Apr 222011
 

Here’s two misconceptions that I’m going to clear up straight off the bat.

1. That just because I create & run something, doesn’t mean I’m a dictator. e[lust] is as much yours as it is mine, and I value the opinions of everyone. I would never, ever presume to think I am the sole decider on what is and what is not sex-positive.

2. No one is perfect. None of us are the sex-pos liberal version of Mother Theresa (is there one?). I, and a panel of judges, will decide inclusion based on the blog post in question or the whole site if the whole site seems hinky. We cannot and will not judge anything from any other medium.

So if you don’t follow me (or e[lust]) on Twitter and somehow missed my constant whining for people to take my damn poll, I have this poll up in part because I’m sick of the occasional drivel that sneaks into e[lust]. And I know that others are, too. But mostly I am not a dictatorship on e[lust] and I want to hear from participants to make sure that I am not accused of holding others to MY definitions of sex-positive and that I don’t forget any. 98% of e[lust] participants are authentic bloggers. Some are not. Some walk that fine line between commercial and blogger, trying very hard to cover up their SEO-tastic “articles” with sock-puppet praise comments. Many of these “articles” contain a lot of words like “must” and “should” and “real women” and “real men” and…..no. If I would not want my future hypothetical daughter (VERY hypothetical) reading your “tips” or “educational article” then it’s not something I want to promote. Period. And I know a lot of others feel that way. Unfortunately, the only thing I can’t keep out is the occasional bad piece of erotica. It happens. Oops, wait, I just judged there and if I want to be sex-positive, I can’t judge anybody harshly, ever, in public. Right?

I’m going to share some of the responses that I got; not all, just some. Okay? Just some. And if you happened to write one that I listed here, I’m not asking you to take ownership. I don’t care who said what.

1. What does ethical & sex-positive blogging look like to you? Name some key elements of both.

  • Non-judgmental and respectful. Written for a wide audience. Not discriminatory or insulting. Approaches sex/sexuality with an open mind. Doesn’t make broad generalizations about groups
  • Tips and guides contain some fucking medically factual information. Posts have the spirit that however a person identifies is valid. That gender does not equal sex and that instead of 2 or 3 orientations there are millions. Inclusive. That sex is neither good nor bad, it just is.
  • Ethical is disclosing that toy reviews are done in exchange for getting the toy for free but still giving an honest opinion. Ethical is refraining passive-aggressive posts about others. Sex positive is accepting of of others sexual tastes, practices, whatever, even if it doesn’t personally appeal to you. Ethical is also crediting content originally posted by others.
  • Should fearlessly critique itself (and accept critique) and others. Should not support racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ablism, etc.. Should be flexible enough to change positions on absorbing new information, but strong when well-thought-out. Should balance freedom of expression with control of abusive language, esp. in comments.
  • It also does not use euphamisms or shirk off the responsibility of saying “if you do X, there is a chance Y will happen” such as “if you do edge play with knives, bad shit can happen including losing blood in copious amounts, which can often lead to DEATH, which is why proper training, prep, and worst case scenario preparation is required including things you’ll never think of in the moment, like insurance cards, doctor records, preferred hospitals, tourniquets, extra cellphone batteries/chargers, emergency contact info.”
  • Ethical sex positive blogging includes information about safer sex practices and emphasizes communication and honesty with partners – in all areas. It is free of hate speech and while personal preferences and the exploration of personal beliefs is absolutely encouraged, judgmental and exclusivity statements should be avoided.
  • An awareness that there’s more than just heterosexuality, more than just gender-binary, and more than ‘one twuu way’ of doing things. No slut-shaming. Celebrating diversity and body shapes and different desires.

2. And what about the opposite….what would make you say a blog or a post is NOT sex-positive or ethical?

  • Links to spam Posts that assume the readership are only hetero, typical, vanilla, cisgenered, etc. etc. (Not that hetero, etc people can’t write from their perspective, but posts that are written in a way which assumes that’s the only perspective. For example, saying all men love x.)
  • SEO marketing. Shaming. Hate speech. Non factual information passed on like gospel. misogyny. bashing. Post that preach the way the writer has sex is the only way to have sex. slut-shaming. Victim blaming. Pseudo science.
  • Disingenuous stories meant to draw ads
  • Something which is highly judgemental, irrationally negative, does not acknowledge both sides of the argument and uses generalizing terms. Also, a sex blog which assumes that any issues floating around are all about women, that women have no interest in sex/pornography, are always exploited and also censors women for sex positive attitudes or sexual enthusiasm.
  • Judgmental and preachy sites. Bloggers who make blanket statements, especially statements designed to exclude unfairly segregate a particular sub-group, or seeks to marginalize those with a different value or decision making matrix.
  • When it’s trying to sell one right way of thinking. When it’s slut-shaming. When it’s actually trying to sell a product but is devious about it.
  • Heterosexist ideology. Not intelligent when it comes to sexuality (for instance, suggesting unhealthy techniques or products). Abusive techniques (see any list on abusive behavior).

I’ve left a few out due to not answering that actual question at hand, or just being something already said prior, or being inappropriate.

Mostly, I agree with these responses. And these points will be posted in some manner over at e[lust] once the Sex Positive Blogging Movement page is live. I want people to know up front what we expect. Transparancy, right? Some things that I don’t think are realistic to expect ALL the time EVERY time are the educational warnings about things like risky BDSM practices. If I write an erotica piece about say, breath-play, I’m not going to follow it with a PSA in the footer. If you’re educating though on breath-play techniques, then yes. But not all responsibility can lay with the writer, the reader has to take some as well.

It’s going to be messy, though. I won’t lie. I’m going to get hated on by some rigid people. I’m going to field accusations. What if someone wrote the occasional passive-aggressive post against someone or a company? Are they banned forever? Twitter was brought up by someone. No. Absolutely not. I do not have the TIME or the ABILITY or fuck even the inclination to take into account something someone might have said once on Twitter 6 months ago. For one, I don’t follow everybody, and for two….isolated incidents are HUMAN NATURE. Nobody is 100% perfect. Shit, if I were expected to be the Lady Liberty bastion of sex-positive just because I want to have e[lust] be more sex-pos than it is, then I would be wholly unqualified to even run the thing if I took everything said to heart during every minute of my life and every word I’ve ever said as Lilly. THINK before you cast those stones…..are you perfect enough to cast them?

Here’s a distinction. I, personally, do not like swallowing semen. Photos of come dripping out of a person’s mouth make me gag. It’s just ME. Now, do I give a shit if you’re into that? Fuck no. If we’re partners and it’s a hard limit for you, then I give a shit. But I am allowed, I think, to say that I don’t like that act. THE ACT. Not the people who like the act, and many do. Good for you. But please do not try to tell me that I am less of a woman, not a real partner, a shitty lover, etc if I do not swallow. That latter mindset in a post is sex-negative. My assertion that I do not like an act and find it to be gross is not sex-negative. Are we clear? Do you disagree?


While I am open to healthy, sane discussion in comments that is not argumentative or arrogant, if I feel things are getting out of hand or my blood pressure rises, I will close comments. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but hey….as many others like to say, my house, my rules. I won’t have people arguing at each other in my comments. Take it outside, ok?  And no, not one little bit of my opinions stated here in the aforementioned post are stated to or at any one particular person, but as an opinion/statement to the generic public reading this blog. </ridiculous disclaimers>

  • http://www.PinkSexGeek.com/blog/ Crista.Anne

    My household got AOL in late 95/early 96 if memory serves me. I started my first “website” (aka shitty geocities/angelfire atrocity within months. I’m nearly 29 now so my online trail goes back almost half my life. Most of that oversharing was done under my own name. My LJ it ten years old. If you go back far enough or look in the right places you will find me saying some absolutely disgusting things. My younger selves were racist, homophobic (out of self loathing for being queer but still), transphobic, slut-shaming, amazingly kink and sex negative. Fuck at one point I was more or less pro fucking life. I have been a Mean Girl. Have said and done a lot of things that would reflect very negatively on me. All of them can be found if someone spent enough time looking into me.

    When I started working in sex shops the awareness of phthalates hadn’t really hit. Or if it had it had not made it to Texas. I sold vile, vile, vile stuff. When I started I didn’t get much more training than “this is how to run the cash register, we don’t take checks, id anyone who looks young and don’t steal”. The advice I gave out at first was horrible! Fuck, I didn’t know any better than most of my customers. Took the job because I could smoke in the store and have pink hair. I got promoted because I didn’t steal and only occasionally showed up stoned versus high as fuck on speed.

    All of that is to say that I did not spring forth from the womb as a sex positive person. Along the way I educated myself. Along the way I decided that a lot of my very narrow viewpoints were pretty shitty. Everyday I learn something that challenges my views or opens my mind a little more.

    Oh and earlier today? I spent a good deal of time snarking a particularly horrific “sex blog”. (The amount of info available to people today online is so incredibly more vast than back when I started. I give a little leeway to people being new but seriously. Google. It is your friend.) Also? I made fun of someone’s outfit with my bff. (One word for you, Hipsters. Don’t freaking get it.) Does this negate my sex-positivity? No way. It is a never ending process. To error is human. Fucking up happens. It’s how you respond and what you do when you’re called on your fuck ups or presented with new information that matters.

    (PS. Seriously. Psychic investigators and wiretaps.)

    ~ Exactly. We tend to forget here that we’re all human and make mistakes. Oh and your mention of AOL & 1996 has just triggered a memory and a post I should do in the near future. OhmyLAWD the things I did *blushes*

  • http://www.kinkylibrarian.net Nadia West

    I’m enjoying this discussion because sex-positivity can mean different things to different people. I’m glad that you make the distinction that we’re all human and sometimes get negative in some way. But hopefully the sum of blogs that get featured on e[lust] will be positive about sexuality and not shaming or bashing anyone.

    I’ve been slacking off on submitting. I need to get on the ball again.

  • http://www.lustandconfused.com/ Arthur & Annabelle

    You’ve done an excellent job putting it all together in this post. It’s really not about being perfect, as long as we all strive to be a bit better every day. And anyone can have an off day from time to time… it happens.

    In the end any guidelines are more likely to be a tool to determine whether any specific post or blog has positives that outweigh any negatives. And for the vast majority that’ll be the case, because we’re all just trying to inform and help each other here.

    Thanks for taking the poll, and thanks for posting this (even when you weren’t sure about it).

    - Arthur

  • Hubman

    There’s something about Crista’s comment that really appeals to me and I think has broadened my definition of sex-positive. What her comment demonstrates is a willingness to become more open-minded, to learn, to admit from mistakes or incorrect preconceived notions. Now that I think about it, that’s not just being sex-positive, that’s being positive about life.

    ~ I’m glad that discussions here are enlightening others!

  • http://kinky-world.net/ Kayla

    I don’t think you’re being a dictator of e-lust. I think, when it comes down to it, sex-negativity is something that we do *not* want to promote. Promoting that sex must be done “one way” or you’re wrong isn’t furthering anyone’s understanding or self-acceptance, and I agree with what you’re doing.

    When it comes down to it, I think what you’re doing is definitely a good thing. There are a lot of “sex ed” posts out there that are just SEO techniques to try and raise their ranking in Google and such, and I don’t think those should really be included.

    I should seriously answer your poll, but my answers will be lame. I’m glad you’re doing this for e-lust though.

  • e.

    I love that you’re talking about this. I’m the only one of my friends that calls myself “sex-positive”, and funnily enough the only one that gets asked personal sex advice from EVERYONE I know.

    I think sex positive means…. normal. It means not being weird about sex, unless something bad is happening in a sex related area. In the same way that I’m “sex positive”, I’m “car positive” in that I don’t fuss about driving unless I’m in a fender bender, or preventing one. I’m “lunch positive” in that I choose healthy and pleasurable lunches. Lunches that are respectful. I could give a whole list of things I’m not weird about, it would be long and boring. Thats how sex positivity is. Boring. It’s just not being a hung up weirdo about my vagina and the things I like and don’t like to be done to/with it.

    I do have an off-line question, a specific toy rec I’m looking for. I couldn’t find your contact button (hey-oh!) but I prob wasn’t looking hard enough. So shoot me an e mail so I can ask if you don’t mind. Your reviews have been a godsend, and now that I’m in a bind, I need your advice more than usual!

    Thanks!

    ~Unfortunately, being sex-positive is not the norm in the US. More people than not are very sex-negative, very moral high-ground and so many many people trying to say that X sex act is bad and if you like it you’re going to hell. Shit, on my morning commute to work I deal with it every day. Some person has a small billboard up in their front yard which is usually just extremist pro-life, but will occasionally touch on gay sex and sodomy. Basically it’s a sin, to them, and you’re going to hell.

  • e.

    Also, on your post, if sex negative meant not liking one or more things about human sexuality personally, and deciding not to participate in those things, I think we’d all be sex negative. Positivity is about openness. Open to listen, open to talk, open to engage, open to love. Based on your blog and reviews, you and I are very different sexually. I’m not a high stim girl when it comes to my clit or g-spot. A little dab will do ya. I have still gained a lot from reading you, because honestly talking about your experience with sex is the essence of being positive. It doesn’t mean that every thing you say about sex has to be “super awesome OMG!1!!!!”.

    ~ No, sex-negative does not at all mean not *liking* an aspect of sexuality. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We cannot possibly expect everybody to like everything. We’re trying to say that even though I or you may not LIKE spanking, as an example, we have no right to decry it as being “wrong” or bad or that the persons who like it are wrong or bad. BDSM community puts it as “Your kink is not my kink, and that’s ok”.

  • http://askgarnet.com Garnet Joyce

    I agree with most of the post, but I have to wonder why SEO marketing is bad. Doing it too much where it makes your content suffer is obviously not great, but in general making your blog more friendly for searches is helpful for getting more sex positive info out there and searchable. There are too many marketers out there with no sexuality background pushing mis-information. We need a backlash of people who really do know their shit AND can optimize their websites so that more people can find it.