In this blog, there are certain characters who are going to come up a lot as I discuss my sexual experiences. These are people who have all been hugely important in my life, and have really shaped the way that I feel about sex and sexuality. And because I am a Classicist, they are all going to get awesome Classical pseudonyms, that I feel best describe them. (Note: these are mostly copied from my post My sexual history, briefly, for future reference. I’ve put them up here for easy access, so you can check who I’m talking about without having to hunt through posts. I will also add to this list as becomes relevant.)
Electra Electra was my first girlfriend, my first everything in fact. She gets this name not because of any similarities to the actual Electra (a controversial character in various Greek tragedies), but because she is also a Classicist, and I vividly remember her telling me the story of Orestes and Electra when we were at school. Yes, we were at school together. She was two years above me, shy, geeky, obsessed with fantasy novels, and utterly awesome. We briefly went out just before I turned fifteen, but broke up very quickly, mainly because neither of us were brave enough to be out, and we were both incredibly insecure. Then I turned fifteen and we drank too much and somehow we ended up in a sort of threesome with another girl. There was lots of drama. This was the first time I realised that sex and relationships didn’t always follow the standard format that I’d seen played out in rom coms all my life.
Salmacis This is the girl I started seeing while I was getting over the drama with Electra. She was four years older than me, gorgeous, glamourous, and completely mad. We met over the internet, which was probably the most ‘normal’ aspect of the relationship. Being around Salmacis was the most intense experience I have ever had. She lacked even the semblance of empathy, and the only real difference between her and Shane from the L Word is that she was British (and also not fictional). For the two and a half years that I was on-and-off with Salmacis, I learnt more about sexuality and LGBT+ activism than I even imagined existed. It was because of her that I went on my first Pride march, and to my first gay bar, and first started reading LGBT+ blogs. It was a messy and drama-heavy time for everyone involved, but looking back, the whole thing was also kinda awesome. (Salmacis, by the way, is the name of the nymph who falls in love with Hermaphroditus and tries to rape him, resulting in their bodies becoming joined for life. The header image on this blog is of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus.)
Tereus (Trigger warnings for sexual assault and rape.) In my first post, I talked about the story of Procne, who took revenge on her absolutely despicable husband in a rather dramatic way. His name was Tereus. My Tereus doesn’t fit the story entirely, but it comes pretty close. I spent a rather dark year of my life in an abusive relationship with this guy, and it’s thanks to him and his treatment of me that I discovered feminism. He verbally and emotionally abused me. He refused to wear condoms and put me at risk for a number of STIs while he continued to sleep with other people. He separated me from my friends. He took financial advantage of me. And on one memorable occasion, he raped me, and laughed about it afterwards. Not long after, when we argued (about said rape), he twisted my arm backwards until I felt something snap in my wrist. He is one of three men who sexually assaulted me within the space of a year, and the worst thing is he doesn’t even think he did anything wrong. He is the reason I began to learn about rape culture, about victim blaming, about apologists and slut shaming. He will probably be mentioned often on this blog, as an example of what not to be. (The full story of what happened can be found here: Three reasons why I’m a feminist today (TW for rape and sexual assault), along with the other two encounters.)
Alexander The guy who quite literally rescued me from Tereus, and to whom I owe a huge amount. He has asked not to mentioned too much on this blog, so I will keep it brief. Alexander is an absolute amazing man who I dated for two years, and who helped me discover a hell of a lot about my sexuality. It is down to him that I even know what sex positivity is, let alone how to practice it.
Leander Leander is a very good friend of mine. We spent about three months sleeping together, though not exclusively, and not in any kind of ‘conventional’ relationship. We have long discussions about feminist theory, and argue over whether Shakesville or Feministe is a better site for weekly reproductive rights updates. (Answer: both.) He’s a perfect example of how great things can be if you cut out all the awkwardness and the skirting around issues and just talk honestly, about everything. I am training him to be my ambassador and teach other guys how feminism can improve your sex life. He may occasionally write a guest post here, if he can drag himself away from the internet for long enough.