Fighting Against the Binary Assumption

I came across this post this morning, and, like this one, it got me thinking, particularly this Q&A:

Is bisexual a legit thing or is it a fence-sitting thing for either confused straight girls or half-closeted lesbians? Whether legit or not, does the concept of bi hurt LGBT political equality since the straight majority may see it as fence-sitting, as evidence that being gay is a choice?

I. Love. This. Question!

Many people see bisexuality as someone who’s “unable to choose,” “confused,” or “just waiting to cross over to fully homosexual.” I could not disagree more! There is this thing, and it’s called desire. As humans, we’ve got it. Sexually, we desire to be with people (for the most part), and those people differ per person. Heterosexual people want to be with a sex opposite of their own, because that’s what turns them on. Homosexuals: same, only same sex. It’s basic, when you think about it. So, for a bisexual person, their desires lie with both sexes. And who’s to say that’s not a real thing?

There are those cases that make it difficult for people who strongly identify as bisexual: the BTG (bi til graduation) folks who use their time in their 20s to hook up with lots of people, be it female or male, or for attention at parties… whatever. Those people happen. It’s called life. Maybe they really were legitimately curious — we aren’t here to pass judgment on those people, but they can make it difficult. If someone’s personal experience is only with girls who made out with other girls around a beer pong table to turn on the guy next to them and later take them home, then yeah, it can be frustrating. Coming out as bisexual is incredibly difficult, and can be hard to explain. My bisexual friends are fantastic at explaining themselves: they are very attracted to both sexes for different reasons. I’ve mentioned this before: I have a friend who finds nothing sexier than both a big strong man and a delicate woman’s touch, and that’s what works for her. Who are we to say that isn’t real?

There’s also some crappy shaming that does come from inside of the LGBT community toward bisexual people. I’ve seen it happen, and it sucks. When someone who’s supposed to be on your side wants you to just choose already, it can be disheartening (hello, Alice on The L Word!) and discouraging. It’s unfair for people to assume that all people should feel what they do on any issue, and sexuality is huge. Just because someone is attracted to both sexes (whether they identify as bisexual, pansexual, genderqueer, or anything in between) doesn’t mean that it’s not true for them. There’s some identity-shaming that goes down, both from the straight community who may want things to be cut and dry, and same for the queer community who doesn’t understand why a choice can’t be made. What most people don’t see is that a choice has been made. Bisexual people are choosing to put themselves out there as a person who loves who they love, just as all other people have. It’s not our place to tell them they’re wrong.

Alison Wisneski, Ask A Lesbian, Vol. 4

I suppose this is another chapter in my ‘You’re Doing it Wrong’ beef I’ve got going on at the moment.

I identify as pansexual and happen to be in a heterosexual marriage.

Being married to J doesn’t magically make me straight. Just like being in any type of relationship doesn’t mean you’re no longer attracted to anyone else outside that relationship.

It doesn’t mean I’m confused, that I just haven’t decided which ‘team’ I’m playing for yet. There aren’t only two sides. Sexuality is a beautiful. fluid spectrum; you may fall anywhere along that spectrum, and you’re position may change over time.

Being in a heterosexual relationship doesn’t take away my legitimacy as a member of the LGBTQ community, though it certainly feels like it. I’m pretty sure if J happened to be female then it would be more acceptable, then I would only be a ‘confused’ lesbian.

I understand my relationship with J, the fact we are even able to get married, gives both of us privilege. But that privilege is only through assumptions of others (which all privilege is I suppose, to a degree). That privilege takes away my identity, makes me invisible.

Exclusion never really benefits anyone, the excluded nor the excluder.

Things I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago

I recently came across this post by Miss Amaranth. Seeing as it is my birthday today, and I’m being all reflective, I thought I would share it here:

*snagged in full, because it’s all so true*

  • “You are not a horrible unlovable slut if you don’t marry the man you lose your virginity to.”
  • “Sex is nice, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting it. It’s also okay NOT to want it. It’s your decision, always.”
  • “You’re bi, and that’s okay! For God’s sake, stop denying it!” (Well pansexual, but along the same drift, and I did identify as bisexual for a long time.)
  • “Someone doesn’t have to hit you for it to be abuse.”
  • “One fight doesn’t mean the end of the relationship. Arguments are very normal. Learn how to fight well, rather than aiming to never ever fight at all.”
  • “Anybody who will try to force you to change is not worth your time.”
  • “You’re allowed to leave someone as well, if you want to.”
  • “The One Big Love Of Your Life who will complete you, make you whole and take away all your problems is a myth.”
  • “There are more possibilities to love than the house → marriage → babies → happy-ever-after path. That’s one route, no more ‘correct’ than any other. It’s worth considering it might not be the right one for you.”
  • “When in doubt, communication is the answer.”
  • “You think this is ‘madly in love?’ Honey, wait until you see what Madly In Love really feels like!”
  • “A couple of years from now, you’re going to discover this amazing movement called ‘polyamory’ and a new world of fun, adventure, challenge and love will open up to you. Get ready to enjoy the ride, because it’s going to be intense!”

I have no regrets about my life so far, for that has made me who I am today. Knowing all of the above when I was younger probably wouldn’t have changed how I lived my life, or the experiences I had, but I think it would have been nice to have known.

My Rapist was my Boyfriend

There have been a number of conversations lately regarding consent. After reading this article by Tracy Clark-Flory about safewords being ignored, I decided it was time I talked about my own experience.

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape

When I was 23, I was raped.

It took me a long time to realise what happened was in fact rape. I had thought just acknowledging it would be enough to come to terms with what happened, and it did, for a short time. I hope by talking about it now, it will give me some closure, and perhaps stop the same thing from happening to at least one other person.

I was young, inexperienced, naïve and in my first BDSM relationship. French was my Master, and I was his submissive. I was completely infatuated with him, and trusted him completely. I couldn’t talk to anyone else about the relationship, because I was French’s secret mistress, and he didn’t want it getting back to his partner. I got it in my head that because they were having problems, he would leave her for me, and to help that happen, I would do anything to please him.

One night French sent me a text to say he was coming round. I was to meet him at the door completely naked, or we would have anal sex (which we had not had together up until that point, because I was not ready, and had told him so, repeatedly). That was the whole extent of the negotiation. No discussion of safewords, hard limits, or anything else. I didn’t think I would ever never a safeword. Why would I? I (thought I) was in love with French, and trusted him completely. He would never force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. Would he?

I was living in a flat by myself at this point. So I had no safety back up, someone to help me make sure nothing went wrong. Again, I didn’t think I would need to.

I sat on the couch, naked under my bathrobe, eagerly awaiting French’s arrival. He knocked, I disrobed, and opened the door. I thought (mistakenly) that this would show him that I truly had no desire to engage in any anal sex with him that night.

French led me to my bedroom. Some foreplay ensued. He grabbed a condom, put it on. Then it happened. He flipped me over onto my front and pinned me down. I tried to get away, while saying “No! I don’t want to!” He ignored my pleas, even though consensual non-consent was not part of our dynamic (I didn’t even know such a thing existed). There was no preparation, no lube. I stopped struggling, and lay there silently, trying to move into a position where maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much, just wanting it to be over.

When he was finished, I felt numb, unsure what had just happened. Rape never even crossed my mind, after all, he was my boyfriend. Boyfriends don’t rape their girlfriends.

I ignored whatever I was feeling. Dirty. Used. After putting my bathrobe back on, I joined French on the couch, and we watched Project Runway together. And he went home.

A couple of weeks later, French and I parted ways. I had met J, and, after falling for him completely (for real this time), wanted to be exclusive.

About two years later, French got in contact with me again. By this point I had realised the true extent of what had happened, and I told him as such. He sheepishly said he didn’t realise, and had just gotten caught up in the moment. I believe that was his “apology.” I have not talked to him since, and have no desire too.

I know now that I, in no way, deserved what happened to me. I had followed the rules, and he had taken advantage of my innocence.

I don’t regret what happened though, it has helped make me who I am today, and I’m pretty ok with that person.

Acceptance of the Self

I do not agree with the premise of Valentine’s Day. You should not need a specific day to remind you to show your love to others. Random acts of love are much more meaningful. However, think of this as my Valentine’s Day post: love from others, and how that can effect the love of oneself.

It’s funny which things can have a triggering effect in a positive way.

Yesterday I was thinking about when it was that I started accepting my own self. It happened in a way that many would think bizarre.

Lying in bed one night, after J had drunk a considerable amount of alcohol, he told me, “I love my fat slut.” I believe this is in reference to my body size (obviously), and our polyamorous (open) relationship.

I admit, I was a little shocked initially, but once that soon faded, I realized that I was proud to be his fat slut. Here was the man I loved more than anything in the world, professing his love for me, using terms that many would consider offensive, and using those terms in the most endearing way. It was at that moment that I was proud of who I was, I could see in myself what he was seeing, where I had previously been blind.

He was embarrassed when I told him what he had said the next day. I don’t blame him. He was probably thinking that I was going to be upset, not knowing that what he said had had completely the opposite effect.  It actually filled me with a warm glow-y feeling.  I had never felt so loved and accepted.

I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing that I only found self-acceptance though someone else accepting me, but at least I got there.