The beautiful thing about Body Pride parties is how quickly every girl forgets she’s naked.
Welcomed with warm smiles and open arms, Caitlin offers a glass of vino and seats you in a circle among girls just as anonymous as you; the atmosphere is quiet but full of anticipation. The floor is cozy with a soft spread of blankets and the twinkling white lights adorning the walls provide a level of security that can only be attained with a nurturing intent. In the middle of the circle lies a fantastic spread of munchies (all of which are pro-veggie and health conscious – most of which I generally wind up chopping and plating), as well as the book with veteran Body Pride sisters smiling up at you from the clean white pages, their love-filled manifestos to their bodies hand-written beneath their photographs. Continue reading “Body Pride: A Letter From Your Photographer”→
I know, right now, you are having a lot of trouble digesting the idea that you are actually capable of love. I know certain people have instilled in you recently that you may want more than random sexual excursions – and you do, and maybe you won’t admit it to them because your path is the path you are on right now, and these random sexual excursions are teaching you things of incredible value.
I know, right now, that love is really hard for you. Not being in it, but the idea of getting there. It seems that you have great difficulty just placing it anywhere, and this is fair considering your history with the thing… Love, that is.
Right now you are trying to shape in your mind what it might be like for you to fall in love. You imagine how absolutely madly passionate it will be. You do not doubt for a moment that you would be capable of some form of monogamy if you tried.
Dear Caitlin of a year ago:love is a lot harder than that.
A year from where you are, you will try to be a girlfriend.
People around you will convince you that love takes on this peculiar form that involves delving into your own history and pulling out all the potentially damaging memories that occurred in your past and calling them ‘issues’, so that when you cry at the movies, your partner will understand that is because of a deep-seated fear of abandonment from your parent’s divorce when you were five…
People will convince you that relationships are built upon conversations. How do you feel? Tell me what you’re thinking. Are you okay? How was your day? Why won’t you talk to me? You will be in constant state of frenzy because you aren’t sure you recognize how screwed up you actually are…
You will love all other boys while loving this one boy, but you will keep it in your pants and call it determination. You will think you can do this out of sheer willpower to prove you can be monogamous, to prove you can be the girlfriend.
You will drink two glasses of wine in order to ‘pour your heart out’ because you have no idea if you really want to start connecting your ‘Daddy Issues’ with your partners financial status, but this is what monogamy is. This is how people interact.
And you lie in bed with this person, sleeping soundly with your orange earplugs sticking out from your head, and you will think “Look at me go! I’m doing it! I can be a girlfriend.”
And you will listen blankly to stories about your partners day and then try really hard to remember the names of the people he just mentioned to prove that you were listening. And you can mark ‘plus one’ on that wedding invitation and wear matching colors and introduce him as your ‘boyfriend’… Boyfriend… What an icky word. But you will use it anyhow.
And then. When everything is going smoothly, there will come a point when you are sitting across from someone you love dearly with all your heart. And this someone is not your boyfriend, and all of the rules of monogamy are marching around your head with picket signs reminding you of how to stay in line, how to be a decent member of society. But the moment is so intense and incredible that you cannot hold back how important this person means to you… and you whack down the pickets and aim for his lips and then… you don’t know what rules to follow anymore.
You don’t want to hurt anyone.
But you will.
You will really wish that someone was here telling you what to do. You will wish this so hard even though you know, somewhere in your head, it is there.
You will wonder if you will feel trapped in six months time. You wonder if you will be okay being alone. You will wonder how hard you should have fought. You will wonder if you are worth it.
Dear Caitlin of a year ago:
It is okay to be wherever you are at whatever phase you are at.
Because it happens as it happens. Life will give you what it gives you and trying to rearrange the order of things just won’t work. Desire will come galloping through your barriers and kiss you softly and you’ll remember why you love it all over again and get swept up in sweaty beds and wine drinking and dousing yourself in the essence of someone just for one night.
It is okay to stop and question the pre-arranged relationship constructs that society has built up for you before you were even born. It is okay to love multiple people. It is okay to hold one person’s hand and mean it, and then hold another person’s hand and mean it just as much. It is okay to have sex. It’s getting to the core of someone. Seeing them naked. The dichotomy between who they are when their clothes are on, and when their clothes are off. It is also okay to like sex just for the delicious carnality of it.
Mostly, want I am trying to tell you, is that it is okay to be a slut.
I mean, we all know I like to put myself on a pedestal when it comes to the information I hand out in my sexy time blog. But seriously, this one thing I learned and have been stewing over since I have learned it, has impacted not only my sex life, but everything to do with relationships. Most of this information came from a woman named Betty Martin, who is way more experienced and bucketloads more appropriate to be teaching you things about sex as opposed to some chick who’s your friend on Facebook…
What is it?
Oxford dictionary online thingamobob:
permission for something to happen or agreement to do something:
no change may be made without the consent of all the partners
What it’s not?
It is not the same thing as permission. Although the definitions of each ‘consent’ and ‘permission’ might make you think they are the same, they come with different emotional and mental constructs when used in everyday conversation. How Betty put it:
When you ask your mum for permission to go to the movies, she won’t say ‘yes’ because she WANTS you to go (most likely), she is saying ‘yes’ because she DOESN’T MIND if you go.
Which is when we need to learn the difference between these words:
This is when things get sticky and a little bit confusing. But if you trust me (which some of you must… for some reason you keep coming back here and that the reason you’d come back is obviously for my sharp writing talents and wondrous thoughts[ignoring the fact that there are naked chicks all over my website]), then PLEASE, keep reading.
When your partner says:
“Hey, I’ve never been to a strip club,” while drinking his coffee and glancing back and forth between his phone and a newspaper, you, as his/her partner might take this as:
A request: OH, He/She would like to GO to a strip club! This means I must be a compliant and awesome boyfriend/girlfriend and take him/her to one even if I don’t really like them!
An offer: Does he think that I want to go to one? He must be offering to take me. I better say yes so he knows I appreciate him.
An invitation: Is he/she saying that he wants to go and he wants me to come with him because he thinks I enjoy them?
Here’s the thing: Very few of us are mind-readers. A lot more of us make really vague comments that we expect everyone around us to interpret in the way we mean them, without actually giving any information.
This can be as simple as a co-worker saying to you, “Man, I really don’t want to work tomorrow.”
What do you want? Me to come to work for you? Do you want to call in sick? Are you just complaining? VAGUE COMMUNICATION GETS US NO WHERE.
But Caitlin! I hear you exclaim, sighing of confusion and asking yourself if you were mistaken and this is a philosophy blog rather than one filled with smut and boobies, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SEX?
Fucking everything, is what. What I going to tell you right now is going to fix all of the mis-communication happening between boys and girls, girls and girls, boys and boys. Whenever there is someone who wants one thing, there is someone who wants it a little bit less. It’s the power game. Once a boy stops pawing and kissing at me, I quit ignoring him and I immediately start pawing and kissing at him.
In this situation, I am hereforth going to refer to the specific personality that generally wants to go further, as the male personality. BUT WHY, CAITLIN?! ARE YOU NOT A FORWARD THINKING FEMINIST WHO REALIZES THAT CHICKS CAN BE JUST AS DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE IN BED AS MEN CAN BE?!
Yes yes yes. Don’t get your knickers in a knot. BUT, I just so happen to be a straight female who has experienced more boner-happy-‘lets-fuck’ boys than I have girls. And it’s my blog. So. There.
THE BIGGEST PART OF MIS-COMMUNICATION IS THAT NO ONE SAYS WHAT IT IS THEY WANT. We all want to know what the other person wants so we can make them happy and please them, but we never stop to think about what it is that WE want.
Betty, in her lecture about consent that I listened to five times, works with a woman in sexual therapy healing type of thing and she asks the woman, “How would you like me to touch you for two minutes?” (Or something along those lines) and the woman lies on the table for 45 minutes not saying a word. Near the end of the session she says, “I want you to put your hands on my feet”. Betty does so. After the time is up, the woman tells Betty, “I never knew it was my choice before…”
When you are about to touch someone and you can’t tell if they want it or don’t want it, SAY what it is you’d like to do to them. And then ask them what they want or if it’s okay if you follow through with your intended actions.
If you are on a first date and would like to kiss this datee, but they are shy and reserved and you can’t quite tell if they are into you: lean into them slowly, not touching them yet (if they don’t back away this is usually a good sign), bring your lips close enough to their ear so that they can feel your breath hitting their skin, and say: “I would really like to kiss you right now. Would you be okay with that?”
If you are in a long-term committed relationship and you would like your partner to give you a back rub, say “Pookie Pie, I had a really long day, I would really love it if you rubbed my back for ten minutes. Would you be okay with that?”
Granted, the former is much sexier than the latter, but I just wanted to show you how it works in different settings.
By stating what it is you want, you have filled your part. You have taken full responsibility for your end of communication and have now opened the line for the other to take responsibility for their communication and any actions that follow.
This is when the ability to say ‘No’ becomes crucial. What happens if you say ‘yes, of course’ all the time, even if you don’t want it? Because even if you don’t want it, you will receive it, because you have allowed your partner to believe that it is okay to do, but you will then hold resentment for your partner for not recognizing that you really meant ‘no’.
YOUR ABILITY TO SAY ‘NO,’ GIVES YOUR PARTNER THE ABILITY TO ASK FOR WHAT THEY WANT
When there is a CONSCIOUS CHOICE and VERBAL CONSENT, each party takes responsibility, each party releases resentment. Each party is happy with THEIR choice and we can all go on being sexy, life-loving monkeys.
But Caitlin! My girlfriend comes from a family where she grew up thinking that she was just supposed to please everyone else. Even when I ask her what she wants, she never knows. How is it my fault if I accidentally do something that hurts her when she has never said it wasn’t okay.
A) Wait for her to say that it IS OKAY.
B) Keep waiting.
I’m not saying don’t continue to move forward in your relationship, but be patient. All of us started out with having someone else touch us in ways we didn’t give consent for. People changed our diapers, people bathed us, people clothed us and fed us and held us without us saying “I want to be fed Cheerio’s, now please”. Intrinsically, we are wired to accept other peoples touch, and it will take time and awareness to find the ground of how YOU, as an individual, WANT to be touched. And don’t want to be touched.
So. Patience. Ask the question, don’t force an answer. In fact, don’t say a fucking thing until in your partners mind, they have come to some form of decision and verbalize their answer.
It’s harder to stop a moving train than it is to decide where you’re going once you’re on the track.