Julie Burchill does not speak for me

The latest shit storm to hit the UK progressive blogosphere is an ‘article’ (diatribe) in the Observer by Julie Burchill, about how ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. It was the sort of transphobic hate-speech you’d use as as a theoretical example to demonstrate what transphobic hate-speech looked like. It was finally taken down, but I think republished on the Telegraph website because of ‘free speech’ issues. (Sidenote: one of these days I am going to spend some time and energy working out a way to explain that free speech =/= right to a privileged high-profile platform. I have free speech. I post stuff on my blog. Doesn’t mean I feel I have the right to be printed in national newspapers. Though if anyone would like to, that’d be awesome?) I’m not going to link to it, but it’s pretty easy to google, and there’s a very well-written letter to the Observer here, and a good summary plus some further reading material here at The F Word. I would strongly advise reading all of it.

ETA: Jezebel has done a round-up that is also brilliant, complete with appropriate gifs. Feel free to share more links in the comments, if you find something else worth reading.

So what do I have to add? Well, very little. I’m a privileged cisgendered white girl, and I know it. I don’t really blog about my gender identity. Or rather, I do. I take it as a given. I try to use non-gendered language when I can, and usually I’m writing about very specific personal experience, so it’s less relevant, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always do a great job of it. I  don’t talk about non-binary gender issues because the simple fact is I don’t feel qualified, and I would much rather anyone reading this went off and read some amazing trans* and genderqueer blogs instead of my clumsy summaries. I have gay and lesbian friends. I have trans* friends. I have genderqueer friends, and friends whose gender identities do not fit neatly into any particular label. This does not make me qualified to talk about gender issues, and though I like to think of myself as an ally (don’t we all), I know that there are gaping holes in my knowledge, that I am going to slip up sometimes, and that it is not my place to discuss it.

And yet, even with all of that, here’s what I’m going to say about Julie Burchill’s piece. It is hate speech, pure and simple. I am heartened by the fact that so many people outside of the LGBT+ community have acknowledged that it is hate speech, and that it eventually got taken down. It is full of disgusting, vitriolic, downright violent sentiment, and it got the response it deserved.

But I don’t doubt for a moment that Julie Burchill genuinely believes it. And the thing is, if you read it closely (which I don’t advise if you’re having a bad day), you see that she’s not really talking about trans* people at all. She’s talking about men. Men in dresses, men who want to ‘cut their dicks off’ (that’s a direct paraphrase of a tweet by Suzanne Moore), men who are pretending to be women in order to enter her feminist space.

In her mind, a trans woman is a man. And that makes everything she says from that point onwards impossible to argue with, because that basic premise is so entirely detached from reality there’s no way to persuade her. She is wrong. She is so appallingly, horrifyingly, dangerously wrong. But she is wrong in such a way that I don’t think there’s any space for dialogue here. It’s like those people who argue that black people are just biologically less intelligent than white people, or that the Holocaust never happened (oh look, I just broke Godwin’s Law, deal with it). The point is, when someone is starting from a point of view that just doesn’t make any sense, anything that comes after that is… irrelevant.

That’s not to say I think we should be ignoring it. It is hate speech, it should not have been published, and she deserves to be vilified for what she wrote. Maybe the strong wave of anti-transphobic sentiment is a good thing, long-term? I don’t know, nor do I feel it’s my place to offer an opinion. But Julie Burchill will not change her mind, just like Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel will never change their minds. To them, trans women are just men who want to invade their special exclusive feminism, and I can’t see them ever going back on that.

That is not any kind of feminism I want to be part of. And while I try very hard to stay away from defining what feminism is or isn’t for other people, in my mind, that’s not really feminism at all? Burchill has yet to learn both that trans women are women, and that feminism isn’t just about women anyway – it’s about groups that lack privilege, whether due to gender identity, sexuality, race, class, disability, or anything else.

The one thing her original article has done is get feminists and progressives from all over to state loudly and publicly that this woman does not speak for us. She certainly does not speak for me. And I think that’s important. I just wish we didn’t need to say it in the first place.

It’s the place where who you are meets who you haven’t been yet

The title of this post comes from a song by the wonderful Seanan McGuire, and I quote:

It’s a little slice of chaos, it’s a starlight carnival.
It’s the place where heroes fear to tread, but angels come to fall.
Ask the barmaid where she’s from, she’ll say she doesn’t recall.
You may think this is heaven but it’s not that at all,
So why not look around you and see?
Won’t you take advantage of me?

This, to me, has to be a song about fetish clubs. I’ve held off writing about fetish clubs so far because the more I think about it, the more I realise how little I know. I’ve been to a few, but they vary so much and who you go with makes such a difference that it’s really hard to say anything that is both general and useful. Plus I feel totally out of my depth in places like that. In a perverse kinda way, they make me feel less kinky.

That might sound like it makes no sense, but if you think about it, it’s obvious. I lead a standard geeky student-y life, surrounded by standard geeky students. Pretty much all my friends know that I’m into kink, and that I’m the one to go to with any kind of ‘alternative sexuality’ question. When I talk about the bondage I’ve done, or try to explain the sort of submission I’m into, or reveal the rope burns and scratch marks I’ve incurred, they look at me with wide-eyed amazement. These are my close friends, and they are accepting and non-judgemental, and they know me. But as far as they’re concerned, my kinks pretty damn extreme.

And then I go somewhere like Club Antichrist (which is probably mild, by scene standards). I dress up in a corset and collar, clothes that would shock even at a costume night, and tell myself that these are my chances to really let my hair down (in the hope that someone might pull it) and embrace my kinkier side. Yet as soon as I step through the doors, I revert to my nervous, self-conscious  teenaged self. I watch people taking spankings and whippings that I know I couldn’t handle. Nowhere even close. I see collared slaves kneeling at their Master or Mistress’s feet, and know that I don’t want that kind of public submission. Strangers approach me and casually ask if I’d like play, and I back away, confused and conflicted but certain that I don’t trust a stranger to hurt me.

None of these are bad things, I should add. In fact, I kinda envy the people in the community who are into that level, because in some ways it turns me on and makes me wish I was less anxious. Less vanilla. Someone jokingly called me a ‘tourist’ last time I was there, and that stung, because the last thing I want is to be is a little girl playing dress-up. Which is kinda how I feel, especially when I see the elaborate outfits other people wear. I also know that my limits are my limits, and I shouldn’t feel pressured into anything I don’t want, just because I want to be accepted. Playing with a stranger is very different to playing with a partner. I’ve taken public spankings from people I don’t know, and it does very little for me, except to make me feel vaguely unsettled afterwards. I’ve also taken much, much worse from a close partner, and come so hard it took me days to recover. Some people get off on the act itself, not on the situation. Some people get off more with a stranger. I’m not one of them. And that’s okay.

But I still feel confused and out of my depth and a little like an impostor when I stand in the dungeon and watch women (and it is always women) being handcuffed to a cross and lashed with a cane. The corset and collar feel like a disguise, and not even a good one at that, compared to the fishnet body-stockings and latex dresses. I don’t even have any tattoos or body piercings, for goodness sake!

Something else that unsettles me is the gender dynamic. The fetish scene is meant to be embracing of all genders and sexualities, and for the most part it is. But I can count on one hand the number of men I saw submitting to women, in a sea of leather-clad male doms punishing corseted female submissives. (It’s difficult to tell about the ratios for people of other genders, as I’m mainly going on markedly male or female clothing.) One guy I spoke to about this said he’s a switch, but it’s almost impossible for men to find female dommes who will play with them at places like that, whereas female submissives are easy to find. Maybe that’s true, and I could also understand how it might be harder for male submissives to be open about their preferences than male dominants or female submissives. Cultural expectations and social conditioning and all that. But personally, even though I am a sub, I get slightly freaked out by men I don’t know coming up to me and asking if I want to be whipped by them, before even asking my name, just assuming that’s the sort of thing I’m into. I mean, yes I’m 5’4 with long hair and stockings, but does that has to mean I’m submissive? Do you not get dommes who don’t wear stiletto heels and leather?

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I’m doing a lot of thinking about kink and the scene and where I fit into it all. I still feel kinky. I still identify as kinky. My sweet vanilla friends still think I’m the kinkiest person they know. But I’m not quite sure how the rest of the scene would see me – cautious new blood or vanilla tourist? I get overwhelmed at fetish clubs – the lights and the music and the smoke and the costumes (oh god the costumes) and the sound of whips and the smell of sex. It’s intoxicating. It’s very difficult for me to think clearly in that kind of environment, so the thinking has to come after. How kinky am I? What do I want? And who do I trust to help me explore my limits safely, to push me just slightly beyond what I’m comfortable with without going too far?

It’s a kind of happy ending; it’s the midway of the moon,
It’s where broken stories gather in our shadow-play saloon.
And it’s burning where she kissed you, but the scars will heal soon,
You can’t reach ‘ever after’ if you don’t know the tune.
Now, can you pay the ferryman’s fee?
Won’t you take advantage of me?

In Seanan McGuire’s song, it’s all very glamorous and dangerous with the tantalising promise of your deepest darkest fantasies coming true. I’m not sure how I feel about that. But I don’t think I’m ready to be taken advantage of just yet.

Winter presents

There has been an absence of cute kittens on this blog. Christmas is over, Chanukah was over a few weeks ago, and England is cold and grey and miserable at the moment. I have decided to solve these two issues at once, with my new favourite website, http://hotguyswithkittens.tumblr.com

It does what it says in the title, really. Cute guys cuddling even cuter kittens. I would go out with any one of these men (as long as they let me play with their kittens, that is – no, that’s not a euphemism).

This is my personal favourite:

See you all after New Year!

I always thought purple was the colour of kink

I don’t believe in condemning something I know nothing about. When I see shocking headlines, I usually do my best to read the entire article, to follow up on links, and to read around the subject. If I don’t have the time to do that (which often I don’t), I tend not to comment. The world is full of bias and prejudice, and I know I am by no means immune to it, but I usually try. In the same way, I don’t criticise films I haven’t seen or books I haven’t read. Twilight, for example. I don’t think I’d like the writing very much, and I’ve heard the films are fairly awful, so I don’t have any particular urge to watch them. But that’s all I’ll say about it, since I don’t have first-hand experience, and I think it would be hypocritical to just blindly put forward others’ opinions without having any first-hand experience of my own.

It is due to this random streak of morality, or ethics, or whatever you want to call it, that I finally caved in and read Fifty Shades Of Grey. I’ve been reading about it for a year now, and trying to avoid it as much as possible, because everything I’d read told me I would hate it – terrible writing, misleading portrayal of BDSM, trashy teenaged fanfic (which is what it originally was) not worth my time. The thing is though, if you’re into BDSM and writing and talking openly about it, it’s kind of hard to ignore the biggest source of (mis)information out there in mainstream culture. I don’t have to read Twilight, because Twilight has absolutely no impact on my life, but unfortunately, Fifty Shades does. And when I found out that my little sister was reading it, despite my plaintive attempts to get her to read Kushiel’s Dart instead, I caved in.

There are hundreds of reviews and analyses of it out there, especially in the feminist and S&M corners of the internet. I haven’t read all of them, and I highly doubt I’ll be saying anything new, but the nice thing about writing a blog rather than an academic paper is that you don’t always have to be saying something utterly radical and original. At least, I hope so, anyway.

The first thing I want to say is that, as I was warned, the writing is fairly terrible. By which I mean the dialogue is generally awful (I have sympathy with this, since I always found writing dialogue incredibly difficult, back in my own fanfic days). Any parts of the book that aren’t about sex are also pretty dire: tedious descriptions, barely-sketched minor characters, repetitive sentence structures. But that’s okay, because those bits just aren’t important – they’re just filler until the next big sex scene. And the thing is, the sex scenes are actually okay. Sometimes there’ll be a word or phrase that I’ll find particularly jarring and that will just break the mood entirely (does anyone use ‘my sex’ as euphemism these days? For goodness sake just use the word ‘cunt’!), but in general, it’s pretty hot. Hot like the Harry Potter slash fanfic I used to read when I was fourteen, all dizziness and liquid heat and mind-blowing, utterly unrealistic orgasms from barely a touch, but still hot.

Because the thing is, this is a book for teenaged girls to masturbate to. And that is a good thing. Teenaged girls need fantasy-material as much as anyone else, but up until now there’s been a gap in the market. Adult women get real erotica, once they know what to look for, and men get porn, which most teenaged boys seem to discover pretty rapidly. But teenaged girls aren’t meant to be sexual – they’re meant to be shy innocent virgins who want to fall in love, not get spanked and fucked. So the erotica market doesn’t really cater for them, or hasn’t, up til now. When I was that age, I had fanfic. The fanfic explosion seems to be ebbing, and has been for a few years now, but there’re still thousands of stories out there for the curious horny girl. I needed that. I was a geeky sci-fi fangirl who discovered the magical world of fanfic by accident, through a Lord of the Rings messageboard. I was lucky. If I’d been more popular and had actual friends in real life when I was twelve, I might never have discovered it. Popular girls need to masturbate too!

So yes, Fifty Shades reads like a teenaged girl’s wet dream, because that’s what it is. The heroine is an ‘ordinary girl’, just like you or me, while the love interest is literally Perfect, a millionaire who is gorgeous and sexy and can make her come just by sucking her nipples. It’s Twilight fanfic with the names changed, so yeah, the plot is non-existent, but that’s not what’s important. And if it’s encouraging teenagers to realise that female sexuality isn’t a bad thing, and to explore their own preferences and boundaries, then I don’t care how terrible the writing is.

The problem, however, is that it doesn’t stop there. This isn’t just erotica, this is kinky S&M erotica, dontcha know. And that is where Fifty Shades disappoints. As countless other bloggers have noted, it gets so many things wrong. The contract, for example – what’s that about? I mean, yes, some people do use contracts, but it’s not the norm, and they’re rarely as extensive with that. He has this phenomenal dungeon in his luxury apartment, that they don’t use for anything more extreme than spanking. The negotiation process is sort of there – they do communicate, and talk about boundaries, but she’s coming into it from a position of such utter ignorance and inexperience that it’s basically meaningless. And, of course, he was abused as a child, and is therefore a Damaged Individual, which is why he needs BDSM in his life. Not because it’s a valid and healthy lifestyle that can be extremely pleasurable for some people. No, because he’s damaged, and can’t handle ‘normal’ relationships. Got it. (I haven’t read the second two, but I do know how the series ends, and it is predictably not with acceptance of the BDSM lifestyle.)

In an ordinary fanfic, I wouldn’t care about any of that. I’d read it for the sex scenes, get off on it, and forget about it. But this isn’t just fanfic anymore, it’s a book that’s gone viral, and for the majority of people who read it, this is their only insight into what BDSM might be like. And that is what I have an issue with. I find it irresponsible. I guess that isn’t E. L. James’s fault, since she never intended it to explode the way it did, but now that it has, the damage is out there. Those teenaged girls discovering sexuality for the first time? They’re going to be left with just one paradigm for BDSM, and it will be a destructive and inaccurate one.

Maybe that’s better than having no paradigm at all, and just assuming it’s something disgusting and weird that occasionally gets referenced on CSI. Maybe it will make them curious and encourage them to go out and read more, ask questions and do research. I hope so. The S&M community has sought societal acceptance for years now. Now they – we – have it, sort of, but it’s not in our words or on our terms and it gets so much wrong that I wonder if that’s really any better than being hidden away.

I don’t know, is the answer. But at least now I’ve read it, I don’t have to feel guilty for having an opinion.

That rare and exotic creature: the feminist man

Aaaaand it’s the holidays, everyone breathe. I am becoming reacquainted with a long-lost friend, sleep, and with a host of terrible TV shows offered on iplayer. It is wonderful. Happy holidays to everyone, and I hope that you all get the rest that you deserve. Short days (dark at 4pm – what is this madness?!) and weather that freezes my ears make me hate this time of year, so it’s good to remember that there are some benefits.

I never did find out what happened with Icarus and Mystery-Girl, but sadly I think he probably didn’t take my advice to just ask her what was going on. People seldom do. Maybe sex-positive communicative feminism is just too extreme and hardcore for the world to handle. Or maybe my friends are afraid of becoming sexually frustrated bloggers who chronicle their lives on the internet in order to avoid the harsh truths of reality. Which would be fair enough. I sympathise either way.

Anyway. Some of you might remember Leander, an absolutely awesome guy I was seeing last year, and who remains one of my closest friends. Leander has had a wonderful girlfriend since February, and they have the sort of healthy, communicative relationship I keep going on about. He is also still a passionate feminist and addicted to the progressive blogosphere, which is one reason why I love him. This can sometimes surprise people, since Leander is a straight white male (or ostensibly straight, at any rate), who went to a posh school and has professional upper-middle-class parents. In other words, he’s basically the poser child for privilege.

This has a couple of interesting outcomes. For one thing, people tend to listen to him a lot more than they ever do to me, because while I am either a crazy man-hating feminist or an irrational and hysterical woman, Leander is a calm, reasonable man who talks sense. Even when we are making the exact same arguments about the exact same topics. This is often frustrating for me, but it’s not his fault he’s more persuasive, and really, I should be happy that he’s out there making an impact. Any way to win battles, and all that.

But I don’t think I ever realised the flip-side of this until about a week ago, when Leander posted a general acknowledgment on facebook that he is proud to call himself a feminist, because he believes that men and women are equals, and doesn’t see why other people who believe this wouldn’t want to be called feminists. It was, in my opinion, a nice gesture, but nothing particularly loaded or provocative. I post about abortion and rape apologia and sexism all the time, usually in response to news stories, so this didn’t seem that shocking in comparison.

The responses he got astounded me. One was a genuine concern from a black female friend that the term ‘feminism’ has a problematic history for non-white women, which is why she prefers not to use it, and I can appreciate that. But the rest? It was like someone had unleashed the Men’s Rights Brigade. Immediately there were comments about Bad Feminists, the kind who actively discriminate against men and think all men are rapists and want to castrate them all. When Leander pointed out that these are a tiny minority (if they even exist) and that every group has its fringe extremists but that these don’t speak for the entire group, he was called out for being a hypocrite. Sexism is widespread and mainstream in our society (check any article on rape or on the appointment of a woman in a position of power for some instant evidence), but apparently it’s more important to criticise radical straw-feminists than to fix any of that. Until the movement is perfect, no one should identify with it at all. Or… something like that.

Now, these aren’t new arguments, much as their proponents might think we’re all hearing them for the first time. I’ve lost count of the number of times ‘well-meaning’ guys have approached me with horror stories about Things Feminists Have Said, expecting me to either justify extreme anti-male prejudice or admit that I’m not a real feminist because I disagree. But usually it comes out of some previous discussion, not out of the blue. These were people – men, I should add – reacting to a simple statement of support for women with shock and horror, as if Leander had said he believed passionately in killing kittens.

It’s not that I don’t get negative replies to what I say and write – I do – but somehow this felt different. Leander didn’t get dismissed as irrational, or have anyone patronise him by trying to explain ‘logically’ why he was incorrect, which is the most common response to me. His gender and his privilege protected him from that, but also added to the shock these commenters clearly felt. It was as if they’d latched onto the fact that one of their own was turning against them, and come out in force to bring him back in line. People who argue against me, however much they disagree, can usually understand where I’m coming from, even if that understanding only goes as far as ‘she’s a woman and she just doesn’t know what she’s talking about’. Not so with Leander. When I reread those comments, I can sense the confusion. Why on earth is a straight white guy like Leander supporting all this womanly nonsense?

And if the feminist-equals-woman link wasn’t clear enough, someone even commented with: ‘Don’t listen to haters Leander. You’re a strong independent woman!’. Because supporting equality for women, supporting an ideology that takes privilege away from those who have historically always had it, means you must be a woman, or at least gay and effeminate. That’s why Real Men don’t listen to feminism.

Leander is one of the most amazing guys I know, because he has such privilege, and instead of trying to cling on to it and refusing to see that he has it, he recognises it, and actively tries to make a difference. I hate everything about the assertion that men who do this aren’t masculine enough, from the gender-binary element of that idea to the way it automatically implies that being feminine or womanly is undesirable. But if we have to have it, then I want it on record that Leander is the realist Real Man I know, and I wish I knew more guys like him.

A tip for mind-reading: ask

When I don’t post for a while, it means one of two things: either nothing is going on in my life so I don’t have anything interesting to write about, or so much is happening that I don’t have time to post. In this case, it’s the latter. Post-grad degrees are hard – who knew? A lot of time has been spent in the library, with me desperately trying to work out what I want to spend the rest of this year writing about, and stressing over the fact that I still don’t know. In addition, I’ve been heavily involved in theatre, and any spare time I’ve had off my degree has been channelled straight into a show I was working on. Time for drama and gossip and exciting new experiences? Definitely. Time to write about them? Not so much.

This post isn’t actually about my life. While I do have some news, I want to wait and see how it works out before writing about it. (The whole thinking-about-what-you-publish-on-the-internet thing again, sorry to disappoint.) This is about a friend of mine. I’m going to call him Icarus, because while he’s lovely and well-meaning, he can be a little clueless when it comes to some things, especially regarding women. But he knows I’m very open and honest, and that I write a sex blog, so he came to me for advice about a girl he was dating. Or rather, trying to date.

He tells me they’ve been out together twice, and it seemed to be going great, except she doesn’t want to sleep with him or go any further than making out. And he says that’s fine, except he’d quite like to know why. So I ask him to elaborate – what happened? He tells me they got back after dinner and were lying in bed cuddling, and then kissing, and then he tries to take off her tights and she pushes his hand away. And so they go back to just kissing, and then he goes home. He tells me he’s completely okay with this, but he’d just like to understand why, because surely she would have had more fun if he’d at least gone down with her, even if they hadn’t had sex. And then he looks at me hopefully, as if his omniscient sex-positive female friend can magically present him with the perfect answer.

I say, in a slightly puzzled tone, Did you ask her?

There are dozens of reasons why she might have pushed his hand away. Maybe she was a Christian virgin who didn’t want to have sex before marriage. Maybe she’d had sex the night before and was still sore. Maybe she was fairly inexperienced and felt anxious. Maybe she liked to get to know guys much better before letting them touch her. Maybe she was pissed off that he’d tried to take off her clothes without asking her first. Maybe she actually did want to go further, but felt self-conscious and nervous. Maybe she was on her period. Maybe she felt it was too sudden, but later on in the evening would have said yes. Maybe she wanted to discuss where (if anywhere) the relationship was going. Maybe she was wearing really unsexy underwear that night. Maybe she’d recently got out of  a relationship and was still upset over it. Maybe she’d noticed that his hands were really blistered and didn’t want him to touch her.

…And those are only the ones I could think of off the top of my head!

I made this point to Icarus, and he seemed disappointed not to have an answer as to ‘why a girl would do that’. And then I gave him the best advice I think I could give for anyone in any kind of similar situation: Why don’t you ask her? Or rather, why didn’t he ask her at the  time? He mumbled something about not wanting to pressure her and respecting her decisions. And hell, I am one hundred per cent for not pressuring someone and for respecting them! Enthusiastic consent all the way! But there’s no reason to act like respect and communication are mutually exclusive concepts.

So let’s say they’re back in bed, he reaches down to take off her tights, and she stops him.  And then his response is an aggressive ‘Why did you do that? I thought we were going to have sex. What are you stopping for?’. That is pressuring, bordering on coercion, which is inevitably going to have negative results. But what if instead, he says, ‘Hey, I’m sorry if you feel I’m taking things too fast. I won’t touch you again if you don’t want me to, but why don’t you tell me what you want and how you’re feeling?’. Even better would be to have that conversation beforehand. Not necessarily an in-depth discussions about everything they like and don’t like (though that’s how I mostly do it, and it’s great fun), but just a quick chat about things like how open they both are to sex early on in a relationship, and any boundary issues or triggers. That’s not pressure, not if you do it in a polite, respectful way. And yes, I get that sometimes it’s awkward to talk about these kinda things, especially if you’re in bed at the time. But is the alternative really any better? Trying something, getting a negative response, and running to another friend for answers because it’s too weird to ask directly?

It’s at times like this when I am very thankful to my crazy relationship history, or liberal upbringing, or whatever it was that has enabled me to just go ahead and ask the awkward questions when necessary. I’ve even learnt how to ask them in a sexy, flirtatious way, but that took practice. To the best of my knowledge, Icarus has yet to ask, so we may never know why the girl pushed his hand away when she did. Next time, I hope he asks her. For everyone’s sake.

Nothing rational about frust-‘ration’

This blog has been quiet for a while (the original aim was to post once a week, definitely every two, and I am feeling guilty). Term has started again, and I moved house, both of which were obviously very stressful and time-consuming, plus now I have this really shiny graduate course to get all excited about. I am exhausted, and given that stuff that goes up on the internet lasts forever (or at least until they think of something even more fun), I don’t want to post about things I haven’t properly thought through. So while I have many many thoughts and opinions about, say, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comment that the time restriction on abortions should be cut back from 24 weeks to 12, writing something about that takes more time and mental energy than I have right now. If you’re going to put your opinions out there on the internet, you at least owe it to the world to try to make them sound interesting.

But the other reason I haven’t been posting is that for the first time in a good four years, I don’t have a regular sex partner. This blog isn’t just about sex, but given that a lot of my views are based on personal experience, less experience means less new shiny exciting stuff to write about. I mean, I’ve already talked lots about consent and masturbation and BDSM, and while there is certainly lots more to say, I feel most comfortable talking about issues when something recent has occurred in my life that has made me think about them. Opinions on this kinda thing are highly subjective, and if I’m going to go into mine, it’s much easier to have something personal to me to ground my argument in.

So here is me writing about not having anything to write about. I’m not having a lot of sex at the moment, and this is driving me mad. Everyone has a different sex drive, and the last couple of months have been an eye-opening lesson in quite how high mine is. The people I have slept with in that time have all been casual acquaintances and one-night-stands, and lovely though they all are, that leads to a very different type of sex to the kind where you’re with someone who really knows you. This frustrates me, and I really don’t like it. It’s exhausting to have to start from scratch every time, trying to explain my views and preferences in a nutshell, especially if I’m dealing with someone who isn’t used to the whole communication thing. I am not a patient person. This is becoming very obvious.

What I would love to do is be able to go up to someone cute at one of these gatherings for new students and say hey, you seem awesome, would you like to go for a drink sometime and then maybe have lots of kinky sex if that’s your thing? (like a more sexually explicit but less catchy version of a certain viral pop song). As I’ve already established here, I am a forward person, and I don’t hide the way I think, but even I know that it just isn’t socially acceptable to say that to someone you hardly know, and I do understand why. Of course that comes across as vaguely terrifying! I just wish it didn’t. Or rather, I wish there was a way to detect people who would respond well to that kind of opening, people who also want to skip all the smalltalk and pointless chitchat and get straight into talking about what turns them on.

As it is, I am trying to be mild and polite, and still having people tell me I’m too forward, or am coming across as intimidating or downright crazy. And I know that these things take time and you can’t suddenly expect to find your perfect sex partner in a room full of new people just by snapping your fingers, but damn it, wouldn’t it be so great if you could?

So nothing new learnt so far (one-night-stands really aren’t interesting enough to write about), and a lot of frustration, both sexual and general. There is something ironic about desperately wanting sex, and knowing both that you could have it if you really tried (by picking someone up at a club, for example), and that it wouldn’t be very satisfying. I miss having someone I trust and feel comfortable with to just call up and ask over, someone I can cuddle with afterwards and actually have a conversation with. Screw relationships, but friends-with-benefits is awesome!

I am going to have to learn to be more patient, and so are you, my readers (assuming I still have any), if you want more insights into sex positivity and kinky new experiences. But maybe all this, the frustration and the impatience and the realising how high my sex drive really is, is just something else I have to learn at some point. All knowledge is worth having, as they say in Kushiel’s Dart.

Still, doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it!