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a Toronto-based sexuality blog by Caitlin K. Roberts
To register, please visit: http://www.goodforher.com/body-pride-p/ or call Good For Her at (416) 588-0900.
*This post was inspired by Jessica Valenti’s ‘Sex Object’
I lie in bed with my partner one morning and we scroll through tumblr together… Thin, make-up drenched girls covered in cum. Their bodies filled with cocks. Bodiless penises with girls. Women that are acting like girls. Girls that are paid to act.
Peggy Orenstein writes “I used to say, when speaking publicly on college campuses or to groups of parents, that one could disentangle sexualization from sexuality by simply remembering that the first is foisted on girls from the outside, the other cultivated from within. I’m no longer sure it’s so simple.”
I watch nature documentaries with my partner, lying across his lap as he delicately and patiently paints images on my back with Non-Toxic markers he insisted I use instead of regular crayola’s. The male species on-screen is always trying to convince a female to mate with them. Later he will be loving and empathetic when I get pouty that he’s not in the mood for sex, a weird result of my vaguely anxious attachment style: If we don’t have sex then you don’t find me desirable, if I’m not desirable then I have no worth, and who would want to be with a partner that has no worth. I know it is illogical. It does not mean it isn’t there.
“[…] girls begun responding ‘to questions about how their bodies feel – questions about sexuality or arousal – by describing how they think they look. I have to remind them that looking good is not a feeling.’ Self-objectification has been associated with depression, reduced cognitive function, lower GPA, distorted body image, body monitoring, eating disorders, risky sexual behaviour, and reduced sexual pleasure.
In one study of eighth-graders, self-objectification accounted for half the differential in girls’ reports of depression and more than two-thirds of the variance in their self-esteem. Another study linked girls’ focus on appearance to heightened shame and anxiety about their bodies. A study of twelfth-graders connected self-objectification to more negative attitudes about sexuality, discomfort in talking about sex, and higher rates of sexual regret.
Self-objectification has also been correlated with lower political efficacy: the idea that you can have an impact in the public forum, that you can bring about change.”
His hands on the back of my neck make me melt into a pile of comfort, “you are mine” they say. And I wonder what part of me is turned on by his ownership; what is genuine and what is derived from cultural messages shoved down my throat ever since the first utterance of “you’ll never find a boyfriend if” – my entire personality and demeanour and habits based around my acquiring a heterosexual mate who finds me appealing.
We’re non-monogamous to a degree that doesn’t take up much extra energy. I see messages from other girls pop up on his phone about how they want to fuck him. I beat down the feelings that him wanting to fuck other people isn’t a commentary on how much he loves me or how good our sex is; I want to fuck other people, too, sometimes. I want to be able to fall in love with other people, too, sometimes.
Recalling one time years ago, when I was jealous and upset that a boy I was interested in wasn’t responding to my texts or giving me the attention I desired, I went to Guelph to consume too much alcohol with friends from high school.
“So she distracts herself with challenges. No longer any fun to kiss boys in bars, but boys behind bars; a sense of the unobtainable obtained.”
My finger gave the ‘come-hither’ signal to one of the cooks behind the burrito bar at 1 or 2 AM and I grabbed him by the collar, pulling our faces together for a soppy and tonguey kiss. “You made him all flustered.” As if this sexual assault did either of us any good.
A few days ago, a good friend and I are talking on a bench. It is rainy and dreary. She is wearing last nights makeup and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. We are talking about men and how we are stuck in this loop of wanting their approval yet hating when it is given to us. We are cut from a similar fabric in that neither of us could go to a party and feel like it was a good party unless we hooked up with someone by the end of the night. The only way we could have a good time was if someone with a dick had validated us with their sloppy, drunk erections. I became so good at performing this character to be validated, I had numerous men whisper to me in shadows, alleyways and basements: You are magical. Their eyes heavy from drinking and their brains fire-working as their hands cup my tits. They have not exchanged a word with me beyond this.
I was a cheerleader in high school; the reaction men have to this is far more exciting than it’s reality: I practiced throwing other humans into the air and then worried about catching them. But they also choreographed us spanking ourselves into our dance routine, just in case we thought for a second that we might be anything but objects to be consumed.
I am a rugby player in high school; this only gets a chuckle. I never really played in games anyways.
I wrote, at the age of 17, all about how sometimes we needed to give ourselves superpowers:
“They felt simultaneously that they actively chose a sexualized image- which was nobody’s damned business but their own- and that they had no choice.”
I go camping with my partner and don’t shower the entire 3 days. I leave my makeup bag at home and don’t look in a mirror at all. He reaches for me and holds me, we talk about our future together; he builds us a home in his mind and asks me questions about environmentally-friendly architecture every half hour. It is hard for me to articulate to him this part of myself that is object objecting to objectification yet demanding of it. It is difficult for me to swallow his gutteral reactions to beautiful women on the street because I am that woman and I hate it and I also hate that he is not giving that reaction to me.
“If, as bell hooks suggested, pop culture portrayals of women beg the question ‘Who has access to the female body?'”
I wasn’t given access to my body. I had to go looking for access to my body and I am still learning how to interact with it.
I’m interviewed for a Montreal CBC show and they ask me what’s the difference between mainstream porn and feminist porn. I thought about this after they left my apartment in a flurry of French. The difference is in my reaction. The difference is that one makes me feel nauseous, anxious and panicked; that I am not them, and that even though I have been dragged through the process of objectification to it’s entirety, I will never be them. I cannot act that long and remain whole.
The other makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“If you are sick and want to be well, you need to relay the details of your symptoms: glossing over them ensures a lifetime of illness.” – Jessica Valenti, ‘Sex Object’
[This is a post about my experience with Sex Educator training… Unlike my other very story-like posts, this might only interest you if you are looking into pursuing educational pursuits revolving around sex, health & well-being, therapy, etc.]
Over 3 years ago, I desperately searched the internet for some form of Sex Educator schooling program. I had dropped out of university three times at this point; I didn’t understand the relevance of the subjects I needed to take, I was infuriated at how much of my time and money was wasted on courses I ended up despising, I hated the ‘professor/student’ dynamic in which my face and ability disappeared into the crowd of other mediocre students. The only solace I found was in my small creative courses, where there were 10-20 of us, everyone spoke, the professor knew and remembered everyones names and my work was pulled out and given the attention I needed to push myself further.
I researched my options and discovered AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counsellors and Therapists), a prestigious credential that would land me into the pool of the best in my field. The certification process is intense and lengthy, and would require me to go back to university for something totally different, and they require 90 hours of Core Knowledge coursework around very specific topics. This was when I found the Institute for Sexuality Education & Enlightenment (ISEE).
And while I didn’t forsee myself going for AASECT certification anytime soon, I clung to the idea of ISEE. I would walk away a Certified Sex Educator – a title I had been scouring the internet for to give myself some sort of credentials.
After three years of typical life things happening, I finally was able to go down to do the in-person coursework in Northampton, MA, in April and July of this year (3 weeks total).
I left Toronto in a flurry; my sister, my partner and my downstairs porn biz partner (aka, basement son) were all variously organizing and cleaning my AirBnB ventures and walking my dog. The planning for the thousands-of-dollars event I was running was put on hold, my hair was green because I hadn’t had time to re-dye it after misusing some Manic Panic, and I had booked the cheapest mode of transportation: the night bus. I had an 18 hour bus ride ahead of me that started at 11:55 PM.
The bus was not ideal, but it turns out that you can kill a lot of time by trying to sleep. In a haze of half-dreaming & kind-of-eating, I made it to Northampton by 6 PM the next day.
I had not given this experience any forethought whatsoever except for doing the required bookings of beds & transportation, and in my mind, it was this thing to get done because then I am one step closer to having a certification for this odd little career choice I made 5 years ago. It seemed like one more thing to cross off of my never-ending To Do list, and I was mentally prepared to hold onto all of the stress of event-planning and multiple business running to achieve yet another goal.
And then I stepped off the bus and nearly cried. Maybe I did. I can’t remember. It sure felt like I had. The weather was 20 degrees celsius (there would be a blizzard later in the week, but whatever) and everything little friggin’ thing about this stupidly adorable little town made my heart sing. The main street consisted of local, healthy restaurants, coffee shops, crystal stores, used bookshops, antique furniture shops, and small salons. It was as if I had walked onto the set of Gilmore Girls (hysterically, Stars Hollow is anecdotally just outside Hartford, which is not far from Northampton… I just googled it).
I breathed deeply and finished my trek of dragging my belongings half an hour up hill to get to my AirBnB. And when I finally reached my destination, I cried some more. A) Because it was so friggin’ adorable, B) It reminded me of the house in Sabrina the Teenage Witch (one of my favourite shows, to this day) and C) All of a sudden, I had absolutely zero responsibilities. I showered, sat on my bed and thought of all the things I didn’t have to do and realized that this was a surprise enforced vacation. Even if the courses during the next two weeks happened to be dry and tedious, I had the full-fledged excuse to not do a single thing and it felt gloooorious.
I drank a glass of wine and passed out.
For the next two weeks, I would be immersed in sex learning… My schedule looked as such:
Week 1-2 (April 2016)
Day 1-3: Sexual Awareness Reassessment
Day 4: Body Enrichment
Day 5: The Joy of Intimacy
Day 6: Female Sexual Dysfunction
Day 7: Sexual Development: Young Adulthood through Middle Age
Day 8: Silver Sex; Sex Later in Life
Day 9: Sex & Culture
Day 10: Frank Talk About Men
Day 11: Orientation As Living Entity
Day 12: Professional Communication & Ethics
Day 13: Non-Monogamy
Day 14: Pleasure
Week 3 (July 2016):
Day 1: SexAbility
Day 2-3: Presentation Skills
Day 4: BDSM: A Working Introduction
Day 5: Advanced SAR
Day 6: The Deep Yes: The Lost Art of True Receiving
Day 7: Introduction to Tantra
As a sex educator, these types of courses are my bread and butter. There are so few opportunities for us to learn and grow and gain and become better at what we do, and I was so hungry for these topics I don’t think I could’ve been bored even if the World’s Most Monotone person was teaching us. But the moment I entered that small, floral-themed conference room in a corner of the Hotel Northampton, I was swept off my feet.
I had met Rosalyn Dischiavo (Roz, for short) through Betty Dodson in June 2013. She had briefly mentioned the Institute for Sexuality that she founded and that little snippet of information stuck to my brain like a fleck of glitter. A few months after meeting her, I made a phone call to Connecticut to talk about the process of enrolling in her program.
Roz teaches a hefty amount of the courses at the Institute. Her teaching style is personable, holistic and professional. As someone who has dropped out of University 3 or 4 times (…who’s counting, really), I find it extremely important to talk about the word ‘holistic’ for a second, because it kind of sounds like the hokey pokey language we associate with people who are living somewhere up in the clouds.
Holistic is “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” And to expand on that: everyday that I left class, I felt as though someone had reached down my throat and into my gut, fiddled around with some pieces that weren’t fitting quite right, shuffled some stuff out, re-arranged the furniture and then when they were fine and happy with the job they had done, extracted their arm from my esophagus and kissed me on my cheek.
For the person who despises metaphors: it is one thing to take a course on the Joy of Intimacy so that you can bring back exercises and activities to your clients, it is another to recognize where you have trouble with intimacy. Where do your walls begin? Are they pliable? What scares you? Who are you? What do you want? One risk-taking activity after another, each person in the room was called on to do what they could to push their comfort levels and take a risk and see what happened. And you know what happened? You fell into a pile of warm hugs and empathetic eyes. Right now I am trying to recall the specifics of each individuals own life and struggle, and while I know the details of all of their lives (who they live with, what they do, etc.), the trials and tribulations each of us have gone through seem to have merged into a collective, vibrating pillow of… love. (I started crying writing that sentence, recalling the feeling I left the program with, and I so badly wanted to come up with something less common, but alas, this is the word we have.)
It is hard for me to summarize the effects of the program… I know that it was an educational and professional experience, because I paid for it, learned a whole bunch of things and will eventually come out with a certificate and a slew of connections across North America. But damn. None of my higher learning experiences even come close to this one. So here’s an excerpt from my diary instead…
“This program was invaluable. It will be the best thing I have ever done for myself and so deeply life-changing. Thinking about it brings me immediate sadness, joy and gratitude to my eyes. The intensity of all these feelings is insurmountable. I had no clue what I was in for but it wound up being such a transformative experience. These people are my tribe and will forever be a part of my heart.”
It irritates me to no end that our current cultural expectations of educational experiences are so removed from the body. If your head isn’t spinning from reading dense texts from dawn to dusk, if you aren’t breaking your body by consuming gigantic quantities of coffee and not sleeping, if you’re bored out of your skull than you’re doing it right and then once Friday hits you work-work-work and play-play-play so hard that for me, my body and my mind were sapped of any energy to absorb information that might be useful. [Of course, this style does actually work for some people… I am not one of them.]
One of the many things I learnt in my program were the 5 researched methods that actually work to learning something: movement, frank & open discussion, graduated risk, touch and facilitating commitments. My University experiences offered me, at best, 20% of those, on a good day. Within this program, there was barely an hour that passed that we hadn’t actively engaged in almost all of those things.
I am so eternally grateful for this experience Roz created for all of us that attended the ISEE program this year. Roz, you have shaken me and given me so much to work with. Thank you <3.
And here are a bunch of pictures:
If you are at all curious about this program, feel free to get in touch with me to ask me more about my experience!
I once dated someone who called me a “Sex Superhero” on our first date (stroking my ego with his beautiful genuine wonder) and on our second date wanted to know my “origin story.” The writer in me melted inside because what a wonderful way to view life; drenched in meaning and metaphor… “And the stars aligned to give me a high interest in sex and the stubborn gumption to start my own porn company”… But really one day someone just asked me if I wanted to start creating porn and because I am a project-addict, I said yes.
Thus, Spit was born. A series of circumstantial events that eventually lead to me running a porn business; aka, the stars aligning.
There is no school for “How To Start Your Own Porn Company.” It is NOT an easy pile of responsibility to carry. Unlike many projects, it doesn’t end. The site continues to accept subscriptions, and members continue to expect more content. It took nearly a year to get our baby to start functioning as a proper e-Commerce website, and after the first month of billing I had a very real moment of “Oh fuck… I can’t stop this…” And that’s how I became “Porn Mom.”
What has also happened during the past three years since starting Spit is a very high-level intensity of interaction with the community. What do you mean, Caitlin?
Well. We create queer, feminist, ethical, alternative porn. Our porn is not mainstream. Our porn is diverse in it’s bodies and people with no intention to fetishize anyone. Our porn is unscripted and based solely on what our performers want to do. We don’t push past anyone’s comfort zone and we want to make sure everyone feels safe and happy. These were my goals. And because we were surrounded by beautiful perverts, many of our friends graciously offered their bodies up voluntarily to partake in creating content for our empty website.
For the first year, every porn set was done for free. Our photographers shot for free, our performers banged for free. It was truly a really lovely, chaotic, moment in Spit’s history. As soon as Spit start generating income, we started to slowly and happily pay people for their time and energy.
But remember, there is no porn school.
When I was running Spit during this time, I was also working 40 hours a week. There was only so much time I could dedicate to upkeeping, only so much energy I could commit to pushing the company forward.
When you start paying people, you become their employer. A lot of things happen to a dynamic when you become an employer, most things I did not anticipate at all. Suddenly we went from making porn for “shits & giggles” to taking up a space in the sex industry in Toronto. I need to own the fact that I did not create adequate changes to implement the direction Spit was taking. I also need to own the fact that I mentally, physically, financially, emotionally absolutely did not have the energy to do those things during those couple of years. And this is one of the issues of entrepreneurship: the business keeps going without you. You know it’s there and can see all the bumps and bruises it’s getting along the way. And it is one of the hardest things to watch from the sidelines, completely aware you can currently do nothing about it due to a series of circumstantial events that caused the stars to align and present you with your quarter-life crisis. (Oh yes, I had one of those. It was a doozy).
Things I realized I also hadn’t gone to school for: Public Relations, Web Development, Business Management, Accounting, or Intersectional Feminism Level 12.
Spit has fucked up a few times in a couple of places. And when I say Spit, although there were often other people involved, I mean me. I fucked up a few times in a couple of places and I had no other option but to be okay with that because life was not affording me the energy and time to do otherwise. And that is okay. And even if I didn’t have the time and energy now to turn those things around, it STILL would’ve been okay. Because I’m a frickin’ human and not a Feminist Porn Business Robot. My intention was always good will and I’ve worked super hard to pick myself up and get to a place where I get to ensure that that good will is seen… I am grateful for the space to mend my mistakes. I know not everyone gets that opportunity. It is directly because of this space that feminist porn has allowed me to become a better person.
So, recognizing all of the places we could be better, Spit is undergoing a makeover. Along with a shiny new website that will be launching before May 14th, 2016, we are implementing new streamlined and regulated systems, and making some new and exciting changes, some of which are:
On that note, I’d like to send a giant warm sexy pervy hug to Jesse Rae West who is no longer with Spit as our Porn Cupid. Jesse gave a whole bunch of time and energy to moving Spit forward and we have all the love for her. In her absence, I will be picking up where she left off. Please stay tuned for application updates and shooting cupidery!
Spit is now myself and my queer porn son, John Bee, who is our magical videographer and the equivalent of a lazy feline with a beard.
Creating porn is often thankless work. I can’t really imagine large production companies getting thank you notes from their viewers about how that one cumshot has changed their life, but people are weird and surprising so who knows. Luckily, I do get some thanks every now and then that come with “the work you’re doing is super important.” And god damn do I know that. The work feminist porn is doing is SUPER important. The more there is out there, the more people know there is an alternative option to mainstream porn. In the very least, it starts and continues the conversation.
And on that note: I’m running SMUT In The 6ix with Samantha Fraser and Sophie Delancey (of Playground Conference & Tell Me Something Good). SMUT In The 6ix is a day-long porn event that is meant to continue the conversation on this work that is super important.
There are so many people in Toronto who are doing such incredible work in feminist porn and these people need to be recognized because fuck me, this work is not easy work. These folks know the value of the work we do because they also notice that we need to create space for authentic and diverse experiences. We need to create the narrative for sexualities and bodies that go unseen or undervalued because we don’t exist in a vacuum; there are so many other people out there who WANT TO SEE THEMSELVES reflected in the porn they are consuming.
To celebrate these people we are hosting a giant porn gala at the end of the day-time panels. The gala will feature a video-screening curated by Taylor J. Mace and Rebecca Deveaux. There will be an hour long stage performance hosted by the dreamy Dane Joe, with burlesque from Ferrera Rose and Spencer Munny, songs from Kate Sloan, belly dancing from Raishma Tigress, and spoken word from Malcolm Lovejoy. All followed by a dance party with Toronto’s porn heart throbs.
You should come. Come celebrate this important work we do ALL OVER MY FACE.
When I was 19, I had already become a self-proclaimed Slut. I held this title proudly (as I still do, but with far more understanding of what it means to me personally).
At 19, I tore through sex partners like it was my god damn life force. I went to Irish pubs downtown, I would get wasted off beer and tequila shots, wear short skirts that rode up over my ass, dance to Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy, and I would wait patiently until 1 or 2 in the morning when I would vacate the premises with some random boy. I was so proud of my achievements… like each different penis that entered my body was a notch I could carve into my Professional Wall of Fuckery, and, with this, each notch had the magical ability to give me a golden star of self-worth and desirability (shout out to society for this fucked up psychological training).
This is where the grey area starts and I feel like such giant outcome of everything our Westernized culture has told me I should be and I am enraged.
I have an unusually high sex drive. I knew this at 19 and I know this now. I was working with the information I had at my disposal to achieve the goals I wanted to reach: have as much sex as I could.
If I hadn’t been ferociously recording everything in journals, I would’ve told you that I rocked that shit. That I was the one in power in those situations and that sure, the men folk were using me, but I was also using them. The playing field was level. After I realized how easy it was to get laid, I upped the ante and often orchestrated these intensely intricate dates in order to not only bed the men, but get them “hooked”. I got high off seducing men that held more power than I did: older, *better* looking, wealthy, teacher, CEO, etc.
The experiences I was living empowered me. The experiences I am re-recalling shatter my heart because I know now I could not tell where being empowered stopped and being accommodating started.
What do you mean, Caitlin? I will give you an example dear reader.
One evening at Grace O’Malleys, all dolled-up real good, I went to the bar to get a Corona. The bar was busy and a friendly, 40-something old man who was sitting watching sports very politely and non-presumptively called the bartender over to our area so I could order. I teased him about wearing a baseball cap inside, and he revealed a totally bald head underneath and let me know it was because his head got cold otherwise. He was not hitting on me in any way shape or form – which I was confused by. He continued to help me get the attention of the bartender throughout the night, not once making any sort of sexual advance. At 1 or 2 in the morning, when I came up to the bar again, he asked me why I wasn’t dancing. I held out my hand, prompting him to come dance with me. He seemed astonished, but indulged me and lugged himself out to the dance floor where I pushed him up against a wall and started grinding on him, taking his hands and placing them on my young 19-year-old hips, my face tilted down, eyes staring up at him. After I lured him into making out with me for 15 minutes, I asked him to invite me back to his hotel room. He promptly complied.
I seem in charge so far, don’t I? Stupid, perhaps, going back to a 40-year-old strangers hotel room after I had inhaled 4 or 5 drinks (a lot, for me), without getting any of his information to give to my friends. But nonetheless, I set this situation up for myself. Of course, we fucked. It was fine, I’m sure. After he had finished (I couldn’t orgasm during partnered sex at this point so never even tried), I was lying naked on top of him, being coy with pillow talk and astonishing him with my real age which he had never inquired about. When, hard again, he inserted his penis without a condom into my vagina. I hesitantly accommodated. He came inside me without any warning. My reaction: a slightly inconvenienced “ugh, now I have to get Plan B tomorrow”.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? This 40-year-old man came inside a 19-year-old strange girl without any follow up conversation and I was under the impression that my reaction needed to be neutral.
So here we have a slew of things:
From this experience, I walked away feeling powerful because I felt hugely desirable. My Professional Wall of Fuckery notched this achievement of seducing a male in a position of power (because bedding men is hard…).
And also this intensely problematic pandering and accommodating to said male in position of power.
At 19 I built up a tower of self-worth through sexual conquests because I recognized that this was how I could become powerful. I was utilizing femininity to my direct benefit. This is what society, my childhood, my education, my culture told me: Be desired and be worthy. And I played and enjoyed the game because it directly benefitted me: I got laid.
Now, as I re-read all of my old journals, my sense of proud Sluttishness is mixed with a dense sadness for respect I did not get and did not know to ask for. For a deep love for my young self for fighting against gender stereotypes with bold sexuality but an immediate and intense empathy for the unrecognized and unseen trauma my body knows but I did not.
How many times I gave men access to my body and never stopped to recognize at which point I was being taken advantage of. I have so much fear and sorrow for the countless amount of young women who also don’t know where these differences lie because, as a society, we are letting our youth down because we are too scared to talk to them about sex.
At 25, this past year, I learnt that I am an accommodating person. Through no fault of my own, I was hand-crafted and sculpted into a beautiful statue of ~always putting other people first~. There is fine line between trying to better yourself as a human by humbling oneself and always thinking about other people (which is an actual thing I convinced myself I was doing – just ~being chill~ man), but realizing that you are realistically allowing people to wipe their shoes on your back as they tread through your life is a very sudden and horrific realization.
I don’t know how I can completely undo this. There is too much. So many interactions I did record, but so many I did not, and I am nearing the hundreds in regards to how many male partners I have had. And hundreds of experiences that I never directly understood as negatively until now is… too much… How much of myself have I indirectly given away? I don’t even know if I can wholly appreciate how it has effected me beyond having a deeply penetrating empathy for a completely different person that holds space in my past. And now I can’t unsee where this embedded accommodating comes up.
Am I doing myself a disservice when I choose not to speak up? Can I see clearly when I am allowing myself to be used? Am I using kink as a coping mechanism to deal with years of being used by men? Do I have a realistic standard to which I can understand power and when to utilize my own or not? I both feel as though I should brandish power in every instance because I was not given it, but equally understand how often power hinders conversation from moving forward.
Almost as soon as I was struck with this hard, deep truth, I made a vow to myself I would not compromise on my needs, wants or desires in order to accommodate another person, specifically a male person that I might be dating or fucking. I’ve begun to accumulate an elaborate list of things I will no longer tolerate:
– not checking in with myself and clarifying exactly what is is I need and want; and holding myself accountable for finding the time, space and energy to communicate these things.
– countless last minute cancelations: my time is worthy and important. I’m a fucking busy person running so much shit. I have no time to put up with your flakiness.
– not coming during partnered sex: I now push this portion to last longer often because I feel as though I need to make up for years of saying ‘oh, don’t worry about it’.
– sudden halts in communication followed by a highly expectant late night “sup?” (Read this fucking awesome article by Jess Beaulieu about Actions Speaking Louder Than Words.)
– catering to the men I was sleeping with in order to “get” to keep sleeping with them (because apparently dicks are a godsend in short supply and I should be so lucky??)
– giving an endless supply of energy into relationships that do not mirror back that energy (going through the trouble to do human-care for another person: cooking, touching, kindness, listening, and not receiving these things back without any expectation on my part).
– not being frank and honest about where the fuck you are at; omission counts as miscommunication.
Amongst other things. This new self-imposed rule has deeply and positively changed the foundation for my life and my relationships. I’ve forced myself to speak up for myself in situations I feel are being mishandled due to poor communication. I’ve actually sat down with myself to figure out what the fuck I want and how do I even go about doing that…
This weight is with me. This weight will never leave me. It is this weight that will constantly keep my fire burning to fight for better sex ed so I don’t have to worry about other young women not finding value outside of a physical body, outside of sex, outside of being desirable. This slut is still a proud slut, but now my pride comes from the energy I’ve put into investing in myself and my life experiences.
Body Pride is a completely nude body image workshop I have been running for over three years. Each one consists of facilitated group conversation, wine, snacks and an optional dance party photoshoot! These workshops have integrally changed who I am as a person and how I relate to my body. I have learned and gained so much from every person who attends. They are really transformative, fun and beautiful evenings and I couldn’t recommend them more…
If you’d like to register, please contact Good For Her at +1 416-588-0900.
At 5, my mother asked me if I knew how to play the piano. I said “Yes, of course.” I had never touched a piano before in my young, naive life, yet remained boldly confident that my brain and hands would figure it out because where else would this information come from?
I also believed I could fly, speak several languages and that my younger sister was my personal stepping stool.
It’s possible this big-thinkin’ could’ve turned me into the child prodigy I never was if just maybe my parents had a little more faith that, DUH, of course I could play the piano without any training whatsoever.
(Also: flying? I have that shit FIGURED out so hard in my dreams that I can literally [*what meaning does ‘literally’ have within a dream context?] just START FLYING whenever I want. I can physically feel what it muscles need to move and now it’s like riding a bike. Gravity is much more flexible in my subconscious…).
I have no clue where this innate insistence on being all-knowing came from… A combination of having stubborn-as-fuck parents and the privileges I gained from being raised in a middle-class, white family, I’m sure. Anyway, I can’t play the piano and I do not know how to speak any other languages.
I did, however, carry this absurdly brazzen confidence into my teen years and early twenties. With a very small amount of information, I nixed my University education and delved forth into proclaiming myself a “Sex Educator”.
Now, this probably had about 20% more merit to it than telling people I am pianist… I had boldly bared my naked, non-sexualized bod to be eternalized on the internet, I had read maybe two or three books about porn and non-monogamy, I was having a rampant amount of sex (that I now recognized as confused and vaguely problematic) and I had a pile of self-assurance sitting atop my self-constructed pedestal.
Thus the birth of this blog. And ya know, it hasn’t been for naught and sometimes you just gotta start somewhere. But after 5 years of navigating this world I man-spreaded myself into, I can very accurately tell you I was usually not totally right, often mis-spoke and was poorly informed despite my best intentions.
At some point around 2 or 3 years ago, I recognized the immense amount of information I did not know and how irrelevant my voice was and that there were SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE that were doing a better job than I was and whose voices I valued more than my own on the topics at hand… And I kind of just shut up. Not totally… I still had the absurd amount of stubborn confidence to start a porn company and run queer events (neither of which I had had any training in), but my blog has kind of withered into a ghost of what it was: slightly relevant, humorous (at times), wrought with poor grammar and largely misinformed.
During the past few years, I feel it’s safe to say that I’m putting in the research and reading and learning to actually refer to myself as a “Sex Educator” – if I stand on my toes I can just touch it. And I do largely believe I MAY have something to add to the discourses happening and reach at least SOME people who don’t have access to listening to the same voices I do. But where is all of your ~educating~ happening, Caitlin? It’s a nice title and all, but how exactly do you think you’re informing anyone? Just hoping that the thoughts in your head permeate into the minds of those around the world? Yeah, neat.
Thus, I will have to begin to write again instead of just sharing articles on Facebook and debating with people I know too well. And 19-year-old Caitlin is jumping in her seat because that tattoo of a quill on my back promising to ‘always be a writer’ might not just be a pretty design anymore.
To start, things I have begun to understand that I have not talked about in the past three years (amongst other things):
So, with this, here is my official “I’m back for To Be A Slut 2.0” and I’m going to be less wrong about more things. Hopefully.