Sep 052011
 

It’s been 20 years since I started high school. My high school was located in Western PA – I wouldn’t say it was an extremely conservative area but diversity wasn’t a word for us.

There were certain groups/types that I could count the number of on one hand – 4 grades, each with over 500 students.

  • Blacks
  • Overweight
  • Pregnant (I’ll go by per grade, but i think the most overall at any one given time during my 4 years was 10)
  • LGBT and open
  • Poor/very low income families

We were kids; and you know the saying “kids can be cruel” – they can. Overcompensating for their own insecurities. So yeah we gossiped and rumored about who might be gay but it was most certainly never in a positive light. Years later I’ve found out that some from my graduating class were in fact gay. Some we’d had an idea, some were a shock. All kept it fairly secret, though. There wasn’t even a hint of Kurt.

Through a situation that I don’t want to tell the entire story on to protect privacy, I found out that the niece of my old friend is an out lesbian AND has a girlfriend. And she’s a sophomore. Not at the same high school we attended, but in a town very nearby. I was shocked, if I’m being perfectly honest, but absolutely thrilled at the same time. Good for her!! She’d told her aunt that she’d known since she was a child. Her parents though are fairly conservative. Her father is a cop – a tough, daughter-protecting sister-protecting closed-minded rigid conservative. Her mother, I’d always thought, was fairly cool albeit quite religious. I’d wrongly assumed that at least her mother was supportive. It brought tears to my eyes when my friend told me that neither parent was supportive (although I’m not sure what exactly they’re unsupportive of – her being a lesbian or being out or having a girlfriend or all three) and that the only supportive adults in her life were my friend and my friend’s late mother.

Since I moved away (but even then, long before that occurred, we’d drifted apart) I had less and less contact with my friend’s family. I used to babysit for the girl and her sister, but the girl was a toddler back then. When I saw them both last year I was frankly surprised they had much memory of me. Bottom line is – I don’t know her. I’m “facebook friends” with her mom, and reconnecting with her aunt (my friend) but I do not know her. I told my friend to pass along my words of encouragement and support, to let the girl know that I think she’s awesome and brave…so brave. I find myself wishing that I could do more but I can’t. It’s not my place.

I know that bullying is rampant these days, I know that gay teen suicide is huge concern. I know that things are still hard for them. But can we maybe take a small “victory” that they’re coming out in high school years, and that it’s an improvement (albeit a very very slow one) from 2 generations ago?

Baby steps. But I wish they were big steps.

 Posted by at 11:23 pm
Aug 052011
 

It’s that time again…..much to my severe anxiety. I need to revisit birth control options. For the last 5 years I’ve been on the Mirena IUD. The decision that led to it was that my blood pressure was elevated and my OBGYN was convinced it was caused by my hormonal birth control. Specifically, the estrogen. Unfortunately, they were right. It could have been tied to my weight, but I was unable to lose enough weight to go back on it without my blood pressure going back up. My body wasn’t happy with that, but that’s not at all the point to this post.

When I was given the Mirena it was 5 years ago and new-ish to being prescribed in the US. The doctor I was seeing was head of a department that did clinical trials at their hospital and so I was able to not only get birth control options before they were officially “out” (like Nuvaring and the patch) but if I qualified I could be in studies and get free birth control. Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for the Mirena study because I’d never birthed a child. Ok…..I wasn’t happy about that, but fine. Except that when it came time for me to be able to have it prescribed, that little fact cost me money.

A lot of money.

You see, because the FDA only approved Mirena for use in women who’ve carried a pregnancy to 20 weeks (my doctor didn’t further elaborate if it had to be a successful, live birth), it’s considered “off label” by health insurance companies when women like me want to use it. Off label usually means it either won’t be covered at all, or I’ll have to pay a huge portion of the cost.

Except, here’s my complaint: The FDA has laid down the law and is limiting my choice. Shouldn’t women be allowed to say “You know what, I waive whatever I need to waive and I don’t ever want children of my own, so the small risk of a sterilizing infection is of no matter to me” to their insurance companies so that it’s not considered off-label and therefore, quite costly. Other IUD’s do not carry this same stipulation; but my doctor feels that I would have better uterine/ovarian health & less issues being on Mirena as opposed to a non-hormonal IUD.

As I approach the procedure date I am not only sick with the anxiety of the level of pain & discomfort the procedure brings me but worried that we’ll have another huge bill. The last time we were able to go on a payment plan directly with the makers of Mirena, but given our low income it practically took as long as paying off a goddamn car.

Jul 142011
 

I wouldn’t say I’m using Okcupid for dates, per se, right now. I’m just not in a date-like frame of mind anymore it seems. But I AM actively using it to find like-minded friends, even friends with no chance of having benefits on the side. That’s my preference right now because I need like minded friends, live and in person, because I really really badly miss my bubble.

There’s people on OKC who answer a lot of questions, and people who don’t. All I can hope is that they’ve answered the ones that are important to me; the ones that make or break it. These answers have saved me from big wastes of time; once, I didn’t quite listen to the answers and had a 3-month waste of time.

These questions help me weed out people who would find my looks or my availability status to be less-than-ideal. I’ve actually had guys still hit on me when our answers do not match up which blows my mind. Both times when I’ve called the guy out on it they’ve said “oh we can work around that” or “I’m not sure why I answered it that way, I find you attractive”. Most times I don’t bother to call them out on it, I just ignore them (or  in cases or people who looked like we could potentially be a match outside of friendship while doing my own searches, unfavorable answers meant I didn’t message them).

  • Can overweight people still be sexy?
  • If one of your potential matches was overweight, would that be a dealbreaker?
  • Would you consider connecting with someone whose relationship status is ‘seeing someone’ or ‘married’?
  • How willing are you to meet someone from OkCupid in person?1
  • Would you date someone who was already in a committed relationship with someone else?

These next questions help me determine their queer-frame-of-mind, lifestyle and general “If you don’t know this, I can’t know you” fields.

  • Do you ever feel the need to get really drunk? 2
  • Do you believe in dinosaurs? 3
  • To you, is abortion an option in case of an unwanted accidental pregnancy?4
  • “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” What does “wherefore” mean in this context?5
  • Straight women who kiss or fondle each other in clubs in the hopes of attracting men are… 6
  • How important is religion/God in your life? 7
  • Is contraception morally wrong?
  • Which is closest to your reaction to foul language? 8
  • Do you like cats? Would you consider owning a cat as a pet? 9
  • Did you join OkCupid just so you could find people to have sex with? 10
  • The idea of gay and lesbian couples having children is: 11
  • Which best represents your opinion of same-sex relationships?

Some people on the site blow off the “matching algorithm” but I don’t. It’s based mostly on these questions, and they’re usually pretty right. I have, happily, made two female friends that I will soon be meeting in person. I need more female friends in my life. Really do. It can be a bit disheartening when I put so much effort into my profile and making it really “me” and then I find someone who sounds really awesome and we’re a great mathematical match and I message them along the lines of “Hey you’re rad, let’s be friends” (but not as pathetic as that) and then I never hear from them. Puzzling is when I message them and they never respond but I see them checking out my profile once a week or so. No, my fat ass didn’t magically melt off, I am no more attractive to you. Is the “bisexual married to a man” thing going to make a lesbian dismiss me totally even as a friend? So far seems to be the case, unless of course they all just find my personality revolting *shrugs*.

There’s a lot of other questions that I’ve ranked “somewhat important”; they’re not deal-breakers but I still consider them if they give an answer that I didn’t choose as being acceptable to me.

One odd thing to note: Whenever I encounter a person who matches me in either friend/match high 80’s or above, and they’ve answered the “How often do you use Twitter” question is it always answered as “never”. I’ve put it as an important question to me I guess because I’m not sure I’d know how to communicate with someone who isn’t tied much to online/social media.

So if you’re on OkC, what are YOUR deal-breaker questions?

Don’t worry, there’s been enough activity for a Dickhead Files post or two in the near future ;)

  1. The only answer I deem acceptable on this one is “totally willing”, and I even put in an explanation of “If you’re not totally willing, then what the fuck are you doing here?”
  2. often” is unacceptable
  3. “no” is unacceptable
  4. I went into this paragraph-long ranty rant in my explanation for this question directed to those who might answer “no”
  5. I am by no means a student of Shakespeare and I retained very little from High School but for chrissakes if you don’t know that “wherefore” means “why” then I will slap you
  6. anything other than “profoundly annoying” is the wrong answer
  7. “extremely important” is the only wrong answer
  8. if it bothers you a lot, we will have problems
  9. if you truly dislike cats, that’s really not ideal
  10. Answer “yes”? Move along, then
  11. acceptable/unacceptable, you know the right answer in my eyes

My Attendance Is Bad But My Intentions Are Good

 Blogging, Navel-Gazing, personal information, real life  Comments Off on My Attendance Is Bad But My Intentions Are Good
Jun 052011
 

We’ve officially been in our new house for a month, today. There’s still a good number of boxes that need to be opened, much less things put away. I’m having a hard time with the cleaning and the putting things away – even in our apartment it was hard to keep tidy because, even though most things had a place, there was not enough place for the things. Here….there’s places for things, if I could just figure out where to put things. For example, one doesn’t really understand the importance of a “hall closet” until one doesn’t have a hall closet. When I was growing up, all houses I spent time in had the ubiquitous hall closet. Part linen closet, part miniature first aid triage tent. A small medicine cabinet above the sink just doesn’t cut it.

We’re still in a bit of a limbo, I think, as we wait on a check from my previous employer that will buy us replacement living room furniture. The current stuff is something I was embarrassed to have the in-laws sit on, much less other guests and it’s even grown too uncomfortable for us to tolerate. The furniture has given all it could and now needs to put to rest.

Despite the fact that this house feels like home a hell of a lot quicker than our first apartment did (6-8 months vs 3 weeks), I’m having trouble getting settled. I guess it’s because the ADD-brain of mine can’t relax in this mess but it can’t solve the puzzle, either. I have a number of sex toy reviews to write up but I haven’t even found a home for my toys – most of them are still shuttered away in the upstairs spare room, in bags (as seen below). I have a big series of reviews coming up on the newer range of massager-style vibrators – All in all I have 6 of them that need to be dissected, compared and contrasted to the original line-up of both plug-in style vibrators and rechargeable massagers. It’s a big task full of photos, video clips and spreadsheets. I r srs reviewer. Srsly.

Yes, all these bags are stuffed with sex toys/accessories. Even the box!

So, yeah. I really though I’d be able to blog a lot more with this total about-face way of living but I’ve been finding it even more difficult. When I came to the end of my working days, the end of the last dregs of my life and style of living that had prompted the blog to begin with, I didn’t realize how far removed I would soon become from the person I was nearly 3 years. I do have a blog anniversary coming up this month but for once I’m tempted to let it pass by in silence. I think I need to re-evaluate blogging.

 Posted by at 5:48 pm
Apr 292011
 

I write this post on my last day of the job I was working when I started this blog. It wouldn’t feel right to not blog today while at work.

Well. Kind of. 2 years ago we were “restructured” and so while I still worked for the same branch and in the same block of buildings, my job duties and the building I worked in changed. And with that change back then also coincided the beginning of changes in what I’d be able to get away with at work. There was a time with a certain man when it was commonplace for me to be masturbating at my desk while chatting away with him or someone else, taking photos to be shared with him, someone else, and/or the blog. Usually all three.

So while I will walk away today from this building and these particular coworkers knowing that it’s not the place I sat the day I first penned this blog, it’s still “the place I started this blog” at. And through fate, and the butterfly effect, it is roundabout because of this blog that I am leaving this job today and this state in a week. This fact alone is utterly mind-boggling to me: that because of connections of connections I made through this blog my life is changing in a hundred ways. I never imagined that anything connected to this blog would have such a huge impact on me but this is the final straw of being proved wrong, and not the first time I’ve been proved wrong on that subject. While this blog is not over, this chapter of my life is and I have changed.

Yesterday I felt compelled to do two things “for old time’s sake”; the things that were once the staple and theme of this blog. I snapped some risky risque shots (to be shown in upcoming WantonWednesday posts), inspired to recreate the first office photo taken. I then pulled out my trusty silver bullet vibrator and orgasmed at my desk, again, one last time. I didn’t do it for the reasons of old…..sadly. I had no chat companion saying dirty things to me, no erotica fiction tumbling forth from my fingertips. And it was with sadness that I realized I had no one to show the photos to, either. Yes, you all….. But back when I was taking these regularly it was always for someone else. A request, a demand, a dare. And this time I had nobody to giggle and send the snaps to. It was a very melancholy realization. The nature and backbone of this blog has changed….for better or for worse, I don’t know. My social-sexual life is nothing like it was that first summer of blogging or the first year even. Will it ever be again? I don’t know.

I’ve always been the sentimental sort. To a fault. I didn’t much like high school; I wasn’t popular, I hated the school itself and the throng of other students pressing around you at all times, I hated the classwork and etc. But yet I still had connections. I still “grew up” there. Had friends. On the last day of high school I cried. I took photos. I looked around at every period of the day with purposeful eyes, trying to memorize everything. I knew that life was changing and even though I was leaving behind a chapter that wasn’t always good to me it still held a treasured place in my life. That’s kind of how I’m viewing this last day. Did I start the blog *because* I worked here? Because of my dire boredom back then? Quite possibly, yes. I started it not long after I found a way around the very restrictive internet policy (I used a remote login site called Logmein.com, and just did everything via my home computer. In later times I would up the security to accessing Logmein from Portable Firefox loaded up on a usb memory key). I browsed OkCupid and made acquaintances that led to me creating this blog. To finding the world of sex-blogging in general. While this city and what we thought we’d get out of the move to here ultimately let us down, I think I’m realizing that it was a necessary step. We were meant to be here at this time. It doesn’t make it suck less, I can’t stop viewing it as somewhat of a stall to our lives (because the progressions and gains that were “supposed” to happen, didn’t)…..but it brought us to this day. To next week. To the next big chapter.

So yes, while I won’t miss much of anything concrete here – (not the buildings, or the way things are run, or the job I did, or most of the people around me, or the office itself, or the commute, or the downtown city, or for that matter our apartment) save for one or two people and the simple convenience of many stores being in a close driving distance – I am a little sentimental about this day. To be certain though I am happy for it’s arrival. I am happy at the prospect of my future after our move, happy to move on from this place and this state and the ideals here.

But I won’t forget what this place did to me, for me, brought me. I have no ties, though, no true friends and no family in this city. The few friends I made here will shortly fade away I’m sure…..and so there you have it.

It’s time to go.

 

Other than a WW post next week, expect this place to remain fairly quiet yet until we move and get a little settled in. I think both hubs and I have kinda been unconsciously waiting on me to be done with work for the full-throttle srs bzns packing to begin (which doesn’t leave us much time to do it, but then I think we both perform best under pressure).

Apr 132011
 

One of the mind-altering panel sessions that I attended at Momentum was Who is SexyKitty69? Exploring the social media pros & cons of anonymity. Twanna Hines1, moderator, and Shanna Katz2, Samantha Fraser3 and Stef Woods4, panelists, were all originally anonymous bloggers (see footnotes for their “out” stories). They all now show their faces and blog alongside their real name. Katherine Curtis, also on the panel, is a little more like me (half-in half-out) except that she shows her face; she keeps some anonymity by using Kat as a pen name on Naked News.

There are many reasons why bloggers of any niche change from anonymous to open; most of these bloggers out themselves. Conversely, some like the blogger-formerly-known-as Zoe Margolis /Girl with a One Track Mind, have been outed without consent. She was outed because she wrote a book based on her blog, and published it anonymously. Since this happened back before sex bloggers and risque books were “common”, the UK media did everything in their power to find out Zoe’s real name. The damage done to her life was, and continues to be, devastating in many ways.

Blogging about sex isn’t always as easy to do as “the real you”. It’s a touchy subject in this country, and it can be very off-putting for some to openly discuss the sex they’re having knowing all the while that friends and family could be reading about last week’s threesome at any moment. For many, the cloak of anonymity offers freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and less worry that you’ll have to deal with real-life fall-out from the content of your blog.

With my fast-approaching life changes, I’ve considered being “less anonymous” on my blog. I’ve considered finally disclosing who I (at the time of this post still) work for, as an explanation for why I had to be so careful. I’ve considered showing more of my face, or even sharing more personal details about life in general. Instead, I was smacked in the face with a realization during this session: there is no way to reliably and easily walk that tightrope. I would never put my real name on this blog, yet I’d consider exposing details that, if anybody who knew me were to find my blog, would identify me as much as my name or face. It is all too easy to slip up and give away something game-changing. I didn’t think about those details until this session.

It also occurred to me during this session that I really need to re-think how my future plans for the sex toy education parties are going to affect me and my anonymity. One big facet of the workshop was to teach them how to find reliable sex toy reviews – and I feel that it’s easier to find a reliable reviewer by looking to the blogs. (You can go back and read all their reviews, see what they like and how they like it and find someone who’s likes and dislikes mesh with your own; you can also see that they’ve been giving credible and thorough reviews for awhile.)  But by teaching them to search for reviews on blogs, you know what’s going to eventually happen, right?

They’ll land on my blog.

While I don’t show my full face and try to only show enough that still gives me a veil of “is that…..? nah….not her,” I could be wrong. One of them could easily find my blog and recognize me! Of course, since these people will be somewhat local to me, there’s a chance they might know others I also know, or others I might write about in the future (should I start going out again). All of which leads to this really big reminder:

When you blog, it is not just about YOUYou are involving everyone in your life (unless of course you never, ever write about anybody other than yourself).Your partner, your friends, your family and even your boss/coworkers/company. If you’re anonymous it’s not as big of an invasion unless one of them finds your blog. If you’re out or decide to be out….you’re not just outing yourself. You’re outing them all. And did they give their consent? Probably not, I’d guess. And even if they did give their consent could they even have a clue what consequences there will be? Can even you foresee the future complications for yourself? Your partner? Your child? Your future child? Your next job? There is a big responsibility to everyone else in your life when you decide to blog publicly about sex. Take responsibility. When the shit hits the fan take responsibility for it yourself. Please don’t expect other people to clean up your mess5.

There are notable downsides to being out. Shanna pointed out that if she ever wanted to go back to her old type of work, in the vanilla world, she’s going to have a very hard time getting a job. On the internet, “Shanna Katz” is completely tied to her old moniker “Essin’Em”.  Employers DO Google and man will they ever get an eyeful when they see her internet presence – sex educator, sex blogger, she’s been in porn, etc. Awesome creds for sex-pos jobs, scary creds for say….an accountant. Stef pointed out that she’d like to adopt a child. Will her blog, which is about her friends/dates/sex life, prevent her from being able to adopt a child? Will they employ slut-shaming tactics and judge her mothering abilities based on the blog? Katherine Curtis and Shanna both have had fans try to “friend” their mom, their partner, etc on Facebook. And of course there’s the nut-jobs who might stalk you.

I don’t mean to be the purveyor of doom and gloom here, I truly don’t. I recognize that coming out and blogging as the real you (or in my case, just a little bit more of the real me) can be freeing. No more worrying about someone finding and outing you without your consent, and no more dual identities. So what about a little of each? Sharing some privacy-cropped photos, details of your personal life, attending events where a roomful (or conference-full) of people are putting a face (and maybe real name) to your blog but yet not going completely commando – taking care to draw lines and use different email addresses, not showing your face on a public blog, not sharing even your real first name or the name of the town you live in? But if you think you can pull off that tightrope walk of being half-in and half-out, consider these facts:

  • 78% of Americans are online.
  • 52% of people are on Facebook.
  • Half of those on Facebook are online at any given moment.
  • The average Facebook user has 132 friends.

Luckily for me I don’t meet that average number. Over a year ago I had a very close encounter with Facebook’s lovely practice of recommending friends based on things like number of friends in common AND who’s in your combined address books of the third party accounts you both chose to associate with the Facebook account. I’d had a blog-me FB and a real-me FB. One day I noticed that someone who was friends with real-me had requested to friend blog-me. Thankfully, she’s pretty cool and open and had no problem with the blog. But she had uh, ahem, recognized the cleavage in the blog-me photo I’d chosen to use. Not my face, not the background…my cleavage. What if someone else from my friends list at that time had clicked on the recommendation, not by recognition of my tits, but sheer curiosity? Would they have made the connection, seeing more of my body parts? It was a nerve-wracking 36 hours as I did my best to shovel dirt on my tracks and delete my blog-me presence in Facebook.

Another potential disaster that happened, because I was cocky and not thinking, occurred early on in my blogging career. I showed potential OKC or Craigslist dates my sex blog. After all, it gave them a pretty good inside scoop as to what I liked sexually and hey – great conversation starter! I know other sex bloggers who’ve done it as well with mixed results, but I just happened to show it to someone who worked for the same organization as me. The cards collapsed when he figured out where I worked based on one of my photos wherein I showed something outside one of our office windows. Once he knew what building I was in, and based on what I’d already disclosed privately and on my blog about my office…he came over. He didn’t ask, he just did it. Since I was a receptionist and not hidden in the cube farm, he was able to walk right by my desk.  He had texted me in warning about 20 seconds before entering my floor so I had the warning and I didn’t look up from my desk. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a guy walk by that had to be him. He didn’t say a word, just walked by. Twice. As I trembled in fear and adrenaline, I realized that he knew too much.

And he had seen my real name.

The panic that ensued on my part nearly got me to yank the blog entirely. He could have outed me to my boss and gotten me fired. It was a HUGE deal.

Instead of shuttering my entire online presence, I removed a few photos, changed a few others, & changed some previously-written details within my blog entries. At the time I balked about doing that. It felt “wrong” to me. Like I wasn’t being as authentic as I could be. But one smart point that Samantha made during the session was this: What is more important: The safety/happiness of a date/partner/job/yourself, or the story? She even brought up the time she was forced to change details & even remove some posts altogether once she was outed, all in the name of protecting someone she cared very much for who didn’t want to be on the blog.

I don’t know what I’m going to do now going forward. I do know that I have a lot to think about, both with this blog and the sex toy education parties I plan to do. The session presented me with a look at what could happen, and to be frank…it scared me. But it is a fear I am thankful for. I WILL be more careful, and I will put a lot more thought into my actions with this blog. I will think about myself, my family, those I’ve talked about on this blog, those related to those I’ve talked about on the blog and so on. I will learn to compartmentalize better and be safer while still retaining my authenticity and not becoming a recluse.


I’d really like to hear thoughts from all types of bloggers who are in various phases of anonymity or out-ness. What are your reasons for the choice? Do you plan to change? Do you have a “shit hit the fan” plan?
  1. Twanna started out blogging just as Funky Brown Chick when she was approached to do a paid writing gig for Nerve; once it was made known to her that they wanted a face shot to go along with her byline she took the plunge
  2. Shanna blogged for a good number of years under her roller derby name, Essin’Em. When she got her sex ed degree and started doing college campus tours and various classes it became clear that using her real name (which is what’s on her degree, of course) would make things infinitely more easy. It helped that by then she was working already for a sex-positive company (Fascinations/FunLove)
  3. Sam was anonymous until she was approached by a national newspaper to do a big front-page type article on her and her husband’s open marriage lifestyle – complete with real names and face photos. They both took the plunge with much thought and reverence given
  4. As CityGirl, a DC dating blog, Stef attended some blogging gatherings. When she attended things as CityGirl she would allow them to photograph her from the back, showing only her trademark long red hair. When she was at events as Stef the attorney, she allowed full face and name photos. But one day at a DC Blogging bash, an online publication listed her face shot as CityGirlBlog’s Stef Woods, not what she req’d: Attorney Stef Woods. The change was quickly made online and she continued to be partially out in the DC social scene. It wasn’t until her breast cancer diagnosis that she decided to be fully out on her blog in the name of activism
  5. and yes, I am referring to a few bloggers most of us know – be their situation chosen or outed, I don’t support their cries to the community for money to help them clean up the messes they ultimately made. Cold? Maybe. But when you’re doing something risky, you have to be prepared. I’m not going to help you pay for your unpreparedness
 Posted by at 2:32 pm