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Friday, February 15, 2013

142

Spectrums and Attractiveness

1. I’m writing because, well, I’m not sure who I am anymore. I thought I had it figured out, going through college and a few years after as a straight dude, but more and more I find myself falling asleep hoping I wake up a straight chick.

Which is weird, because I’m not dissatisfied as a male. I like my body and feel comfortable with the fact that I possess a penis; often, I even enjoy this fact. I also have no interest in cross-dressing or reassignment surgery. When I hear trans people speak about their experience, it’s always a feeling of being trapped, or always having this gut feeling that they were just the wrong gender — I don’t have that, at all.

Which is also weird, because I think that, if I did wake up one morning with new netherbits, I’d want to have relationships with men. To be totally clear, I had many opportunities in college (as most people do) to get busy with dudes — I just have no interest in it in my current state.

I’m also somewhat skeptical of my feelings on this, I guess? Like what if I just really like women and this feeling of wanting to be one is so I’d have more ready access to the things that I like? And what if I’m using this fantasy as a way of letting myself express interest in dudes? Or what if I’m straight-up trans and just can’t admit it?

I’m not sure there’s a question for another person in all of this, but I think about it all the time, and I don’t want to anymore. If I had to narrow it down to one thing, I guess I’d say: is it possible to be bi-trans? I’ve always vaguely believed in gender fluidity and spectrums and whatnot, but, it seems to only be accepted only a gay/straight continuum. Like you can be 60% gay but not 40% a woman, y’know? Which, sure, whatever, I don’t really need other peoples’ acceptance of this, or some sanction by the queer community that This Is An Okay Thing To Be, but, I don’t know! I sort of do, I guess?

Are you familiar with the word “genderqueer”? I suspect that if you were, you would have mentioned it. If all you want is a word (or a couple of words — there's also gender-fluid, gender-variant, non-binary, and that's just off the top of my head) to describe your lovely sometimes-a-woman-sometimes-not self, look no further. You are not the only person to feel that there's a spectrum between man and woman, cis and trans. You're not the only person who wishes forms had a box under “M” and “F” that says “Yes! But also, sometimes not.” In fact, if you live in a large and queer-friendly city, there's a good chance you can find a genderqueer support group nearby and meet other rad folks who have had similar experiences. (Trans support groups are often friendly to genderqueer people too, but it's probably a good idea to call and check first.) 

So, yes: This Is An Okay Thing To Be. It's fine to feel like a man sometimes and a woman sometimes. It's fine to be attracted to men when you're a woman and women when you're a man (and vice versa). It's fine to express your gender fluidity, or not, however you see fit. It's fine if you eventually decide you're a woman all the time. It's fine if you eventually decide you're not a woman at all.

A little bit of experimenting might help you find the line between “things I want to do in real life” and “things I only want to fantasize about.” You say you're not interested in cross-dressing, or transitioning, or sleeping with guys while you still have a penis, and you certainly don't have to do any of those things. Still, going out with lipstick on or getting a dude's phone number, just to see what it feels like, might help you more clearly define exactly what it is that you want. Also, it couldn't hurt to find a therapist who works with trans and genderqueer people to help you separate your real feelings and desires from all the confusion and uncertainty getting in your way.

It's all possible. Just figure out what you want to do (ha, do you like how I said that like it's the easy part?) and then go ahead and do it. We've got your back.

2. Here goes: I'm queer — grew up ricocheting from bi to lesbian to genderqueer, spent a few years in Identities-Are-Social-Constructs-And-Everyone-Should-Stop-Having-Them-Land, moved (physically), and now I dress femme-y, don't talk about my past, and let everyone assume I'm straight and cisgendered.

Except this one guy, who I hooked up with during the overtly genderqueer phase, who I am now hooking up with again in the present.

I've spent my life assuming I'm as close as you can get to asexual without actually being asexual (kissing is fine, but can't we just go roller skating?), and this guy has gotten me in bed (and enjoying it) multiple times. Now we're playing with dominance and submission and it totally turns me on, and also makes me feel horrible. I know I've got some deep-seated sex-is-wrong issues. Consent is also sticky, especially since I'm sort of into non-consent. For example, he tried choking me one time. He asked if liked it. I said, not really, it scares me. He said, the way your breath changes makes it sound like you like it. Then he kept doing it. That part is a huge red flag — except, turns out, I kind of do like it.

I'm also having a crisis of identity — being queer felt right in the past, but it got scary and hard. Being a straight white girl is easy and usually doesn't bother me much... But straight white girls don't like bruises and rope burn! And on top of it all, identities are just social constructs that everyone should get rid of anyway!

So question: who I am and what does that person do?!

I think you're approaching this in the wrong order. You don't decide who you are and then figure out what you do; you decide what you want to do, and then if you feel like it, you can find a name that fits. Identities can be useful descriptions and sources of pride and community, but they shouldn't be a straitjacket. If what you want to do doesn't match what you call yourself, go ahead and do it anyway. You can call yourself something else later on, if you want.

There's nothing wrong with living as a straight woman if that's what makes you most comfortable, and there are plenty of straight women who do like bruises and rope burn (and frankly I'm not even sure what being white has to do with anything). But you also don't have to declare yourself Officially 100% Straight just because you want to bang this guy. You can be queer and mostly-asexual and still bang dudes on occasion. If you want to go back to banging ladies, or banging no one, later in life, that's fine, too.

But, um, are you sure you want to bang this guy? Because his behavior with regard to your boundaries sounds ... worrying, to me. Whether and when it's okay to ignore a “no” is something that needs to be explicitly negotiated with sex partners in advance, along with what you'll do or say to mean “but seriously, no.” Doing something you've told him not to, in the absence of that negotiation, is bad news. That it turned you on is kind of beside the point. If he did it once, there's a good chance he'll do it again sometime when it doesn't turn you on at all. There are a lot of kinky guys out there who can give you the hot sex without the giant flashing “I'M CREEPY AS HELL” neon sign.

It might be helpful to talk to some kind of mental health professional to try to untangle your feelings of guilt over sex, and whether they're related to your less-than-savory choice of sex partner. But even if you don't do that, please feel free — with my blessing — to call yourself whatever you want, and sleep with whomever you want. Except for the guy you're currently sleeping with. He's creepy. Dump him.

3. I am a 44-year-old Bisexual Chick who keeps hitting a roadblock when I date women. When the clothing comes off I involuntarily play "Compare and Contrast," and inevitably feel I am way less attractive than my partner, and then it gets weird. Weird in that I then assign myself to the role of pleasure provider, worshiper of the other woman, and start covering myself up, recoiling from her reciprocation. Obviously, this never ends well.

I know already: classic self esteem issues, I'm insulting her taste in women, if she didn't find me in some way attractive she wouldn't be there, etc. Part of the problem is that I'm objectively not that attractive in general and have always ever managed to be involved based on my personality. This has been revealed to me over and over ("wow, I never thought I'd be dating someone like you, but you're so great to talk to..."). I am the original "Pretty On The Inside," and as time wields its magic, that has become even more the case. An unfeminine femme is hard to pull off, and I'm not butch at all.

Even long ago when I was a professional athlete & had a strong, less-lardy body, I had to face the reality of my luggage-shaped torso, flat ass, and face like a frying pan. But I was smart and funny, and back then at least had some self confidence due to my strength and accomplishments. Now it's a waistless, potato-shaped torso, and the reality of my life post-athletics leaves little to provide pride and sass. On the rare occasions a Lady Date comes up, I just can't seem to put my hangups aside long enough to allow myself to enjoy it.

Needless to say, the Man Dates all but stopped once I hit 38, so the thought of having a future of celibacy or self-loathing Lady Dates is bumming me out. Help!

Oh buttercup, reading your letter made me so amazingly sad. I know there's very little I can say in the span of one letter to spackle the holes you (and maybe other people) have spent years clawing out of your own self-esteem, but if nothing else, I hope I can convince you of one imperative: You have got to start talking about yourself the way you would someone you like.

Seriously, let's look at some of this vocabulary: “Objectively unattractive.” “Lardy.” “Face like a frying pan.” “Potato-shaped.” I mean, holy shit, if someone talked that way about me I would never speak to them again. I can't even comprehend how miserable it has to be to cart that person around inside your own skull. And girl, I hear you that it's hard to feel like a sexy rock star when you don't look like what the hotness-industrial complex wants women to think they should look like. I myself happen to be a fat chick with no waist, a flat butt and hell of stretch marks, and yes, sometimes I walk down the street and it is hard to tell myself that I'm the business. But you know what you have to do? You have to tell yourself anyway. Even when you don't believe it. Because the times you don't believe it are the times you need to hear it the most.

Think about all your friends. Are they all bikini models? If yes, holy shit, get some new friends, I'm sure those bikini models are great people but you need more diversity in your social circle. If no, think about all the things you find charming and lovely about them despite the ways in which they fall short of magazine-cover flawlessness. Do they have amazing smiles? Great senses of humor? Delightful fashion sense? Killer dance moves? What about the women you've slept with? Chances are they all had plenty of figure flaws they consider hideous, but when you got their clothes off, did you think “Gee, I wish her knees weren't so bony” or did you think “FUCK YEAH, SHE'S NAKED!”? Try to look at yourself the way you'd look at someone else — someone you like, someone you care about, someone you're dying to get into bed.

And if you do talk and think about other people the way you talk and think about yourself: cut that shit out. Like yesterday. If the way you relate to the world is through brutal criticism and cataloguing failures, no wonder you relate to yourself the same way. You know how they say “if you can't say something nice, don't say anything”? Let's amend that to: “if you can't say something nice, you need to try harder.” There's always something positive to notice. Find those features in other people, and it will be easier to find them in yourself.

No one is objectively unattractive. No one is objectively attractive, either, except Naya Rivera. Attraction is relative, and it depends on more than just the way your body is shaped. It has a lot to do with being smart and funny; it has a lot to do with simple, inexplicable chemistry. And, trust, some people like nothing better than a fat girl with a flat ass — I've certainly never gotten complaints.

Believe — or at least tell yourself repeatedly — that the women who end up in your bed are happy to be there; believe that the women you haven't gotten with yet would be lucky if you did. Also, I don't really understand why it's “needless to say” that you aren't dating men anymore. Did men over the age of 38 go extinct and nobody told me? Because I think dudes are just as likely to be won over by your wit and hotness as ladies, if you give them the chance.

Finally, to come back around to my first point: you obviously do have some serious shit going on in and around your brain, and while I hope my little pep talk was nice, I also hope you'll consider talking to a queer-friendly therapist about all this. (It's Everybody Should Get Therapy I Am Not A Qualified Professional Week at Ask A Queer Chick!) You really do deserve to see yourself as awesome, even if you need some help getting there.

4. "S." has been my best friend since college. She had never hooked up with a girl. I was/am bisexual. In 2008, S. kissed me, and that eventually turned into a monogamous relationship that lasted — somewhat unexpectedly — for four years. We talked about marriage, but she lived in her mom's apartment and was underemployed. I have a stressful, low-paying job. We broke up. She hooked up with a guy. After a few months, we started sleeping together again, with the expectation that we'd both be seeing other people. I went on uneventful dates. She had a one night stand with a male co-worker. I was upset, but got over it. We continued sleeping with each other, got closer, acted as if we were together. She had sex with another guy. Upset again, but then I got over it ... mostly. We continued to sleep together and were even more girlfriend-like. I was falling in love with her again, although I knew she was still interested in sleeping with other people. And then she did (twice, with a different male co-worker), and kept it from me for over a week because she knew I'd want to break it off with her completely. Which I immediately decided to do when I finally asked her what was going on and she confessed.

She has told me that she only wants to be with me. And part of me hoped that we could get married one day. But. I'm also not a complete idiot. She's never had a boyfriend. She's never had a non-me girlfriend.

So, what to do? Do I need to cut off contact with her to keep my sanity and prevent us from sleeping together again? Is it at all worth it to try to get back together?

Um, wait, is what all worth it? Because I've read your letter several times now, and I can't find anything to put in your relationship's “pro” column. Unless you neglected to mention the part where you've been poisoned and the only antidote is in her vagina, no, it is not even slightly worth it to get back together.

Here is what I've learned about S. in the short time we've been on a first-initial basis: She really likes having sex with you. She also really likes having sex with people who are not you, and is willing to lie to you to make sure both of those things keep happening. Here is what I've learned about you: You really don't like it when the girl you're sleeping with sleeps with somebody else (even while you are dating other people). This makes the two of you fundamentally incompatible. I know it's horrible to have to let go of someone who you thought you might spend your life with, but look back over your letter and realize that, if you stay with her, this is your future. She will sleep with men; you will hold grudges; you will break up and get back together on and on into eternity. I just, Jesus, doesn't it sound exhausting?

I have a really strict break-up-with-people-who-make-you-miserable policy. I think it's always better to be alone than to be part of an unhappy couple. (It's also much better to be alone than to be in a car with an unhappy couple, which may help explain how I developed this policy in the first place.) Obviously all relationships take some work, but this is not “if at first you don't succeed.” This is after you've tried and tried and it still isn't what you want it to be. You two are not right for each other, and it's time to move on.

Previously: Long Distances, "Terribleness," and the Skin-Crawly Feeling

Lindsay Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock



142 Comments / Post A Comment

Anchovy Cake

LW2: Have a safe word/signal ALWAYS before any type of breath/sub/dom play. Better yet, have two, one to slow down and one to stop immediately. And everyone thinks the stuff they like is kinda weird.

glitterary

@Anchovy Cake Yes to this! Traffic lights is easiest: "Red" for STOP RIGHT NOW, "Yellow" for slow down/check in with me/do something different, and, if you like, "Green" for whatever you do DON'T STOP.

Judith Slutler

LW2, the choking without asking you is the reddest of red flags. I'm not saying breath play can't be a thrill, but it is also DANGEROUS. Seriously you only want to do that with someone after having a real-talk discussion about the risks, which are considerable.

"Your breath made it sound like you were into it?" - Um, this guy is not very safe to be around. What other **POTENTIALLY DEADLY** things will he do even though you said no, "because it seemed like you were into it"? Thus far everything has gone OK and it doesn't sound like you have found it to be mentally scarring (though fair warning, once you stop seeing this guy you may end up feeling really really angry) but again, his actions are dangerous.

I don't want to shame you for having sex with him or for liking it, because goodness knows that hot sex can make us all overlook a multitude of major issues. Especially when we're not sure what we want and are dealing with feeling of shame around sex. This isn't about how you are dumb or bad for sleeping with him. This is about him being a crappy partner who probably isn't worth the unnecessary physical and mental risks he's expecting you to take.

You can have a happy, kinky relationship, with a dude if that is what you want! But this dude, YIKES.

melis

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yeah, in light of the post right before this one, get out of there.

Lu2
Lu2

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yup. I have no experience with that, but I do believe that anyone who tells you they know what you want better than you do, and gainsay your "No," are dangerous. Physically dangerous, or dangerous to your mental and emotional health and self-esteem, or both.

Judith Slutler

@melis The thing about breath play is that with absolutely no bad intent and perfect consent, safewords set up in advance, etc, people can easily just up and suffer sudden cardiac arrest from it. Really this is not something you just want to mess around with, or accept a consent violation on, because you ended up liking it.

wee_ramekin

LW #2

~ Drawn by @milkbreath on the previous 'Ask A Queer Chick' thread, for the LW whose dom was ALSO using kink as a cover for being a fucking asshole

Inkling

@wee_ramekin
"Set As Desktop Background"

Atheist Watermelon

@Inkling i may have just done the exact same :-)

carolinaclay

So much wonderful imagination!@y

kellyography

Skipping down to comments - LW2: Like A Queer Chick said, some straight girls DO like bruises and rope burn. Be careful, but don't think whatever you like makes you less of who you want to be!

swirrlygrrl

@kellyography Yup. Also, repeated criticisms of the organized BDSM kink community are about how it lacks diversity, and is dominated by upper-middle class white people.

Though I'll admit I'm not into rope burn. Get better rope! Or soft leather cuffs and bondage tape. That's the good stuff.

piekin

A Queer Chick, you are so good! My responses to these LWs would have alternated between "ummmmmmmm" and "derp."

thatgirl

I just always want to hug all of you letter writers. All of you. And make you tea.

Also, A Queer Chick gives amazing advice and I bow before her.

Blushingflwr

Um, straight white girls do totally like bruises and rope burn. Find your local kink community and you will meet them, I promise.

annejumps@twitter

@Blushingflwr Yeah I didn't get that at all.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Blushingflwr Also, I'm sure there are some straight girls who are not white who enjoy this as well.

redheaded&crazy

@Blushingflwr I read it as a bizarre extension of the usual "good girls don't like ropes and bruises" stereotype where ... straight and white = good? errrrrrk. I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

but yeah ... straight/white doesn't really say anything about one's proclivities toward kink or not. So yeah. Yeah. Bizarre.

Blushingflwr

I mean, there are women of all races, orientations, etc who enjoy bruises and rope burn.

I think what she was saying is that being a cisgendered straight white girl is relatively easy in the grand scheme of things when it comes to privilege (I mean, yeah, misogyny and the patriarchy, but I don't have to put up with nearly the same shit as women of color do), but that's not an identity she feels comfortable claiming if she's also kinky.

RubeksCube

@Blushingflwr Kink for all? Kink for all!

lucy snowe

@redheaded&crazy I read it that straight and white = boring (a.k.a. white bread, conservative) which supposedly equals no kinks.

So, not 'good,' so much as 'dull.'

--More misguided than racist, IMHO.

glitterary

@Blushingflwr I think that's definitely relevant, thinking of some discussions I've encountered around whether being kinky is a type of queer identity. I feel that it is, and that the "queer" label is so broad and flexible that it's appropriate for kink to come under it, but as a cisgendered white girl who usually enjoys straight privilege I've had to think hard about whether I'm being appropriative of an LGBT term by using it.

But my experiences with kink mirror so well my feelings when I was figuring out my attraction to women, and are so much part of my identity and my journey in understanding both my own feelings and attractions and those of other people whose experiences are different from my own, that "queer" seems right in a big, encompassing way that just "kinky" falls short on. The LGBTQ people I've discussed this with agree, as well as a lot of theory I've come across, but I remain aware that some people might take issue with it.

So that's sort of what I think LW2 is saying; I enjoy privilege, so is it okay for me to want and to engage in things that aren't part and parcel of the straight vanilla package? And the answer is yes, but personally it took me quite some time to figure that out.

paddlepickle

@Blushingflwr Yeah, that was bizarre. It's odd to me when people seem to have figured out a lot of non-normative stuff about gender and sexuality, but then also believe really bizarre stereotypical things like "straight white girls don't like kinky sex".

Blushingflwr

@glitterary I can relate to the "Am I queer" conundrum. I very much present as a straight cisgendered woman, so yeah, there's a lot of privilege that comes with that. But I am also kinky (and that's a central portion of my sexuality, and always has been), polyamorous and pansexual (if mostly heteroromantic). So, compared to the standard expectations of "normal" sexuality, I'm queer, but I don't often claim that label, because usually it's not relevant (though I suppose there's something to be said for visibility).

Biketastrophy

LW1 Yep you're not alone. Paragraph 3 and 4 nail it right on the head for where I've been. Pretty much the entire letter I've said the exact same thing.

LW1 here

@Biketastrophy LW1 here, on an obvious throwaway because some of y'all would recognize me.

Hi! Um, not sure I have anything else to say. Just checking in. The letter was mostly therapeutic, I think - until they invent things that can plug into your brain and trick you into thinking you have a different body, there's nothing I can conceivably imagine doing with this one. I would like to experience giving a blowjob, I think, but not to an Actual Person With Thoughts Or A Face.

LW1 here

@Biketastrophy I'm curious - how have things turned out for you? Did you follow up on any of it?

Biketastrophy

@LW1 here I guess "where I've been" was somewhat misleading, I'm still there today. Just daydreams and thinking about it, I've never been with a guy or really wanted to be with a real guy, that giving a blowjob but not to an actual person idea in your other comment is also pretty accurate too. But I've thought about exactly what you thought about, waking up in a different set and then wanting to try it.

But, no interest in crossdressing (would just look weird on me) or trying to pass as a woman (I have the least femme body possible) and would feel weird trying that.

Lu2
Lu2

@Biketastrophy and LW1, Aw, you guys, I just want to say I support you. I think gender preconceptions mess with a lot of people, and I think it's wonderful that you're examining your feelings about them. I'm not sure if my language is accurate or acceptable there, but I can understand what you're saying. It sounds like these ideas are going to be the subject of ongoing investigation/interrogation (in the non-lightbulb-hanging-in-a-bare-room sense) for you, and that seems healthy to me.

frigwiggin

@Biketastrophy I know this probably isn't what you meant, but just wanna say--you do NOT have to have a femme body to dress in women's clothing or to present yourself as a woman. I know it makes it easier to pass, but the fact that people in our society judge non-passing MTFs/FTMs/genderqueer people is fucked-up and it's on them to fix their viewpoint, not on the MTFs/FTMs/genderqueer people to try and and change/hide themselves so that they don't offend anybody's narrow understanding of gender norms or gender essentialism. (Also, Michael Spookshow wears traditionally-women's clothing while being/presenting as a cismale, so, y'know.)

LW1 here

@Biketastrophy O, the curse of being manly dudes who maybe want to experience having ladyparts, but who know they would not look very good with them.

@Lu2 That's what bothered me enough to write a letter - I seriously have NO RESPECT for gender norms and think anything that anyone wants to do or be or whatever is AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL as long as it's consensual. So this shouldn't bother me! But, for some reason, it does. Much more when I wrote this than now, but even still, a little bit. I certainly don't think I could tell my girlfriend, for example. Not that she wouldn't accept it or be fine with it, but because it's not a part of myself that I totally understand myself, I guess?

@frigwiggin While I totally get what you're saying and agree with it, I'm just not into the idea unless I would be a lot smaller/shorter/less muscular, aka more traditionally femme. Which isn't to say anything against people who look like me and make the transition - rock on! Just not what I'm into, I guess. I would want straight-dude me to be attracted to chick-me, and straight-dude me has some pretty traditional preferences.

Biketastrophy

@LW1 here Lol this is now getting weird in like a are you my brad pitt alter-ego and I'm actually talking to myself in how you echo my thoughts.

My wife described it pretty accurately in that I wouldn't want to try cross-dressing not cause of any weird stigma attached to it, but as a matter of aesthetics. Kinda goes with that straight dude me wouldn't be attracted to chick me.

Jillsy Sloper

@LW1 here There's a very controversial concept called "autogynephilia" that a lot of transgendered folks feel is incredibly harmful and insulting, because the academics who invented it cruelly apply it as a label to vast numbers of people whom it doesn't fit. But I wanted to throw it out there for you to google, because I think there's a chance you might find it meaningful in your particular case. The bottom line being, that being a man attracted to women who is turned on by the idea of experiencing sex as a woman might not be such an unusual thing.

wee_ramekin

@Biketastrophy @LW1 here Okay, I am gonna offer something here and I am sorry if I end up coming off as a Major Buttinski.

*ahem*

Okay so. It seems like you guys have a lot of similar thoughts/feelings/experiences.

So. If you two wanted to trade e-mail addresses and didn't feel comfortable putting your info online, you could send them to me at adoptraya at gee mail and I'd send you each others' contact info.

#feel free to ignore
#i hope i didn't push any boundaries or make y'all uncomfortable

LW1 here

@wee_ramekin Thought appreciated, but I am going to have to decline the generous offer - even on a throwaway email I think that would feel too real for me? Entirely a case of my own lack of courage, no offense whatsoever to Biketastrophy!

@Jillsy Sloper I think the concept could have more traction if, uh, rebranded? It seems like they wanted it to be a binary distinction, like, "within transsexualism you are either this or this", but if it were more like, "here is another spectrum on which people can place themselves, sometimes, if they feel like it", it would actually be a very useful distinction. Thanks for pointing in that direction, in any case - always interested in new ways of thinking of things like this!

Biketastrophy

@LW1 here None taken! I don't know what else we'd talk about beyond whats already been said, we both are like "I don't really know what to do with this" and that's about all there is to it. I don't think I'll ever have an epiphany otherwise, pretty sure I'll just have this idea in my head forever.

Thanks though wee_ramekin!

wee_ramekin

@Biketastrophy @LW1 here Cool beans! And thanks, you two, for taking that offer in the spirit that it was intended.

Jillsy Sloper

@LW1 here You're right -- the researchers who came up with this theory really do seem to believe that all MTF's who are primarily attracted to women fall into this category. That's exactly what what the trans community finds so offensive about the concept, and with good reason.

I was so concerned that even mentioning it would offend folks here that I dithered for several minutes over the "reply" button. But I thought it might contain a way of thinking about gender that would resonate with you, and I'm relieved to hear that you found it interesting.

LW1 here

@Jillsy Sloper Yea, I mean, it'd also help if they did away with the "homosexual transsexual" language - I'm not even really sure what it means (in relation to which "gender" is one supposed to be homosexual?), and it is suuuper pejorative-sounding. And no worries - sufficient disclaimers preceded the term, and it is an interesting concept despite the poor packaging.

@Biketrastrophy That was pretty much my thought too! In any case, I have enjoyed finding an internet twin today.

chevyvan

@LW1 here I don't want to make light of something that is obviously a confusing part of your identity, but honestly, to me it almost sounds like you have a super-power! Like, I've never had the experience you've had...waking up and feeling like I might want to try being another gender. I don't know...I just think it's neat and speaks to how powerful and expansive the mind/heart/soul/self can be.

LW1 here

Ha, that's one way of looking at it positively :) Just be aware that it is much less pleasant for some - transitions can be really expensive, and attitudes toward trans people can still be extremely nasty. In any case, I do agree the brain is pretty amazing!

chevyvan

@LW1 here I agree...the feeling you described as common to some other trans folks of being "trapped" and the bigotry faced is serious and terrifying. But the fluidity of gender embodied in one person (e.g., you) is pretty amazing, IMHO.

sintaxis

@LW1 here I mean, I guess I'm just looking for clarification because in your letter it says you don't really feel like you want to actually not be in your male body. But then in the comments you talk about wanting to be like a hot straight girl that straight dudes would be into (I've also heard a lot about atuogynophilia and Jillsey Sloper seemed spot on in her comment). To me it kind of sounds like you have this internalized fantasy about what it is really like to "be a woman" which is kind of the exact hurtful expectation of what women are "supposed to be"- like in society the way we judge a woman's worth and existence is mostly based on her fuckability in the eyes of het men. Queer Chick recommended trying on lipstick in public or whatever, but unless you hold sex-role/gender stereotypes, then that really has nothing to do with being a woman. Idk, these are just some thoughts. Hope this doesn't come off as attacking your feelings, it's just that there are different perspectives out there than the "if you don't perfectly fit your sex's stereotype, then you are some sort of trans* person or gender deviant" camp. Perhaps you could try reading some gender-critical work by feminists to provide a different perspective than the post-modernists?

Frog Doctress

@sintaxis Delusions of Gender is a great book on this very subject.
Great comment.

sintaxis

@Doctress Julia Yeah! Such a good book. The hairpin book club in my area is discussing it this month actually! I am already a gender abolitionist, so it should be interesting to hear how other women who have never been exposed to gender critical work react to it. The book has definitely become a great gender-critical primer and I bet LW-1 would really benefit from reading it too.

Apocalypstick

YAY A QUEER CHICK COLUMN

This week I just want to hug all these people. If that would be ok with them. But they seem like they need some analogue of a hug.

yeah-elle

LW2: Breath-play without a safeword/signal and prior discussion?! Breath-play without a safeword/signal that happens more than once, after you've already discussed it?! You cannot even imagine the riot of sirens and flashing red lights and twirling flags and WEO WEO WEO DANGER DANGER that went off in my head.

LW3, please please please seek professional help for your self-image issues. This isn't a question of queerness, age, or even what you look like at all. It's a question of basic mental health and meeting at least the bare minimum requirement of being kind to yourself.

AQC, as usual, gives the best advice.

dtowngirl

@yeah-elle Yes! Exactly (on both counts).

LW3, before you can contemplate how to have a healthy and successful relationship with a man or a woman, you need to feel okay about yourself. I just don't know how you can have a good relationship until you like yourself. It sounds totally cheesy, but you have to love and respect yourself to be able to accept the love and respect of somebody else.

Lily Rowan

LW3 -- Go read the part from Polly's Awl column this week about her and her husband and how they see each other vs. themselves. It really struck me.

I'm in my late-30s and can confirm that dating guys is the pits, but a couple of years ago, I placed a sex ad on OK Cupid, and it was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to my self-esteem. Even if I had never met any of the people, the vast number of emails I got were awesome and/or hilarious.

redheaded&crazy

AQC you are truly truly truly the best. You say the things I am thinking as I am reading, and you say them so much more gently and kindly and wisdomly than I could ever hope to.

<3 AQC.

WaityKatie

LW3!!! Stop it!!!

Also, "of course all attention from men stopped at 38" WHAT STOP YOU ARE MAKING ME PERSONALLY MAD NOW.

themegnapkin

@WaityKatie I came here to post that exact thing!!!! >:/

Bittersweet

@WaityKatie Yes, and if some guy (or woman) gave you the impression that no woman over 38 gets attention from men, then they are deluded and full of crap.

WaityKatie

@Bittersweet I for one would like to stand up for all the no-waist-flat-assed mid-to-late-30's ladies of the world and say that men do in fact find us attractive. (whether those men are total no strings sex-seeking juiceboxes is another matter, not directly relevant to this question!)

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie Holy fucking shit, right? My God.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Oh, A Queer Chick, how I adore you.

LW3: I'm a lady who sleeps with a lady who happens to be built in what I find an insanely attractive way - gorgeous, fit, legs for days, etc. I used to compare myself with her and felt bad about myself, but when I told her that she was agog, and was all, "Good lord, woman, take off your clothes and let me show you what I think about your body."

Moral of the story: I find her attractive, she finds me attractive, and we appreciate each other. Attractive is as subjective as anything else.

JadedStone

"Except for the guy you're currently sleeping with. He's creepy. Dump him."

I laughed so hard it hurts.

barefoot cuntessa

@JadedStone Does it hurt because someone is choking you without your expressed permission?

AOpp

@JadedStone Yes! Ditto "No one is objectively attractive, either, except Naya Rivera."

melis

LW3 I do not want to tell you to "smoke pot" because it will fix all your problems but [SOMETIMES] smoking [a little bit of very good] pot [before getting naked] will fix [or at least quiet down] that yelling angry voice [in addition to therapy and so on].

redheaded&crazy

@melis I LIKE this advice.

melis

@redheaded&crazy Pot, you know, man? Pot.

redheaded&crazy

@melis I know, dude. I totally know.

melis

@redheaded&crazy You dropped the ie! When did you drop the ie? Where was I for this?

redheaded&crazy

@melis I can't remember when OR why! (this may be related to the conversation at hand.) if it was an effort to protect my secret identity, clearly futile.

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazy The really frightening thing is that I AM CONVINCED and I'm sure there must be someone to back me up on this (?), that the original name had the Y! Then it switched to IE! NOW, it has switched back!! Anyone??

redheaded&crazy

@WaityKatie You are correct! I can back you up on that!

does it need saying

@melis Yes! I thought I was the only person that this worked for. It makes that ugly voice in my head shut up. I even noticed that looking in the mirror was a different experience. No voice shouting about any imperfections, just a nice mellow (high) voice, being nice.

hallelujah

AQC, you're the best. On the trans/queer-friendly therapist tip: this is ESSENTIAL. So many trans friends have suffered so needlessly for years because of poor mental health care, due sometimes to ignorance and often to bigotry. It may take some digging, but get recommendations & don't settle for anyone who doesn't give you 100% of the respect you require.

hallelujah

@hallelujah EDIT: trans AND gender variant friends. I know you said you don't identify as trans, but even if you eventually come down on the side of cis and/or straight or anything in between, having a good, queer-friendly therapist can help you navigate these complicated waters & a prejudiced or inexperienced one can do a lot of psychic damage.

Kristen

LW3: I recently read a Norman Rush short story that I believe was called "Instruments of Seduction," though I may be wrong abt that. It's told from the point of view from a woman who thinks of herself as a seducer, as distinct from a seductress. A seductress, she says, is a young, conventionally attractive woman; she is also the passive target of male desire. A seducer, on the other hand, cannot be either of those things, because that takes away from the game, which is to use the mind to provoke desire. She is in her late forties and not physically attractive, but the heat from her mind and her attitude radiates of f the page. The story isn't exactly a wholehearted endorsement of her position, but it really reminded me of how many ways of being attractive there are in the world, compared to the narrow spectrum of sexuality pitched to us by the culture.

Quinn A@twitter

LW2, I have an ex who liked to push my boundaries. And sometimes it turned out that I actually liked the thing I didn't think I wanted to do...and sometimes he was straight-up sexually assaulting me while I turned my face away and cried because I had said no repeatedly and he didn't listen. This happened more than once, and now, years later, I would hit that guy with a truck if the opportunity presented itself. The guy you're with is awful, and you can find other kinky guys who will actually respect you. And yes, to echo some advice above, you need safewords, and possibly a safe gesture in the event that you can't speak - something that is understood to mean "stop it right now, I am not playing".

LW3, I understand your feelings, and I think AQC nailed it in her response. There's no such thing as "objective" attractiveness, as AQC said. There is "conventional" attractiveness, but that doesn't interest everybody. Personally, I don't find conventional attractiveness even remotely appealing - it tends to either bore or intimidate me - and I know I'm not alone in that. Also, sometimes things you think are an objective truth turn out not to be. My fiancee and I were both convinced that each of us was "objectively" larger than the other. Turns out we have the exact same hip and waist measurements.

RubeksCube

I think we are all in agreement that we want to give all the letter writers hugs...for me, especially LW3.
Also, I may be in love with this particular Queer Chick, even though I am not typically inclined to fall for chicks in general. But WOW you are amazing and I loved everything you had to say. Kudos.

AOpp

@RubeksCube I believe there is only one particular A Queer Chick, Lindsay Miller, as opposed to the rotating panel of other advice-givers. But yes, she is fabulous.

RubeksCube

@AOpp Oh! Thank you for clearing that up! I just assumed it was the rotating panel. Well hooray regardless!

Megasus

Oh LW4. I feel like your "girlfriend" for the most part has been pretty honest with you about her need for non-monogamy (maybe not always with her words, but definitely with her actions. She needs to work on the words a lot more but that's her problem). That's obviously not what you're into. And that's fine! But you should not be with her because a monogamous relationship is what you want, and you'll never get it with her.

SarahP

@Megano! Yessssssssss. ("Liking" your comment was not enough, I had to agree verbally.)

Elsajeni

@Megano! Yes, this. And also: LW4, I think you could also stand to work on using your words a little, to be honest and clear about what you want in this relationship. Yes, your girlfriend obviously figured out that you didn't like her sleeping with other people, and she bears some responsibility for not either stopping or talking to you about the are-we-monogamous-or-what issue... but you bear some responsibility for not having that talk, too, especially once it reached the point of "If this happens again I'll want to break up."

tealily

@Elsajeni You said this much better than I did. LW4, This ^^

mabellegueule

A QUEER CHICK!! Just, thank you. Thank you for existing and writing and making me want to hug you and even myself when lately I can seriously relate to LW3's internal monologue.

SarahP

LW3, anytime someone you're with "reveals" to you that they are with you only for your personality and not because they like your looks, DUMP THEM. You should not be so down on yourself for your looks, and you shouldn't let anyone else be, either, no matter how subtle they're trying to be about it. You deserve to be with--and can find, I promise!--someone who thinks you're gorgeous and says so.

melis

RIGHT HOW DOES THAT CONVERSATION EVEN GO

it's like

ext. day

Partner A: Surprise!!

glitter confetti tumbles from sky

kazoos kazoo

a banner sags down to reveal the words "I'M A MONSTER"

exeunt

frigwiggin

@melis That's pretty much how it happens. Fortunately for me, the one time it happened to me he was breaking up with me, so it worked out. (Really it was more like, "I like you and you're smart and funny but I don't find you physically attractive AT ALL and I don't think I can keep myself from cheating on you at this event we're going to." But same thing, essentially.)

Judith Slutler

@frigwiggin Man, that is just ridiculous. Yuck.

WaityKatie

@frigwiggin And...that is the point when you punched him in the face. Right??

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@frigwiggin Whoa. Good thing he got rid of himself for you.

causedbycomma

@WaityKatie There are so many people I want to punch in the world. But I do also want to give LW3 a hug. It's SO HARD to see past our own flaws even when other people do.

squishycat

@frigwiggin @everyone Thank you, you've reminded me to go tell my boyfriend about all the things I think are super hot about him, because he's been down on himself about his weight lately (he lost a *lot* of weight right before we met, but has gained a chunk back over the past year), and I have been trying to reassure him that I love him and support him and do not give a shit what he looks like (which is pretty much true), but I realized I hadn't also been making it clear that I love his mind and personality *and ALSO* his body.

wee_ramekin

Man. I am feeling really down on kink after reading LW #2's letter and LW#2's letter from the previous AQC.

I am not a member of a kink community, though I think if the The Kink Community and I had coffee, I'd probably be super interested in her stories, and she might find some of my fantasies familiar.

With that said, is there an over-representation of dominant, rapey, shitty men in the kink community? From reading these two letters, it just seems like it could be a great place to hide for these assholes who don't give a fig for concepts like "respect", "boundaries", and "consent".

I always thought "kink" was something that probably required a higher level of trust, communication, and responsiveness than "regular" sex because you are doing objectively dangerous and painful things.

This is frustrating. Can someone who is more familiar with these issues enlighten me/give me hope?

Judith Slutler

@wee_ramekin Yes Means Yes had an epic series of articles about this problem last year. It sounds super depressing... though I have no personal Kink Community experience to share either.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@wee_ramekin "I always thought 'kink' was something that probably required a higher level of trust, communication, and responsiveness than 'regular' sex because you are doing objectively dangerous and painful things."

You are correct. These dudes are doing it wrong.

Blushingflwr

@wee_ramekin As someone who is part of The Kink Community -

There are definitely dudes who use D/s as a pretext for predatory, abusive behavior. The community, however, places a lot of value on consent, negotiation, and reputation (meaning, if you violate consent and people know about it, we will tell tales on you to people we see you hitting on).
There are also a lot of people who are kinky who aren't part of the kink community, for a number of reasons.

In theory, yes, it does require a higher level of trust and communication, but that doesn't mean that everyone always does that. It's also very easy, if you identify as submissive, to put up with things in the name of submission that you really ought not to tolerate.

OhMarie

@wee_ramekin I'm by no means an expert and I feel like I'm going to say this wrong, but my suspicion is that there's exactly the same representation of rapey, shitty men in kink and vanilla communities. I do think that if you're a newbie and/or have not had a non-shitty dom, it's harder to know what is and is not ok and, more importantly, have confidence that you know what is and is not ok--because you're already kind of playing on the edge, because there are different rules when you're doing this kind of stuff (safewords, etc.), or because like this letter writer when things that aren't ok happen you are still kind of into it. It takes a period of adjustment before you can correctly identify and subsequently kick these shitty dudes to the curb.

iceberg

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Right, but is there a high percentage of these winners hanging out in "kink communities" or are they the (horrible, life-threatening) exception to the rule?

Blushingflwr

@iceberg Honestly? It depends on the community. The Kink Community is not monolithic, even within a given geographic area. Some groups are better at self-policing than others. As @OhMarie said, it's easy to fall into the abusive relationships when you're new, because you don't know better (or don't have the confidence to speak up when you *do* know better).

But the majority of kinky men that I know are good dudes. Some of them are guys I'd only sleep with for Warren-Buffet levels of money, but most of them respect consent, care about safety, and treat their partners with respect and decency.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@iceberg I have to say, I'm not super experienced in this area. I think Blushingflw has a better handle on it.

wee_ramekin

@Blushingflwr Thank you all for responding!

I guess part of why I'm asking the question is that I want to know: can you tell that these dudes are like this from the get-go? If, say, I ended up entering a kink community, would my reliable and finely-calibrated AssholeDar™ go off on meeting these guys, or would I only find out that they're this way once I was in bed, bound, and being choked?

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin well, doing kink properly requires a lot of up front communication, so if you are doing the communication part, it would hopefully never get to "in bed, bound and choked." Like for me the first thing I would say is, the first time we do anything it's going to be only vanilla. Because I need to know that you can respect my boundaries. And then, safe words, and talking about other boundaries and what have you...

Blushingflwr

@wee_ramekin Honestly? Depends on the dude. If you have good asshole detection already, it SHOULD work. A lot of these guys are pushy, don't take no for an answer, give off a vibe that tells you that they're not actually interested in your desires/needs. Just like vanilla assholes. But some of them are very good at manipulating (again, just like vanilla guys). If you're not sure about a guy, ask him for references. And then ask around in the community for what his reputation is, beyond just the references he gave you. You usually have an inkling of whether or not the guy is trustworthy before you end up in his bed, and, as @redheaded&crazy said, there are in between steps that you take to see if he is good at respecting boundaries (and actually good at it, not just good at it on paper).

BTW, for all of you: if you have questions about kink or BDSM that you want to ask in a less public forum, you can always send me an email and I will do my best to give you a helpful answer! I am not an expert on all things, but I have been part of my local scene for 5+ years, and I do part of our newbie orientation. The easiest e-mail to reach me at is my screenname at gmail.

redheaded&crazy

@Blushingflwr All of this! One time I totally ignored huge blaring red flags that a dude was clearly lying to me and slept with him anyway and yeah, I straight up told him beforehand NOTHING TO DO WITH MY NECK (because it was gonna be that kind of thing), and he put his hands there anyway. Although after I told him to stop THAT, he didn't do it again.

My asshole detection pretty much only works in hindsight though, but since the experience above I ... approach things differently.

swirrlygrrl

@Emmanuelle Cunt I LOVE that series. I love Yes means Yes so much.

Springtime for Voldemort

Yeah, Domism is honestly a big problem. (<3, Yes Means Yes series!) There's a lot of rhetorics that justify it, and the kink community is so exactly where you want to be if you're a creepy dom who wants to violate others. It varies by region and local kink communities, but there's a lot of kink theory that transcends local communities that is rape apologism. And Fetlife, which is huge for meeting kinksters online and off, has more or less come down on the side of Creepy Doms.

So, LW2, if you want to get involved with your local kink community (and it's really a great way to find doms who are into consensual nonconsent, so don't think every kinkster is this way; there are a LOT who are pissed and speaking out and taking action), go to munches and ask them questions. Like, "are there any people who aren't so safe to play with?" and "if you find out someone has violated someone's safeword or another boundary, what steps do you take to make that situation right and prevent it from happening again?" (their answer should be something like "we stop inviting them to things", if not harsher.)

Danzig!

@wee_ramekin Ideally, kink communities are formed to enforce boundaries and foster respect of them, by making activities semi-public, and many are sort of matriarchal in the sense that women / minorities control who's included and who isn't (a lot of them won't accept dudes unless they're vouched for by a woman). But the friends I know who've gone to munches and the like speak of a lot of demographic skewing and lecherous men, so I guess it's hard to do.

It's probably safe to say that most kink play, safe or unsafe, takes place outside of the established Community. Unhealthy D/S relationships are... well, a lot of people are in them without even really realizing it.

For what it's worth, my friends tell me that the best doms are considerate to the point of meekness outside of the bedroom, and I believe them. I figure someone enticed by the idea of domination is best mindful of the ways in which they wield power in their daily life.

*oof beaten by SfV (no pun intended)!

Vera Knoop

@wee_ramekin I think you'd get a lot of false positives (which beats the alternative for sure).
Edited to add: Ok, ok. To be fair, *I* got a lot of false positives. YMMV.

Blushingflwr

A more in-depth response to LW2 (there is a person having issues with kink! I must answer!):

Identity is complicated, and labels often don't help, because they come with a lot of associated assumptions and baggage. I, personally (being of good German string-a-bunch-of-words-together-to-make-a-new-one stock) like to combine a series of labels and then define what they mean to me and how they apply (with the understanding that I am free to get rid of or add new labels as needed). I have a lot of friends who avoid using them unless they absolutely have to. I have friends who say their orientation is "open to suggestions" and that "labels are for pickle jars."
I know plenty of women who identify as queer but who appear to be straight because they are married to men or they just don't often present in a way that reads as "queer" to people who have assumptions about what that means.

I agree that you should try to find a kink-friendly therapist who will help you with your issues around guilt and sexuality. A lot of women who have issues about sex do enjoy D/s because it lets them express their sexuality in a way that is "coerced" so then they don't have to feel guilty, since they were "forced" into it. But there are ways to play with non-consent and to play with power that aren't as dangerous as breath play. Breath play can be hot, and fun, and exciting, but it can also be dangerous. There are things that I have done in bed that were hot and turned me on at the time but that are things I'd rather not do again because the risks associated with them are not worth the thrill (to me). You can be scared and turned on. You can like something and still choose not to do it again. Arousal is not consent. Your partner's submission is not a liscence to do whatever the fuck you want.

So, the answer to your question: You do what you want. Do what makes you feel good. Do what feels right. Be kind to people whenever possible, make ethical choices, and do you. The answer to who you are is "you". You can try on different labels and identities, keep the ones that fit, throw back the ones that don't, always with the understanding that these are ways of communicating who we are to the world around us, and they are rarely perfect. We are all vast, containing multitudes; stop trying to put yourself in a box of someone else's making.

Princess Slaya

Before I even read anything else, BREATH PLAY IS VERY DANGEROUS. Please do not engage in it. Your trachea and other bits can be PERMANENTLY DAMAGED in Breath Play. PERMANENT!!

There are things you can do to "simulate" breath play, such as, having someone pretend or put a light pressure on your neck, OR some people prefer to have pressure put on their chest cavity so it makes it feel as if they are losing their breath.

Breath play is dangerous. Please please please do not do it. LW2 - Also, you are dicking around with someone without safe-words and does not appear to respect you as a person (i.e. your boundaries). Discussions about fantasies and how you want the "play" to commence is VERY IMPORTANT. Your DOM IS DOING IT WRONG. FYI - There are plenty of great Doms out there who will DO IT RIGHT. PLEASE GO FIND ONE. YOU ARE MAKING ME AFRAID FOR YOU.

Blushingflwr

Also, Lindsay, you are the bee's knees. You always give such kind, thoughtful, wonderful advice.

Glasses

Jumped down to say: LW2: Straight White Girls don't like rope burn and bruises WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

glitterary

@Glasses Yep yep yep. As a mostly-straight white girl currently shifting uncomfortably at her desk due to an arse that looks like something the Hubble Space Telescope might take a pretty purple picture of and rope burn on her shoulder, I can confirm that LW2's assumption was... incorrect. (Fuck, my weekend was AWESOME.)

Princess Slaya

OK phew. I have read the whole thing now. I nearly wet myself when I read that breath play section. I'm agreeing with everything AQC is saying today, and I do want to add that as a kinky lady myself, You, LW2 - Are a HOT COMMODITY. Yes, you are having your sexual "identity" issues, (That I think you are thinking way too much about), and as AQC says today: you decide what you like, what you will do and what you will not do, and then make a label for it as you see fit. But there are soooo many great dudes (and ladies) who would be very willing to treat you like the lovely sub you are, with respect and awe! (You are allowed to be into non-consent, however, you MUST draw hard lines in a discussion BEFORE playtime. Breath Play is a very very serious thing, as i said before)

The one issue that I think is actually a problem (besides the shitty shitty guy you are hooking up with and you need to DTMFA if he doesn't go to Dom school) is that you are feeling guilty! Why? There is nothing to be ashamed of in sex between two consenting adults, or one consenting adult and his/her toys! I think you need to see a sex positive therapist and figure out where this guilt comes from, so you can absolve it! (easier said than done, right?) Good luck!

LW3 - I want to take you out on a date. Just FYI - some of the best sex I have had in my life came from people who were not whatever this "conventionally attractive" thing is. Don't be so hard on yourself! Chemistry is chemistry, and it has nothing to do with whatever subjective physical beauty judgments you are placing upon yourself.

iceberg

LW2, if you're here, please let us know you're okay :(

PomoFrannyGlass

@iceberg Yeah, LW2, let us know you're good, please! I hope you know the collective YIKES over the dom behavior you described is coming from a kind and caring place and not a shamey place. We can come at LWs in tough spots so hard sometimes, but I know everyone means well.

wee_ramekin

@PomoFrannyGlass Seconded!

LW2, please know that any angry feelings in this thread are 100% directed at that guy and his behavior, and NOT you.

Joey

Lady Writer #3: Sexy, cute, and hot does not equal symmetry, for everyone! Sexy is in the brain of the beholder! Just to gently wedge a little doubt into your conviction that you are unattractive, I will truly honestly say on my planet, Planet Joey, what gives a frisson: a glance, passion about stuff, a kind of smile, compassion, a certain gesture, the timbre of the voice and the scent of his or her neck as you go in for a kiss and linger. Little things like that snag my attention and attraction. Characteristics that one may think of as flaws can be so hot: a snaggle tooth, crazy eyebrows... not everyone wants the model type of symmetrical beauty.
Something that you don't even know about yourself may be devastatingly hot to someone. Potato? Frying pan? Hon, I just know you are adorable.

Terror of the 416

I understand LW3's feeling - I sometimes feel like I'm inflicting my dumpy (not really...?) body on partners, and I'll admit to thinking people are straight-up stupid for thinking I'm hot. However! This is a direct product of having an eating disorder for 12 years, and I know that it's my nutball brain trying to convince me of something untrue just so we all have something to feel bad about. There is a deep shame that comes from looking in the mirror and not liking anything you see, and then climbing into bed with someone who doesn't see what you see.

LW3, in addition to getting some professional talk therapy, please make some self-care time for yourself and your body, every day if possible, but every week FOR SURE. Get a manicure. Give yourself a facial. Go for a haircut or a massage. Get used to people laying hands on you, taking care of you - get used to doing it yourself - and suddenly your lovers won't seem so out of place.

redheaded&crazy

@Terror of the 416 I love the suggestion to go get manicures and massages and things.

iceberg

@Terror of the 416 Is the key to stop telling yourself you're "objectively" unattractive and start telling yourself you're unconventionally attractive?

Judith Slutler

@Terror of the 416 This is a good idea! I even found it helpful to just take baths when I was busy recovering from Eating Problems.

also LW3 - I bet you are still smart and funny, as well. Those things aren't about your body. They are about your beautiful, sexy brain.

Terror of the 416

@iceberg No, because you're still measuring yourself against the convention by being unconventional.

It's my firm belief that "unconventionally attractive" just means attractive. No need to qualify. No need to figure that you're hot "for a 40-year-old/for a short woman/for someone who just had a baby/for someone who never brushes her hair/for someone who hasn't had a boyfriend in a year." None of that bullshit. Just good-looking. Period.

tealily

LW4, have you had the conversation with your "girlfriend" about the possibility of going back to monogamy? It sounds like she had the green light when you got back together, but you discovered that it hurt you when she got together with others. I do agree that someone who wants a monogamous relationship and someone who doesn't are fundamentally incompatible, but I know I would be reluctant to end things without The Big discussion about this. She obviously knows that it upsets you, and that's why she kept it from you, but my question for you is why did she think it was okay to sleep with someone in the first place? Did you tell her it was okay and then get mad at her for doing it? Because that's not okay either. If it hurts you, she needs to know it's not okay with you. If that is a problem for her, you need to call it quits.

love.soup

For LW1, there is a book coming out in June that should be incredibly helpful in making more genderqueer issues known: Gender and Sexuality for Beginners (available to preorder at: http://www.amazon.com/Gender-Sexuality-Beginners-Jaimee-Garbacik/dp/1934389692) I know the author, and I'm sure it'll be an amazing book that will help change the discussions we're having as a society in terms of welcoming the more fluid states of our nature.

Ren Wallace@facebook

Queer Chick, you have to be one of the Top 10 Coolest Humans Ever. Queer Chicks (and everyone else) are so lucky to have the benefit of your advice.

thebestjasmine

Question for Queer chick and others: is there somewhere a good online primer for queer universe words and their meanings? Because as a non queer chick, I know some, but not all, and I worry about being offensive if I say the wrong word or use a word in the wrong way.

Springtime for Voldemort

@thebestjasmine Hmmm. I'm having trouble thinking of one (language moves suuuper fast), but if there are any words in this post you're unclear of, I could help clear them up for you.

thebestjasmine

@Springtime for Voldemort I think I get all of these! It's just that I'm always hesitant to use one myself (like, yesterday What Not to Wear had a trans woman on and I was talking about it with someone and wasn't sure if saying "trans woman" was the right way to say it, or if there was another preferred phrasing, or if that was an offensive phrasing, etc.) And I'm sensitive to that, because I don't want to be that person who says something offensive and then is like "It's your mission to educate me!" or whatever, but also Google is hard for this.

Springtime for Voldemort

@thebestjasmine Trans woman is correct! Transwoman is not so correct.

Springtime for Voldemort

LW2 has possibly the most delightfully queer problem I've ever seen, and I'm so glad that AQC is here to help her in a non-stigmatizing yet humorous way.

Miss Maszkerádi

Dear LW3: I am also a person who has a terrible habit of talking about myself in terms that I would instantly realize as horribly cruel if I heard anyone apply them to someone else. Ugh, do I ever know how that goes. I'm working on it. Basically I just want to tell you - and please excuse the whacked-out woo-woo corny spirituality masquerading as profundity - you, as a human being, are by definition beautiful and priceless. You are a spectacularly complex and finely-tuned masterwork of God/Nature/the Universe/insert preferred terminology here. You are a unique example of the glorious event wherein ordinary matter, atoms and elements, are woven together and sparked to life, with a heart capable of love and a mind capable of observing and understanding (uh, sometimes) the world we are part of. The shape of your torso or face (which I'm sure are completely normal and fine, btw) are irrelevant to the fact that you, human being, are inherently and by your very existence, beautiful. Again sorry for the cheesy quasi-theology but internal beauty and/or the general awesomeness of life as a bizarrely wonderful aspect of nature are often therapeutic for me to ponder, at least.

I am extremely emotional today, brb, gonna go eat several more pounds of post- Valentine's sale chocolate...

Miss Maszkerádi

@Countess Maritza OK I'm really embarrassed by this now. Wish I could delete it and preserve the illusion that I'm remotely normal.

Bloodrocuted

@Countess Maritza This is so nice! I love it.

Sallymander

First two questions (and all other questions in the universe of this general form): I have always considered myself to be X; is it okay to be Y? Yes! It is okay to be Y. This is still true for questions outside the scope of queerness.

alannaofdoom

AQC and all the commenters: you are the light(s) of my life. This column always gives me so much faith in humanity.

the.cat

Late to the game to say that the responses (from AQC and all of you!) to LW1 have just warmed my lady-married-to-a-wonderful-man-to-whom-I-am-extremely-attracted-but-also-realizing-I-may-be-attracted-to-(or envious/admiring of? but I think attracted to, if I'm honest with myself)-ladies heart. Even though LW1's question wasn't exactly about this situation, point remains: it's all okay (better than okay!) and awesome. This column lifted a weight I didn't know was there.

Blushingflwr

Okay, this is totally last minute, but LW 2 (and anyone else having questions about their identity/orientation), if you happen to be in the DC Metro Area, Black Rose is having a class/workshop on this topic tonight at 8:00 PM (description below):

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Workshopping Your Sexual Orientation with Avory Faucette

Sexual orientation is something many of us take for granted. We may go through a struggle to define ourselves early in life, or perhaps have a mid-life shift, but once it's set, it's set, and we re used to defining it by two simple questions what is my gender and what genders am I attracted to? This workshop will break your ideas of sexual orientation wide open. While respecting everyone's claim to any chosen identity, we'll be looking at other ways to define what we love, what we like, what turns us off, and what makes us hot. We'll explore the options in a safe space and use new ways of looking at sex, gender, and orientation to make us better sexual communicators, maximize our options for fun kinky play, and increase our sexual self-awareness. All genders, sexualities, and identities are welcome and encouraged to participate!
Avory is an award-winning genderqueer feminist legal activist and writer. Zie blogs on queer identities, feminism, gender, and sexuality at Radically Queer and on the intersections of kink, polyamory, and queerness at Sex Positive Activism. In hir workshops and discussion groups, zie explores questions of how we negotiate identity, how gender and sexuality intertwine with other parts of our selves, and how we communicate authentically in our personal and activist lives. Zie is particularly interested in how trans sexualities can inform everyone's sexual experiences and in supporting sex-positive trans feminism.

$5 BR members with membership card $10 all others ALL WELCOME!
Phoenix Park Hotel 520 North Capitol Street, NW Washington DC

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