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113 posts categorized "sexuality"

September 03, 2008

Sex is more than the physical

Is sex all that it is cracked up to be? That's the first question that entered my head after reading the latest headlines. It's quite obvious that abstinence education isn't slowing –not the teenage pregnancy rate, but the rate of teenagers having sex, possibly before they're ready. Are they doing it for the sake of doing it, doing it for love or doing it to fit in or maybe doing it as an escape, no one will ever know, but if current sexually explicit trends and abstinence programs aren't reducing sexual activity among teenagers, then what?

Also, is teenage pregnancy a huge deal? If a government established programs that enable teenagers to cope as young parents, programs that enable them to continue their educations or work options (via apprenticeships or traineeships), how bad could teenage pregnancy be?

Society is strange. The binaries are obvious; a girl is pregnant and she is stigmatized for having sex (to be pregnant – pregnancy as an obvious confirmation of her sexual activity) and viewing pregnancy as an 'undesirable' condition tends to blur the other factor within the biological equation – the fetus or baby. I've seen teenagers (accompanied by parents) at abortion clinics and the teenagers don't look happy to be there, they're terrified. And fine, there is a choice or girls/women have a choice, but let's face it, it's more like an executive decision. Individuals vary; abortion isn't necessarily a decision that curbs future 'mistakes'. There are women out there that view abortion as an easy solution, some women have multiple abortions, and sure that is their choice, but the spotlight is on abortion, not the reasons multiple abortions occur. I've had one abortion, and I wouldn't class it as a happy experience. More like a soul drain. I remember the day vividly, and I remember the post op period; I said to myself that if I had to make that choice again, I'd rather not have sex, which is why the view of 'abortions' being fine and dandy (because most feminists view them as straight medical procedures, like having a vaccination) pisses me off a lot. Let's not forget that many of the most militant feminists, or the most 'loud', tend to be childless so they wouldn't have a clue about abortion (as an experience) or parenthood.

What if abstinence was revamped?

Continue reading "Sex is more than the physical" »

September 01, 2008

Bored After 200 Orgasms Per Day

Sometimes, having too much of anything can lead to boredom. Orgasms included. The below quote came via The Daily Telegraph and News of the World. The articles discuss Sarah Carmen, a woman who is bored simply because the most ordinary thing can bring her to orgasm and having sex with people hasn't provided a panacea for her medical condition:

"Sometimes I have so much sex to try to calm myself down I get bored of it. And men I sleep with don't seem to make as much effort because I climax so easily."

Sarah's condition makes Meg Ryan's diner orgasm (When Harry Met Sally) look like a casual burp. The SSRI link is scary when I think about it because I'm now wondering what will happen when I stop the Zoloft at some point. I've been thinking about ending my relationship with the shrink for a few weeks now, and I'm researching the best way to cease SSRI's - not that I mind the Zoloft, but I can't be arsed returning to the shrink, and forking out cash for a useless appointment, just to receive a script and the last thing I'd need in my life was PSAS as a possible repercussion or side effect; how the hell would I explain that to my son? If Sarah experiences orgasms at the sound of hairdryers, how would I fare? Will a casual play on the Nintendo Wii result in a spontaneous orgasm? I can't imagine how Sarah's 200 orgasms a day provide peace of mind as they'd interfere with work, and just about every other task. If she reacts to loud noises, imagine what her days would be like when she walks on a busy city street. Imagine what would happen near a construction site?

PSAS (Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome) or Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder can be the bane of any one's existence. It may render orgasm monotonous, if experienced 200 or so times a day. I had no idea this condition existed until recently. According to the original article in News of the World, Sarah developed PSAS after being prescribed anti-depressants at the age of 19. Instead of the condition making her life a nightmare (bars and other loud venues tend to bring on the occasional orgasm), Sarah has taken it in her stride, but imagine if this was you? How would you negotiate work? I can imagine how my own workplace would react to the revelation; it kind of makes 'equal opportunity' legislation all the more interesting.

What is PSAS?
Apparently it is unrelated to any feelings or emotions of sexual desire, and relates more to a spontaneous arousal. It was first documented in 2001, and is unrelated to hypersexuality (the PC term for nymphomania) and even though orgasm may provide minor relief, the symptoms are known to return within hours. The causes vary, and the cessation of SSRI's has been linked to the condition. Non SSRI causes include sensory nerve irregularity or pelvic venous-arterial deformities.

If you're interested in reading more about it, you can purchase the PDF copy of the paper via this link here.

July 19, 2008

The Bernays Principle: From Religious Sexual Abuse to Feminism

It was the apology that Sydney (and its media) eagerly waited for, and the agitation increased as the days passed by during this week, or World Youth Day Week. Sexual abuse has made headlines around the world, and it seems that there are ways to go in regard to sorting the issues out but an apology is a small and essential step. An apology is an acknowledgment of fault. As for what happens in the future? Hopefully cases will be turned over to the police instead of being internal - but there is a long way to go yet. I don't think the financial 'out of court' settlements really do much justice, when the abusers don't see a day in jail.

How and why clerical abuses occur is a mystery. One would think that sexual self-love would be sufficient. The excuse of clerical celibacy (as a partial cause) doesn't really wash because many other non-clerical people are celibate, and they don't go about taking advantage of minors. The Catholic Church has a lot of things to work on, namely figuring out a way to screen potential pederasts beforehand: perhaps psychological evaluations over the course of a year? Then again, an attitude adjustment regarding sex is another issue; any sort of repression tends to create a bottleneck. It's one thing to be celibate without religious reason, and quite another to force oneself into the fold or compromise. Perhaps the Catholic Church should look at asexual men as better candidates. Yes, asexuality is real.

The definition of asexuality varies, but an asexual person is commonly defined as a person who doesn't experience sexual attraction. Asexual, on its own, is defined as 'without sexual desire or interest.' Is it possible for a person to be asexual? According to Asexuality.Org it is. Asexuality, according to asexuality.org, is an orientation, not a choice (like celibacy). What is the difference between sexual attraction and attraction? Sexual attraction motivates the individual to act on the urge. It all makes for interesting discussions. Sexuality has existed since day dot. After all society has relied on sex to have a steady increase in population. But does reproduction really require sexual paraphernalia for sexual intercourse to occur? I tend to doubt that it does. Many population spikes, or spikes in birth rates, occurred in the era before pornographic saturation. In other words, people don't need visible sexual stimuli in order to reproduce and people can have sex without experiencing the romantic 'swept away' moment. In fact, many people have supplied information to sex surveys of the past to state that they experienced minor thrills during sex. This is usually attributed to mediocre sexual technique, poor anatomical knowledge and sexual oppression.

One person of interest, that is rarely the subject of much debate in the 21st century, is the person who is considered to be the father of 'spin' or PR, Edward Bernays. Edward was interested in his uncle's (Sigmund Freud) work on the unconscious, and was interested in manipulating public opinion by using the psychology of the subconscious. Perhaps one of the scariest quotes attributed to Bernays, is the following:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society…Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."

Bernays developed marketing techniques that are still practiced during political campaigns. His work wasn't limited to politics; he drew upon Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic ideas to promote (by indirection) products such as cigarettes. In short, Edward Bernays was a propagandist. To this day, he is considered as the Father of PR.

Posterlightofthecross In fact, if the most recent Papal apology on sexual abuse is weighed against all the hoopla and PR of World Youth Day (events, masses and concerts featuring many 'Christian' Australian Idol finalists and winners), one can possibly see WYD for what it is – a massive gathering of people that represent a group mind. This group mind shares the same faith, and seeks like-minded individuals. One can almost taste the buzz in the polluted city air when standing among these people or pilgrims. They are affable, and not the hard boiled city person one would normally come across; many people interviewed for news programs have been quoted to say something along the lines of, 'it's nice to see people smiling in the city.' One cannot argue against the positive vibe. It's pleasant. I'm betting that the issue of clerical sexual abuse won't register strongly among the pilgrims. It will go in one ear and out the other; what they will take home from this trip is the new friendships, fun and the chance to see Pope Benedict XVI. World Youth Day is pure PR, and these sorts of endeavours aren't a surprise in an age filled with uncertainties (environmental and economic) that multiply by the day. One can go further to say that many youth need some form of spiritual sanctuary in order to feel like they matter because it's tremendously easy to feel like being a cog in a world filled with confusion, violence and elephantine sized shit. What or who is the best candidate? Youth. Religion isn't just about God, or whose God is 'best', it's also about maintaining an ordered society. By order, I mean the opposite of chaos.

The Bernay's system of PR –in today's terms- can't be considered 'genius' but it was considered genius for the 20th century. His principles tend to hinge on human vulnerability or human vulnerability is the springboard of every marketing campaign. It doesn't matter if it is religious, non-profit or commercial, the same principles are recycled and applied to just about anything; take the upcoming Sydney Sexpo as an example. The Sexpo isn't about education. There is nothing there to educate the masses about sex or sexual practice, but it is sold as a lifestyle event, but it's a commercial event. Upon entering the Sexpo, people will notice the décor; it is wall-to-wall sex toys, videos and other paraphernalia. There is no literature, other than copious adult magazines filled with women showing their 'pink'. The idea of being a sex dynamo or getting there is enough; it is every modern adult's dilemma – how great am I in bed? Can I be good in bed? Which product will help me be great in bed? Here's news: products aren't a panacea. Intimacy isn't about products.

Virginia_slims The world of feminism is interesting, and more so today. The feminist dinosaurs of the past have faded, some have found other causes, but the shadow of feminism lingers on. Like any ism – there tend to be more splits than the split ends on my scalp. There is pro-sex, there is radical, there is anti-porn, in fact there are many varieties of feminism out there; if feminism was a tobacco industry, I'm sure that women would be able to find their perfect blend of tobacco, which brings me to the next interesting morsel concerning the father of PR, Bernays, and his successful campaign to get more women to smoke in the United States, in the 20th Century.

The dilemma for the tobacco industry was as follows: How do you sell cigarettes to women when smoking is taboo for women? I think many would agree with me, even though I am a smoker, when I say that smoking would have to be a modern evil in the sense of profiteering and corporate greed, not to mention the preference of using crops for tobacco instead of food, in a world rife with hunger.

The Bernays approach or solution to overturning the female taboo on smoking is interesting because it simply shows how feminism isn't exclusive to women. Men have used feminism or feminist ideas to push products, and women fall – and continue to fall – for it. These days, however, women are told to buy something (that is associated to grooming or image) because, after all 'they work hard' and 'they can afford it.' Independence, as a concept, is still used to manipulate women.

In the Twenties, The American Tobacco Company used PR to promote cigarettes to women. A.D. Laskers adverts featured opera singers promoting Lucky Strike cigarettes. Lucky Strike was further promoted as the healthier cigarette (like a 'healthier A-Bomb?'). Then cigarettes were linked to weight control with captions such as, 'Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.' And the idea of thinness continues, with the word permeating certain brands like Virginia Slims (remember? The one with the 'feminist' – 'you've come a long way baby' caption?)

When Edward Bernays comes along, the picture changes. It isn't about healthier cigarettes; the campaign took a different direction: sell women cigarettes as a symbol of freedom or liberation. See, men like Bernays didn't have to wait for the feminist Sixties to arrive. It's pure social/group psychology. Even latter feminists have taken advantage of group dynamics to get their points across. The idea of cigarettes as a symbol of independence wasn't Bernays' sole idea; he arrived to that idea by way of consulting a psychiatrist who advised him. Bernays prepared for the PR campaign of THE century. It's a PR 'thang' that is still being taught, and similar marketing methods are used all the time - example: product sample bags.

Bernays hired fashion models to march in New York's Easter parade. Each model held a lit cigarette and wore a banner stating, "torch of liberty " and further on, the photographs from the parade were sent (and published) aroundBlow the world. From that point on, as soon as cigarettes became trendy, female independence and submission walked hand in hand (refer to the vintage advert on the right) Similar marketing methods are used today. I don't even want to entertain how many freebies tobacco companies give to celebrities, but even the paparazzi enters – albeit indirectly/unintentionally – the scene each time a picture of a smoking Britney Spears is captured, sold and published en masse. So much for the torch of liberty when there is clear and obvious manipulation of just about everything and it does raise questions: how liberated are women? How liberated are men? Are you as liberated as you think you are or are you as liberated as marketing companies say you are? Dita Von Teese’s smoking video, depicting her seductively sucking on a long cigarette, didn’t really wash with me; it was like stepping back into a bygone era - going backwards instead of forwards, but when I posted that video on my blog months ago (accompanying a post about the folly of tobacco marketing), some commenters swooned over Dita smoking. Go figure.

It's fair to say that marketing and advertising are needed, but I'd go further and ask myself whether a product does truly alter a person's life for the better. It may be individual. It may depend on the product. I think promoting something like a religion may be positive for some, but it still doesn't actively deal with the issues facing the world. Sexpo may be fun, but it certainly isn't educational for some, and it's more a business venture. These days cigarettes are evil, and aren't the symbol of independence for women (their addictive factor isn't a symbol of independence for any one for that matter), but sex is interesting. Now sex, there's something there. It is the new thing. It's better than cigarettes. Addiction? There is sexual addiction, but it's never really taken seriously. It's not like sexual addiction will increase one's chances of developing emphysema or lung cancer, and if you whack a condom on, the chance of contracting a disease is diminished. But is sex an adequate symbol of independence?

Are we truly independent as individuals?

July 14, 2008

Relationships in the Modern Age: From Christie Brinkley to Frilly Theories on Male Behavior

Christiebrinkleyb Christie Brinkley's divorce has appeared in many shows and magazines. The divorce aired her ex husband's dirty laundry across the world, everything from his affair with a teenager to his addiction to Internet porn, with allegations of his web cam masturbation sessions. It's a tale of yet another celebrity relationship biting the dust for reasons that can (and do) affect non-celebrity couples: infidelity, addiction and humiliation. It's like agreeing to certain relationship terms and finding that the errant partner disrespects the mutual terms, taking a secret detour to find temporary nirvana. Although celebrity relationships are viewed as a unique example, the issues aren't unique or exclusive to celebrities. Infidelity and betrayal are equal opportunity quantities that rear their heads in most relationships, which raise further questions regarding contemporary society, and whether this information driven society is compatible with traditional relationships.

Peter Cook won't be the first or last errant husband to use the Internet to get his jollies off. There are many who opt to reveal their private parts to maintain anonymity, to satisfy their yen for a different partner. The virtual partner or fuck buddy is a popular mod-con; anonymous, distant and open to suggestion, the virtual fuck buddy won't create problems, until Internet histories are discovered or one is busted in the act of preening online. I'm betting that Brinkley didn't see this coming, or anticipated her husband's infidelity or Internet porn addiction. There are things that are impossible to predict, so the statement made by a court appointed psychologist was really interesting because it indicates that some psychologists either have no clue or live on an intellectual pedestal.

Psychologists are renowned for discussing their theories on gender. Some are guilty of promoting their theory of biologically unfaithful men; it's all in the DNA! Where is the proof? Are there any prehistoric cave paintings that prove man's natural need to sow his seed with every vagina he meets? Of course there isn't. Never has been. I feel that the polygamy theory is social and is more closely related to contemporary society. I mean, in an age where all parents are financially responsible for the children they bring to this earth, it doesn't make sense for a man to procreate with every woman, and the same applies to bygone eras. But the present economic world is about disposability, convenience and sales. Thousands of years ago, it was the opposite and closer to the idea of sustainability. Only the wealthy could afford more than one wife, and many royal families featured many wives but the unions weren't sexual or based on the modern idea of romantic/sexual infatuation. It was about bloodlines or maintaining bloodlines within a dynasty. Ordinary men, or men without royal or aristocratic means, couldn't afford to have more than one wife, but not only that, there is no proof to support the theory of men being naturally or genetically promiscuous.

The court appointed psychologist allegedly said (of Brinkley) that Brinkley needed to start working on deeper issues, including her choice of male partners.

I don't think that Brinkley has a bad track record. Her marriage to Peter Cook wasn't an overnight affair and it doesn't seem to be based on whim. Sometimes it is difficult to penetrate the mask that people wear. One marries and sees the bad behavior later. What is the real difference between living together and marriage? Hardly anything. What is the point of cohabiting with a person for years before deciding on marriage? Common law partners are still treated the same way during the separation process and all are legally responsible for the children within a common law partnership. The law in most countries doesn't differ. Why isn't the court appointed psychologist quoted about Peter Cook and his activities? Where is that? Nowhere to be found, that's where but women 'need' to investigate their deeper issues relating to partner choice: here's news for them – sometimes it isn't so easy, and it is impossible to be clairvoyant on such matters.

As a woman, I'm sick and tired of the 'men are naturally promiscuous,' excuse. I think it all a bunch of bollocks, a cop out. Men are conditioned to view women as sex objects, and this conditioning has become something else after research on conditioning was published in the 20th Century. Psychological manipulation is prevalent in the world of commerce. Advertising operates on subtle psychological principles and conditioning and association is popular. You watch a television advert on household cleaning products and you see a woman starring in the advert, in fact you see women in these commercials for decades, so it comes as no surprise that women are associated with housework and cleaning products. Ask a man about the best oven cleaner and chances are that he'll have no bloody clue whatsoever. And no, let's not be rash and blame the entire 'patriarchy' because many executives in the business of conditioning and association are female as well. So it's not that simple to blame the patriarchy. After all, in order for a patriarchy to exist, it had to be supported by the female sector, and by support I mean the subtle support or nonchalant attitudes that exist. The idea of women removing themselves from the patriarchal equation is naïve and tends to be the easy way out or the easy argument. The world isn't about a mysterious Bilderberg-like group named The Patriarchy. It's about commerce, economies and profit. These three things dominate. Take the porn industry as one example: the idea of promiscuity is widely explored in pornography. There are more girls than a guy can handle, but in the ideal world of porn films the guy can handle more than one girl without his dick going soft. In fact, there are no soft-cock episodes in the world of porn, and while a portion of female actresses earn more than men, the idea of 'man conquering' pussy in porn can be considered patriarchal in the modern sense or according to the theory of male biological promiscuity, but it isn't purely patriarchal because women are also making the choice to participate in the films and there is also a portion of women purchasing the films to augment their sexual fantasies. In other words, the theory of supposed genetic infidelity is a fantasy and it is a commercial fantasy.

How can a woman like Christie, or any other woman, anticipate relationship disaster? Is it obvious beforehand, when a person puts on their best clothes for a date or displays perfect manners and conduct? After the relationship enters a regular routine, people find themselves living their life according to the agreements they made, and I'm not talking about wedding vows here, just the regular agreements and they can be anything. Even couples in open relationships have rules. Every individual relies on some code of conduct. It all boils down to knowing where one stands in a relationship.

You're an individual in the contemporary era and you're a female who is advised to analyze choices or the reason behind certain choices. It's what women have been advised to do for many decades but there are never any clear answers, and each relationship is different because people are different. There are patterns of behavior, definitely, but they often materialize differently (different time intervals), and it's not easy to step into the subconscious and demand instant answers. In Christie's case, one can't say, 'oh it's easy, all her partners were philanderers,' because they weren't. Thus, the issue is more subtle or subtle to the point of escaping the individual; the closer one gets to the reason behind certain choices, the reasons elude the individual and when coupled with the modern era of convenience, relationships become more difficult to negotiate in the long term. Is Christie's latest statement, vowing never to marry again, wise? It probably is wise. What does that say about the idea of marriage in contemporary society?

Don't put all your eggs in one basket and always have an escape hatch ready; have your finances sorted, a career ahead of you (and Christie is a great example: maintaining her own career), because we're living in a volatile era, and life isn't a romance novel.

Image: US Magazine

July 09, 2008

Connecting the Dots: What Cosmopolitan Doesn't Tell You

How to have sex after marriage: it's the title of a new television series on the Nine Network. Straight from the UK, this show realistically depicts the work required to resolve sexual hiccups within relationships. The Sydney Morning Herald didn't appreciate it, the reviewer probably expected a 'racier' show, but resolving sexual hiccups within relationships doesn't necessarily translate to an X rated learning curve.

Continue reading "Connecting the Dots: What Cosmopolitan Doesn't Tell You" »

June 13, 2008

The Catholic Church on French Kissing

World Youth Day 2008 is to be hosted in Sydney, and I've made it my mission to stay away from the religious throngs in the city and Randwick. The outlay to host this event is staggering, considering our train system is a shambles and our hospitals are suffering, with extended waiting lists for consultations and treatments.

Anyway, to prepare for World Youth Day, a web site has been set up. It's a Catholic social networking site, and yeah, why not? Everyone is developing social networking sites. They're a social innovation (?).

The thing that made me laugh, probably because I thought it absurd, is the following Q and A, taken from a media website. The issue? French kissing, and the church's stance on the practice of French kissing before marriage:

Lorna Corcoran
wrote at 11:43am on May 1st 2008

Ok this is a question that has bothered me for a good while and I have seen it asked and debated about on the former xt3 and never really got a successful answer.
Is French Kissing before Marriage sinful?


Father John Flynn
wrote at 5:07pm on May 1st 2008 in reply to Lorna Corcoran Dear Lorna,

In a nutshell the answer is that French kissing is highly unadvisable and could well, depending on the circumstances, be sinful.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church deals with the subject in a general way when it examines the virtue of purity.

2522 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

In applying this to your specific question I think that the explanation of the dangers involved in French kissing on the Web page of the Pure Love Club shows the dangers of such intimacy and the problems it can lead to.

Father John Flynn 'applied' the catechism to French kissing - like the catechism is a science?

Wonders never cease. World Youth Indoctrination Day! I can't wait.

May 08, 2008

Writing Under the Influence

I don't like using the typical preamble, 'as a writer,' but I have read about many writers who have written under the influence of substances, and for those sorts of rituals to be considered arty or something. Me, I don't get it. If I slam down five shots of Scotch, I can't keep my eyes on a screen, let alone a page, so I don't get it, but I do write under the influence of tobacco. I'm a chimney, and I don't say that from pride. No, it's not a cool pastime, but it is what it is and I've quit so many times, to restart. I've given up giving myself a hard time - there are worse things in life. I'm not an alcoholic, and I don't do other recreational drugs, but when I write I sometimes have a cigarette perfectly balanced between my lips, and it has become an art form; smoke no longer gets in my eyes. I can type one hundred to two hundred words before it's time to ash the wretched fag, and I return to the next paragraph.

Most recently, or over the last few months, I have written under the influence of a foreign substance and as people who visit here can see, it has reduced my salaciousness to some degree. I sometimes have good salacious days, but most days I'm more topical in nature. This substance has no effect on my appreciation of erotic content. I've always been an avid reader, but my inner life (and my bodily reactions) have entered a different plane, which may come across as loony or slightly unhinged, but it is difficult to describe the phenomenon that accompanies selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

This week, I have thought of returning to work that sits on my computer, work that I haven't returned to since the new medication kicked in. This work is unfinished and unpublished. It was supposed to be completed, and I was supposed to read the first draft, in order to correct it, but lately I've been quizzing myself about it all, namely the content of the stories I've written and if they are viable. I've second guessed myself countless times because of one simple truth: the two stories on my laptop were written during a time of great duress, and lately, I have come to think that such phases don't provide a crash hot read.

To reveal the effect of SSRI's is to open up the door to concepts that may seem outlandish to most sexually active people, and sex writers. How this has affected my own erotica is a phenomenon of its own. The last time I completed an erotic story of my own was a few months ago, and I now experience days asking myself if it will ever come, and I don't specifically blame the medication, even though I don't begin or end my day counting my self made orgasms or my orgasmic motivation, I blame myself.

Most recently, I asked myself where does a person go sexually, after they have experienced all that they wish to experience? In my personal life, the idea of getting out there and being intimate with anyone is no longer a high priority. I tend to visualize standard gropes and sexual expectations (like choreographed foreplay and typified fellatio) and I sour at the prospect of immersing myself in that mating game.

I have done the blind date, casual date and Internet date. I have done the one night stand, relationship, short relationship and Internet booty call. What else is there to do? Where else can I go? And this doesn't have anything to do with writing per se, because there are countless stories that can be written, that are no problem, but I frequently ask myself if I have desensitized myself or whether it is a dual feedback situation, of society desensitizing people. Occasionally, I'll ask myself if I'm smack in the middle of an early mid-life crisis, and sometimes I'm comfortable with that (because if it's experienced early, it won't be experienced later – who has the energy for a second run?)

Most recently, after a short visit with a relative of mine, a conversation developed and it related to the death of a family member in 2007. We agreed on one thing – how it changed everyone on some level. Maybe it was the situation or event of the death and how it unfolded, at the most unexpected time. One thing is certain, the day altered us all in some way or form, and it was something that I didn't anticipate. I thought I was immune to death. After all, I have spent five years in nursing homes and hospitals, and I have spent almost three years majoring in human anatomy at university. Death and human bodies go hand in hand with those kinds of jobs and studies, but something did change. Perhaps my perception of my life, at that stage (and age) added more factors to my reaction and response. I can't be entirely sure, but when I returned home and reentered my workplace, I was a different person but those around me would pretend that nothing happened.

I remember the day my work woes erupted like an inflamed wisdom tooth. It was shortly after I felt I made some good calls, and achieved more than I did the year prior. I entered a new role, and I finally felt I had covered good ground. All in five months. Not bad, I thought, considering I had endured a personal death a few months prior. The sun shone for me, until other things arose, things that related to intra-office bitchiness, and then I came face to face to the early crisis once again. It returned like a long lost friend or a shit stained shoe, shaking my hand and welcoming me back into the sticky fold.

I'm amazed that I've had a few short stories published during that time. I remember returning to Sydney, shortly after the death in my family, and finding out I'd won a short story competition. Sure, I was rapped, but I thought it ironic. It took me some months, after that, to return to any form of erotic writing. I wrote. I just didn't want to write about affection, love, sex, intimacy or anything remotely personal on any sexual level.

Achievement, or the sense of achievement is a relative thing. When my work issues arose, I felt like I'd fallen into an abyss, and getting away from the abyss became difficult due to all the roadblocks that I partially created. I'd faithfully committed to a position, and glanced back to see that I had not accumulated any knowledge in a particular industry, to enable me to escape to another position. I cursed myself for entering yet another fucking day job in another industry, and felt disappointment in myself. I also wished I could punch my managers' lights out, but I had to contain that emotion, even though I felt justified in doing that to them. Sure, we're supposed to be sophisticated animals once we enter our adult years, but I can fondly recall my teenage years, or my elementary school years, and think back to brash moments that stood for something, or something much more than what political correctness and the emotional stiff upper lip do.

I think the bulk of my life experience has enabled me to foresee the breaking point. I have seen it in others, and I'd have to be extremely stupid if I couldn't see it for myself, and I did see it. It's strange how people do react to revelations of stress. I recall my recent eye examination for a new set of specs, and the optometrist asking me about any medication. When I replied with, 'Zoloft,' her tone changed. When I recently lodged a form at the local Social Security office, to validate my current job status ('I'm afraid it's still in limbo. I'm officially employed, but I'm on leave."), I had the best service in the world. When the officer apologized profusely and said I needed to lodge the correct medical certificate, he expected a rant or diva tantrum. Five months ago, and I would have exploded but I smiled and nodded. I did inwardly curse my doctor (I haven't had a lobotomy), but my blood pressure didn't rise. I made two trips that day, probably burning a few much needed calories off my Greek butt, but it all ended well and I didn't have to stress about any Social Security payments, even though my workplace is still 'sorting things out,' with bureaucratic vigor. The behavior of those aware of my situation has been interesting for me to observe.

I can't really say that I experienced a total nervous breakdown. I can say that I was on the way there. I just happened to bypass the nightmare before it took hold. Insomnia and anxiety, not to mention inverted anger, can do that to a person. They are the three warning signs, and all the writing in the world (or all the creative endeavors) sometimes fails to balance the stress, and even so, it may not be stress but the perception of non achievement: there I am, I thought, spending eight hours a day with people who'd rather sabotage other people, people who'll spend decades backstabbing other people, people who have orgasms over minor typos, and this is not who I am, and what the fuck have I done? There were many days when I wanted to regress into the teenager I once was, grab two higher ups by the scruff of their necks and give them a right royal shake up. Instead, I woke one morning and said, 'fuck them all, I can't go in anymore.' This arrived, after my realization that I'd only slept an hour, for the seventh consecutive night (or morning), and I couldn't keep on lying to myself, tell myself that I was busy writing. Yes I was writing, but I wasn't really writing for the art of writing. I was writing for the escapism, and that, to me, isn't really an ideal setting and it seldom rectifies other ills, as least for myself.

My first month on medication wasn't anything exciting. It wasn't as though I transformed into a zombie and spent my days in a drug-induced stupor. It was the total opposite. Clarity – after the previous eight or so months – arrived and could have been a strange visitor. Maybe I can liken it to a new lover or a strange houseguest. One thing is certain, getting reacquainted with it felt strange, and it still feels alien to me but I take it one day at a time. I am still a long way from returning to my writing routine, and this post isn’t what I’d classify as writing. I type at a 100 words per minute, all eight digits, thumbs on space bars.

There are days or evenings, such as this moment, when I sit down to write and I recall all the stories I need to go through with a fine tooth comb, and grab all the dead lice. Yes, I have to remove the bits I don't like. I have to amputate the influence of the stress of the last eight months, and I have to regroup and reorganize, and it does feel strange to be under the influence of what I am currently taking. Others get off their faces to lose themselves, and enter a world of smudged reality, meanwhile I'm taking something that is slowly piecing together the person I used to be, and the strange thing is that I'm willing to put my libido on the temporary back burner in order to get that person back.

May 05, 2008

The Internet is Evil & Other Stories

If a massive anthology was put together, it would make for an interesting read or push The DaVinci Code off the astronomical bestseller list. As for the title of such an anthology?

The Internet is Evil

Dan Brown (not DaVinci Dan) of the London Free Press has written an interesting article about the 'evil' Internet, and he is right to say that society always uses a scapegoat. Years ago, or back to the dinosaur era when kids were skipping school to head to the game arcades, video games were the bane of every parent's existence. Each time I'd beg my mother for twenty cents for Space Invaders, she'd do a Gordon Ramsay: "Fucking Space Invaders!" But with her new Australian accent it was more like, "Farkkingk Spece Invaiiders!"

It's not about technology so much as what that technology enables a person to do or what opportunities it Bookcover80 offers a person. Unfortunately, and this is where the idea of an anthology enters the scene, the Internet enables people to indulge in fruitcake behavior. Take one person with the right amount of crazy ingredients, and the Internet is an orgasm for them. Back in the day of video games, all you did was sit there with your Atari playing Berzerk and Pong, and you had no one to play mind games with. You just hit the ball, and pretended you were having fun (even though you preferred to head down to the games arcade to get away from your boring Atari, and tilt a pinball machine for the fun of it). I loved the game arcade. The game arcade was the first and last time I was ever called a 'skinny bitch' by a boy. His name was Apostoli, yes he was a local Greek lad (the inner city was filled with migrants those years), and he was pissed at me for hogging Donkey Kong and beating his record – call it my early definition of female empowerment. And that was about as bad as it could get.

Fast forward to the age of virtuosity, with imaginary rooms, avatars and people and it can be like stepping into digital Bedlam and what is more, there is an idea of there being no limits whatsoever. Enter an adult room in Paltalk and the world is your oyster, even if the 'fat fanciers' rooms need to be labeled 'obesity' is a health hazard. And I think that is unfair. You need to be told about these things in more specific terms. Hey, I'm no prude, just tell me what I'll find in the damn room. It's not good enough to say, 'you have to be over eighteen or twenty-one,' in this day and age. Hell, I'm almost three years from forty, but if I see a twisted set of cock and balls in the midst of CBT, I'm going to be put off my Cornflakes. Specificity is key.

In 1976, the film Sybil was a groundbreaking story about multiple personality disorder. Sally Field was amazing in that film. She won awards. Linda Blair in the Exorcist was something else. It horrified the world, but now, what is there to be horrified about when you can find that sort of thing at the press of a button? It is one thing to have a writing nom de plume, but it is quite another to interact with people using different online personalities, to delve in a relationship or make friends with people using assumed names. Screw the political correctness, but that is downright crazy (or 'crazeyyyyy'), and the thing is this, it's not as though the people aren't aware of doing it, like the real-life Sybil (Shirley Ardell Mason) and other people who genuinely deserve sympathy, they are fully aware of doing it and do it for ulterior (and selfish) reasons.

Psycho1 What compels some people to do this on the Internet? From my own personal experience, being on the receiving end of the occasional loon in chat rooms and the like, it is based on some sexual pretext and it's not the Internet that is evil. It's not about evil. It's about having a convenient medium to mask and create many personalities. There have been moments when I have thought that this type of behavior isn't about craziness per se, but about pathological lying that aims to extract information, something that Barbed Wire outlines well in her blog entry about Internet loons.

Think about it. The multiple chat persona/avatar creates so many stories about themselves, and happens to know everything there is to be known about people you know, and just before you head into Crazyville, you realize that you're dealing with a species that would make Alien look like a Gremlin. That is how I can sum up the Single White Female in my chat world back then. I have fantasized about so many ways to inflict pain on her, that it would make me look demented, and I probably am, but that is the thing: these people bring out all sorts of ugly in innocent people. To this day, you'll never find me in a chat room. At work, people would often discuss things like online dating or chatting, and I'd experience a form of post traumatic stress disorder (there ought to be an Internet version) with 'oh no…no…nooooooooooo! Stop talking, la-la-la-la I'm not listening. Fuck off!'

In the seven or so years of using the Internet, I can form my own little fractured anthology.

There was the guy who was really a girl, who'd chat up females, and get them on the phone, with a convincing masculine voice, and do all sorts of phone sex things, for the girls to find out the truth and feel violated.

There was Single White Female, who made it her mission to befriend as many people as possible to find out all the goss in a small chat community, and to wreak havoc by sleeping with as many attached males that she could, and then return on the chat medium to announce her feminine superiority to hapless women, after bedding their men.

There were two male friends who'd interchange personalities, and share the same girls online.

There was a group of bored young adults comprising of a closeted Greek dude, his female friend (with the macho voice) and two little fairy types, who'd chat up innocent people, and offer their contact phone numbers to the people, with the people unaware that the phone numbers they were getting were their own phone numbers (confusing yes). So the poor sods would realize they'd spent an hour wasting their time.

There is the case of my first ever cyber male, and him being an effeminate hardcore queen who still lived with his parents at the age of thirty-seven and pretended he wasn't gay to those within the community. I'll never forget meeting that guy at a chat social event and thinking so many politically incorrect thoughts such as, 'which gay male would spent hours trying to cyber a female?'

If, during the era of video games and Atari, the technology back then could offer the same thing to certain nut jobs, they'd definitely take it up. It's not about the technology being evil per se, it's about the small portion of people being nut jobs and the Internet being a versatile technology, that is much like nuclear technology. Now you get your good and bad in all technologies. Without nuclear technology we wouldn’t have treatments for things like cancer, or a way to provide cheap energy to households and businesses, but nuclear technology also has its ugly side in nuclear bombs. The Internet is the same. It’s fantastic for bridging the geographical gap and providing information at a second’s notice, but it also has its crap side, and that side manifests in the virtual multiple personalities and trolls that drive you crazy every now and then.

May 01, 2008

Sex News in the Land Downunder

These are the main headlines from this end of the world, and although we’re not backward in Australia, it does take a while to get things done. Bureaucracies are bureaucracies, but it’s pleasing to know that 100 laws will be changed to accommodate same-sex couples. However, marriage remains restricted to heterosexual couples.

In the land of parliamentary scandals, we’re quite boring. We don’t have MP’s dress up in suspender belts, or engage in auto-erotic asphyxiation, but we do have a chair sniffer. What is a chair sniffer you may ask? Western Australian opposition leader Troy Buswell admitted to sniffing a female Liberal staffer’s chair after she had sat on it. I don’t know why people confess to these things when they’re politicians, it’s not like we’ll say, ‘oh yeah, bonza mate. She’s a beaut!’ Australians are still a little pedantic about unusual habits, and although chair sniffing doesn’t sit in the realm of kinkdom, it’s not something you’d admit to doing. It’s far more normal to sniff knickers. Chairs?

From the good, to the ridiculous, we arrive to the outright hideous and repulsive (and mind blowing). What is the record for rape charges? One, five, ten? Well in Melbourne, Victoria, the record has probably been broken with the trial of John Xydias commencing at the Victorian Supreme Court - 85 rapes. It makes you wonder how people manage to find the bloody time, but not only that, this hideous creature used Rohypnol to knock out his female targets, many of whom weren't aware of anything until police showed them the video footage.

Following on from the above, a man is being charged with using sex to control a teenager. It seems like the man didn't practice the common BDSM mantra of 'safe, sane and consensual.'

April 30, 2008

There is a Difference Between Consensual Sex and Rape - even with Internet Porn

People's views on sex change over time, and may also be influenced by outside factors such as marital status. Single versus attached/married versus attached/divorced/married parent. All views differ and sometimes empathy can vary.

Take the new law to come into effect in the UK next week, that will target extreme pornography. It is true to say that as societies change, so do laws. The current Internet age or information age has enabled positive things, such as a wider access to information, but it has also enabled access to information that may be age inappropriate, and it isn't restricted to porn, or extreme porn, but things like online terrorist organizations who have reportedly used known social networks as potential recruitment grounds.

The new Act, I think, isn't that extreme, and as usual, much paranoia unfolds. People immediately assume that all adult content will be banned outright, or that people will effectively have a scarlet letter painted on their chest. This new law targets content that is against the law in our everyday life, away from the Internet, images such as rape or extreme violence, generally things that are unacceptable behaviors in society, and to say that it's simply 'extreme' to ban violent sexual content, is verging on the side of inane political correctness.

What I found disturbing in the article, is the following quote or response by one 'Helen', who - it is stated- enjoys being submissive, and watching porn:

"Mrs Longhurst sees this man having done this to her daughter and she wants something to blame and rather than blame this psychotic man she wants to change the law but she doesn't really understand the situation."

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