emanix

emanix


Maxine's Journal

Adventures of the Polka-Dotted One


Entries by tag: sex

[sticky post]Welcome to my world
emanix
emanix
I'm posting this entry for the edification of new readers, as a flag to my important posts (at least the ones important to me), and a map of my world.

My name's Maxine Green. I'm an artist and illustrator by trade, polyamorous (and many other things) by nature, a scientist at heart, and an activist by accident.

My introductory post is here: Butterfly

A continuing series of scribblings about the things that are important to me:
Defining My Terms: 1. Bisexuality
Defining my Terms 2: Polyamory
Defining my Terms 3: Kink
Defining My Terms 4: Radical Agnostic
(because not everything is about sex)
Some More Definitions

Original Essays/Articles:

SAMOTURE - or This is What an Activist Looks Like (2009-10-01)
Bisexuality & Statistics: Twice as many dates? (2010-07-16)
Secret Loves (why they suck) (2010-06-10)
The Emanixine Creed (2010-10-03)
The big, beautiful shiny rainbow of kink (A.K.A. there's no One True Way) (2011-04-25)
On hierarchies, relationships and cat ownership. (March 9th, 2013)
On how touching someone without asking is assault. EVEN IF THEY LIKED IT. (October 17th, 2012)
I Am Not Here For Your Entertainment. (The Story) (October 25th, 2011)
Self-Evident Epiphanies - Human Beings. (January 30th, 2011)
Hi, I'm poly and I don't exist. (August 1st, 2010)
. (.)

Resources:

Bicon Follow-Up - Poly 201 responses. (2010-09-05)
Bicon Follow-Up 2 - Recipe for Aloe-based Lube (2010-09-05)
Bicon Follow-Up 3 - SM/Breathplay, with link to Jay Wiseman's Essays (2010-09-05)
How to Be Trans-friendly and Subvert Crummy Gender Roles at the Same Time, in Five Easy Steps! (2010-04-07)
Legal Prostitutes Have HALF the Infection Rate of 'Straight' Population (2010-07-12)
'The Bastards! - A sympathetic technique for relationship harmony.' (September 27th, 2013)
More Bad Science - Contraception and Statistics. (a.k.a. Implanon Implants: They're Fine.) (January 9th, 2011)
. (.)

Some more "Me Manual" stuff:

Let's Only Date Grown-ups. (June 8th, 2012)
Form Letter (Response to idiots sending me form letters on dating sites and social networks) (October 23rd, 2013)
On Pain, Punishment and Perverse Incentives (February 3rd, 2012)
. (.)


No doubt I'll edit this further as new things occur to me, and as my essay series grows.

In the meantime, enjoy!

M.

x

On Pain, Punishment and Perverse Incentives
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I am not a brat.

I tend to keep my submissive streak rather quiet. Partly because it's very very rare that it comes out. I have gone most of thirty years and only been submissive for a few days of that, at most. Partly because I see the lack of respect towards submissives in certain parts of the kink scene and perhaps a bit selfishly, to avoid having to spend hours explaining myself or challenging prejudice, I have sometimes taken the easy route to avoiding that. Not by lying, but certainly by omitting to mention my switchy side when in public. I have also hidden my masochistic aspect on occasion, despite that being much larger, because it frustrates me when people automatically assume that masochist equals submissive, and submissive equals masochist (I've written about it in my livejournal before: http://emanix.livejournal.com/24585.html ). I work hard though, nowadays, to break down that false assumption and free other kinky folk from unsatisfying and confusing relationships. Most often, when I play these days, it's something along the lines of 'Masochist Dom' (“Spank me! No, harder! Mmm, that's good. More. Good boy!”)

But I do have a submissive side. There is a part of me that very occasionally wants someone else to be in charge, someone telling me what to do, or what is going to be done to me. It's small, but it runs deep, and comes out only when I'm with people I feel very very safe around, whom I respect emotionally and intellectually, and most often when I'm feeling pressured by the outside world and looking for a safe space to go to, where someone I trust is willing to take on the responsibility of making decisions for me, just for a while. And I am not a brat.

A brat is someone who misbehaves deliberately in order to be punished. An awful lot of masochists are brats, through nature or through training. The outside world teaches us that physical punishment is a response to bad behaviour. A child does something hurtful to themselves or others, and is given a smack as a swift way to create an aversion to that behaviour. Many countries in the world still use corporal punishment to control adults. More importantly, it is normal not to reward bad behaviour, for obvious reasons. If someone hurts you, or takes something of yours, you don't give them a lollipop. It is obvious to most people that giving someone a reward for undesired behaviour is going to result in more of that same behaviour. For a masochist, which I'm going to define here as 'someone who enjoys pain', a spanking is pretty much the same as that lollipop. If you give someone what they enjoy, every time they do something that's annoying or upsetting, you are setting them up to want to do those annoying or upsetting things more often. Even if they don't really want to do those things otherwise. Even if those things are actually bad for them. If you are habitually rewarding a person for bad behaviour, they will keep doing it because they want the reward. Curiously enough, outside the world of kink, this is known as a 'perverse incentive' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perverse_incentive). I've known certain masochists who were trained into behaving horribly, being genuinely rude and hurtful to people who weren't consenting to be a part of their scene, because it meant they would be 'in trouble' and get the punishment they really wanted.

I am a masochist, and sometimes I'm submissive, and I am not a brat.

It's still not an easy concept to explain in the abstract, so I'll work through an example:
A few years ago, I moved from a three bedroom house into a single room, and since I had way too much stuff in a very small space, I was struggling to keep it tidy. My primary partner at the time told me he planned to spank me every time he visited and saw that my room was messy. He thought he was being wonderfully helpful – and it would have made perfect sense, in the rest of the world. But for me, that was a stressful and hurtful position to be in, because spanking was something I enjoyed and wanted, this meant I had to choose between two situations I didn't want. If I had a tidy room, it would mean no lovely spankings, but if I left my room messy then I'd get spankings but I'd also have a room I hated to live in. Whatever I did, I lost. Eventually I burst into tears and begged him to please spank me when my room was tidy, or it would never be tidy again.

Don't get me wrong, 'bratting' works really well for some people. At times, it can be a really useful way to negotiate consent without dropping out of role in a scene. When I'm in charge I might threaten to spank someone if they poke their tongue out at me, and then I know, if they poke out their tongue it's a sign they want to get spanked. For some people it's a fun game to play, to see how much you can 'get away with' before you get punished. But (and a few people might find this rather surprising) my subbie side is not a bad girl. Submissive bunny desperately wants to please and hates the idea of doing something upsetting or wrong deliberately. If I've really done something wrong, a mere expression of disappointment is enough to devastate. Punishment of any sort is rather redundant, and physical violence when someone is genuinely angry at me just feels like abuse. I really, really don't want something I love (i.e. pain) associated with negativity and anger.

So how do you punish a masochist?

Well, for one thing, speaking for a moment from the dominant's perspective instead, and an occasional student of psychology, I would question the idea of 'punishment' at all. If you're genuinely in D/s for the purpose of behaviour modification, then there's a lot of research out there talking about how positive or negative reinforcement (i.e. rewarding good behaviour by offering something nice, or by taking away an adverse condition - "you will have to put up with this thing you don't like until you behave yourself properly") is more effective than punishment for long term change. If you're just doing it out of sadism, as an excuse to inflict some torture, then why not be more straightforward about it? “I want to see you suffer. Be a good girl and take it for me.” is, at least to me, hotter and more honest than “You're a bad girl, you need to be punished!” If that's not the way you're kinked, though, and you really, really want to punish, for correction, or just to be evil, then you have to consider what constitutes a reward or a punishment for the individual. Everyone has their own 'thing'. Some people love marmite, and would be really happy to be rewarded with a slice of marmite on toast. Other folks hate the stuff, and would see it as the worst punishment in the world. Same goes for pain, isolation, being enclosed, being paid attention to, being ignored, being humiliated... I could go on and on. For every person who likes something, there is someone who dislikes it. For every fetish there is a phobia. Yes, it requires communication, it requires paying attention. It might even lead to the terrifying possibility of intimacy. For me? Quite honestly, the thought of receiving a pedicure makes me squirm in discomfort. Try inflicting that on me if I'm not in a particularly agreeable headspace and the results will *not* be good.

But if you hate my essay, you're welcome to spank me for it. I'll just enjoy it


Gallivanting, Sacred Sex for Skeptics, Superheroes and Boobquake (Today)!
emanix
emanix
Wow it's been a busy month! A lot of new friendships, a may-be new relationship, a lot of new ideas, and a lot of running around.

Idea 1. I love Frolicon!

The first of April saw me at Frolicon - utterly fabulous. Great to see a lot of the people I connected with last year again. And also a certain person that I only briefly bumped into last year, we hit it off *very* well, and I got to hang out with a lovely portion of the polyfamily, too. That was lovely! Now engaged in one of several 'Sooper Sekrit Projects' which involve a great deal of awesome... and tentacles! Frolicon makes me very happy, and it is worth a lot to me to keep going back there. Where else could I find such people? Perhaps not quite so appealing to werenerd - he and jetlag are not good friends, but I think we'll be back - it was also our anniversary party, after all!

Idea 2. Skeptical Tantra.

Barely had time to breathe in London, catch up on work and spend a little time with my other primary before werenerd and I were off to a Tantra weekend where I yelled at the instructor for spouting sexist drivel, but also was inspired by the challenge of taking what is good and valuable from these practices (and there certainly *are* parts that are good and valuable) and separating it from the pseudoscience and religious babble.
I realise I'm pretty well-placed to do this. I've been studying sex in a casually academic sense for some 20 years*, I have useful knowledge of the real science behind the pseudoscience, and I have worked for and with a tantra school, one of the teachers for which is conveniently a housemate. It's a hell of an undertaking, but the groundwork is there already that would make it possible, and I feel it would be useful to the world. I'm giving this some serious thought.

Idea 3. Rethinking my views on long-distance relationships.

Once upon a time I swore I woudn't ever have another long-distance relationship, mostly based on the fact that every time I have done it's caused me immense stress thanks to partners being not okay with polyamory (often after previously having been fine with it). These days I might flirt with an openly poly person who lived a bit further away, but had been keeping them somewhat casual out of wariness. My experience of poly thus far is that it works better when partners are local. Perhaps, though, if the person(s) concerned are poly activists, it might in fact be worth taking that chance? It's not as if I don't have plenty of long-distance friendships. I still can't see myself taking on a new relationship with a person that isn't already poly, though. I just don't have that kind of energy these days. One policy change at a time, I think!

Idea 4. Being a 'Superhero'.

Having watched 'Kick-Ass', (which was awesome and you all want to see it!) I went home thinking about 'if I was a superhero, what would I call myself?' I came up with the name 'Polly Amorous' and was amazed to discover that this was in fact available as a web domain, so I impulse-bought it and am now considering what to put there. Suggestions welcomed!

Two vaguely serious thoughts followed - one related to my post on being SAMOTURE: that actually, we *are* all responsible for the state of the world we live in, and taking the cop-out option to be bystanders in our own lives... well, it just plain sucks.
From the film: "with no power comes no responsibility... except that's not true."
How does one encourage heroism anyway?

Secondly, that poly people often seem to be considered 'other' by the media in the same way that superheroes are. Every article I read lately seems to include some phrase equivalent to 'this is not for the average Joe', whereas I would protest that we are very much normal people, just normal people with one slightly different belief. I really feel the need to challenge that perception.
So... there will no doubt be related rants, cartoons, essays and other stuff on www.PollyAmorous.com - watch this space!

Idea 5. Boobquake! Today!

Encountered on twitter, details are here: http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/in-name-of-science-i-offer-my-boobs.html
In the name of science I shall be also be trotting around town this evening wearing the most immodest dress I can, and my lovely housemate getoffmoiland will be joining me. Pics later!

Join the #boobquake on Twitter! For Science!

Next month looks to be equally busy, so I intend to spend much of next week being a 'hermit', attempting to get some artwork done, and getting a little rest in if I can, as well. I shall be remaining in South London, and not allowing people to entice me into town during the evenings, which are always (annoyingly) the most productive part of my day.

Love to everybody!




*For the hyperobservant of you, yes really. I said academic, not in a physical manner. That came a little later.

Oh, for G's Sake!
emanix
emanix
I was planning on making my first post in 2010 a bit of a retrospective, inspired by the 'new decade' posts on my friends list, and maybe add in a couple of new year's resolutions. Perhaps I'll still do that, but this piece of idiocy has got me annoyed enough to make my first post this year a rant instead.

The above link is about a supposedly scientific study about a part of the female body that has been politicised and argued over for several decades - The G-Spot (1). Academics and doctors are still arguing about whether or not this particular body-part even exists, while the more experimental of us are busily testing it out for ourselves in the bedroom (My own report from a small, but not insubstantial sample: Yes, it exists, as does female ejaculation).
So how do the researchers test the reality of this myth? Do they conduct a physiological study, and *look* at the female anatomy to determine whether, perhaps, there might be genuine physiological backing, as some studies (2) have done? Do they try stimulating the area, as one classic study (3) did?

No, they designed a questionnaire.

In a society where the average heterosexual male still has trouble finding the clitoris - a perfectly visible, external organ that nobody is debating the existence of, and when public knowledge of human biology is pathetically inadequate, apparently these researchers are claiming that asking women where their G-spot is located and getting inconsistent responses is evidence enough that it doesn't exist.
Whether the women are twins are not makes no real different to the idiocy in the design of the study. I mean, Hello? Is anyone even being taught the existence of the G-spot in schools? I think not. And certainly not when the participants of the study were at school. So all the average woman has to go on is hear-say, and if she's lucky enough to have had a GGG partner or two, maybe some small amount of exploration (I've been lucky enough to have some extremely open-minded and giving male partners, and it's been tough to get more than a brief exploration out of them - I hate to imagine what it's like for other girls.).

I wonder what would have happened if the same study had been done on males, asking them the location and function of their prostate gland? I imagine the results would have been much the same.

This study proves nothing at all except just how poorly educated women (and men) in the UK still are about their own bodies.

Me, I've come from a scientific background. I do understand about the issues with designing studies. The problems of medical ethics are many, and funding towards examining something like this is rare, especially since our attitude to sexual pleasure is still tinted by the victorian attitudes of our past, perhaps even more now than in the 50's when the original work began. Sexology is a field where most of the researchers hands are tied, and they risk being discredited at the slightest whiff of personal experience being included in their conclusions. But jeez... a randomly selected questionnaire to decide on whether a much beloved part of my sexual anatomy exists or not? I'm not amused.

I am, however amused by the turnabout from Freud up to now - Where in Freud's time the clitoris was deemed the 'incorrect' way for a woman to orgasm, and the vaginal orgasm was the only 'proper' way for a mature adult woman to climax, thus leading to decades of strife for women who could only orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris. Now we are being told that the vaginal orgasm does not, in fact, exist, and that the clitoris is the only 'real' way for a woman to receive pleasure.
Wait, actually, I'm not amused. I'm incensed.

Are we still in an age where researchers really think there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' way to stimulate the female body? Or anyone's body?


Considering Andrea Burri's claim that she is "anxious to remove feelings of “inadequacy or underachievement” that might affect women who feared they lacked a G-spot." What about the women out there who have already found theirs and are now being told it doesn't exist? So I've been having imaginary orgasms all this time? What?

I really wish that some of these self-appointed protectors of truth would simply shut up and stop telling me how to enjoy my own body. (Although I don't mind this lady (4) - I've been to her workshops, seen her research (and tested the results) and ladies, gentlemen and whatever-you-want-to-call-yourselves, believe me - she knows what she's talking about. )

Maybe some women don't have G-spots, and some do. Maybe some women don't have sensitive G-spots (and hell, I've met guys who don't have sensitive dicks), I'm sure some women have just never looked, and maybe some more of them have been cursed to a lifetime of miserable sex because their partners read the wrong news article.

Meanwhile I've had partners (male and female) who can come from having their ears sucked, their lower back stroked, their necks nibbled, their nipples clamped, only from being fondled through thick denim fabric, or from merely a word in the right tone of voice. Other partners have struggled to orgasm even with powerful vibrators and hours of work (we got there in the end, though!). Let's face it, we're a diverse species, with a myriad of differences, and that includes sexual function just as much as everything else.

People, if it works for you, use it. If you're with a partner, don't play the odds or go with what worked for previous partners. *Find out* what works for them, and use it. Treat sex manuals (and scientific studies) as suggestions for things you might like to try, not as the damned Holy Bible of Sex.

Can we please get the researchers out of the bedroom, now?



____

*Last minute update: a voice of sanity, Doctor Petra Boynton says much that I have, and has more detail on the original study. Apparently lesbian and bisexual women were excluded because manual stimulation might 'skew the results' (i.e. women who actually knew what they were doing might incorrectly demonstrate the existence of this 'mythical' spot). Read More

Also a good (if depressingly close to the bone) piss-take article: MEN WHO CARE ABOUT THE G-SPOT ARE A MYTH, SAY EXPERTS
____

References: (I don't usually bother with references, but this one pissed me off enough to actually put some work in)

(1) Link to Grafenberg's original article on 'The Role of Urethra in Female Orgasm'.
(2) BBC article about an Italian study.
(3) Time Magazine archive - classic study involving Beverley Whipple.
(4) Deborah Sundahl's book on how to stimulate the G-spot, and the phenomenon of female ejaculation.

Fireworks
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emanix
I've been without a partner for a few days, as one is ill and one is out of the country, so I was needing cheering up from all this being run down and on my own, and working too hard to get nowhere.

So I close my eyes and slide my hand under the desk for some 'comfort', and just as I'm thoroughly enjoying myself I hear bangs from outside, and look up to a perfect view of fireworks flashing and twinkling through my skylight window. Clearly, a demonstration of just how good I am!

I'm certainly feeling cheered up now!

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