Idle touches mean a lot. It says a great deal more if you touching me when you talk to me, or hold my hand in whatever situation.

Spending a day together is awesome, whether that’s going out to places in a city, hiking, or just nerding out watching DVDs all day.

-How to impress me-

Proficiency. In anything. Seriously, ANYTHING. If you’re awesome at something and show it to me, i’m very likely to be impressed. Also, see -things i like-

Be comfortable in your own skin. As one co-worker of mine put it: “I am the queen of not giving a fuck. You can’t out-not-giving-a-fuck me.” YMMV on this since we all have our issues, but the thing is that i’m not always comfortable in my own skin unless i’m so occupied that i’m not thinking about it. So it puts me at ease if you are just comfortable with yourself all the time (or even if you fake it convincingly).

Be passionate about whatever your interests are. If you really like what you’re into, you’ll probably get me interested in it as well.

Take me out for interesting and different food. Bonus if you can cook/prepare it.

Speaking of food, if we go out to eat and you’re paying, generous tips (20% or more) give me warm fuzzies.

-How to turn me on emotionally-

Let me know that i’m allowed to be myself and that no aspect of me will be treated as weird in a negative way.

Trust me and let me know that i can trust you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with me.

Include me in activities with other people. I like doing new and different things. If you’re in another relationship, i want to meet them and connect with them as well. You should also get to know my wife and child.

Return communications. This is a big deal. Whether phone call, chat, text message, carrier pigeon, WHATEVER. Doesn’t have to be the same type of communication either, just at least acknowledge that you heard me.

Listen to me rant if i’m freaking out. I have a tendency to overreact (i’m working on it) and as long as i get that out early then i can think rationally afterwards.

-How to turn me on sexually-

Kisses, hugs and cuddles will ALWAYS work. In fact, the longer any of these go on, the more turned on i will be. I am very much NOT goal oriented when it comes to physical affection, and by that i mean i really just enjoy being in the moment and savoring what’s going on physically. I don’t generally try to push forward to the “main event” whatever that means. For me, a lot of times, what others call foreplay is the point of the interaction. I will make out with you for HOURS if you’ll let me.

Once clothes start coming off, massages absolutely turn me on whether i’m giving or recieving them. You honestly can’t touch my back enough, either with your hands or your mouth. Ditto for my nipples and my ass.

That said, i do enjoy sex a LOT. I define sex as anything requiring protection to perform. So, if we need a barrier of any kind to do it (or if it has the term SEX in the name), it’s sex. If at any point you are confused on this, ask. BDSM play, while it is often sexual, isn’t the same thing as it requires a different kind of trust (and protection) than sex. At this point the two have never intermingled (with exceptions made for D/s dynamics), but i’m open to it.

With BDSM, i’m a bottom who’s willing to try almost anything, but it helps me a great deal to see something done to someone else first before i’m willing to have it done to me. When it comes to BDSM, i enjoy sensation play, but when it’s time to step it up, break out the claws, knives, electricity, and fire. I’m also gaining an appreciation for rope and impact play. The thuddier the better.

Wrestle with me; try and overpower me. Bonus if you actually can.

Watch porn with me. And not the boring heavily made up implant porn, i mean stuff like The Crash Pad, Chemistry, and ShortBus. Tell me what you like in porn and what you’d like to see in porn.

-Queer Stuff-

As i said before, i use the term “queer” as an umbrella term to refer to both my sexuality and my gender/gender presentation.

Gender: I’m a man (pronouns are he/his/him), but i’m not very masculine. Most of the time i’m pretty neutral and sometimes i’m feminine. In general i don’t think of clothes as having a gender of their own; if it looks good on me then it looks good, so I’m in the process of building up my wardrobe to contain a balance of clothes from both sides of the store, to mix and match as i see fit.

Sexuality: I’ve told people before that i should just carry a sign at events that says “all genders welcome.” I really am open to anyone at this point, but my attractions are still oddly narrow when it comes to how people actually look. I’m still figuring that out; what attracts me to people on that visceral, heart thumping, cold sweating, cheek flushing, makes-my-underwear-get-tight kind of level… i got no idea. There’s no defineable list of criteria at this point. It basically boils down to the fact that if i think you’re hot, then i think you’re hot. Sorry i can’t be clearer.

Though, interestingly, i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the first “alternative lifestyle” person i ever met was my godmother, and she was the coolest person on earth when i knew her, so on some kind of subconscious level, if i’m attracted to you, no matter your gender, you exude a quality that i saw in her. Couldn’t begin to tell you what quality that might be, though.

-How to turn me off-

Racist, sexist, heteronormative, cissexist, transphobic, homophobic, classist, ableist, or binarist crap, and doubling down when called on it. We all make mistakes, and life has given different people different experiences and that’s all great, but there’s a limit. I’ve become very tired of trying to explain why things are problematic.

On the race side especially this includes but is not limited to racial fetishization. If you see me and you think “big black cock WANT” you can die in a fire. Don’t ever invite me to a BBC party unless you want me to just start throat-punching the other attendees. There are plenty of bigger cocks you can buy for relatively cheap. I am not a sex toy. I am a person.

Conceit. Self-confidence is great, but self-absorption is full of fail.

Insult me, or treat my interests as “weird.”

If you don’t communicate clearly with me, things won’t work. I’m really seriously NOT psychic.

If i’ve missed anything, or you feel i was unclear, feel free to ask me in the comments!

44 (About my gender)

December 5, 2011

I’m a man.

I was assigned male at birth, i was raised as male, i was taught all of the typically “male” things. I don’t really feel like anything other than a man. But i can’t say that i always feel masculine. A lot of times i feel distinctly feminine. In the last few months i’ve had moments of actual gender dysphoria, which really threw me for a loop. I looked at myself in the mirror and, for the first time on a gender based level, i actually disliked what i saw, physically. I wanted to see wider hips, narrower shoulders. At one point, i didn’t want my penis anymore. Interestingly, i didn’t really want breasts. I’m still processing that, i think.

The terms “masculine” and “feminine” bother me to an increasing degree. I feel like these titles are ultimately useless because they are describe activities and clothes and all kind of things that have no actual gender of their own other than what society has attached to them. Somehow it just became “fact” that certain types of shoes or garments, for example, are for men and others are for women. It also continues to irk me that f-apparent people can wear “mens'” clothes mostly without issue, but m-apparent people cannot wear “womens'” clothes without the assumption that something is wrong with them. What if i like wearing a dress, dammit? And of course these standards change ALL THE TIME. In a couple hundred years, men might be wearing dresses on the regular.

Also, many activities that i enjoy can fall on either side of the typical binary. Sports can be played by anyone, for example. Athleticism and physical ability have no gender, so why do they suddenly take on a gender when applied to certain activities?

My wife has used the term “non gender conforming” in reference to me before, but i don’t feel that that’s actually the case at all. I just don’t conform to society’s opinion of what my gender is supposed to be. I actually feel like i’m conforming to the ever-changing and fluctuating notion of my own gender just fine, thankyouverymuch, skirts and all. Even if i were to claim to be anything other than male, i’d only claim gender neutrality, and the only reason i’d even say that is because the things i like to do are considered feminine BY EVERYONE ELSE.

I don’t think i want to apply everyone else’s standards of gender to what I feel.

43 (“Complete?”)

November 29, 2011

So, last night my therapist asked me if i felt more “complete” after my #TeamNoPants weekend at the GKE. I hadn’t really thought about it.

While i was excited to wear skirts the whole weekend and definitely had fun doing so, i think that i was so wrapped up in it that i hadn’t given much thought to how it really felt to me, gender-wise. I do remember feeling a little awkward at first, but that subsided after about fifteen minutes and after that i really wasn’t thinking about how i was dressed unless certain realities forced me to (like the fact that leather seats can be really cold on my mostly bare ass).

So “do i feel more complete?” I don’t know. I do feel much better knowing for certain that i have a kind of outlet; kink events such as these are really open and accepting to just about everything, so not feeling like i had to explain myself to anyone was just really liberating. It;s not even that i don’t like talking about gender, it’s just that i worry that people aren’t going to get it. At kink even, a fair amount of people at least KINDA get it. My therapist put it really well, actually (paraphrasing): “The clothes aren’t really the point; they’re just an outward expression of what’s going on with in your head, that you’d like to express but have a hard time with. In such an accepting crowd, you don’t have that kind of pressure to explain yourself, because people can look at you, see what you’re wearing and apply whatever they know about genderqueer issues (or even just a cross-dressing fetish, if that’s what they know) to you, and go on their way without giving a second look. That has to feel like there’s a lot less pressure.” That sounds about right, to me.

I think that i might feel more of a sense of “completion” if i were to come out to my family, or wear a skirt in a really public space, or at a family gathering or some such, because there’d be a kind of confrontational feel to it (whether there was any kind of actual confrontation or not). Those kinds of situations would require a great deal more courage just because of the fact that, with my family and their religious beliefs in particular, i’d be facing a figurative firing squad of commentary and questioning, not to mention that they’d probably want to try and pray the queer out of me or something at the very least. Worst case of course, they’d try to take my daughter and i’m just not ready to deal with that level of possibility. Now if i were to go thru a situation like that and come out on the other side, whatever the repercussions, i’d say fairly definitively that i’d feel more complete because i would truly not be hiding from anyone.

I can’t say that i’m really there yet, though. So, i dunno. 50% complete, maybe?

31 (de todo un poco)

June 6, 2011

Lots going on lately.

Last week i went to Balticon 45. It was my first sci fi convention and as someone who normally only goes to anime cons, this was a bit different, though kinda the same. As a small con, it reminded me of the anime cons of yore (about 15 years ago), when a convention like Otakon was small enough to be held in a regularly sized hotel with no overflow, and you could actually hang out with your friends at the con and not get completely lost trying to find a panel you’re interested in. As such it was quite refreshing, and i got to actually sit down and talk to the guests, including but limited to Nobilis Reed and Paulette Jaxton. It was fun times all around, and i’m glad DDog took me.

My wife has started her internship, which is awesome for her and eventually for all of us, but it means that she and the baby are staying with her mother most of the week. So i’m kinda lonely, but i spend the night with them when i can. I’m taking the time semi-apart from them to try and build myself up a bit. I don’t have many friends in this city, so i want to try and have a social life and actually make some, so i plan on going out more often during the week. Part of this has to do with my own loneliness and the fact that i’d just like more people to talk to, but also it has to with my own mental health and the fact that i need to feel a sense of connectedness to SOMEBODY, given some what’s been going on in my head lately.

That something in my head being that the subject of my gender expression has come into question a bit. As related in entry #29 i like dresses. Matching skirts and tops, more specifically. Part of this is because i have to figure out what to wear for bellydance, but in my exploration of bellydance fashion i’ve found that “matching” isn’t exactly necessary, even for performances; all that matters is that one doesn’t clash. But male bellydancers and the outfits i’ve seen them wear look… wrong to me somehow. At the very least they aren’t what i’d want to wear, so i’ve been looking elsewhere and the only places to look are at sites and catalogs geared specifically toward women. Oh and Etsy. Etsy’s been great. But aside from bellydance, i’ve found that i want to present a more “feminine” appearance in certain circles, if for no other reason than the fact that i don’t want to have to be confined to wearing the clothes i like in my own house (or, since we live with my brother in law who doesn’t really get it, my own bedroom). I’ve been finding small outlets for it in my artwork (see entry #27 and #30 ; let’s just be honest, “Stocking Boy” is essentially me), but it’s not enough, and since even that is confined to this rather hidden space, it doesn’t really help, so i’m trying to find ways to express what i feel i’m becoming. There are a few problems that come with this desire, though. For one, even when i can find clothes that fit, which is a challenge in itself, a lot of what’s available doesn’t really match who i feel i am. This is the kind of thing that will go in cycles though, as the fashion world does its thing and trends come and go. I haven’t looked everywhere, obviously, so there’s bound to be something for me out there. My art has actually been really helpful in this respect, because i can simply design what feels right for me and then put the outfits together piece by piece, and my friend Lee has agreed to help me make whatever i can’t find, and alter whatever i do find that’s not quite right. Like so:

So yay for friends!

The other problem is, of course, society. While some friends i have are very accepting and in fact eager to see me in a dress or any other less than “masculine” outfit, outside of their company i feel very insecure, unless i also happen to be in a space full of accepting strangers. It’s bad enough being a man who wants to be pretty in the way that i want, but the fact that i’m also a person of color, specifically, a black man, has what feels like double the complications. I’ve already mentioned my brother in law and the fact that he doesn’t get it. My local family doesn’t get it either, and so i feel restricted there, though i know they love me. My family back home, of course… fuhgedabaddit. Aside from that, there’s a notion of hypermasculinity in the black community that goes beyond what i’ve seen in even more conservative American culture at large. If i, as a black man, want to continue to call myself a man without being persecuted, made fun of, or otherwise oppressed by the culture at large, i CANNOT speak softly, or bellydance, or move, dress… BE… the way i want. Never mind the fact i’m also attracted to men (i’ll get to that in a minute); any or all of these things makes me less of a man in this culture anyway, but in black culture it goes double. Even in progressive circles, a stereotypically feminine speech pattern, for example, is mocked and put down (i’m talking to you, Elon). So for me to dress how i feel is REALLY right for me in public, would only (most likely) open me up to ridicule at best. Luckily, i suppose, i like dressing masculinely as well.

Until i do get a hold of the clothes i really like, and have access to accepting spaces in which to wear them, however, there are a few things i have been doing to feel more like myself. I mentioned in entry #29 that i want to be more androgynous looking, just in general. To me that means neutrality, and THAT to me means a blank slate. I dunno, maybe i get it from my art background, blank paper/canvas, bla bla bla. Anyway, to achieve a kind of blankness, i’ve taken to removing all of my hair. Back when i modeled, i got rid of my body hair, because i felt it was more aesthetically pleasing, since i was nude most of the time; it brought out my muscles and made everything look smoother on camera. I still feel that i look best without hair for that reason (though i don’t model anymore) but also because i feel that in its blankness, it’s neither masculine nor feminine in and of itself. Similarly, i’ve cut the hair on my head REALLY close. I’ll probably end up shaving it at least for special occasions, but i’m going to keep it low for the duration. I guess the thought process behind all this is similar to a mannequin, or one of those poseable figures you get for art school. They’re completely blank (especially the latter), and you project whatever image you want onto them. So my hairlessness is a good start, at least.

On to other things: men. It’s been pointed out to me that in my social interactions, when someone i’m attracted to is approached by, flirts with, or otherwise has amorous interaction with a man or M-apparent person, my jealousy level tends to spike way harder than a similar interaction with a woman or F-apparent person. I’ve been trying to figure out why this is, and i think it has to do with the fact that while i’m attracted to men, and definitely want to fuck and be fucked by a few, i don’t LIKE men, in general. If that sounds paradoxical, i’ll explain.

I was primarily raised by my mother; my father was definitely not absent (my parents were and are still married and live together; my father was my first major artistic influence), but all of the more delicate talks (save for THE TALK[tm]) were handled by my mother, and i wonder if that colored my future interactions. When i was in junior high and highschool, while i got along well enough with the guys in my classes, i felt that i had much more meaningful conversations and just over all a better time with the girls. Part of this had to do with the fact that my artistic drive took hold at a very early age, and most of the students who were that hardcore into art were girls, and all of the art teachers were women, so they were just who i was surrounded by. Also, in highschool, boys would do all kinds of things to try and get girls to notice them, and i thought that was flat out stupid. First of all these guys were doing things that were REALLY unhealthy in the name of being “manly.” But i had no problem striking up a conversation with almost any girl anyway, so i didn’t see the point. Paradoxically, of course, while i could talk with the best of them, i could never get a date because once i was actually attracted to someone, i’d get nervous and not know what to say. This pervades to this day. I still don’t understand this foreign language they call “flirting.” Anyway, this has probably made me a bit bitter, seeing as the old “chicks dig jerks” adage seemed to be completely true, so when my jealously level does spike due to an M-apparent person being around, it’s probably due to lingering feelings of insecurity and just feeling like i’m not good enough, which is linked to classic feelings of competition, and “what’s wrong with ME?” and other shit like that. I’m not sure if this is exactly it, but that’s all i’ve got so far.

Anyway, MEN SUCK. Or at the very least, i’ve found precious few who i’m attracted to AND with whom i can have a real conversation. I’m glad for the few, and i certainly hope things continue to go well with one in particular, but in general, ugh. I’ll stick to looking. I dunno, maybe the problem is straight guys. I haven’t hung out with too many gay/bi/queer/etc guys. But that goes back to an earlier point, that i need to expand my social circle and plan to do so.

What else… oh! Slack-lining! Thanks to my wife’s obsession with obscure sports i’ve been doing this for a little less than a week and i’m kinda obsessed. It’s basically stunting on flat rope that has some bounce to it so you can springboard and stuff. Of course i’m not to the level of doing anything really cool yet, but just practicing is so much fun! I’d like to get to the point where i can do yoga on the line, then kung fu, and eventually bellydancing. It’s already good for my dancing because of the leg strength i’m building, plus the fact that i have to keep my knees soft at all times. An unexpected but REALLY helpful crossover. Again, balancing is one of those things that are purported to be more for women than men (the men tend to do more of the flying, which is not very much what i’m interested in), but well, this is where i am.

My wife put it best, i think. Whatever else might be going on with me, when it comes to physicality, it’s not that i want to be a woman, i just want to be able to do what women can do. And apparently, wear some of what they wear.

PS: I’ve also been feeling pretty subby lately, but only a few people care about that. 😛