Saturday, 28 December 2013

What I'm reading- The Sex Side of Life by Mary Ware Dennet. (A guide on sex for young people from 1918.)

We have come across so much rubbish on this subject that we drifted into the conclusion that an honest sex essay for young folks would not be produced by this generation.

THE SEX SIDE OF LIFE FIRST APPEARED IN THE Medical Review of Reviews FOR FEBRUARY, 1918. THE FOLLOWING IS QUOTED FROM THE EDITOR'S FOREWORD.

It's available for free online here.

Introduction
In not a single one of all the books for young people that I have thus far read has there been the frank, unashamed declaration that the climax of sex emotion is an unsurpassed joy, something which rightly belongs to every normal human being, a joy to be proudly and serenely experienced. Instead there has been all too evident an inference that sex emotion is a thing to be ashamed of, that yielding to it is indulgence which must be curbed as much as possible, that all thought and understanding of it must be rigorously postponed, at any rate till after marriage. [...]We have not yet said that it is only beautiful sex relations that can make marriage lovely.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Why I came out as disabled.

My journey to coming out as disabled started in 2007 when after a long struggle with severe symptoms of tiredness, weight gain, confusion and memory loss; I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. As many of you will know, tiredness when connected to illness canbea horrifically traumatic experience. It's not like yawning and deciding to sleep, it's like fighting sleep off day after day. It's sleeping for twelve hours, waking up and feeling exhausted again before you've brushed your teeth. Everything is greyer, further away, tiredness is like a blubber that separates you from the fun, from living.

When framed like that, it makes me wonder why anyone would ever put off seeking medical help for a year. But we all do. Why would someone allow themselves to be lost within a condition? Because that's what happened. I lost most of my personality inside those symptoms and the culmination of how I dealt with them, and if I'm perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure I got all of it back. Who can crack jokes when they can't remember the end of their sentence? Who can smile when every interaction is such an effort that you begin to resent those who speak to you?

It took a lot of thinking to understand why I subjected myself to this, but I reached a conclusion- internalised disablism.

See for the most part of my life I grew up in a house hold with my Mum, who supported both of us. My Mum has worked my entire life and I can't remember her having a day off, for illness,beforeI was sixteen. She couldn't get ill because her being ill meant being short on the rent, me being ill meant a baby sitter's billwecouldn't afford; ill meant failure. Illness was something to be powered through.

This survival technique coupled with disablism ingrained in ourculture (e.g. people with physical disabilities used as the butt of jokes, people who experience mental illness being represented as murderers) lead me to tell myself repeatedly that I couldn't be ill, because that would mean failing my A Levels.

So, the anxiety & depression over the prospect of failure (and the misery caused by the condition) lead me to find other ways to propel myself through my course and my social lifewithout 'failing'. Mainly narcotics & alcohol (and dangerous relationships to acquirethem).I was living with eight other young people in supported accommodation so there was never peace and quiet. I was out the house for twelve hours a day attending a college with the most unsupportive 'support staff' imaginable. I was using drugs to see me through the weekend and still managing to pass my course. And that was going really well until I started having to hide fainting fits, experiencing hallucinations and paranoia and was admitted to hospital with what was a series of 'accidental overdoses'. The culmination of this behaviour was a mental breakdown and I don't think I have the adjectives to describe that experience to you.

The last time I had to go to hospital for symptoms caused by drugs I finally saw myself for what I was; the same old girl but without the light, without anything but bags under my eyes, a hospital gown and nowhere near enough money to get home. I thought to myself 'I could die right now'. And because that scared me, I knew there was a spark of me left: a spark of me worth fighting to keep.

I'm still fighting for that spark today, I suppose. Everyday is a fight: Disablist external and internal voices telling me that being ill is failing vs. the truth.

To explain what that truth is I'll have to talk about another diagnosis. After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, depression, anxiety, and seeking help for my addiction, I stilldidn't self- defineasdisabled.For me to claim that term, we have to talk about 2013. In my final year of university, I was seeking medical help for posterior uveitis and macular edema. I was losing vision rapidly and for the first time in five years I felt I was losing the battle with internalised disablism. It was then that I realised that one person isn't enough to fight disablism. Not even close. We each have our limits and our abilities and I wrote a statement about mine in relation to our Student union elections. This is probably the first time I recognised my limits as a disabled person.

Disability to me is not a special criterion, a measurement of ability, or a term reserved for those who are ill 'enough'. Because the truth is that there is no illness small enough to ignore and no role so important that health can be side-lined. Disability is the absence of abled privilege. I don't have the privilege of being able to control my body weight as others do, of being able to see properly, of being able to write and speak without mistakes, of being able to effectively usemy working memory, of being able to use substances recreationally,ofnotbeing depressed and anxious. The expectation thata person cando allof these things is socially constructed and maintained, and because of this, disability is a physical and political identity.

In the movement and activism against disablism and able normativity I found that self-care and peer support are essential. NUS Disabled Students Officer, Hannah Paterson, offered me support and understanding following me coming out about my condition, and I think that was the first time in a long time I wasn't scared to be seen as weak, because Hannah and other activists find strength in admittinglimits. What followed helped me to do the same. Other disabled activists rallied round to help with the things my disabilities prevented mefrom doing and I think the power of that network is a huge factor in me being here today, relatively unscathed. I need and deserve a network of people who share my rage, fight and principles of self-care.

Before disability I was just someone who couldn't see the PowerPoint, someone too scared to leave the house sometimes, someone whose life was a process of rebuilding, relapsing and ignoring. Before disability I was acting out of fear of 'failing' socially and academically but I was failing myself. Before disability I was losing myself, I was killing myself.

And now that I have claimed the word disabled with all its power, history and support?

Now I know that strength means asking for help.

Now I'm proud to be disabled.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Living with memory loss

Living with memory loss is infuriating. The perception is that people who forget things are a bit docile, but on your third attempt to leave the house, because you've forgotten something, getting back inside and forgetting what item you forgot- I challenge anyone to not feel frustrated.

See my memory loss, which is linked with my hypothyroidism, is a daily struggle. It's not that I forgot we were meeting at 12pm for coffee and now you've texted me I've remembered. It's that the conversation we had about it is missing, it's completely gone. And it's not coming back.

In the past I've had a range of responses to me telling people about my memory loss from supportive to disbelief, and lots in between and I spent a long time feeling guilty because I believed the misconceptions about memory loss that everyone else does. But having lived with this condition for eight years, I've decided that I'm comfortable enough with this part of my health to make some assertations and draw up some boundaries.

1. Memory loss has nothing to do with intelligence.
Now you may be able to still recall the answers to your A Level Law exam, or your GCSE Math test, and I might sometimes forget to wear underwear, but that doesn't make you my intellectual superior. It gives you a huge advantage in one specific kind of academic examination, but spurnng off information isn't a marker of intellect, it's a marker of an individual's ability to memorize things. What about problem solving, interpersonal skills, developing, creating, applying critical thought to situations? Your ability to recite information is one skill that happens to be frightfully over tested in the U.K's educational system.

2. This has nothing to do with how much I care about things.
I didn't forget to call you or see you because I don't care, contrary to popular belief forgetfulness is not connected with apathy. I do care. I do want to do everyday human things. I am not choosing to forget them. If I could choose what I remembered then I wouldn't have memory loss. To prove the point here's a list of things I recently forgot

-A regular feature on my blog. Several weeks running.
-To drink water for three days.
-To take my medication yeaterday. -What day I was travelling to London a few weeks ago.
-To take painkillers for pain from dental surgery, earlier today.
-My middle names, a few months ago.
-My age, a few days before my birthday.
-How to spell 'critique' when writing point number 1.

3. Memory loss is not helped by condecension.
'Ahh, Pip, you'd forget your head if it wasn't screwed on.' Wow,that's not original or helpful. Nor is it helpful when you make a joke out of me forgeting to perform basic tasks. I totally understand that you feel awkward that I'm disabled in this way and you want lighten the mood, but don't make jokes at my expense, especially about my disability/ies because-

4. I not embarrassed by my memory loss.
I spent a long time loathing myself and telling myself how stupid I was and I worked out; that doesn't help. It took years for my to deconstruct the internalised ableism that we're all socialised into. I felt that I 'should' be able to remember where I put things, who I had made arrangements with and why I was stood in the bathroom with a spatula in my hand. But I couldn't. That is a downfall of my body. That is something I just can't do. And that's O.K. None of us are immortal or undamaged. We're all flawed and human and sometimes we have bad breath or colds or longer term problems. And though it might be terribley embarrassing to you that your friend Pip has come to meet you and is wearing odd shoes, I'm not embarrassed to be human and flawed in this way.

5. Accepting memory loss is a process.
Before I started experiencing memory loss, I thought about my worst fears, one of which was growing old and forgetting people and events and achievements. So you could say that everyday I live one of my worst fears, even if just for a moment. Memory loss is terrifying. I can't explain how much humans rely on memory, if I did it wouldn't make sense. Until you experience menory loss yourself it's not something you think about. But needless to say it's a huge thing to have compromised. And losing it or part of it entails grieving, like all grief mine included a serious stage of denial. I revert back to denial sometimes when I'm feeling unable to cope. Denial is my default an it causes certain behaviours: I apologise for the mistakes I make because of my menory far too much still and try fo hide this condition for other people's comfort occassionally, I call my scary memory blanks 'brain farts' to make others feel less awkward. But I'm getting better at counteracting the denial. And each day I don't tell myself off for losing memories is another day in the process of acceptance.

See, I suppose like any other thing, we try to apply logic to our minds and to our memories. But memories aren't always logical. There is no method or reason in what I forget. There's no rule to explain why I can remember that I have to put a wash on but forget to take it out, why I spent four hours annotating entires for an anthology I helped edit but forgot the editor's meeting. A lot of people I interact with who may rely on my abilities get swept up in this whirlpool of unpredictable memory loss. It can cause a lot of hurt feelings because people take things personally. My memory loss isn't something I dreamt up to excuse shitty behaviour towards you. It's not personal when I forget something, it's not even personal that it causes me to lose memories I need to look after myself. The condition, the scary concequences, the frustration, the denile, the anger, they're all just part of existing. We're all flawed and a broken in some way, right?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

SPAnswers- queer identity , coming out as poly & swinging as a bi man

Q. Im a queer/trans* man in a long term relationship, my partner used to define as bi but now defines as straight, she's a woman so its doesn't effect our attraction but I feel like she expects me to do the same. How can I explain that I'm not willing to compromise my queer identity but not cheat?

A. I'd remind her that queer can mean many different things - anything other than straight.  It doesn't have to imply that you're gay and aren't attracted to women, nor does it imply that you need to have other partners.  And I'd reassure her that your attachment to your queer identity doesn't mean you're interested in having other partners by reminding her that an identity is just that, an identity, and is often essential to the way a person views themself, so it can be important for reasons far more personal than a desire to make connections with others.


Q. I'm poly, and have several partners all of whom are very I'mportant to me. My family are only aware of my relationship with one of them - as far as they're concerned, I'm monogamous. They met another of my partners last month, but they only know hir as my friend, not as my partner.
Now I'm moving in with hir, again my family think this is just as friends (which is possible because we're all having separate rooms), but given that this means ze'll inevitably be spending more time round my family I'd really like to be open with them about the nature of our relationship.
The thing is, the reason I didn'ter introduce hir initially as my partn is that when I brought up the *concept* of polyamory a few months ago with some of them, I reckon they managed to fill the whole bingo card of mononormative tropes.
Mainly "you can't reeeeeeeally love someone and be comfortable with sharing them with someone else". Any advice on how to deal with the situation would be greatly appreciated.

A. Firstly you're very brave and definitely not alone in your experience of this situation. A lot of poly people have to negotiate the balance of telling/not telling bio family, work mates, employers, friends, therapists, doctors etc. 
The reactions from your family sound like anyone's reaction on first hearing about polyamory. That's doesn't excuse mononormativity in individuals, at all! Each person is responsible for holding non-discriminatory opinions, but the way society is structured towards the heterosexual, and the monogamous, means that these people are just voicing the values they have been socialised into.

My advice is that you think carefully about who you tell and how you tell them. Remember that no one has the right to know the intimate details of your life, be it family or friends. When you have thoroughly considered the situation personally, then speak to your partner(s) that this will effect. If you just plan on telling them about the partner you're moving in with discuss this with hir and ensure that you're both happy for this information to be available to your family.

If you've communicated with yourself and your partner(s) and you decide you're going to tell your family then I've put some tips below.

1. Consider the location. I personally tend to use a public space (e.g. coffee shop) as I feel that this allows me (and the person I'm telling) the freedom to walk away if and when I/we need to. If you want to do it in the comfort of your own surroundings that's understandable but do consider the location.

2. People. Do you want your partner(s) with you? Do you want to tell family one person at a time? (I advise this as it will limit the mononormative concersation).

3. Attitude. My personal approach is; 'Hey, this is something about me. You can find information on it here. I'm telling you because I feel like you are involved in my life and I'd like to be open with you. I'm not seeking your approval but I'd prefer you kept disapproval to a minimum around me. This is a non-negotiable part of my life, and I expect you to respect both this aspect of me and my life generally. Do you have any questions?'
I feel that this format sets out my expectations and provides them with space to go away and feel their feelings but depending on how close you are to family it may be abrupt or cold. Decide how you want to explain polyamory and if necessary practise in front of a mirror or with a partner.

Above remember that this is your life and you are the one who lives it. Your decisions are valid and nobody can negate how you experience attraction and in what capacity you love or define boundaries of relationships, they can deal with it or not. Your relationship structure has been negotiated and established and you're simply informing your family. Brace yourself for mononoramtive sentiments and ridiculous questions but remember that you don't owe anyone answers. Then allow family their own time to process this information.

I personally keep relationships and family completely separate so instead of telling you my coming out story, have these- http://www.polyamorysociety.org/Coming_Out_Stories.html

Good luck!x


Q. I'm interested in swinging but as a single, bi man I'm scared of being rejected by the swinging community, is there any point in me bothering?

A. So the answer to this question depends on what you mean by the swinging community. If you mean going to swingers clubs then by all means there is point in you bothering. Single men go to swingers clubs all the time. Occasionally some clubs will hold couples only nights, so if there are couples who are put off by single men being there then they will attend these nights instead. Usually there are plenty of single men at clubs and you won’t be made to feel like the odd one out, so don’t worry. As for your bisexuality, unfortunately I have to admit that the swinging community isn’t always the most accepting of the LGBT community, especially if you wish to sleep with couples (some men worry that you’ll try something with them when they only want you to have fun with their partner). Obviously plenty of people will be accepting but there is still stigma attached to bisexual men within the community.
Secondly there’s the online swingers community. Now it can be worth a try, but there are so many single men on the typical swingers sites that it can be very hard to get a meet, especially without a few verifications. Most couples turn off notifications from single men simply because they can’t handle the volume within which they get messages and requests from them. I would try using a free site in case it doesn't work out, such as fabswingers On these sites though, it might be easier too be open about your sexuality as people who are put off by your sexuality most likely just won’t respond too your messages, and there’s also sites aimed specifically at men who want to play with men.


Want to ask a question?- http://ask.fm/SPAnswersquestions

Want to meet the fabulous people who will answer it?- http://sexxxypolitics.blogspot.com/2013/10/sexy-politics-answers-your-questions.html

Friday, 18 October 2013

National Anti-Slavery Day 2013

http://www.national-awareness-days.com/anti-slavery-day.html

http://www.antislaveryday.com/whats-on/

https://www.facebook.com/ASDayUK

http://www.ecpat.org.uk/content/anti-slavery-day

http://archive.org/stream/capitalismandsla033027mbp/capitalismandsla033027mbp_djvu.txt

Sunday, 13 October 2013

SPAnswers- gender(queer), fatphobia, abstinence & polyamory.

Q.How do I explain to feminists that I respect that it's oppressive to deny that fatphobia/thin privilege is a thing?

A.The problem here is that feminists come in all different shapes and sizes, and by that I don’t mean they are varying in weight (although they are), but rather that they hold very different values.

The one thing I think most self-defined feminists have in common is their belief in equality and that all people should be treated equally. In detail that means that regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity all people should be treated equally economically, socially and legally. And if it extends to all that, then it should extend to weight & size.

With that in mind a feminist should, in theory, want someone who is ‘fat’ to be equal to someone who is ‘thin’. In our society that unfortunately isn’t true. If I, as a self-defined fat person, could walk into a high street shop and know they had my size, or if I could not worry about fitting into the rides at Alton Towers, or if I could go to the doctors for a flu jab and not come out with a leaflet about weight loss then yeah, sure, I’d agree that people are equal regardless of weight. Anyone who can do all that has thin privilege: the luxury of going a day without thinking about their weight and size.

Fatphobia is the reason I can’t do that stuff – it is the constantly reinforced idea that fat people are lazy, unhealthy slobs and as such clothes manufacturers don’t need to produce clothes in their size and doctors don’t need to understand underlying issues because after all, they’ve brought it on themselves haven’t they? It’s the treatment of overweight people as too stupid to understand ‘move more, eat less’ (even though it’s not always that simple). It’s the treatment of overweight people as sub-human.

No one likes to admit they have privilege, or that privilege even exists. It makes most of us feel a bit dirty. So I would reassure whomever you’re trying to talk to about this issue that it’s okay to feel like that, and that we all have some privilege. I would then try to open a dialogue about why they deny fatphobia and thin privilege, or why they think it’s not oppressive to do that. Perhaps ask them what they think the reason they don’t stock a size 18 in every shop is. Because there’s not enough shelf space to have all those sizes? Because there’s not enough demand for size 18s? Because size 18 people *want* their own shop where they can pay twice the price for specialist clothes? If they can see there is no reason for this except to make certain people feel unequal then the next step is to accept the inequality exists and accept that denying it, as denying any inequality, is oppressive.


Q. I've never felt especially attached to my gender identity (outside of the ascriptive shit that I get from most of society); I'm wondering what does it feel like to be gender queer (or how did you know you were GQ)?

A. I’d like to preface this by saying there is no one, common genderqueer experience, nor is there a “right” way to be genderqueer. That being said, this is my experience of it:

I'm AFAB (assigned female at birth) and still identify fairly closely with that; I use female pronouns, I identify as a woman - though a genderqueer one - and my presentation is decidedly femme (gender identity and gender presentation are different things, of course, but for me they are linked).

I started exploring my gender identity when I was around 17, after I discovered feminism and queer theory and began to question the gender binary. I went through a range of identities, trying to find where I fit – bigender, agender, genderfluid… but none of them felt right. I eventually found that what I feel most comfortable with is the broadness and freedom that I feel ‘genderqueer’ gives me. For me, being genderqueer is part of my radical and political queerness, and it affords me absolute freedom in my self-expression and identity.


Q. pip- how can you do abstinence and polyamoury, surely those are two conflicting lifestyles

A. Although I practised abstinence at a time in my life i didn't self define as polyamorous, I don't feel like they're conflicting. Abstinence was a decision (seperate from my experience of asexuality) to take some time away from erotic behaviour so that I could rebuild and reaccess my relationship to my sex. This allowed me to develop a healthier relationship with sex.
Polyamory as a relationship orientation doesn't mean sex with many people (although it doesn't rule that out) it means multiple relationships (relationships can be formed on sex, kink, romantic attraction or a mixture).
My ability to be a 'good' sexual partner (e.g. understanding, patient, relaxed, unexpectant) comes from my ability to maintain a healthy personal relationship with sex which I personally used abstinence as a tool to allow myself room to develop.
I'm certain that should I decide to become abstinent for a period of time (to allow myself space to learn to be understanding, patient, relaxed and unexpectant with myself) now, anyone I'm sexually involved in would support my decision to do so.

Got a question about this post or about gender, sexuality or relationships? Ask it anonymously at- http://ask.fm/SPAnswersquestions and have it reviewed and answered by a team of fabulous people.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

5 problems with sex positivity

Although I am a sex positive activist, I don't believe subscribing to any tradition, political perspective or community, uncritically, is a good idea. The problems outlined below are things I've encountered in spaces that aren't explicitly feminist. But they are important, and they do matter.

1. Men dominating conversations on women's sexuality and bodies
I've found that in a spaces that aren't feminist the oppressive power dynamics found in any other place are reitterated and validated in discussions. The discussion is usually male centered, binarist, cissexist, heteronormative, etc. Some men use sex positivity and the discourse of 'preference' as a cloak to excuse their patriarchal generalisations. E.g. 'body hair (on women) is revolting'. Sex positivity should be about challenging patriarchal notions and normative, oppressive ideas about sexuality, and it saddens me that some men are accessing sex positive spaces to do the opposite.

Benjamin Rush, Carl Von Linné, Julien Offray de la Mettrie, Sylvester Graham, Richard Von Kraft-Ebing, John H Kellog, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, Claudius Galerius, Samuel Tissoflt- the discourse on human sexuality has been dictated by white men, some making progressive arguments, some scientific and some oppressive, but all men. Most people in the world are not white men. And our sex positive spaces should endevour to not silence those who aren't, otherwise it's just the same old shit, under a different name.

2. Shallow analysis of the roots of sex negativity
Sex is political, just like anything else. Sexual behaviour has been policed, villianised, or encouraged thoughout history depending on the political climate. There's definitely positives in addressing the symptom (the experience of sexual shame and repression) but the discussuon of the cause is important for true progression. Sex positivity in relation to capitalism, sex positivity in relation to disability, to patriarchy, to the nuclear family? These  dialogues are missing. Sex positivity cannot simply be a tool for self validation alone, but for ensuring we can break the the cycle of sexual repression.

3. Pressumptions
I believe a sex positive space should be one in which people aren't subjected to others making tired presumptions about gender, sexuality, or experience of sexual desire. When writing about sex positivity leads to relative strangers (all men) contacting me pressuming that I want to have sex with them, this reinforces the idea that a woman discussing the politics of sex is a 'cert'. No, I don't want a photograph of your sex organs. Thank you. No, talking about sex doesn't automatically mean I experience a high sex drive, or that I want to answer questions about my sexual behaviour. Thank you. No, talking about sex doesn't mean that I'm heterosexual. This dialogue is not another tool to service male pleasure, it's a tool to challenge the assumptions, not reinforce them.

4. Slighlty missing the point
Sex positivity is not about uncritically claiming that all sex is great.
a)Sex is not always positive
b)and it's not essential for everyone.
Many people have a strained relationship with sex, and their own body, they may have sexual triggers or have survived sexual abuse or rape. The sex positive movement cannot make progression if we simply plaster over the fact that sex can be a negative experience and a tool of oppression. We are failing at communicating the true purpose of sex positivity if we exclude people with sexual triggers. It's not about saying 'woohoo, sex is always fabulous' it's about recognising that human sexuality is diverse, complicated and often an emotive topic. It's about saying that there is no 'wrong' way for a person to express their sexuality, or asexuality. We shouldn't be silencing survivors of sexual abuse, we should be shaming institutions that normalise it, we should be discussing consent.

People may choose not to engage in erotic behaviour and still lead rich, fulfilling lives. Sex positivity should not be about interveining to educate people who choose not to have sex, to tell them what they're missing. Sex positivity should not be about forcing people to discuss their own sexual behaviour if they don't want to, or pressuming that those who don't are victims of sexual shame.

5. Body negativity
I cannot count the number of times I've seen or partaken in discussions that transcend into body negativity. Why? Because although it's essential that sex positivity and body positivity are linked, someone forgot to put that on the group email, or the general memo. Fatshaming, thinshaming, disability shaming, normative beauty standards, body policing= not sex positive. Body positivity absolutely has to be a part of this movement because if not, then we're saying 'you only deserve sex positivity if you fit these narrow critera'. Expressions of sexuality are not hierarchical, hopefully most people realise that penetrative sex is not the Golden Chalice of erotic acts? Body types and appearences should also be discussed in a non-judgemental, non-heirarchical manner, too. Otherwise we are  shaming the tool used for the expression of human sexuality, and therefore we are encouraging sexual shame.

Conclusion? My sex positivity will be feminist, intersectional, self-critical, LGBTQ inclusive, disability positive, and radical, or it will be bullshit.



Got a question about this post or about gender, sexuality or relationships? Ask it anonymously at- http://ask.fm/SPAnswersquestions and have it reviewed and answered by a team of fabulous people.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Sexy Politics answers your questions

What is SPAnswers?
Sexy Politics Answers is a new project I'm launching to offer people the opportunity to ask questions of people with a range of experiences, opinions, ideas and solutions. From 'how do I tell my partner about my sexual health status?' to 'how does class interact with sexual dynamic?' and everything inbetween and beyond.
Did you ever have a question that you felt you couldn't ask friends, family or partners? Ever wonder if everybody does that thing or how you can find people who enjoy it? The time for those questions, dear friends, is now.

How can I ask a question?
You can ask a question here- http://ask.fm/SPAnswersquestions
We'll answer questions on a regular basis by publishing them in posts on this blog and then linking the post to you on ask.fm. By doing this we are able to educate and support others who may be experiencing similar concerns or interests as you, whilst ensuring your anonymity.

What can I ask about?
The focus of this project is to answer questions on sexuality, sex, gender & relationships. Some topics are suggested in the profiles of the advisors below. We will endevour to answer any questions you ask us, but where we aren't qualified to answer (e.g. medical/legal advice) we may signpost you to a resource or person who is better equipped to answer.
We're happy to take questions on identy in relation to sex(uality), gender and relationships e.g. 'How can I navigate impaired mobility within a ablenormative BDSM setting?' But for accounts of experiencing structural oppression on a day to day basis http://www.liberateyourself.co.uk is an excellent resource.

Who will answer my questions?
I'm glad you asked! A spectacular range of amazing individuals will answer your questions! This group will grow as/when your interests and the rate at which you ask questions changes.
If you would prefer a certain advisor answers your question, feel free to stipulate this on ask.fm.*

Hi, I’m K. I’m a polysexual genderqueer girl in a 24/7 power exchange relationship, in which I’m submissive. I’m strongly committed to intersectional feminism and love comics. Topics I’m especially happy to answer questions on include BDSM/kink, trans*- and/or queer-ness, feminism, and allyship - but I’ll also answer things that fall outside of those categories if I feel capable!


Hello, I'm Susuana, I am a heterosexual, demi-ace, cis-woman. I'll answer all reasonable questions the way best I can, no really personal stuff though.

I describe myself as a pseudopansexual genderqueer. My mother has Multiple Sclerosis, and my father has been absent since I was aged 9. I have Asperger's Syndrome and have always, in some way, expressed myself as queer. I am about to begin studying an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Birkbeck College, University of London. I am a kinky (switch), slutty, poly, Christian queer, and an unpaid, indefatigable 24/7 feminist biatch.


Hi, I'm Alex. I'm 20, and I identify primarily as a Queer Guy, with a splash of grey asexuality. I'm a student, and I love to be busy. When considering a question I will always adopt an open minded, sex positive approach. I'm a fan of solution-based thinking, considering what is going right and projecting about how it can get better, that way specific answers will play to the individuals strengths and what they excel at, rather than what I am good at!


Hello, I’m Lucy. I’m a pansexual cis-woman currently in a long-term monogamous heterosexual relationship. I work in the travel industry and in my spare time I like to bake, play board games, and practise hairstyles that minimise my double-chin. I have two pet rats, a growing collection of dictionaries and I am a connoisseur of tea and biscuits. I’m happy to answer questions on relationships, including monogamy and cheating; sexuality; sex, including different methods and styles but also about communicating about sex with partners and others; sexual health, body image and body confidence, including fatphobia; feminism; drugs and alcohol; and most other reasonable questions. My approach to answering questions will come from a non-judgmental, honest and confidential position based on my own personal experiences and knowledge, and I’ll provide references to further information where I can. Looking forward to responding to questions!




Hello! I'm Anna. I'm a submissive queer poly trans woman with somewhat limited experience in "the kink scene", but will answer any questions I feel confident to answer to the best of my ability :)

Hi, I'm Pip. I'm a cis woman (and femme with tendancies to wear fake moustaches). I have experience with- lesbianism, bi*sexuality, heterosexuality, asexuality, polyamory, BDSM/kink, abstinence, sluthood and stone...ness. I'm happy to take questions on the above as well as liberation politics, feminism, fatphobia, masturbation, method, consent, sex positivity, body positivity, gender, (dis)ability and class. I like fruit tea, feminist porn, writing, collecting sex toys and my cuddling method can be defined as- cat.


Hi, I'm Ellie, I'm a genderqueer, pansexual, polyamorous, psychology student from Wales. I work at a swingers club, run sexual health campaigns and enjoy some BDSM/kink. I'm happy to take questions on these as best I can.

* Purposely offensive/oppressive questions or questions used to bully or intimidate individuals will not be published. They will not pass the moderation process and as such the advisors will not see them.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sexy Sunday, Sex Positive Profiles- Jack

1. Name-
Jack

2. Occupation-
Programmer/Analyst

3. How do you self-define?-
Heteroromantic Asexual.

4. What does the word sex mean to you?-
Something others strive for, but it's not my desire with anyone.

5. What does the sex positive movement mean to you?-
It's bringing sex into conversations, which enable people to be more open to the idea that some people don't have the same sexual desires, and that it's okay that it happens that way. I hope that eventually asexuality no longer becomes this thing with connotations of sex hating.

6.
Sweet or savoury- Sweet!
Book or film- Books on Spirituality and Psychology
Rainbow or glitter- Rainbows after the storm
Unicorns or dinasours- dinosaurs
Sunset or sunrise- Sunrise, just before it, too
Lights on or off- off, mostly, I let the sun do the lighting
Candles or fairy lights- candles held by fairies
Magazines or newspapers- Depends
Porn or erotic literature- neither
Online dating or set ups- meh
Cats or dogs- cats
Cinema or theatre- theatre, you're talking to a voice actor for deaf theatre.

7. What's your favourite sex posi resource?-
I enjoy a bit of Laci Green, but I believe that talking with people who are also sex positive about sex is better for education. It's why I founded the Facebook Group "Sex Positive Discussion"

8. Your perfect date?-
I always enjoyed fondue restaurants for my dates: it's food, so you don't have to worry about doing nothing or getting hungry; and it's a long time, making for some good conversation opportunities.

9. What was your sex ed like in school? Good points/bad points? Marks out of 10?-
It was meh. We didn't talk about the effects on sex with the body, we mainly talked about how to deal with puberty. Because there was no conversation on sex and sexuality, it became this thing whispered about, and it felt like I was trapped by my lack of desire or knowledge.

10.  What is your experience of asexuality?-
It has been a little frustrating, when friends talk about sex and expect you to totally know what their meaning is when you can't. As an asexual, I do not get sexually attracted to anyone, but I still have that desire for a romantic relationship, but the way we talk about love and sex in today's culture people tend to assume that I'm unable to love. And that's why I'm sex positive, so that ideas of love can be safely separated from ideas of sex.

11. At what age did you start masturbating?-
16, I think? I do have a sex drive

12. What are your political views?-
I prefer not to say

13. Who is your sex idol?-
A spoon, because I love to do it.

14.
Love to- snuggle, kiss, and cuddle
Sometimes will- Experiment with stuff that does not involve the genitals
Uncomfortable with- Sex and genitals

15. You get turned into an inanimate sex related object, what are you?-
Rope?

16. What is your true passion in life?-
Creating new worlds, both digitally and artistically

17. You send one sex positive message out into the word in 7 words, what is it?-
People should know sex and sexuality.

18. Do you believe everyone has a kink? If so what's yours?-
Not really, and I do necessarily have one.

19. How do you define you relationship status at the moment?-
single and looking

20. Where can we see more of you?-
Facebook's Sex Posi Discussion Group.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sexy Sunday, Sex Positive Profiles- Chris

1. Name-
Chris

2. Occupation-
Sabbatical Officer

3. How do you self-define?-
Cis &Pan/Omni (if they consent, then that's enough for me :) )

4. What does the word sex mean to you?-
It can mean many things, the medical definition (some would say stereotyping) of your genitalia, a source of /seriously/ fun experimentation & expression of love & trust

5. What does the sex positive movement mean to you?-
TBH, Not much, because I don't know enough about it. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the other posts on this blog & learning more!

6.
Sweet or savoury- savoury
Book or film- damn you for making me choose! >__< :(
Rainbow or glitter- rainbow
Unicorns or dinasours- dinosaurs
Sunset or sunrise- sunrise
Lights on or off- on
Candles or fairy lights- candles
Cuddles or love letters- cuddles
Porn or erotic literature- damn you for making me choose! >__< :(
Online dating or set ups- don't mind, whatever works
Cats or dogs- dogs
Tea or coffee- coffee

7. What's your favourite sex posi resource?-
Don't really have one, though this blog is awesome! ;D

8. Your perfect date?-
Dinner, movie & sex - while travelling in a private jet/yacht

9. What was your sex ed like in school? Good points/bad points? Marks out of 10?-
Lol, what sex ed? I started looking at encyclopaedias when I was in P2-3, then went to catholic schools, so non-existent, particularly as most of the secondary level eduction was in a catholic, all-boys school

10. What's your wildest sexual experience?-
Ate out & received a golden shower

11. At what age did you start masturbating?-
10ish, I think

12. What are your political views?-
Very liberal

13. Who is your sex idol?-
Don't really have one

14. 
Love to- Use my hands/mouth on boobs/genitals, watch golden showers
Sometimes will- Have penetrative sex (anal/vaginal)
Uncomfortable with- nothing, come at/on me ;) (Also see this http://lh5.ggpht.com/-pJCWkCFhv68/UhfUz5XCINI/ AAAAAAAAAQk/EgzcGiKa-vk/s1600/sexmap10.jpg)

15. You get turned into an inanimate sex related object, what are you?-
a phone

16. What is your true passion in life?-
IT, & accessibility

17. You send one sex positive message out into the word in 7 words, what is it?-
Fuck people (take that either way ;) )

18. Do you believe everyone has a kink? If so what's yours?-
Absolutely! Can't get enough of this http://lh5.ggpht.com/-pJCWkCFhv68/UhfUz5XCINI/AAAAAAAAAQk/EgzcGiKa-vk/s1600/sexmap10.jpg & Watersports, giving oral, rimming, BDSM

19. How do you define you relationship status at the moment?-
In a very happy relationship ;D

20. Where can we see more of you?- 
https://extensionofmyimagination. tumblr.com & https://twitter.com/chris18890

(If you're sex positive and would like to be featured please get in touch via facebook, by commenting on this post or by emailing me- pipgeorgeson@gmail.com)

Monday, 9 September 2013

5 Things That Aren't Racism

Ok, let me preface this post by saying that as a mixed race person who is percieved to be wholly white- I experience a lot of white privilege. Racism I've experienced has mainly been verbal abuse and it most certainly hasn't been often. You could say I'm lucky that I don't have to worry about experiencing racism. You could say I'm unlucky because I exist in a society that has racism (and other oppression) at all. Because I experience white privilege I usually keep my mouth shut on what constitutes the oppression of people of colour (PoC) because I'm not experiencing 99% of it.
But this post is to society at large, and it's about what isn't racism, what shouldn't be compared to racism and why and as someone who has experienced racism, I feel entitled to outline these points.

5 Things that aren't racism

1. A white person taking the piss out of Justin Bieber for being American

Whilst you might really like Justin Bieber and want to defend his honour...don't try and change the meaning of the word 'race'. The dictionary definition may be 'classes of people' but you know that 'racism' relates to oppression on the basis of ethnicity. Just like we understand that class usually relates to socio-economic and cultural background. Xenophobia is different to racism. And to be honest xenophobia has a more heartbreaking effect on someone trying to emigrate from another country to ours than it has on Justin Bieber. Some wealthy celebrity goes on living his life, those who experience oppression get their lives shaped for them by racism and xenophobia. Put down the strawman argument and step away from the false premise. (Sidenote- someone actually argued this exact point with me, twice.)

2. When a PoC is mean to you
(Sidenote- I'm paraphrasing from tumblr here)
What racism is-
The continued devestation of counties with bombs and wars, the historic and unrelenting oppression of PoC, the continued under employment, bigotry and disadvantage experienced by PoC.
What white people think racism is-
A black girl in school was mean to me.

3. Homophobia
I've spoken previously about how uncomfortable I am with white LGBT people conflating homophobia with racism. Not because I think one is worse, but because a white LGBT person only experiences one of these things and doesn't have the experience to talk on the other with authority.
The homophobic response to same sex marriage is not the same as segregation.
STAAHP.

4. When Diane Abbott points out facts
(Sidenote- I'm not promoting or condoning Abbott's politics or Labour) So Abbott once tweeted 'White people love playing 'divide and rule' We should not play their game.' The media was alight with people talking about 'reverse racism' and 'racism against white people' and to that I say- LOOOL.

Another time, Abbott stated that the 'British invented racism'. So white people get all upset because Diane Abbott is making generalisations about them as a group. She's making out that someone who has a privileged position due to being white (in a country that had, lets say, a little hand in imperialism and the slave trade, which created white supremacy) still have imperialist values.

Well guess what? She's right. And as a PoC in a country that still has racist values she cannot possibley oppress privileged white people by pointing out facts. If her comments offend you more than this then you're a victim of your own privileged ego.

5. Someone calling all men 'bastards'
Let's compare two situations
Situation a- someone who isn't a man says 'Oh, Jeff really pissed me off today, why are all men such bastards?'
Outcome- Jeff may be upset if he hears, but he maintains his male privilege anyway.

Situation b- a white person uses a racist slur in a room full of white people.
Outcome- the historical oppression, enslavement and marginalisation of PoC began the use of racist words, the continued use of them maintains a system that sees PoC as less than (linguistics, innit). Language stregnthens and maintains value systems and the other white people in the room see that this word is 'acceptable' in this context.
Hey, guess what? A person generalising about men isn't the same as the structural oppression of generations of people, and the maintainance of that through saying words that were tools of that oppression. Your hurt feelings don't license you to compare or conflate someone being mean to the oppression of a group you don't define into. Get over yourself.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sexy Sunday, Sex Positive Profiles- Codiekinz


1. Name-
Codiekinz
2. Occupation-
Talent booker at a kids casting agency, human rights activist & Eminem tribute act.
3. How do you self define-
Cis gendered, generally bisexual.
4. What does the word sex mean to you?-
The word sex has changed in meaning over the past few years. But now? It means a physical representation of love, it means fun and adventure and safety and enjoyment.
5. What does the sex positive movement mean to you?-
I've always been made to feel like a "slut". That sex isn't okay to talk and joke about and being open about experiences, good and bad is wrong. Being sex positive means feeling like talking about it is okay. Education is the key to enjoying sex. If you know how to do things safely, & positively, sex is gonna be way better. I promise.
6.
Sweet or savoury- biggest sweet tooth ever.
Book or film- book book book!
Rainbow or glitter- glittery rainbows!
Unicorns or dinasours- Unisaurs. I'm wearing a dinosaur onesie right now.
The Smiths or The Clash- The Cure! ;)
Lights on or off- on! I like to remember how attractive my boyfriend is, so lights on! :)
Candles or fairy lights- fairy lights!
Cuddles or love letters- Both! Please!
Porn or erotic literature- For a quick fix, porn can be good, but for a slow burner, a well written erotic novel is best.
Online dating or set ups- Neither have ever worked for me. I tend to fall into relationships :)
Cats or dogs- CATS!!!
Spongebob or tigger- T-I-double g-er!
7. What's your favourite sex posi resource?-
Sexplanations on YouTube. Dr Doe is an incredible person! So friendly and like able and knowledgeable. She makes everything seem okay, no judgement.
8. Your perfect date?-
A scavenger hunt maybe! Around a city at night ending with a picnic. Or a Maccys. A date should be about the person you're with, so the place and price shouldn't matter so much :)
9. What was your sex ed like in school? Good points/bad points? Marks out of 10?-
So i moved schools in year 5. The school I left taught sex Ed in year 6 and the school I joined had had it in year 4. So I missed it. We did however go on a London trip, to the natural history museum. Were given a worksheet about reproduction and has to find the answers in the exhibition. Lazy!
10. What's your wildest sexual experience?-
A threesome. In my ex boyfriends house. He wasn't there.
11. At what age did you start masturbating?-
I think I was super young. I don't even remember starting, I guess I just always have.
12. What are your political views?-
I'm  a hippy. I guess I'm pretty left wing.
13. Who is your sex idol?-
Dr Doe. And Dita Von Tease. And my boyfriend :)
14.
Love to- kiss!
Sometimes will- fart during sex. And giggle.
Uncomfortable with- people who won't take no for an answer.
15. What is your sex motto?-
Don't ever feel like you have to. You are not obliged to give anyone sex. Not a partner. Not a stranger. Just have fun with the person you want. Provided they want to too!
16. What is your true passion in life?-
I would say people, like Xander. But to avoid repetition I say art & words. & poetry & controversy. 
17. You send one sex positive message out into the word in 7 words, what is it?-
Don't believe the hype, make it yours.
18. Do you believe everyone has a kink?-
I do think so. And if you don't have one yet, enjoy finding it!
19. How do you define you relationship status at the moment?-
Very much in love, with my best friend.
20. Where can we see more of you?-
Www.needsmorezombies.tumblr.com
@codiekinz
(If you're sex positive and would like to be featured please get in touch via facebook, by commenting on this post or by emailing me- pipgeorgeson@gmail.com)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Mary Lambert- marry me?!

So Mary Lambert is a singer and spoken word artist who has worked with some guy you might have heard of called Macklemore? She's not single. We've never met. And she's not going to marry me.

But today I read something written by her that made me want to ask her to. In fact, it made me want to stand on top of a big hill and throw glitter around. Mary Lambert is...well...pretty fucking amazing!

I think a lot about how the media and music industry never produce people 'like me' or never show people like the people I know. And I know I'm in a comfortable little bubble. Most of my friends define into multiple liberation groups and are intersectional feminists, socialists, anarchist or just have genuinely shit hot politics.

So when I see celebrities and musicians who think rape jokes are hilarious and being fat is a crime- it shocks me. But not as much as it should. Because we get used to the idea that things like body positivity, self care, and working against the stigma of mental health are things we have to do. Things we have to talk about and things musicians & celebrities are so detached from that we stopped reading magazines and watch MTV years ago.

That's what I did think. Now I saw Lambert's performance of I Know Girls a while ago and posted it on facebook. Basically, I forgot about it because I thought it was a fluke. But tonight I saw what Mary Lambert had written and I was blown away. I read about her life. All I could think was 'this sounds like someone I could have an excellent feminist rant with' (basically the yard stick by which I measure friendships).

So, old me, you were wrong. There are successful people out there that have brilliant politics. They didn't have to dillute themselves or disregard their values to get there.

I'm not saying it's a war won. I'm saying it's a battle I had chalked up as a loss...reopened?

Anyway, I'll leave you with the a quote from the woman I'm not going to marry. But who I'd quite like to rant with. And who happens to be spreading this message to millions of people.

When you shame another’s weight (be it thin or fat), when you claim to call out someone’s body size because you “care” about their health, it is not a beneficial statement in any sense of the word, and in actuality is far more harmful to any progress a person might have with relation to their health. What right do you have to talk about someone else’s body or health? You are hammering a distorted ideology that they are not normal, that they are not worthy, and convincing them that they are going to die early. The reason that there is a body positive movement is because we’re celebrating our bodies for the magic that they are and the beautiful things they are capable of.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sexy Sunday, Sex Positive Profiles- Girl on the Net

1. Name-
Girl on the Net - I'm anonymous so my real name's a secret
2. Occupation-
Again, it's secret. But publicly I'm a sex blogger and author.
3. How do you self define?-
I'm a straight woman, although I have occasionally forgotten the 'straight' part in the past when I've met particularly spectacular women. I still identify as straight, though, because my fantasies and cravings predominantly revolve around men.
4. What does the word sex mean to you?-
It means many different things to me, depending on the context. With some people it's inseparable from love, companionship, intimacy and knowledge of another person. But with others sex is like a fun game you play with a good friend. To me sex is something fun to do with someone you like - where 'like' can be anything from 'enjoy their company over a pint' to 'couldn't live without.'
5. What does the sex positive movement mean to you?-
It's all about love - understanding that love is one of the few things in the world that is truly universal: we all benefit from love, and we all strive to get it in one way or another. The sex positive movement is about understanding and embracing all of the different types of love that people feel and make, and celebrating them. I think the movement's got a long way to go before we get everyone doing the 'celebration' part, so at the moment I'll settle for us simply opening people's eyes to what's out there, and ensuring that people are never made to feel ashamed for their consensual sexual activities or desires.
6.
Sweet or savoury- Savoury - preferably cheese.
Book or film- Book.
Rainbow or glitter- Rainbow - glitter's a bit too scratchy.
Unicorns or dinasours-Dinosaurs.
The Smiths or The Clash- I don't know either of these bands - I'm very uncool.
Lights on or off -On
Candles or fairy lights- Candles
Cuddles or love letters- Love letters
Porn or Erotic literature-Porn
Online dating or set ups-Online dating
Cats or dogs-Cats
Spongebob or tigger-Tigger
7. What's your favourite sex posi resource?-
Twitter! I think there are so many great blogs and sites that if I only mentioned one I'd be doing the rest a disservice. Twitter is a great place to hear other people's experiences, ask questions and share your thoughts. I worry that the recent outbreak of trolling rage may have put some people off asking the questions they need to, or being honest about how they feel, but I think as long as you avoid being judgmental, Twitter is a fantastic place to learn about sex positivity.
8. Your perfect date? (If money were no object)-
Hmm... if money were no object I'd like to take a boy I know to somewhere remote and pretty, like Dartmoor. We'd go for a ten-mile hike, have sex somewhere out in the open with no one around, then hike back to a B&B where we'd shower off the rain and the sweat and the effort, then shag again on a bed with fresh sheets before getting pissed over an awesome meal and a few pints.
9. What was your sex ed like in school? Good points/bad points? Marks out of 10?-
It was comprehensive as far as the physical stuff was concerned - I lived in an area that had very high teen pregnancy rates and I think they did a pretty good job of explaining the literal ins and outs of sex, and how to avoid pregnancy/STIs. It really fell down on the emotional aspect, though, as well as information about relationships other than straight, traditional ones. No one ever taught us about the crucial things like consent, or the variety of sexual and emotional needs.
10. What's your wildest sexual experience?-
Hmm... it depends on what you count as wild. Probably the most porny was a scene I played in a fetish club with a few friends. We were in a caged-off room, being watched by a group of people. A few of the guys standing outside the room were masturbating furiously. I was bent over on a bed, a small blonde female friend was beating me with a leather crop, a lithe, brunette guy was holding me down while my boyfriend tugged at some nipple clamps I was wearing. It was intense, and terrifying, and delicious -mainly because I could hear the shuffling sounds of the wanking guys nearby.
11. At what age did you start masturbating?-
Twelve or thirteen - I remember having a bit of a 'eureka' moment as I read a dirty book I'd found at my Dad's house and rubbed my clit through my jeans.
12. What are your political views?-
Liberal, but not Liberal Democrat. I'm not a massive fan of the way politics is done in the UK at the moment, and party politics hacks me off. But if we could move towards a system where people were more engaged with politics, on a local and national level, and the impact of their choices was more apparent, I'd be happier.
13. Who is your sex idol?-
Pandora Blake. She's a fantastic spanking porn producer (and performer), with not only some excellent views on consent and how to portray it in porn, but also a genuinely delightful way with words.
14.
Love to- Be held down and fucked lying on my stomach, so that it's hard to breathe and hard to push back and hard to do anything other than moan with delight.
Sometimes will- Take the dominant role - if I'm feeling particularly confident.
Uncomfortable with- Post-sex cuddling. It's hot, dammit.
15. What is your sex motto?-
Easy on the foreplay, hard on the fucking.
16. What is your true passion in life?-
Writing. I love writing. I love the feeling you get when someone reads something you've written and says "wow, I liked that." Even better: "that was funny." In my dreams I'd like to make a living being an author. And in the wildest of all my dreams I'd like to be half as good an author as some of the other writers I admire.
17. You send one sex positive message out into the word in 7 words, what is it?-
"Someone else probably likes your kink too."
18. Do you believe everyone has a kink? If so what's yours? -
If you define kink as just 'something someone else might be surprised by' then definitely - I think each and every one of us enjoys or fantasises about something that might leave other people cold. It's all part of the beautiful complexity of human beings. My strongest kink (and I think I have a fair few) is my desire to be used. Even in relationships with guys I love deeply, the most erotic thing they can do is pretend they don't care about my pleasure and just want to use me as a receptacle to spunk into.
19. How do you define your relationship status at the moment?-
I'm in a relationship.
20. Where can we see more of you?-
I'm on twitter @girlonthenet, and I blog at www.girlonthenet.com. I've also got a book out, which is available on Amazon UK or Amazon US, and in a few other places too. If you're really interested, you can also find me on facebook.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Unpopular Opinions- What is Jamie Oliver missing in his discussion of obesity and poverty?

A fucking lot! In fact the whole media is moralising about parents and weight whilst...well, not really knowing very much.

So you might have heard Jamie Oliver's comments about mothers letting their children eat cheesey chips (the devil's starchy snack) in front of a 'massive' TV. Queue liberal media producing lots of 'fat is bad but um, like poverty' articles. So, as I sit here, an obese woman, claiming benefits, writing this post from my council flat please try and suspend the absolute disgust you must feel towards me for saying- hey Jamie, shadafackap.

Now here are some points missing within the discussion on poverty an obesity-

1. Jamie Oliver is a wealthy man. Just gunna put this out there. He's not a single mother who works a full time job for 20% less than her male counterpart and then goes home to take care of her child. His children are privately educated and have two parents. He is celebrity and a chef. He can afford child care and healthy food not only that but his career allows him time to plan meals and work out their nutritional value.

2. When people are on a lower income they tend to 'stock up' on food that will last. Fresh fruit and veg isn't available geographically or financally to everyone. Also, a lot of food chefs make is high in fat, but cheesey chips is a notably working class kinda meal isn't it? So the problem isn't gormet burgers drenched in oil and creamy sauce with a side of whatever the fuck you do to your potatoes.

3. Um, it might come as a BIG surprise to you (liberal media) but not all fat people are unhealthy. I mean if we examine the 'Obesity epidemic' in America then we can see that people may be bigger, but not that much bigger. The W.H.O says that overweight people 'may' suffer from health problems caused by weight. Not will. Not do. May. And you being slim doesn't qualify you to tell them how to live.

4. Food isn't the only reason people are fat. We work longer hours than we did fifty years ago, we sleep less. That means more stress (that can mean weight gain). And sleeping less can cause weight gain too. So when people use 'health' as a way to concern troll fat people, it makes me think their concern is more about shaming people otherwise they would talk about the whole picture.

5. Poor people are allowed to have massive TVs. If people on benefits want to spend ALL their money on nachos and DVDs to watch on said massive TV, they can. It's no one's job to tell them otherwise. And before anyone starts on 'but my tax money'. No. Your taxes go on roads too, are you going to shout at people use them? Your taxes go on supporting imperialist interventions and paying MPs to fuck you over, but no, wait, someone ate a plate of fucking cheesey chips. Let's not try and lower the price of healthy food, let's not try and get ready meals that are healthier, nah, let's just cry about some poor, fat people eating cheesey bastard chips.

What the comments and the coverage shows is that people aren't really too arsed about improving life for anyone. They want to moralise about people being fat or poor or eating cheesey chips or having TVs.
Boring classism. Boring body elitism. Boring liberal media and boring Jamie Oliver with his boring, shallow opinions.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

To Russia with Love

(If you wish to add your name to this letter please email pipgeorgeson@gmail.com. Please put the subject of your email as 'Russia Letter' and include your name as you would like it to appear in the body of your email.)

We, the undersigned, wish to extend our steadfast solidarity to those suffering under and fighting against the oppressive 'homosexual propaganda' law in Russia. As a community we believe the radical history of our movement shows that change is possible and we remain dedicated to working towards this change.

Many media outlets have reported that the LGBT community is simply concerned about this law as a threat to our athletes. Whilst we do worry for all those travelling to Russia, this is not the whole story. We feel this coverage provides only a superficial insight into our concerns and neglects to recognise our other alignment. Our alignment is to those trodden on by these laws everyday, those who live with the marginalisation and fear bred and normalised by this legislation. It is you, our LGBT siblings in Russia to whom we send our love and support.

To Putin, to each of the four hundred and thirty six individuals who voted through this law we say; your deeds will not be forgotten. The world is watching as you legitimise the oppression of millions of your citizens. For individuals such as yourself who occupy a privileged position in society, you cannot understand the strength found in shared struggle. The link between LGBT people will not be stopped by legislative boundaries, borders or language barriers. You cannot hope to contain it. This link will exist until true liberation of all oppressed groups is achieved.

When you make freedom to talk about identity illegal, when you arrest our siblings for their trans* status and sexuality; we see the nature of the society you wish to build. A society in which the suffering of LGBT people is deepened and celebrated. A society that does not allow people to fight for liberation. You wish to maintain a world where neo-Nazis can beat a woman for being transgender without arrest but Pride marches are attacked by police. A society where young people are 'protected' from healthy and inclusive discussions about sexuality and gender, and so are taught to supress and despise their own. It is a society where 'traditional family values' is code for regressive attacks on groups of your choosing. We find your actions vile and unjust. And we refuse to stay silent. When you attack any of the LGBT community, you attack us all. When you deny people the right to fight for their own liberation you only strengthen the empathy shown to them by people who share their struggle, around the world.

To our LGBT siblings in Russia; know that when you march against injustice the spirit of our movement is carried with you. When you are erased by bigotry know that we see you. Within each continent, every country, city, town, there are LGBT people who struggle to fight against the particular discrimination of their government. We believe that we have more in common through this struggle than with those who run our countries.

Let us offer you our strength where yours may falter. Let us offer you our hands to help when yours are tied by institutional  homophobia and transphobia. Should you wish us to boycott the winter Olympics we will. If you want us to march in the streets we will. Should you wish us to publicise the atrocities visited upon you by the Russian government, to speak the names of those killed and detained, to keep their struggle alive; we shall.

Our message to you is simple- we see your struggle, we stand with you and we await your reply.

In solidarity,

В РОССИЮ С ЛЮБОВЬЮ Мы, нижеподписавшиеся, хотели бы выразить нашу непоколебимую солидарность с теми людьми, кто страдает от деспотического закона о запрете так называемой “пропаганды гомосексуализма” в России и борется с ним. Являясь единым сообществом, мы верим в то, что история нашего движения, наполненная событиями, радикально изменившими ход общей истории, показывает нам, что перемены возможны, и мы продолжим целенаправленно двигаться к этой цели. Многие средства массовой информации утверждали, что сообщество ЛГБТ волнуется по поводу этого закона лишь потому, что он представляет собой угрозу нашим атлетам. И хотя мы на самом деле беспокоимся за всех тех людей, которые приезжают в Россию в качестве туристов, это не полностью отражает ситуацию. Мы полагаем, что освещение событий именно в таком ключе является лишь поверхностным пониманием наших забот и игнорирует наши идеи объединения с такими же людьми, как мы, только притесняемые подобными законами ежедневно, живущими в условиях маргинализации и страха, порождаемого подобными законами, страха, который таким образом превращается в обыденность. Это вам, наши ЛГБТ- братья и сестры в России, передаем мы наш привет и выражаем поддержку. Путину и каждому из всех четырех сотен тридцати шести человек, которые проголосовали за этот закон, мы говорим: ваши поступки забыты не будут. Мир следит за тем, как вы легитимизируете угнетение миллионов ваших граждан. Являясь людьми, занимающими превилегированное положение в обществе, вы не сможете понять ту силу, которая возникает и объединяет нас в общей борьбе. Связи между ЛГБТ не будут прерваны законодательными барьерами, границами или языковыми препятствиями. Вы не сможете нас сдержать, как ни надейтесь. Эта связь не прервется до того момента, пока не станут по-настоящему свободными все угнетаемые люди. Когда вы даете себе свободу говорить о том, что какое-то самовосприятие является незаконным, когда арестовываете наших братьев и сестер за их транс-сознание и сексуальность, мы видим, какое на самом деле общество вы хотите построить. Общество, в котором страдания ЛГБТ становится еще более сильным и резонансным. Общество, которое не дает людям возможность бороться за свободу. Вы хотите жить в мире, в котором неонацисты могут избить женщину за то, что она трансгендер, и оставить их безнаказанными, а шествия ЛГБТ подавляются полицией. Общество, в котором дети “защищены” от трезвого и всестороннего разговора о вопросах сексуальности и пола, в котором их учат подавлять и прятать собственную сексуальность. Общество, в котором “традиционные семейные ценности” являются правилом, позволяющим совершать агрессивные нападки на группы людей по вашему собственному усмотрению. Мы считаем ваши действия подлыми и несправедливыми. Мы не будем молчать. Когда вы нападаете на какую-то группу ЛГБТ, вы выступаете против нас всех. Когда вы отказываете человеку в праве на борьбу за свою свободу, вы лишь увеличиваете чувство сопереживания со стороны людей, которые участвуют в такой же борьбе по всему миру. Нашим ЛГБТ-братьям и сестрам в России: помните, что когда вы выходите на улицу в борьбе против несправедливости, наше движение тоже не забывает о вас. Когда вас исключают из общества проявлениями нетерпимости, мы видим вас. На каждом континенте, в каждой стране, городе, селении есть ЛГБТ, которые борются против дискриминации со стороны властей. Мы верим, что у нас гораздо больше общего благодаря этой борьбе, чем у тех, кто руководит нашими странами. Хотим выразить нашу поддержку всем, кому её не хватает. Хотим подать руку всем, чьи собственные руки связаны узаконенной гомофобией и трансофобией. Если вы хотите, чтобы мы бойкотировали зимние Олимпийские игры, мы сделаем это. Если вы хотите, чтобы мы вышли на улицу, мы сделаем это. Если вы хотите, чтобы мы предали известности те зверства, которые совершает в отношении вас российская власть, предать гласности имена всех, кто был убит и брошен в тюрьму, чтобы поддержать их в этой борьбе, мы сделаем это. Мы хотим донести до вас простую мысль: мы видим вашу борьбу, мы рядом с вами и ждем вашего ответа. Выражая нашу солидарность,

Kashka

Jacques Gonseaux

Tom Mycock, Unite rep, Leicester

Matt T

Tom McCarthy

Mx Geo Leonard

Morgan Millicheap

Jenny Hacket

Sky Yarlett

Yolly Chegwidden, NUS LGBT Committee

Clare B

Dave Sherbert

Rhodri Roberts

Francesca Pirovano

Amy Addison Dunne

Dan Stone

Becca Dye

Jack

Dan Conama

Logan Lawson

Morgan Hale

Caroline Leneghan

Alex Louise Wheller

K. Pearse, Liberation Officer at Warwickshire College (Lemington) SU

Kier. A. Sinclair

Senora Nicola Skotudoodah

Lynn- D Fletcher

Lea Howard

Sarah Noble

Emily Rae Fowler

Andi Herring

Matthew S

Naomi B

Rachel Smith

Charley Hasted

K. Marsden

Josh Davies

Rhiannon Lowton

Anna Cat

Martyn Price

Rosie Huzzard NUS NEC, NCAFC NC and PCS DWP Sheffield Young Members Officer

Aaron Booth

Kaylan Hughes

Nick Fischer

Jo Smith

L. Webb

Dan Fahey (Committee for Workers' International)

Rob Young

Sarah Lynn

Lani Baird

Alison Stevenson

Liat Norris

Fran Cowling, NUS LGBT Committee

Shian Streadwick-Augustine-Cain

Elliott Marshall, LIV.FAST Network

Claire Hornby

Michael Stickland

Chua Zhong Xian

Rachel Ivens

Felicity Dowling

Codie Louise Austin

Stephen J. Wright

Matthew Smith

Osman Bhatti

Sarah K

Tina Rawr, Equal Rights

Alex Prestage

Nyssa Blakeley

Gareth Kirman

Kris Bailey

Emma-Jane Samworth

Amelia Bradley-Newby

Sean.C

Emma Pooka

Trish Clinton NUS LGBT Committee Bi* Rep

Aura Willow Hazel

Daria Hopwood

Friday, 23 August 2013

What would your sex map look like?

Newsflash- diverse language to describe sexual preferences isn't limited to the queer community. Who'd have thought it?! Well, a lot of people actually.

In the world of queer I'm used to the discourse of sex. We have a wide and ever expanding set of terms we used to specicfy, negotiate and demonstrate how, who, why, where, what. (E.g. stone femme, stone butch, top, bottom, switch, pillow queen, spaghetti, barebacking, scissoring, rimming and on and on).

And why do we have this jargon? Well it's because we understand that sex isn't simply a do or don't. There's no formula, no plan, no rules to how someone can experience pleasure. The language is amazing and serves a really important purpose. Through it we can understand our friends, ourselves and our sexual partners' needs, wants and boundaries.

But is there a better way to communicate this? Would a diagram help? A nice little up front visual representation of the 'want will won't' system? A sex map!?

In an interview with Seattle Psychology Allena Gabosch stated that human sexuality is a 'globe'. That really struck me, it's an excellent metaphor. And it means we can all 'explore' (if we wish) the varied lands of sexuality, sexual preference and fetish/kink.

I didn't really think about this much more until I noticed (on a few OK Cupid profiles) links to a particular website where you can map your experiences, desires and boundaries. People had theirs right out there for prospective dates to see. And though obviously, open communication between sexual partners will never be replaced, the kink map could prosper where ego and sexual shame prevents communication.

Now, this version definitely isn't perfect. It only details kink and some of the acts it has on it are pretty gimmicky. And some I'd never heard of, for instance 'the jelly donut'. But it's a start. I'd love to see a version of this that takes into account not only fetish, but sexuality and relationships. There are some things I think shouldn't be on the map too, for instance the island of non-consent? (I'm not talking about agreeing to forgo consent and having a safe word). Non-consent isn't sex for any person involved.

That aside, the concept of the Human Sex Map is excellent. And it really demonstrates how diverse sexuality and sexual preference is. But would you be willing make yours public?

(If you have any queries, suggestions or funny pictures of cats please get in touch via facebook or by emailing me pipgeorgeson@gmail.com)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

(Belated) Sexy Sunday- Sex Positive Profile- Xander Prestage

1. Name- Xander Prestage

2. Occupation- Student

3. How do you self-define?-
Queer, PanHomoAsexyMess

4. What does the word sex mean to you?-
Straight in at the deep end! For me sex is a connection shared between people, using their bodies. I like to keep the whole concept as loose and fluid as I can because each time I have sex it is so individual and unique.

5. What does the sex positive movement mean to you?-
Being sex positive, for me, means not being shamed into silence. It means promoting a healthy discourse between partners, parents, children and friends, refusing to acknowledge that sex happens and the massively diverse range of emotions and consequences it brings to people's lives is a mistake.

6. Quick Fire
Sweet or savoury-I'm a starters kind of guy, savoury.
Book or film-BOOK!
Rainbow or glitter-Tasteful Rainbow.
Unicorns or dinasours-Dinosaurs, I think.
The Smiths or The Clash-Emotions vs Angst? Ahhh can't choose.
Lights on or off-Mood lights, fuck yeah.
Candles or fairy lights-Fairy lights, round the headboard (see above ;) )
Cuddles or love letters-Cuddles
Porn or literotica-oooooh, morally and politically erotica, realistically - 'good' porn
Online dating or set ups-Set me up!
Cats or dogs-Not even a competition, caaats
Spongebob or tigger-Tigger, just for the tail.

7. What's your favourite sex posi resource?- My favourite resource has to be Laci Green's YouTube channel. She presents a range of issues in a really well delivered way. I see her channel as a gateway to sex positive resources. My favourite video of hers is probably her discussion of virginity as a social construct.

8. Your perfect date? (If money were no object)-
Mine is cheap as chips anyway! Never mind the money. It has to be a night round an open fire in the woods, blankets and all the other relevant panoply. Then adjourning into a canvas tent for cuddles.

9. What was your sex ed like in school? Good points/bad points? Marks out of 10?-
Ha! Urm, all I can remember is drawing penises and labeling them, although we did one interesting, if nothing else, activity - washing line up, classmates take it in turns to place gestures or friendship/relationship on the washing line with stranger at one end and life partner at the other. Then have the class break out laughing when handjobs gets put closer to the stranger end than shaking hands... sadly it wasn't so and I shook far more hands than I got handjobs throughout my school career. 4/10

10. What's your wildest sexual experience?-
Threesome happened, MMM. WILD NIGHT.

11. At what age did you start masturbating?-
Urrrrrm, I was a late bloomer and this actually was a pretty big source of anxiety for me. I didn't hit puberty whilst other guys had to shave daily. 15?

12. What are your political views?-
Anarcho-Socialist sort of thing.

13. Who is your sex idol?-
Hmmm, Jake Bass - Porn Star. Get's to know his scene partners for a couple of days, is always safe, bit of an alternative look with the tattoos and plugs, and the gifs on tumblr...

14.
Love to-Aggressivley kiss.
Sometimes will- Rim.
Uncomfortable with- Fisting.

15. What is your sex motto?-
I don't know if I have one set in stone really, I just like to enjoy myself. If you can't laugh about the sex you are having you probably aren't ready to be having it.

16. What is your true passion in life?-
People, I love people. As cliche and vapid as it sounds. I study linguistics and I love the Sociolinguistics, the study of language and society does stuff to me. If you can talk good language and gender theory you may as well kiss me now.

17. You send one sex positive message out into the word in 7 words, what is it?-
"Porn is not a healthy representation of sex"

18. Do you believe everyone has a kink? If so what's yours?-
I don't really know to be honest, I'm pretty vanilla. I like a bit of biting and gentle scratching, although have had some more vigorous experiences (not complaining at all!). Also, showersex; yes please.

19. How do you define you relationship status at the moment?-
Hmmmm, a monogamous work in progress? It's a really hard one to define for me.

20. Where can we see more of you?-
Tumblaaaar: http://praevaleo.tumblr.com/
Twitter:
@greyjoydivision

(I'm hoping to run a sex positive profile each Sunday to give sex positive activists a chance to talk about themselves and offer networking opportunities and have fun with nice people.