Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Live Nude Woman

Today, November 29, 2010, roughly fourteen years after I first conceived of the idea, I did it! I took my clothes off in front of a room full of mostly svelte college students and contorted my body in various poses for nearly three hours. My mom would be so proud that I’m putting my Master’s degree to good use (ha ha!).

Now, for those of you who might think I’m out of my freaking mind, in some ways you would be right. Maybe you do have to be a little bit, of a different mindset to do what I did.

I could tell you “desperate times call for desperate measures” and my unemployment is about to run out and all that jazz, but the truth is, as long as there isn’t a mirror in front of me, I’d much rather be naked than clothed almost any day of the week, in almost any situation. I loathe, loathe, loathe clothing and I dream of a world that is warm enough for all of us, yes, ALL OF US, to run around NAKED, without a stitch of clothing on, ever-unless we get cold or are getting sunburned or maybe just feel like covering up. But the point is, in my ideal world, clothes would be like scarves and mittens and costume jewelry-frivolous but permissible to wear if one wanted to, yet certainly not required.

This view is by no means endorsed by anyone else in my family, so please don’t think that they are a bunch of self lovin’ nudists like I am-that couldn’t be further from the truth!

In addition to loving being naked (except for when I’m cold), as an artist, I am completely enamored with the naked human form. Probably always have been. Although as a kid I do recall being horribly torn-both aroused and embarrassed at my Aunt’s nude female art work she so brazenly had displayed around her house. I mean she was single and all, so did that make her a…lesbian…? And the art work aroused me…so did that make me…a lesbian too? And with the exception of “The David” I never saw any nude male artwork and really, his bits are covered up by a damn fig leaf or something, so that was hardly a turn on! Such confusing thoughts for a young kid, and of course we never talked about these things in my “very open household”!

I distinctly remember the first time I saw my first naked person, that I was supposed to draw I mean. It was actually a rather traumatic experience for me. It was autumn of 1996 during my college Life Drawing class, which, after this experience I took to calling my “Naked People Drawing Class.” Our first model was a man.

Now, I’d seen a few naked men before, even one or two with my consent, but even I was so stunned at the depth of my ignorance and denial as “Mr. Incredibly Tanned Ass” took off his rob and mounted the modeling platform in the middle of the room, I didn’t even recognize myself. I’m nearly certain I turned a billion shades of red and prayed for anything in the world…a tsunami, an earthquake, a sudden death in my family, my immediate and untimely death right there on the spot, a giant black hole to swallow me up…anything to happen to me so that I did not a) have to be in that room and b)that whatever he did, however he positioned himself, that I didn’t have to see that god-awful thing between his legs!

I sorta got one wish granted and I think you can figure out which one that was. I was so appalled at my reaction to his nudity and so angry at my Professor for not warning us that the model was going to be male that I spent most of the class shaking with rage and seriously considering that I should either drop the class or get some psychological help. That night, my drawings were for shit.

There was something in the realness of it all, in my first experience seeing a naked man who didn’t want something sexual from me, which completely unnerved me. I had no idea what to do with a nude man standing before me whose sole purpose was to teach me how the human body worked, how it looked in various poses. On some level, after the initial class, I realized this was a huge part of what made me tremble with rage and with time I was able to relax and even enjoy drawing other models, even male models and their penis’s. Sometimes, though, all these years later, I can still recall how I felt when I saw my first nude male model…his great tanned ass… and the occasional glimpses of his little penis hanging limply between his balls and I feel a mixture of sadness at my initial reaction and an intense desire not to illicit the same responses in students when I pose.

Live Nude Woman Part 2

As traumatic as that first experience was for me, and as grateful as I was that I did not have to draw a penis in my very first nude model experience, my Life Drawing class was one of my most favorite classes in college and certainly one of the few classes which fundamentally shaped who I am as a person today. To be able, as an artist, and even more importantly, as a human being, to witness other human beings bearing, not just their naked bodies, but in some ways, parts of their souls, to a room full of strangers, and strangers who are, generally speaking, physically in the prime of their life, is a profound gift that I doubt very much I even had the capacity to fully appreciate at 19 years old.

To be a model, to be a good model, you have to do so much more than be willing to get naked for money in front of people. You have to be willing to share part of yourself, parts of your passion, parts of your story, parts of the twists and turns and flexions and posses that only you can bring to a session. You have to be willing to let people look closely, possibly closer than you would ever allow a lover to look at you, under glaring hot lights, for 30 seconds to an hour or more. You have to allow strangers to critique your cellulite, your scars, your uneven breasts, your sagging ass, pierced nipples, fading tattoos, spider veins, crow’s feet, pubic hair, dimples, missing testicle, uncircumcised penis and everything else you might cringe from in a dressing room mirror, but which ultimately makes you a beautiful model to teach students how the human body works and how your body moves and behaves differently from everyone else’s body on the planet.

I think ever since my Life Drawing class, even while in the class, I thought about how I would do things differently if I were the model, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to ask my Professor how to get into this line of work, even though I had a great relationship with her. At that point in my life I was still battling my anorexia and child abuse and had never been to a clothing optional resort, nor was I comfortable identifying as a nudist. I still had a very long way to go in my own journey before I was ready to take the steps that lead to me taking my clothes off today.

Nevertheless, the idea of being a model never left my head and it wasn’t until this summer, when finally visiting a clothing optional resort very close to where we currently live, I met a guy (I shudder to think of him as a man) who claimed he was a model in the area, and while blatantly staring at my bare breasts, he told me that I should “get into the business.” He offered to show me all his moves, and give me his contacts, if I took him back to my room, (most nudists I’ve encountered are not this smarmy be the way!!) at which point I repeatedly declined and wondered what the hell was taking my lover so long in the bathroom. The conversation, as disturbing as it was, ignited a fire in my brain though and almost immediately when we returned, I started researching modeling in “the Valley”.

Who knew it would be so freaking frustrating! Maybe I should have brought that guy back to my room after all-with my lover as the body guard to make sure things stayed legit! I had no idea you needed experience to take your freaking clothes off! I thought you just took the damn things off, strutted a few poses, held them for awhile, stayed as still as possible and viola, everyone is happy! Yeah, not so much. Not only is it not that easy, not only do you need experience, you need references! Well, how the hell do you get references if you don’t have experience?

I called one school, and in sheer desperation, and asked if taking a Life Drawing class and being a nudist counted as experience. The Administrative Assistant didn’t sound terribly impressed with my credentials, but told me to write a cover letter and e-mail it to her and she’d see what she could do. Ok great. What the hell was I supposed to put in a cover letter? “Hi so and so, I’d really like to get naked for your young art students. I have a pretty good body, although I’ve put on some weight in my middle. My breasts are a 38D and they are pierced, as is my nose. I’m a nudist and an artist so I’m comfortable being naked in front of people and coming up with unusual poses….” I felt like I was trying to be a porn star. In the end, I said more than I needed to (go figure) and didn’t hear anything for months. Oh, and I only sent my cover letter thingy to one school because I was so discouraged by how the phone call went (so much for following through on your dreams baby!).

And then, lo, one day, towards the end of October, when I was feeling all sorts of fat and down on myself, a guy named Jason e-mailed me about my availability and I said yes to every date he had (doctor’s appointments be damned!) and the day after that THE WOMAN I was supposed to train with in the Valley contacted me about a workshop she was running in few weekends (for only $30) for wanna-be models! It was all starting to fall into place and I couldn’t believe it!

I scheduled my debut with Jason for today and my workshop with Pat for a few weeks ago. Pat and I really hit it off and since then I’ve observed her at another school where she introduced me to the person I need to know to get scheduled for next semester and I will be posing with Pat on Thursday near where I used to live and will hopefully get hired there as well. I’m trying to keep my enthusiasm in check, but I had a great time today and the feedback from the Professor, who knew it was my debut, was that “It was like (I) had been doing this my whole life” and it pays a whole lot better than most jobs I’m likely to find in Public Health…except for the fact that there aren’t any benefits and the work is very sporadic.

No matter how long the “gig” lasts though, someday I’ll either write a book about it or tell great stories about how I was a live nude model. Hell, maybe I’ll do both! After all, how many people get to say that at a cocktail party and mean it?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Finger In My Arsehole

Yesterday was the dreaded day. The day when I, well, my insurance company really, payed someone to put their finger in my arsehole…all in the name of healing. Now, I realize that I haven’t written in awhile about what I’ve been doing to manage my chronic pain issues, which in many ways, became the focus of this blog last October when my life was torn asunder by a multitude of unexpected diagnoses. And I realize I probably could have found someone on Craigslist or some other internet site who was more than willing to stick their horny little finger in my rectum for free-hell, maybe they’d even pay me for the pleasure of doing so (but that gets into all sorts of murky waters and possibly illegal issues and who can afford to lose the job they don’t have?). But now dear reader, I’m back at it-giving you a glimpse into a world hopefully you’re grateful that you aren’t living in.

Seriously though (I have a really bad habit of joking about the things that scare me the most) I had to undergo a humiliating and excruciatingly painful rectal exam by a Colon Surgeon before I could even be cleared to have someone paid to put their finger in my bum! Perhaps I’ll write about that procedure some other day, when I’ve recovered a bit from the shame of it. Oh, and speaking, err, writing about shame, my early childhood abuse experiences left my anything but ready for yesterday’s procedure!

However, I feel I am at my wits end. Sitting, hell, sleeping on my back has become such a source of pain that I can no longer do many of the things I formerly enjoyed in life like riding a horse or a bike (for fuck’s sake riding my partner is even a rarity!). Long, rambling car rides, writing for hours on end…anything that requires me to sit on my beautiful ass for more than 45 minutes to 2 hours (on the best of days and a heavy dose of pain killers) is just about out of the questions. Fuck, I’ve even been woken up from the little sleep I manage to get because the pressure on my rectal region is too intense…from a friggin” mattress!

I haven’t written about this yet either (although I swore I did…that’s the problem when you are always writing in your head…you tend to forget what you actually put down on paper, or cyber paper), but over the summer I was diagnosed with Pudendal Neuralgia by a specialist in New Hampshire who was fairly adamant that the only way to relieve my pain, if there was even a way to relieve it, was to have MAJOR surgery, which would involve two cuts deep inside my each side of my vagina to, “vaporize the ligaments which (are thought to) entrap my Pudendal Nerves”. This too, is a blog for another time, but in a nutshell, the doctor hardly evoked confidence from me, as he could not, or would not, answer most of the questions we had for him and he repeatedly stated that this procedure worked best, when it worked at all, on people who had this problem with a short on set; in other words, not so much with people like me who can easily remember being 5 years old and unable to sit without severe pain!

In the months that have followed the bittersweet and very uncomfortable 8ish hour drive to New Hampshire, I have received an intense amount of pressure to have the surgery and to not have the surgery. I left the doctor’s office in tears, all but refusing to have it done, unless it became all but impossible for me to sit, at all. I figured I’ve managed to cope with it, on so many levels, for the better part of my life, why the fuck would I want to undergo an incredibly invasive procedure, having yet another man I don’t trust violate my body once again, to have my vagina sliced open, to be on bed rest for roughly two months? And if all goes well after that, have to wean myself back into sitting at 5-10 minute increments and wait possibly 2 years for results which might never happen??? The whole concept seemed ludicrous to me!

The research I did, which in and of itself, was a difficult process (try Googling Pudendal Neuralgia and see what you come up with!) also helped confirm my belief that surgery, at least at this point in my life, even if, as my mom likes to declare, my insurance should pay for all or most of it, is not the right choice for me. So, that is what led me here…to having a finger in my rectum.

Here I was, again with Karen, my Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. She’s the blessing from the universe who helped stretch out my vagina (although I may have used a pseudonym for her in earlier blogs, Karen is her bona fide first name) when I was suffering the worst of the Vulvadynia and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (see earlier blogs). Now, after being cleared by the butt doctor, Karen was going to stick one of her slender, gloved fingers into my rectum in the hopes that doing this-for who knows, maybe a few sessions, maybe several months, would be enough to release the tension on my Pudendal Nerves and thereby avoid any need at all for surgery.

Although I was scared out of my mind, wanting desperately to clench my ass so tight that she couldn’t do anything at all, and spent the week leading up to my visit with her dreading THE DAY, even going so far as to make “jokes” on Sunday about how I was going to have a finger in my ass on Monday, there is no one in the world I would let do this, other than Karen. The amount of trust it takes, probably for anyone, to be curled up in a fetal position while someone lubes you up with Slippery Stuff and as gently as possible inserts a gloved digit into your poop shoot, at least in a medical setting, is tremendous. Now, this doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed some forms of consensual anal play in my day, but the very nature of it being done in an attempt to correct a medical problem, well, for me, that changes everything! That and the fact that the Ass Surgeon who had me bend over a rectal table for her exam, about broke my tailbone in THE MOST PAINFUL RECTAL EXAM EVER!!! I was none too keen on having anyone back there in say the next three millennia or so. Then again, my little air cushion that I bring with me everywhere I might want to sit, isn’t helping much and I’m not too keen on surgery either. Pasta fungul!

And so, after a plethora of questions…yes she knows what Pudendal Neuralgia is, yes she’s treated lots of women with it, no she doesn’t think I should have surgery if it isn’t what I want, and so on, we finally got down to the butt business. And as long as I kept reminding myself why I was there, why this was happening and that I needed to breathe (and of course, resorted to my defense mechanism of continuous questioning) it wasn’t that bad. That is, as long as she stayed away from my tailbone. If Karen’s finger was anywhere near my tailbone I wanted to projectile (vomit?) heave her out of my areshole it hurt so much! And as with my vaginal stretching, I was inexplicably tighter on one side (this time my left) than the other.

The entire procedure lasted maybe five minutes and that was that. She removed her finger as she promised she would and left the room so I could wipe the remainder of the lube of my rump and get dressed in privacy, although after that ordeal does privacy really matter? What I would latter find out was really the worst part of the whole finger in ass process was the most horrific smelling fart I’ve ever released in my life about a half hour after I left Karen’s office, enroot to my therapist’s office; and believe me, I’ve impressed some guys with what I can unleash! That and an almost uncontrollable need to shit every two hours or so. And I’m not talking about a little bowel movement here and there. I mean, the hardcore, been out drinkin’ all night, or Thanksgiving shits-the kind you worry could break the damn toilet and certainly leave a trail of evidence behind when you flush! All friggin’ day and most of the night long I crapped into the porcelain god. My bum began to bleed from wiping so much and even though we’ve stocked up on what I thought was enough toilet paper to last into 2011, I’m afraid if I keep seeing Karen (and it is supposed to me twice a week starting next week) and my bowels keep moving like this, we’ll need to buy a storage unit just to hold toilet paper! She has such tiny fingers too and she only used the very tip, I don’t get it. I will definitely have to ask her about this before she does any butt work next week.

Criminy I hope this is a better idea than slicing open my vagina! Ugh! Just re-reading that last sentence makes me want to vomit all over my keyboard…yes, yes a finger in my ass sounds much better than cutting open my vagina any day! I saw the movie Seven, and while not quite the same thing, it still conjures up images of the razor embedded leather cock harness. I’m fairly certain that’s a sign I’m not ready for surgery even if I have to shit for hours after seeing Karen!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Bathroom, My Space Station

When I was I kid, around the age of eight or ten-old enough to know it was never going to work, I would sometimes hideout in our downstairs bathroom. Always the downstairs one, never the upstairs one. Bad things happened in the upstairs bathroom, or at least they did when my dad lived there. And when he finally left, the memories of what he did left an indelible stain on all the bathroom surfaces, especially the shower, so I never sought refuge there.

The ugly blue, beige, brown down stairs bathroom, as I remember it, was a different story. Long before it became a place to surreptitiously pop my zits, I would sometimes delude myself into believing it was my secret, savior space station. When life was at its lowest of lows, or I couldn’t starve myself anymore, or I wasn’t in the mood to entertain suicidal thoughts, or maybe I just wanted to get away but it was too (cold, rainy, dark, scarry, whatever) to run away, I would lock myself in the bathroom.

Then I would begin my secret rescue ritual. I’d sit on the toilet, with the lid closed, put my youngish left hand on the yellow handle of the plunger, which always sat faithfully next to the toilet, close my eyes, maneuver the magical handle forward in an intricate pattern, and begin my commands to the space station as we prepared for lift-off. Depending upon whether or not I thought I would be heard by anyone else in the house, I would either speak my commands aloud or murmur them under my breath; but I had this fervently held belief that if I wanted to be rescued, I must say the words out loud. I have no idea where I got that notion from, but I believed it, heart and soul, despite the fact that my bathroom space station rescue missions never worked. And believe me, I tried these rescue missions for far longer than I am willing to admit here!

I am reminded of my bathroom space station tonight because one of my deepest fears seems to be coming true-that once I no longer am able to maintain control over the ironclad, zillion-times sealed walls aptly confining my tears, my anguish, I will never be able to do anything else but drown in the mire.

I started crying uncontrollably on Monday, when Thomas, my most favorite of our now four cats, escaped from the deck. I hadn’t noticed he was missing and hence had no idea how long he was gone. Stupid me! I thought for sure THIS TIME I had managed to cat proof the fucking deck! I was beside myself with fear and panic that he might get hit by a car or kidnapped and cooked by our motherfucking neighbor (yes, I hate him and he rents a restaurant next to us and hates us as well, so it is possible that he would do such a thing for revenge!).

I spent what seemed like forever looking for him, hell, I even prayed to God to bring him back and offered up all the other cats in exchange, before I apologized for praying to a God I don’t believe in and offered up my prayers to the universe instead (yeah, I was a wee bit of a basket case)! When the fat fuck of a cat finally tried sneaking up behind me, my eyes did not believe my face and it wasn’t until I tried hoisting all 25 pounds of him into my arms that I realized he was truly alive and safe and home. And I lost it. I was sobbing and shaking. I mean snot pouring out of my nose, gulping sobs that caused the people going to the restaurant to gawk at me. I was clutching Thomas so hard the poor cat was gasping for air and I didn’t even notice, my crying was that uncontrollable.

When I finally got us both inside, I collapsed on the stairs, still hysterically crying while my seemingly bewildered cat, who was probably expecting to be locked in the bathroom for escaping, tried to console my by rubbing up against me, purring his head off…until he got bored with me and I finally got a grip on myself.

Except that I never really did.

What felt like the fatal loss of my most favorite animal companion ever, appears to be the final push that catapulted me into a chasm of pain I have been doing lifelong, mind boggling acrobatics to avoid peering into, never mind confronting head on. And now I feel as if I am spiraling, otherworldly, out-of-control, guts heaving, can’t focus on anything else, where the fuck did this come from, into something I intuitively feel is only going to get uglier the farther I fall in to it.

Even though I finally stopped crying external tears when Thomas became bored with consoling me, I haven’t stopped the deluge of internal tears that began falling that Monday. Now it is Friday and the taunt gossamer threads of denial which previously held my lonely life precariously together are obliterated by bitterness and acrid tears. I feel little but resentment towards my partner (?) who is rarely here and even when he is, does little more than offer physical proximity to me. I feel trapped and isolated living here in “the Valley” and enraged at my dumbass self for ever suggesting that we move here. I feel friendless in an area where I once had several friends. I feel in constant pain that few take seriously and no one (that I don’t pay) wants to hear about. I feel sleep deprived from the constant nightmares that keep me up, tossing and turning all night, while my partner slumbers on, oblivious to my nocturnal thrashings.

I feel my teeth ache from the spontaneous outburst of tears right before he came home from work today. From the crying almost all the way to couples therapy-our big Friday night date, and the crying on the way home, and when we got home. And on the bathroom floor, after he fell asleep. Which is what reminded me, as I sat sobbing and rocking myself on the chintzy bathmat, of my useless bathroom space station, and the fact that as an adult, if that is indeed what I am, no matter where I live, I still try to keep the plunger on the left hand side of the toilet-something I never thought about until tonight.

I guess my hope that I can rescue myself dies harder than I thought it would. And the pathway out of hell, or healing as my therapist likes to call it, looks like it’s gonna take a whole lot more out of me than I ever bargained for, if it doesn’t wreck me first.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bi Phase

This weekend, while humoring my partner and seeing, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” I was reminded of a “trend (?)” which incenses me. And that is, “The Bi-Phase”. For those of you who haven’t seen (or suffered) through the movie, the main female character tries to escape her past “ex’s”, which her none too bright, sorta boyfriend keeps referring to as her ex-boyfriends. Although she constantly corrects him by calling them her seven evil ex’s (we never learn why they are evil, despite how long the movie drags on, but that is besides the point), he never notices the corrections she makes. Nor does he make any connection to the female who accosts him, ninja style, in an alleyway.

Now, before you go all nerdy video-gangbusters on me here, I understand Scott Pilgrim was hardly a glowing example of anything other than “the nerdy guy beats every guy who ever beat up on him and still gets two hot chicks in the end” kind of movie, and that isn’t where my beef is (well, not in this blog anyway). What’s got ants in my pants, bees in my bonnet and whatever other trite expressions you can think of for being pissed off, is the whole concept of a “Bi-Phase.”
In this particular movie, you would have to be beyond a nerd or live in a darker cave than I do, to not realize that Ramona (female character with 7 evil ex’s) has had a relationship with a woman. That’s certainly cool with me and I speculate that it is probably cool with the nerdy 95% male dominate population in the movie theatre. What’s not cool with me; you know, me who identifies as bisexual, is that when it comes time for Ramona to ‘fess up about her relationship with her evil fem ex, she merely shrugs it off as, “I thought I was Bi. It was just a phase.” And, to kill the ending of the movie, much like “Chasing Amy,” Ramona decides that she’d rather be with a man. How convenient.

How sad.

How fucking much it pisses me off that in the few movies I’ve seen, bisexuality is still being presented as a phase, a joke, a temporary, desperate period of exploration until a man is found.
How oddly, eerily biblical-as if finding a man is the true answer to what every woman is really looking for, and yet, if she can’t find one, she might be able to get away with being edgy enough to be “bi,” but only if it is a passing phase. And of course, that discounts all the bisexual men in the world!

Clearly for me, this is a deeply personal issue. For most of my life I was torn, often to the brink of suicidal ideation, over my sexuality. My very first crush, as I’ve already blogged about, was on a boy my age that lived across the street. However, in hindsight as an adult, I often wonder if he would have been my first crush if I hadn’t had heterosexuality rammed down my throat and bashed into my head at least since the time my first, and only, male cousin was born- a mere six months after I was. We were constantly referred to as “kissing cousins” (whatever that means…By the way, it turns out he’s gay and I’m bi, so that whole forcing heterosexuality thing upon us didn’t turn out so well!) And ever since I can remember I was asked if I had a boyfriend-I mean from the time I was THREE or so on!

Come ON! Talk about inappropriate questions for kids! We don’t even give children a chance to develop their own sexuality in our American society. We form their sexuality for them: based on religion, based on fear, based on tradition and our own expectations of weddings and what have-you and we start bombarding them, at the earliest ages possible, that they are to be heterosexual and that is that. It is almost a carefully re-written version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”, except here children aren’t being taught to hate, they are being taught whom it is permissible to love and when and how.

Once my first crush moved away, my attention turned to a girl who lived on the next block from me. I was smitten with her in a way I’d never felt before, in a way part of me already knew I shouldn’t be, thanks to my Catholic upbringing. Yet on the rare times when we would walk to Sunday School together, the longing inside me to reach out and hold her hand was so intense I was certain it was worth any price that awaited me in hell. In our younger years I could get away with doing so under the guise of skipping to school to make it there faster, but all I really cared about was being closer to her. My crush on her lasted ages, or at least from second or third grade through fifth or sixth grade, when she turned to the ‘80’s Brat Pack and whatever boys Teen magazine told her where hot and I lost her forever. Two decades later though, I can still squirm in my seat as I think about my early childhood orgasms I’d have with her as we became too old for holding hands and skipping to school but not to self-conscious to avoid wrestling each other alone in my basement; our legs brushing, crushing each other’s clitoris’s, our barely developed breasts rubbing against each other’s breasts, hot, sweaty faces gasping for air, lips poised inches apart from lips, in a kiss we never dared.

The Bi Phase Part 2

Unlike Amy and Ramona and whatever her name(s) were in all those other movies that depict bisexuality as a phase, I believe it is something just as real as heterosexuality and homosexuality and probably about as understood as bestiality, although maybe slightly more accepted. Perhaps it is a phase that some people go through and that is ok, I’m just sick and fucking tired of it being marginalized, shoved off to the side, dismissed, laughed at, denied, denigrated and in some ways, treated as the new homosexuality-the new thing you can’t talk about.

In my life, I am only aware of three other bisexual people. One person is openly bi. One person’s sexuality was revealed to me under penalty of losing my friendship if I revealed that information to anyone else and the last person (who was also the first person I ever knew) was a co-worker at the time and I discovered her bisexuality when she began hitting on me after her relationship with her ex-boyfriend ended. At the time, I was not out to anyone, including myself, about being bisexual. At that particular period of time I probably thought I was a lesbian. I have no idea what kind of relationship my former co-worker is in, but the other two bisexual individuals are in passably heterosexual relationships, as am I, which tends to make people assume that we are straight (a term I loath-I’ll save it for another blog!). Perhaps this is part of what helps to weaken the view of bisexuality as it’s own, verifiable place within the realm of human sexuality.

Other reasons I think people label bisexuality as a “phase” are a) because we are conditioned to think (generally) in terms of two categories (on/off, right/wrong, black/white, gay/straight, female/male etc.) and b) because it is (or appears to be) so much easier just to chose one category to belong to. There were times when I thought I was going to go friggin’ nuts over trying to decide if I was heterosexual or a lesbian. So many times I just want a clear cut answer that neatly fit into one fucking category goddamn it and quite frankly, I didn’t care which one! But when I decided I was hetero, it negated the feelings I’ve always had for women and when I decided I was a lesbian it was always from a place of intense anger or hatred towards men and negated the few positive experiences I had with men. I’ve come out as gay. I’ve come out as not gay. I’ve tried being asexual. I’ve tried just being loyal to my sex toys. None of it worked because none of it acknowledged the core of who I was.

Once I grappled with that beast-that all along I had been denying the core of who I was, and who I am is a sexual person who is attracted to sexual people-I don’t care if they are gay, or bi, or hetero, or intersexed or gender-curious, things began to make more sense to me and I began to be more at peace with myself. Still, it was a long time before I told anyone that I was “bi” for lack of a better word that seemed to fit how I identify.

Still, talking about being bisexual, at least for me, and I am someone who is incredibly vocal about what I believe in, has not been easy. My honesty on this issue has played a role in ending relationships, as at least one boyfriend all the sudden felt the need to worry about every friend I went out with, in case they became competition. My current partner spent years grappling with my jokes, for example, when it was pointed out that something in our house wasn’t straight (to which I’d quip, “Neither am I!”) as well as the more difficult issue of how could I be “bi” and still be with him. My family doesn’t understand how I can claim to be “bi” if I haven’t ever had sex or made out with a woman (past child abuse doesn’t count). Even thought I’d explain, “Gee, maybe she wasn’t interested in me, or I wasn’t interested in her, or the timing was wrong, or she had a boyfriend, or someone walked in on us….” None of it seems to matter. Until I’ve had sex with a woman, my family appears steadfastly unwilling to see me as anything other than heterosexual, and I’m pretty sure even if I did have sex with a woman, they’d ask me how I “knew” it was sex. And when I explain, again and again, why I fight for the right of all Americans to get married, it doesn’t sink in that I am also fighting for my right to marry a woman, if that is what I chose to do some day.

Perhaps the ultimate reason bisexuality is dismissed as a phase, as opposed to part of the continuum of sexuality, is because it is too much for many people to deal with. Instead of see-sawing through attractions for women some of the time and men at other times or possibly both all of the time, it is just easier to grab a box, preferably the one labeled “heterosexual” and shove yourself inside it. After all, it’s only life, love, sexuality, emotional fulfillment, orgasms, closeness, ones’ self, one’s partner, society’s edicts, pleasure, pain and reality you have to deal with or avoid, and aren’t those pesky tasks anyway?

Friday, July 16, 2010

How To Make Your Partner Feel Loved

Tell her how beautiful she is when she gets diagnosed with a whole bunch of health problems and promise her that her beauty will never fade in your eyes.

Tell her that there are endless ways to be intimate without having sex and promise her that you'll have fun finding those ways together.

Promise her that you won't leave her even if she can never have sex again and even if she will never blow you again (that blow job thingy was part of the original dating agreement).

Promise her that you'll do whatever you can to support her.

Then, as time goes by tell her how beautiful she is but do it from further and further away from her, until it is impossible to touch one another.

As time goes by, keep your physical body in the same room, but "check your mind out." Forget about her doctors' appointments. Let her continue to try and manage life the same as she used to-you know, manage the housework and all that other "womanly stuff". Fail to see that she doesn't meet your eyes (because they are full of tears) when you ask if it's ok to do whatever it is that takes you completely away from her when she needs you most

Then, as more time goes by, and she is having "yet another flare-up" and "can't have sex again" tell her how every night you think about rubbing one out. And do so, as she, half-heartedly encourages you to because she no longer has the courage to ask you to hold her through her pain instead.

And when you fight about it, as you surely will, remind her how beautiful you think she is, even if you can't remember the last time you touched her shoulder or her fucking toes. Remind her of how hard you try to be there for her, even if you can't remember when you did more than drive her to the occasional doctor's appointment and make so many squeamish faces as the needles were about to be inserted deep into her, that you were more of a hindrance than a help. Promise her you'll call the counselors and repeatedly forget. Say "I'm sorry" more often than you say "I love you".

But most of all, if you really want to make your partner feel loved, especially when she feels like a loathsome, diseased piece of pond scum, tell her that she is beautiful from the other side of the house, while you're washing dishes and remind her that you'll do anything you can to help her as you race off to the burdens of your world, leaving her ugly and untouched to handle everything you promised her, all alone.