Episode 022 The Ethical Slut

Episode the Twenty-Second; Wherein the Pageist tries a new app designed for kinksters, discovers a podcast for sexy thinkers and learns to be ethically slutty.

The book reviewed this episode is The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.

.50 Intro & Announcements:

  • Welcome to the new listener in Latvia!
  • Thank you to the new survey-taker. Mwah! Mwah!

1.35 My Submissive Life:

  • I tested the KNKI app. Their website is: here.
  • Also, Intellectual Foreplay is a new favorite podcast. Check them out here.
  • Review of Cooper S. Beckett’s A Life Less Monogamous: Episode 5.
  • Interview with Cooper S. Beckett: Episode 8.

5.22 Book Review:

  • Books by the authors I’ve previously reviewed: Spanking for Lovers by Janet W. Hardy: Episode 4.
  • Written reviews of The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.
  • The Multiamory hosts took over my show and did their own (quite excellent) reviews of The New Topping and The New Bottoming Books: Episode 7.
  • PolyMatchMaker.com–a dating website for poly people.
  • Take the OKCupid Ethical Slut Test and see how well you score on both Sluttiness and Ethicalness: here.

31.41 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing the first three volumes of Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • Subscribe, stream or download from libsyn here. All episodes are available in a pop out player on this page.

BDSM Play Party Etiquette with Myintimia

Myintimia had an unpleasant experience recently at a play party (though this could have happened at a dungeon, as well) with someone unfamiliar with scene etiquette. She’s turned it into an excellent post that everyone new to the lifestyle could benefit from.

Dear Stranger at the “Play Party”

When you walk up to me in the middle of a scene and start asking questions, you might as well be opening my bedroom door while I’m completely naked, to sit down on my pillow to ask; “How does it feel?”

You’re expecting me to say delicious or sharp or like a warm hug. But how it feels is invasive. It’s (sort of) not your fault, no one told you the rules. But it’s also not my responsibility to school you on proper play etiquette when my gloved hands are full of blood and my poor girl is trying hard to maintain her head space while you ask if you can be next.

As a community I think we’ve forgotten how not to take each other for granted. Not everything is a demo. Not everyone is up for negotiating a scene with someone they just met. Not every toy is meant to be shared. I know you’re new and eager but don’t be greedy. It takes time to get here. It takes keeping a respectful distance from two people sharing not only bodily fluids but an intense emotional connection. It takes waiting until the scene is over and the parties have moved away from the space they shared (both physically and emotionally) before you move in to ask questions.

(Because I welcome your questions and your curiosity. Afterwards. I welcome thoughtful discourse either in person or via a well worded and correctly punctuated message sent. Afterwards.)

I know everyone else is drinking. I know everyone else is yelling fourteen octaves above normal speaking volume. I know it’s hard to hear yourself above the sex sounds at every angle. And I know that that sort of environment suggests or infers a certain type of behaviour may be acceptable. But it isn’t. This wasn’t labeled “drunken orgy” (because if it had been I would have been responsible enough not to attend – not my thing), it was labeled “play party”. A play party suggests and infers that a certain type of behaviour is expected – at very least – in the dedicated Dungeon space.

You are entirely responsible for your behaviour. Educate yourself.

You might tell me that I should just stay home if I don’t like it. Well, I have been staying home. For years now. If you want to learn from experienced, knowledgeable, and safe players who value the connection that BDSM brings to their relationships, then learn how to create a space that we feel welcome in. Because I would welcome you into that space, if it were available to me. And understand, too, that I want to share it with you so that you can see what’s possible – what this lifestyle has to offer aside from mere fun and debauchery. There are plenty of environments where fun and debauchery are welcome and encouraged. Context is everything.

I know you wouldn’t purposefully desecrate a sacred space. A Dungeon space is a sanctuary. The one place the bare and bloody bones of what connects me and mine can be expressed. Understand that that is important to me.

Traversing Gender by Lee Harrington

This is the text of the book review from episode 21 of the podcast.

This episode’s book is Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Realities by Lee Harrington. Before we get started I’d like to say I received this book for free but I’m going to tell you what I thought anyway.

This book is geared more for allies, family, friends, lovers, academics, health care professionals… anyone who would like to have a better idea what transgender or gender nonconforming people experience.

For any of those people it’s an excellent resource. It would also fit wonderfully in a gender studies class.

I heard about the book in an interview Lee did with Graydancer on the Ropecast last February. He said what it was about and I thought, ‘Ooh, I want to read me that!’ Then I thought, ‘Boy, that’s going to be long and packed with info.’

Turns out, though, that it’s only around 170 pages. It’s impressively concise. You get a lot of information for your page, is what I’m saying. I was expecting something more academic—and I don’t mean it wasn’t well-written—the book was very well-written and there were sources galore. Sources make me very happy. I was expecting it to be academic in a way where I’d be saying, ‘This is a book perfect for if you’re writing a Masters thesis on gender studies.’ But, you know… not really anyone else.

Now, I will cheerfully slog my way through some academic text if it’s on a subject I’m interested (I would have for this subject), but it kinda stinks if I think other people should read it. Most people don’t want to fall asleep every night with a three hundred page book falling on their face, possibly breaking their nose. So I was very happy to find Traversing Gender was very accessible and moved right along.

The book is broken down into three sections, within which are specific chapters that pertain to the theme of the section.

Before getting to those there’s an intro with this statistic:

An estimated 700,000 transgender people live in the United States, with millions living worldwide.

The town I grew up in was 8,000. So 700,000 is… more than that. That fact that the American government is trying to legislate how more people than live in Washington D.C. live their lives is why I’m talking to you about this. There are two other states with populations smaller than that. Vermont and Wyoming. And that’s only the number of trans people who are out. If it wasn’t so dangerous how many more people would be honest about who they are?

The author also says in the intro:

Transgender is also an umbrella term. For the context of this book, it includes all concepts of gender variances outside of having your gender or sex assigned at birth correspond with your gender experience… the terms gender-nonconforming and gender variant will also be used throughout this book.

I’m going to follow Lee’s lead on this. There’s a Patton Oswalt piece where he talks about how he’s trying to be the best ally and he’ll go to the mat for anyone to be who they want to be, but you have to give him some slack because the terms keep changing. It’s hilarious and here’s a link if you haven’t seen it, but I’m here for you, I’m on your side, I’m doing my best to keep up with the terms, but there’s always that fear I’m going to marginalize someone who’s already got enough to deal with.

Just before kicking off the first section, the author says,

There are three different goals for the book:

  • To help those who are new to these concepts build an understanding of the lives of diverse trans experiences.
  • Provide language, resources and awareness for those on various gender journeys for exploration, activism and moving forward on their personal paths.
  • Enable individuals to become social, emotional, professional, and medical allies to transgender communities and in doing so, help make the world a better place, one life at a time.

The first section is entitled Journeys and covers three chapters about the concepts of sex and gender.

The first chapter contains this excellent description:

Sex is the body we have
Assigned gender is what we were told we were at birth
Gendered behaviors are the actions we engage in
Gender expression is how we communicate our gender
Perceived gender is how other people see us
Legal gender is what the government says we are
Gender identity is how we see ourselves
Orientation is who we are attracted to
Sexual behavior is what we do with our bodies.

I never realized how freakin’ lucky I am that many of those line up for me and that makes my life a hell of a lot easier. It also means I can be an ally, because transphobic people listen to cispeople—or people whose gender matches their assigned sex at birth—more readily than trans or gender nonconforming people.

The rest of the chapter breaks down each of those things just a bit further—assigned gender, gendered behaviors, gender expression and so on.

Under ‘perceived gender’ the author says this:

When we project a gender upon someone, we are seeing a story of what that gender means to us. Each person carries stories about what being a man or a woman ‘means,’ constructed through the lens of our history and upbringing. We consciously and unconsciously make decisions about how we behave towards them, layered with stereotypes based on race, age, physical abilities, accent, and style of dress. Whether or not our internal experience of what our own gender is, or how we experience our own gender; this is about the person perceiving us. This is not about who we actually are.

The second chapter in the section covers the various types of transgender journeys.

It starts with this reminder:

Asking people what terms mean to them, and why they use them, helps us understand their personal journey. This includes terms that we believe we know the definitions for, because no two people are identical in their path, even though there are trends in trans and gender nonconforming experience.

The types listed and explained in some detail are: transsexual, MtF (male to female) or transwoman, FtM (female to male) or transman, two spirit, third gender, genderqueer, gender variant and gender fluid, agender, gender neutral and androgynous, and bigender and demigender.

Each type is accompanied by a list of notable people in various fields who embody those genders.

Under the third gender category there was the positive news that Australia now issues passports under X rather than just M or F, German birth certificates no longer require a gender marker at all and India, Nepal and New Zealand have three options—male, female and other.

One that gave me a little difficulty, ironically, was the agender label. I say that’s ironic, because I’m asexual. Then I applied the metaphor I use to explain asexuality to it. Which is this: Being asexual is like being sexually attracted to something that doesn’t exist on this planet/realm/in this universe. Because you can still have a libido—some asexuals do. It’s just that what or whomever you’re attracted to isn’t anything anyone could imagine, including yourself. So being agender is possibly something like that. None of the possible gender expressions available work. There could be one out there, but nothing currently applies.

If you’re agender and that sounds completely off (or correct) please let me know.

Then there was this quote:

Their own personal experience of a gender neutral state is about the agender person, not about the gender (or lack thereof) of anyone else. It is not meant to affront, even if it challenges the questioner’s perspective on what gender should be—or that everyone should have a gender. This is an important point to remember for all people interacting with transgender people. A trans person’s gender is not meant as an affront to anyone else.

This applies to so many people. If you’re a woman who doesn’t have children, women with kids think you’re judging them for having kids… for some reason. If you’re gay people think that has something to do with their straightness. If you’re asexual people have to defend their sexuality. Everyone’s just being themselves. Minorities don’t wake up in the morning and think, ‘I’m going to make the majority question their life choices today!’

And even if we do make you question your life choices—you still have all the power. If our mere existence is a threat to you—that gives us an enormous amount of power over your lives. It also tells me you’re a little shaky in your foundations and comfort in who you are.

Speaking of people uncomfortable with who they are… something else covered in this chapter are preferred pronouns. If someone asks you to call them she, he, it, they, ze, hir, or a melaphant, just do it. It’s what feels comfortable to the other person. Inevitably, when this comes up online, someone says, ‘But what about me? What about my comfort?’
And I’m always tempted to say, ‘Oh, we get to call people what we think they should be called? So you’re Mr DickWagon now? Because that’s most comfortable for me. Not him or your preferred name. DickWagon. And so shall it be. What about my comfort.’
Dude, it’s not about you.
Believe me, no one wants everyone to go around calling them whatever feels right to them.

This chapter also covers intersex individuals, which is a:

person born with variation in sex characteristics including genitals, gonads, or chromosomes that are not distinctly female or male.

The next chapter talks about the different challenges faced by people who transition during various periods of their lives—childhood, teen years, adults, or later in life.

The chapter included this statistic:

Of the 1.6 million homeless youth in the United States, anywhere from 20 to 40% are gay or transgender.

And the surprising news that around 15,000 service people in the U.S. military had to lie about their gender until May of 2016, as the Pentagon finally lifted the ban on transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.

We tend to think of teens as being high risk for suicide due to bullying for being themselves, but this chapter lays out how older trans individuals go into care homes and keep their medical needs to themselves for fear of being outed or discriminated against by staff or peers. There’s this stat:

71% of older trans adults also report having contemplated suicide or ending life early, compared to under 4% for the general population.

I don’t know what to say about that. That’s makes tears come to my eyes and I want to do something.

The chapter discusses the pros and cons and whys and why nots of people choosing to transition or come out as trans or gender nonconforming at any particular time of their life. There is so much to think about. I had no idea.

The second segment of the book is about health—social, medical and sexual.

The first chapter in the section (chapter four of the book) talks about social health and brought up something I hadn’t considered under the heading of Gender Cultures, which is how people behave when they’re alone with people of their own gender. A locker room, for example. A bachelorette party was another example. Look, any of you ladies ever need to be awkward at a hen party, I’ll go with you—we can be awkward together. If ‘as awkward as an asexual lesbian at a hen party’ isn’t a saying, it should be.

The way some people deal with this is by seeking out mentors, which the author defines as:

cisgender people whose path in life mirrors the path they are on that are happy to help without judgment, or an ulterior motive; quietly offering insights and feedback.

I’d be happy to help, but useless. ‘Yeah, what I do in these circumstances, is hide behind the ficus, play with the pets and leave after twenty minutes.’

Under the heading Cultural Toxicity, the author addresses transphobia.

It manifests in work environments when jokes about a transgender employee are passed around the office, or a trans person is passed over for jobs and promotions.

So I’m pulling the episode over for a second for a mini-rant. I have a couple of trans friends who were looking for work. Both were having a hell of a time. No, they were both having a fucking impossible time. One works in a very small, highly specialized STEM field that’s male-dominated. She has multiple degrees and decades of experience with some of the top companies. She applied to hundreds, no kidding, hundreds of positions. Many times receiving no callbacks. Sometimes she’d get to an interview and then someone would say, ‘I Googled you.’ And that would be the end of it. The afternoon interviews would be canceled. This happened more than once. After being out of work for a couple of years she finally got another job and all of her friends were relieved (and highly pissed off) on her behalf.

My other friend has been put through some serious bullshit that isn’t as blatant, but it’s enough to make you squint and say, ‘Ummm.’

Meanwhile, my white, cishet husband occasionally applies for a job here or there over a four year period and we’re moving to Oxford! He doesn’t even have a university degree. I’m not saying he doesn’t work hard and hasn’t taught himself a great deal and isn’t worth it, but come the fuck on. This job is at least in part brought to us by Privilege. And we both know it.

Resuming the show.

The next chapter is on medical health and has some tips for health care providers on how to be sensitive to their patient’s needs.

The chapter also provides information about the likelihood of breast cancer for men. 1 in 1,000 men have a lifetime risk. It doesn’t matter if you were assigned male at birth or have had torso reconstruction surgery. It’s important to be aware of it.

This chapter covers hormone therapy and medical procedures and I probably don’t need to say this to my listeners, but don’t ask people what’s in their pants. Saying genitals is what makes a person a man or a woman—what does that mean to people who lose theirs to disease or accidents? Not everyone can afford or want surgery. Some people can’t have it due to health problems.

Chapter six is sexual health.

The tips in this chapter will be familiar to the kinky people—communication, consent, as long as everyone is consenting, there’s nothing wrong or bad about how you get down.

I also enjoy it when kinky people write books for a non-kinky audience, because they always put in something like this:

Afterwards, there are people who find that processing with a person about what you liked helps make next time even better.

Tina Horn had a similar suggestion in her Sexting book, which I reviewed in episode fifteen. Yes, vanilla people, talk about what you like. You can get more that way!

Stats in this chapter include the number of trans and gender nonconforming people who’ve been raped or molested. It’s 64% in the United States and 70% in Canada. And then we have these bathroom laws that portray trans people as the predators. Not even close.

This chapter covers fertility and STDs and I finally learned how people turn latex gloves into dental dams. Cut the fingers off then down the outer edge along the line where the pinkie would be. Then stick your tongue in the thumb. Doh!

Also, hormone therapy is not effective birth control. A popular mantra is ‘if you have it, check it.’ I really like that. I’m going to start shouting it at my asexual friends who don’t want to get certain tests because they think they have nothing to worry about.

The final chapter in the section is on mental health. This section covers the hoops people have to jump through for hormones and surgery. It’s a lot of hoops.

This covers gender dysphoria (where your internal gender doesn’t match your outer body) and body dysmorphia, which is when you obsess over perceived physical flaws. These are two separate things.

Because this is the mental health chapter, it includes this statistic:

One study of 6,450 transgender people in the United States found 41% had attempted suicide, compared to the national average of 1.6%. That study also found that suicide attempts were less common among transgender people whose family ties had remained strong after they came out. … These numbers only include those who survived their attempts.

Later in the chapter the author offers advice on dealing with difficult emotions and situations that can benefit anyone:

If this degree of work feels intimidating, the tool of H.A.L.T. can go a long way. Making decisions from any of these four places will not likely support quality mental health:
Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired
If someone fits any of these points, taking the time to address them before acting upon major decisions, sets them up for better likelihood of long-term, and even short-term success.

That brings us to the final section, entitled World at Large. It covers legal issues, challenges and communities and allies.

Chapter eight is on legal issues. Great Socrates. The legal issues. Many things require your ID to match the gender on your birth certificate, but some states and countries won’t allow you to change that. Well, thanks. I thought changing my name after I got married was nuts, but this is insane. And there’s a fee for everything. Transgender people are not doing this for fun, transphobes.

There’s good news—Ireland has passed something called national gender recognition and rights. Ireland. They only got divorce in 1996. We’re telling people where they can pee and a country run by the Catholic Church is giving country-wide protection to all genders. How you doin’, America?

We’re in the legal chapter so more stats.

Between 2008 and 2015, more than 1,700 trans people were killed worldwide. These numbers are disproportionately large amongst trans women of color.

And

15% of transgender people in jail report being sexually assaulted by police, with numbers amongst African-Americans double that figure.

As I was writing this today, I went to find the stats for this year—2016—and there was an article on the Advocate site that was three hours old on the 18th transgender person killed this year. Flipping through a slideshow of the people—it’s overwhelmingly female people of color. That’s nearly one person every two weeks this year. Where’s the outrage? The most recent was Erykah Tijerina—she was found on Monday, August 8th.

Chapter nine is challenges and communities. Challenges include who you tell and when and how and why—every chapter is an enormous list of questions and what to consider. So much respect and support to trans people for handling everything and dealing with idiots. And just having a life.

‘Passing’ is discussed, which is how well a person reads as their desired gender.

Then gender privilege is brought up.

These are the advantages that someone experiences because of their gender. Examples include the idea that men tend to receive higher pay, or that women are given permission to express emotion. Gender privilege does not automatically transfer to trans people upon transition. When a trans woman loses males privilege, she does not gain female advantages unless she passes and lives life stealth.

Norah Vincent wrote a fascinating book around ten years ago called Self Made Man about choosing to spend eighteen months or so disguised as a man. She wanted to see what gender privilege men had—and what guys got up to on male retreats. It was incredible. She also had a nervous breakdown from trying to be something she fundamentally was not. The lesson there is, trying to force yourself to be something you aren’t—even willingly for a book—will break your mind. It was riveting. There was much to learn about being both male and female.

Activism is mentioned in this chapter with this quote:

Privilege comes with the opportunity to speak up for oppressed or underrepresented populations, while simultaneously handing them the microphone to speak for themselves.

And it’s always important to remember that trans women of color led the Stonewall riots. I did not know there was something before that—something in 1966 called the Compton Riots that was started by a small group of trans women and drag queens and, according to the book, is considered to be the birth of the gay-rights movement.

You’ve stood up for me—I will stand up for you.

Speaking of—the final chapter is called Being a Trans Ally.

It covers preferred pronouns in more depth and offers this advice:

If an error is made regarding someone’s gender or use of their former name, it is best to quietly apologize and move forward, rather than constantly apologizing and drawing further attention to the issue.

As a culture we do this all the time when we meet a small child, or a pet. If the parent or pet-owner corrects us about the name or gender, we move forward with the new information.

Something else allies can do is modeling behavior—learning the polite way to behave and then simply be that way in front of people who may not know better.

If you see a trans or gender nonconforming person being harassed in public, rather than engaging with the harasser, just go talk to the person being harassed. Ask about where they’re going—if on public transport—or the book they’re reading, if they have one. Simply showing the person isn’t alone will diffuse the situation rather than escalate it and let the person know someone is on their side.

Trans people are more than just their gender journey—they’re everything else—they’re career, hobbies, families, sense of humor, etc. Having to constantly educate people is called ‘trans fatigue’ and, as an ally, you can take some of the work off by being educated and speaking up. This book has loads of resources listed in the back to help you along.

If you’re interested in learning about trans issues and or how to be a better ally—this is an excellent place to start. It’s packed with information, covers everything I can think of—if you’ve read it and it left something out, please let me know what, because I’m at a loss—and really isn’t that long.

I give this one a 5/5 and look forward to having Lee on the show in the near future.

Sabotage — Beastie Boys

This song came on my alarm and I instantly had an image of a scene in a dungeon involving impact play.

If you haven’t heard it, press play. If you have heard it then it’s already playing in your head. You’re welcome.

‘Sabotage’

By Adam Horovitz, Adam Nathanial Yauch, Michael Louis Diamond

I can’t stand it I know you planned it
But I’m gonna set it straight, this Watergate
I can’t stand rocking when I’m in here
Because your crystal ball ain’t so crystal clear
So while you sit back and wonder why
I got this fucking thorn in my side
Oh my God, it’s a mirage
I’m tellin’ y’all it’s a sabotage
So listen up ’cause you can’t say nothin’
You’ll shut me down with a push of your button?
But I’m out and I’m gone
I’ll tell you now I keep it on and on
‘Cause what you see you might not get
And we can bet so don’t you get souped yet
You’re scheming on a thing that’s a mirage
I’m trying to tell you now it’s sabotage
Why; our backs are now against the wall
Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage
Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage
Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage
Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage

I can’t stand it, I know you planned it
But I’m gonna set it straight this Watergate
I can’t stand rockin’ when I’m in this place
Because I feel disgrace because you’re all in my face
But make no mistakes and switch up my channel
I’m Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle
What could it be, it’s a mirage
You’re scheming on a thing, that’s sabotage

Lyrics from MetroLyrics

Perpetuating Stigmas with Sub-Kittie

This week’s mentor post is about what goes through the mind of a person when they receive an STD diagnosis (in this case, herpes) from panic to acceptance and a call to remember that people with STIs are still people. A diagnosis doesn’t define a person.

“You have herpes.”

Those were the last words I really remember the doctor saying. She continued talking, but I was no longer there listening. You know the sound the teachers make in those Charlie Brown cartoons? That’s what I heard in the background while I was trapped inside my head, those words reverberating within – “You have herpes”. Type 1 genital herpes to be precise.

I drove back to work in a trance, because obviously going back to work was a smart choice. I tried to pretend to work, but I couldn’t stop crying. My co-workers were concerned. My “work-hubby” kept asking me what was wrong, but I would look at him with tear filled eyes and shake my head. He sent me a text asking, “Are you pregnant?” and when I responded with “I wish….”, he thought I was dying. Really, he did; he never thought he would hear me wish for pregnancy.

Looking back at it now, it’s almost comical. Later that day, the “work-hubby” pulled me aside and demanded I tell him what was wrong. When I finally broke down and said those words aloud, he responded with “Jesus Katie, is that all?? You get that just tubing down the Apple River”.

And he was right. Well, I’m not sure about the Apple River part, but he was right that I was making this big deal over nothing and it wasn’t devastating news, just a complication. It just took me awhile to realize it. Have those three words changed my life? Of course they have. Has the change been drastic or did my world come to an end? Definitely not. And the change I’ve experienced has nothing to do with the medical side effects of having herpes. It’s like having a skin condition that’s basically non-existent and I wouldn’t even remember I have it most of the time, if not for the social stigma. The change has come in the way others perceive me and in effect, how that makes me perceive myself.

It really sucks that this basically insignificant detail becomes the highlight of who I am as a person when I tell some people. Suddenly, that’s all they can see about me; it somehow defines who I am. It makes me feel ashamed and gross. Like it’s this dirty part of myself that others shouldn’t have to be exposed to, even if the exposure is just my words. I’m treated like some dangerous, infectious predator, but they don’t even question the person they are making out with (or receiving oral sex from) who has a high percentage chance of having oral herpes (I’m sorry, I forgot; they’re just cold sores when they are on your face – how dare I use that dirty word herpes), the exact same thing that’s on my junk. And please don’t take that as me bashing on anyone who has oral herpes. I have several amazing friends who get cold sores and I would be first in line if they were offering up make out sessions . I get it; people like to say cold sores because there is no stigma attached to that. It’s only bad when you say the word herpes because that implies it’s on your genitals, which correlates to sex. As a culture, we don’t talk about sex, especially not “risky, dirty” sex.

At least I’m a known risk. I’ll tell you up front that I have herpes, or as I like to say, that I’ve gone viral (insert creepy smile and wink), though I don’t have near as many hits as one of those cat videos. If after that you’re still inclined to get down and dirty with me, we can discuss safer practices and what the real likelihood is that you’ll actually contract something from me – which is pretty low on the risk totem pole. That’s not me trying to downplay it, but it is the truth. Yes, you are taking a risk by being with me, but not anymore of a risk than getting with any of the other 50 people at the munch who may or may not know what infections they carry. Herpes is so widespread, that most people have it. About 20% of the population has genital herpes; anywhere from 50-95% of the population has oral herpes. And you know what? About 80% of the people in both statistics have absolutely no idea because they’ve never had symptoms or the symptoms were so mild, they didn’t know.

I’ll admit it – before contracting herpes, I was pretty STI stupid. I knew basics and I knew about the various infections out there. I had a vague awareness of what herpes was as a couple of good friends and play partners had it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there like that who don’t know enough about STIs. That’s why I’m so adamant about educating people now (if you haven’t been to the Newbie Munch 201 on STIs and Safer Sex, you really should check it out). I’ve done a lot of research and try to share the knowledge I’ve acquired with anyone who’s willing to listen and have an open mind. Is there still some scary stuff out there? Yea, but it’s not nearly as scary as it gets hyped up to be.

I don’t want to feel shameful anymore because of some innocuous disease. I don’t want to worry about what people will think of me when they find out. I don’t want to worry about my “secret” being exposed. I don’t want to stress over when the right time to tell someone is. I’m perpetuating the stigma by holding on to all that grief and hiding this aspect of myself. While it may not be my most endearing feature (because we all know it’s my innocent face) and it isn’t something I’m going to glorify, I’m also not going to be afraid of it anymore either. This is a part of me, but it’s not who I am. I’m more than just a disease.

Plus, I’ve got to look at the bright side of things. Like my doctor emailing me a week after my appointment to say, “Good news – you don’t have gonorrhea or chlamydia!” Thanks Doc, because that would have been truly devastating news. You know, to find out I actually had a treatable STI….

Some things you can do to help stop perpetuating the stigma:

  • Remember those with an STI are still people and treat them as such. You’re friends haven’t changed just because medically there’s something different about them.
  • Say that your test results came back negative, instead of saying clean. If you’re clean because you don’t have an STI, then that must make me dirty.
  • Don’t assume that you don’t have one just because you’ve never experienced symptoms or your test results came back negative (those results are only good up until the point you were tested and don’t take into account dormancy of infections or false negatives).
  • Don’t tell some douchebag that you hope they get an STI. That’s like saying the people who have contracted one deserved it. Besides, douchebags are worthy of a more creative punishment.
  • Don’t automatically assume that anyone who has an STI got it because they were sleeping with multiple people and/or practicing unsafe sex. You can take every precaution and still contract something, possibly with the first person you ever have sex with. Go ahead and call me a slut, I get off on it. But don’t call me a slut just because I’ve got the herp; that’s offensive.
  • Educate yourself – The STD Project, CDC – STDs, and American Health Association are some good places to start.

Episode 021 Traversing Gender

Episode the Twenty-first; Wherein the Pageist has a big announcement, discovers a new way to know when you’re really losing it and reviews Traversing Gender by Lee Harrington

.50 Intro & Announcements:

  • Welcome to our new Facebook member, Alice!
  • Two new survey responses, many thanks to them. If you’d like to take the listener survey to let me know what you think of the show, please go: here.

1.48 My Submissive Life:

  • The Pageist realizes a life-long dream.
  • Find out what double underpants crazy is. (It’s the crazy that comes from planning an overseas move but is applicable to other types of high-pressure situations, as well.)

5.14 Book Review:

  • This episode’s book is Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Realities by Lee Harrington. The book covers various types of transgender and gender nonconforming realities, as well as the ways in which allies, family, friends, lovers, health care professionals, law-makers as well as many others might be more open to those who express their gender in non-traditional ways.
  • Where I heard about the book–an outstanding interview with Lee and Graydancer from Gray’s Ropecast: here.
  • Patton Oswalt talks about the difference between words and intent and how you have to ‘listen to their heart’: here.
  • My review of Tina Horn’s Sexting: The Grownup’s Little Book of Getting Dirty Digitally: Episode 15.
  • A slideshow of the transgender people killed thus far in 2016: The Advocate.
  • Norah Vincent’s Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man: here.

30.10 Closing Remarks:

Not Afraid of Romance — Machine Gun Fellatio

Machine Gun Fellatio’s ‘Not Afraid of Romance’ is a mix of electronic beats and jazzy horns and vocals.

It’s a nice one for upbeat scenes with a lighter vibe.

‘Not Afraid of Romance’

by Ross Andrew Johnston; Glenn Easton Dormand; Matt Ford

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
let it all out

when the sunshine hits your eyes you’ll find me there
and i’m not afraid of romance
although you’ve just arrived to crash my life
your smile is saying something that i like
you’re not afraid of romance
and i’m not afraid of romance

don’t be afraid
don’t be afraid
don’t be afraid
and i’m not afraid of romance

let it all out
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
1-2-3-4-5
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
1-2-3-4-5

when the sunshine hits your eyes you’ll find me there
and i’m not afraid of romance
although you’ve just arrived to crash my life
your smile is saying something that i like
you’re not afraid of romance
and i’m not afraid of romance

don’t be afraid
don’t be afraid
don’t be afraid
and i’m not afraid of romance

don’t be afraid
don’t be afraid
don’t be afraid
i’m not afraid

when the sunshine hits your eyes you’ll find me there
and i’m not afraid of romance
when the sunshine hits your eyes you’ll find me there
and i’m not afraid of romance
when the sunshine hits your eyes you’ll find me there
and i’m not afraid of romance
when the sunshine hits your eyes you’ll find me there
and i’m not afraid of romance

Lyrics from Metro Lyrics

Collective Nouns for Kinksters

What do you call a group of kinksters? A munch?

I’ve been thinking about collective nouns in the animal kingdom (names of groups of animals) and how it might be applied to kinky people. Some terms describe physical groups of things like a herd of antelope, a band of coyotes or a gang of turkeys. While many others are less physical like a murder of crows, an unkindness of ravens and a plague of grackles. For many more names of groupings of animals, check here.

If we use the animal kingdom as inspiration for naming of groups in the kink world, then we can use anything to describe a collection of any particular set of kinksters.

Here are my ideas; I know I’m missing several. Please add your suggestions in the comments.

A KNEEL! Of Dom/mes.
An Indecision of submissives.
A Tiara of princesses.
A No! Of brats.
A Cackle of sadists.
A Welt of Masochists.
A Wag of puppies.
A Lolly of littles.
A Spank of Daddy/Mommy Dom/mes.
A Boot of Masters.
A Whip of Mistresses.
A Collar of slaves.
A Change of ABDLs.
A Duster of service submissives.
A Lark of riggers.
A Fly of rope bottoms.
A Tangle of rope people.
A Squeak of rubber fetishists.
A Whalebone of waist-trainers.
A Pedicure of foot worshippers.
A Pollock of sploshers.
A Cenobite of CBT enthusiasts (or other genitorturers).
A Smear of boot blacks.
A Creak of leatherpeople.

Look at these guys. They can't *blink* without everyone hearing them. (source)

Look at these guys. They can’t *blink* without everyone hearing them. (source)

BDSM Play When Trauma is Involved with Dr Wilde

This week’s mentor post concerns some favorite topics of ethical kinksters: safety, negotiation, communication and knowing oneself and one’s play partner.

The author, a_wild_woman on Fet a.k.a. Dr Laura Wilde asked me to link to the original post on her personal website rather than repost, so you may read the full piece here: BDSM Play with a Partner Who Has a History of Trauma

The aim of the piece (taken from the beginning) is:

The purpose of this writing is to give you a few ideas to help your play partner if or when they go seriously off balance into their traumatic history.

There’s a great deal of useful information about what both of you can do before, during and after play to minimize the risk of triggering flashbacks or, if triggered, how to best handle the situation.

The writing is concise and articulate–I highly recommend giving the post a read.

Episode 020 SWOP Sex Worker Outreach Project

Episode the Twentieth; Wherein the Pageist gets productive in a geeky way, is all kinds of grateful to a particular bondage enthusiast, and speaks with a very nice lady about a great way to help incarcerated sex workers.

.50 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to AliceinBondageland for sharing links to the podcast! Welcome to new listeners!
  • Listener survey–anonymous and brief and earns my undying gratitude: Podtrac survey

2.25 My Submissive Life:

  • Louis C.K. on why we should be thrilled and amazed we can fly at all: You Tube Link
  • The productivity app/game that allows you to level up for simply being an adult. It’s a website and app: Habitica.com

8.25 Interview:

  • Today’s interview was with Alex from SWOP Behind Bars (Sex Worker Outreach Project). Their goal is to help incarcerated sex workers learn their rights and improve their lives.
  • Their website: SWOPBehindBars.org
  • Email: swopbehindbars@gmail.com
  • Twitter: @SWOPBehindBars
  • Facebook: SWOP Behind Bars

33.19 Closing Remarks: