Tag Archives: relationships

On “intimacy”

Hmm, okay. Here’s a thought, spurred by a fandom post of all things. I’ve seen arguments to the effect of “romance is not sex” and “sex is not intimacy,” and so on, but how about this: intimacy is not good.

And by that I mean: intimacy is not care. It can be but is not necessarily nurturing, or safe, or nice, or fond.

I need to be able to name the bad or negative intimacies because otherwise that leaves me with a relationship scale from “strangers, no connection” to “best of loves, closest kinship” with nowhere to place the rot and the lousy. There is an unwanted intimacy with witnesses to an embarrassing moment. There is an intimacy with the people who have seen you at your worst because they personally dragged you there. There is an intimacy in the connection between yourself and the ones who have deeply hurt you.

“Intimate” is not the same as “good.”

It can be powerful and electric and full of a yearning to prove something without. being. good.

It’s important to me to be able to recognize a sense of intimacy without always construing it as something positive, and I’d hope that would be important to other people, too.

This is a piece of what I think makes it so difficult to make external (in words) certain negative experiences. You might be able to recount all the moves made and the words used, but it’s sometimes hard to capture how immensely personal it feels. How potent, how close to the bone. That’s intimacy, is what it is. Some intimate interactions are made all the more negative by how intimate they are.

Anyway that’s why I need people not to take the term “intimacy” itself as a ringing endorsement, thanks.

 

Advertisements

a Christmas runaway bride story

For those of you surrounded by people celebrating Christmas this winter, who have estranged relationships to family, and who can relate to feeling trapped in an unhappy romantic relationship… I recommend the short story Bride by Christina Deka.

I judge a lot of things by their first sentence, and the first sentence of this thing is “I am not a bad person,” so, you know, there’s a first sentence for you.

In conclusion, here’s an excerpt to show what made me think of sharing this story with y’all:

I wanted to say, “I do not love you,” but I couldn’t. Gary was a good man, and good men were hard to come by. I knew this. I had been with all the bad ones. So I just smiled and said I was okay.


Continue reading


If.

There are times when I think about how things would have been different growing up if teachers and other adults had chosen to express that whole idea of kids “being inappropriate” (re: making sexual comments in class and stuff) as… like… a matter of appropriate boundaries between themselves as adults and us as kids, rather than as one of the Rules, the way “do your homework” is a rule and “be respectful of the teacher” is a rule.

I mean what if those adults had told me and other kids that it wasn’t that talking about sex was taboo, but rather that they just didn’t want to necessarily share those conversations with us (outside of formalized sex ed) and that if an adult DOES want to share lots of sex jokes with a kid and share sexual conversations with a kid, that we should regard that adult as suspicious.

What if they had actively encouraged us to judge and be critical of the way adults treated us, in case of an adult stepping over a line, and what if those boundaries were genuinely treated like something for our benefit rather than another excuse to control us and scold us and brand us “bad kids,” and what if “breaking” that “rule” about appropriate talk for the classroom was reframed as not yet having learned how to set good enough boundaries for ourselves and how to be more wary of what we share with people in a position of power over us, not for fear of wrath or deliberate punishment but because there are people we will meet who will try to exploit us.

Like what if the way adults acted towards us didn’t put the idea in other kids’ heads that sex was this edgy rule-breaking thing and that having any kind of boundaries about it ourselves meant we were goody-two-shoes stuck under an adult’s thumb.  What if not setting boundaries for yourself well enough wasn’t ever framed as “acting out.”

How would my life have been different then?  Can I even imagine that?


Sex is just one planet out of galaxies.

The problem with outer space is that I have trouble wrapping my head around that kind of scale. I can barely fathom the depth of this planet’s oceans, let alone the size of our sun, and yet people tell me there are stars many times larger than that ours, that there are black holes many times larger than those, and that a single galaxy can encompass millions of each.  My sense of scale fizzles out into meaninglessness when I really try to wrap my head around that.  It is all too vast for me.

If it’s an overstatement, then, to compare that scale to our possibilities for intimacy, happiness, and affirmation of worth, then let it be an overstatement.  I need more people to say it like this.  I need that message out there, more ardent and more often, that there are galaxies full of star systems of ways to relate, interact, and bond with other people.  Sex? Is just one planet, maybe two or three.

I’ve often been frustrated with sci-fi’s limited biodiversity and its tendency toward monobiome planets, when a biologist could tell you that our one small earth is a home to a staggaring number and range of forms of life and there are so many, so many, so many things here alone.

And that’s what I mean about our sense of scale, that something can be enormous in variety yet still be dwarfed.  I am not minimizing sex and what it can be by describing it as less than a solar system.  I am not minimizing how much there is to the world of sexuality that can be explored.  It’s a lot.  And yet a galaxy is bigger.

I want more insistence to that effect, in every way.  I want to hear that more and know it’s sincere.  I want everyone to hear that on the regular and to know they are not limited.  I want a culture that welcomes exploration of the full breadth available to us, that does not prescribe where we visit and where we settle.  I want to grasp that sense of scale and I want my friends to, too, and I want no one to go to sleep without a scrap of it.  When someone goes out at night, someplace far from the light pollution of the city, out on the dark of the remote wilderness, and looks up and sees a sky full of stars — that sight reflects only a pinprick of the why and the how of it all.  Just because a person cannot name them all, and does not know each and every one, does not mean those stars are not out there.  Just because most of us will never leave this physical planet in our lives does not mean that we were only meant to see one solar system in the galaxies of hearts.

And that’s hard to trust, on its own.  It’s more natural for my own brain and others like it to only accommodate a sense of scale for the amount that we can see around us.  I think for a lot of sighted people it’s that way.  Beyond that, beyond these immediate surroundings, it’s hard to keep holding onto, as the imagination recedes further and further in scale.  Which is why it matters so much what we put before us — and what is put before us.  You don’t need an astronomer, just an artist, to tell you that some things will seem larger depending on where you’re standing.  Sometimes, because of that, the smaller things can seem to block out the larger things, to the point that you can’t see the larger things at all.  An eclipse is merely a matter of perspective.


On abused consent

Hey guess what I’ve been thinking about again also.  Did you guess CSA rhetoric?  Because the answer is CSA rhetoric.

Continue reading


compassionate leave

Okay there are a lot of other things I should be doing right now instead of posting here but I was thinking again today about how my company offers “compassionate leave” as a category of time off from work and how my coworker had to use her PTO hours (a different category) when she took time off to go to her uncle’s funeral, because she didn’t get compassionate leave for that, because her uncle isn’t considered “immediate family.”

The nuclear family is an economic unit.


grooming & power talk

[cw: sexual abuse]

Periodically, Dr. T would remark on how much power I had in our relationship. This statement invariably confused me, since I felt like I didn’t have any power and couldn’t imagine what he was talking about. Sometimes he’d remark on how much sexual power I had—that he couldn’t resist me and had no discipline around me. He seemed to think I should find this flattering. (I didn’t. I didn’t want his inability to control himself to somehow be my fault.) Other times he would remind me that I could report him and cause him to lose his license. Horrified, I would protest that I would never do that, how could he even think that I would do that… And once again, he would be reassured of my loyalty. Of course I would never betray his trust.

Surviving Therapist Abuse: “Don’t Call It Consent: Being Groomed for Sex”

……three guesses what this reminds me of….


on relationship boundaries and monogamy

Here is a post I saw today about how defining monogamy becomes tricky with aro spectrum and ace spectrum folk in the mix.  Go read it.  It’s got interesting points and I don’t have much to say on it, besidessss in response to this part added by paradife-loft:

Continue reading


Feelings Dogma

I don’t know if I’ve said it here before but I’m saying it now: I don’t adhere to or support any guideline for How You Should Live Life that’s based on feeling the correct feelings, whether that means feeling others’ feelings (“empathy” as a prerequisite for correct morality); disallowing yourself unhappiness (“staying positive” as a virtue); or pushing discomfort, risk, and unease as self-justifying mandates (in praise for “vulnerability” and “getting out of your comfort zone”).  Dogmas of feelings have always been useless at best for me, outright detrimental more often than not, and I don’t want any part in them.