Loves of a Sex Geek

Sex-Positive Counselor

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Favorite tweets from Atlanta Poly Weekend 2014

I spent this past weekend at an event called Atlanta Poly Weekend (APW) where a bunch of polyamorous people came together to live, love, learn, and have fun. I go to at least 2 conventions a year in my town and consistently I come away having learned a little something (or a lotta something) about myself and my passion in life (doing therapy around relationships and sex). This year’s APW was a particularly exceptional experience. 

Each year at APW I’ve livetweeted panels that I’ve attended because I wish I could be in 2 or 3 places at one time and I know there’s other people at APW and the greater community who feel the same. So I like to carry the wisdom and experiences shared within those conference room walls to the world at large so we can all learn. Last year from those of us who livetweeted panels and communicated about the event, #APW2013 was a top ten trending hashtag in the Atlanta area that weekend. I don’t know if we were trending this year, but I know more of us were tweeting this year, and the content is particularly juicy. I’d like to share with my Tumblr followers some of the really juicy bits. So here’s my favorite tweets from APW2014:

General comments:

Atlanta poly folks are ironically polite at a burlesque show, and monsters at Cards Against Humanity
From @FranklinVeaux and @EveRickert’s panel on Consent Culture:
Consent includes access to your body, your mind & your emotions—not just physical. Absence of “no” is not consent.
Let’s use affirmative consent = anything less than enthusiastic yes means a no, not doing anything. = Yes!
It’s easy to be the hero of your own story and consider bullies to be “other people,” not something you’d ever be capable of.
We are all capable of crossing boundaries. We have a society that creates power differential.
Violations can’t happen if there are not enablers. Let’s empower people to step in to stop and prevent violations.

From @franklinveaux’s presentation on how to make your relationships suck:

At 's session at on making relationships suck. Here’s a link to the PDF:
"Instead of questioning your feelings, I highly recommend questioning your value." - How to Make Your Relationship Suck
Assume your emotions are infallible. Remember feelings are always true. Use them to control your partner.
Speak in riddles and ALWAYS look for the hidden meaning.
Comparisons can be a great tool for sabotaging your self-esteem and your relationship.
If you get what you want & discover it doesn’t make you happy, make sure to blame your partner.
Make every relationship critical, you can’t leave! Eliminate your ability to say yes, and no.
Always keep score. Otherwise, how do you know who’s winning? Bonus points for written lists & spreadsheets

From Sarah Olivia’s keynote Bringing Sexy Back:

Sexy isn’t a prescription you take every morning.
The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be - “Pretty”.
Two words highly associated with Sexy: Confidence and Power. Self-power, not power over others.
is pro-sexy: Defining our relationships gives us power.
Challenge: When someone compliments you, practice saying, “Thanks! I do look great!” and Stop!

From Sterling Bates’ class on How personality type affects relationships:

types process experience differently, their brain is wired differently.
Communication: prefer to think while they talk. They do their best thinking when they’re talking.
prefer to think then talk.
Problem solving: type prefers to consider cons first. type prefers to consider pros first.
For thinking preference, give them negative first, they’ll be more likely to hear the positive when it comes second.
types get energy from planning, think a suggestion is a plan.
Judging types dislike surprises. Perceiving types prefer to keep as many options open for as long as possible.
Where personalities differ, it can cause conflict or can compliment each other.

From MsNoel and NCMaster’s class on Bridging the Gap between generations:

Older generations dealt with oppression and reacted with firm determination to do things their way.
Younger generations grew up in an era of open mindedness re: and . Affects interactions with others.
Problems arise when we expect the other generations to behave the way they do. They are not being disrespectful.
If we dismiss and isolate each other, we’re all going to die out. We need each other.
Older gens have some wisdom to share and it can make younger gens path a bit easier to travel.

From @Joreth’s 5 Love Languages derived for poly people presentation:

. gets applause for calling Mars/Venus book bullshit.
Personality categories are “fuzzy” boxes, not rigid ones.
People often compliment women on appearance and men on accomplishments, but many women are tired of hearing those compliments.
the presence of other people doesn’t diminish the value of time spent together
If you find yourself getting yelled at for giving advice, try asking “Would you like advice?” before trying to give it.
And on the flip side, if you know you just want to vent not get advice, preface your vent by saying so.
For people who value independence, unsolicited acts of service can be condescending and unwelcome. Ask!
Yes! points out that Golden Rule is crap. Treat people how THEY want to be treated
If receiving meaningful gifts means a lot to you, tell your partner what you like. Don’t expect them to divine it.
If your love language is words of affirmation, it can be really hard to ask for that when you need it.
It can come across as insecurity rather than simply what you need to be loved. Though I’d say there’s nothing wrong w/ insecurity.
But I wish there were more acceptance of the fact that many people are insecure to some extent & it’s not a personal failing.

From Sterling Bates’ and @Joreth’s class on Breaking Up in Polyamory:

Mission: It is advantageous for all of us as a community to break up as friendly exes.
Breaking up in mainstream: relationship is obliterated. Let’s consider that break up can mean a transition?
Break ups are not a one size fits all solution. Each relationship needs a uniquely designed process.
Two main factors determining quality of breakup: intensity and effort
The question is, how are you going to be your best self?
4 pillars of a healthy relationship: attraction, compatibility, space, and respect
Don’t tell them what you hate about them in breakup speech. Tell them what you love.
Be honest, but be kind. Honesty doesn’t mean recklessly hurting people
Instead of trying to assign blame, use this time to accept your responsibility in the relationship.
Give people space. If you follow them when they try to leave, you can irretrievably damage the relationship
"I’m sorry for…. This is wrong because… In the future, I will… Will you forgive me?" Apology script.
When you’re being a decent, compassionate person, you’re not doing it for others. You’re doing it to be the best person you can be.
Don’t beg. It takes two to enter a relationship, it only takes one to end it. Begging may damage future transition.
It’s ok for breakee to ask for definition of new relationship. It’s also ok to ask for things you need.
We will replay the break up conversation in our heads. Let’s enjoy it.
Consider: Break up conversation as a moment to reminisce about the good parts of the relationship.
The community is too small to be dividing up social lines based on break ups.
Our brains will rewrite our memories to fit how we feel about the relationship, so try to end the relationship well
Being your best self in break ups benefits those in relationship and carries out to the community.

From @wfenza’s discussion on Relationship Anarchy:

offers total freedom and flexibility, with ethics and consent. Setting expectations vs. making promises.
means building in some uncertainty because the future is uncertain. No blame when expectations aren’t met.
Rules don’t keep partners from hurting each other. Does your partner really *want* to hurt you? Unlikely.
A promise is “past you” trying to control “future you” to do something that’s not in your best interest.
Asking a partner to make a promise can imply that you don’t trust them to take your needs into account otherwise.
Spectrum of Relationship Control: All relationships involve control. It can be done ethically or unethically.
As you trust each other more, you control each other less.

From @Franklinveaux and @everickert’s discussion on Ethics in Relationships:

When we see bad relationships behaviors, we should judge the behavior, not the person. Non-judgmentalism enables bad actors.
Being ethical means taking responsibility for your own emotional reactions.
If the answer cannot be “no,” it’s not a request, it’s a demand.
If you’re exploiting another’s weakness or ignorance to gain consent, it’s not really consent.

From Dr. Kieran’s Cinderella and the Glass Therapist presentation:

A relationship with a therapist is a safe place to address concerns freely bc they are not invested as our friends & family.
Therapists aren’t one size fits all. Interview your potential therapist to determine whether they’re right for you.
Therapists job is to poke, prod, push, and pull to help clients grow. With empathy and compassion.
Good therapy looks completely different than the movies, old school stereotypes. It’s supportive and challenging.

From Elisabeth Sheff’s session:

Social dangers to unicorns: stigma, less social power than the couple, suspicion from others (“bearer of promiscuity”), stalking.
Couple privilege: “When a couple acts as a unit to preserve & enhance their primary dyad above all things.”
is objectifying, classifies someone by a role, not who they are.
Couples new to polyamory usually still have a monogamous mindset founded in couple privilege.
Statistically very unlikely to find someone who’s equally compatible with both members of a couple.

From @Franklinveaux’s Closing Keynote about Creating Ethical Communities:

The decisions we make in one relationship can affect our other relationships in major ways.
We have a shared responsibility to learn from others mistakes, develop best practices, to be accepted.
This is a critical time for . What happens in next few years will affect our trajectory for decades
We are all imperfect, have faults, and we are all inherently decent. No one is evil.
Number 1 ethic: Treat people as people, not things.
Our society is surprisingly comfortable with casual consent violations across the board.
Differentials in power exist in every aspect of human interaction. Let’s be cognizant of it.
"Consent is a radical idea. It is not something we are taught." Our society breeds coercion.
"Consent is only valid if I can say no, and only valid if I can withdraw consent. Consent must be reevaluated."
Evil begins when we believe we can’t get what we need without controlling other people.
Courage can guide us toward ethical behaviour when nothing else will.
It’s easy to rationalize why not to speak up. To have , we need to have the courage to speak up.
It’s on all of us to make happen. Polyamory is changing, huge influx of people. Has to happen now.
"I recognize the agency of my partners & the people in my community." "My partners have the right to leave."
Principle 3: There is no right way to do things. People are not roles, archetypes.
"That doesn’t mean all things are right. That there’s more than one right doesn’t mean there’s no wrong."
"Unethical behaviour can happen in my community." Am I creating a safe space? Am I speaking up?
When we fail to judge we create safe spaces for predators.
Small consent violations matter. Boundary testing is a primary tactic of predators.
Particularly important for people in privileged positions to speak up. e.g. men need to call out other men.
Be someone other people can talk to. Don’t trivialize, validate, justify. Don’t say what they should have done.

Franklin Veaux’s powerful closing remark:

If we resolve to move in the direction of courage every day, that makes all this easier.

After the con:

Lots of happy tears and laughter are the best way to end a conference.

Filed under polyamory community ethical behavior consent culture growth relationships poly convention therapy ethics violation courage anarchy compassion apw2014 freedom

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What Isla Vista revealed about sexual violence |

A long, heavy, but extremely important article. I hope everyone takes the time to read, comprehend, absorb, and truly grok what is happening in our world, and what must change.

Filed under feminism rape culture culture isla vista domestic violence women's rights women's health violence Violence against women

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I find it comical when women think I care about

If one titty is slightly bigger than the other
Fat areas
Bumps or discoloration

and now I’m crying. Some days I feel this. This pressure. This concept that I am not enough. I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not worthy of the attention.

It’s fucking hard to even begin to like being in your body much less loving it. I am thankful everyday that I have found people in my life that help me see more of the good and less of the bad. People that help me see that the parts I don’t like are things that they cherish.

Even with these people it is still hard. Even with these people there are days that I don’t see good. I just see what’s wrong. I just see the fat and the rolls and all the things that make up what my body has always been.

I have never been skinny or even small. I have never had clear smooth skin. I’ve rarely felt pretty or admired by people who do not know me.

If someone told me they thought it was funny that I had these self conscious thoughts, I would put my clothes right back on and walk out the door.

It’s not funny. It’s heartbreaking.

This is why I run Diversexity.

Everyone deserves to see themselves in pictures of beauty. Everyone deserves to see different depictions of beauty. Maybe just maybe someone sees a picture I post and thinks “Someone out there sees this as beauty. This thing that I don’t like about myself is beautiful to someone, and maybe with practice and thought I can see that part as beautiful too.”

That’s what it took for me. It took someone else to recognize a piece of me that I hated and call it cherished.

(via diversexity)

Filed under body positvity culture

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[F]or young women, the culture of slut shaming that the Kristen Stewart scandal represents won’t go away. I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for all the young women today who are tuned into this scandal, ones who are learning that it’s not okay to screw up, ever. Chris Brown can publicly beat the hell out of his girlfriend but still be played on the radio and win Grammys. However, if you ever cheat on your boyfriend, your life is over and no one will ever want to be associated with you. Almost no one will blame the much-older guy you cheated with, and it might actually make him more famous and help his career. Few will care that he was your boss and in a position of authority or that he may have taken advantage of your youth and relative inexperience. Everything is your fault, and your life will be threatened over it.
Trampire:” Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women « Lady Cheeky: Smut for Smarties (via sexisnottheenemy)

(via allthechocolatesinthebox)

Filed under slut-shaming media culture

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"Nice Guys" Contribute to Rape Culture

Men, we have a crucial role to play in this. We benefit from male privilege every moment of every day. We may not ask for it, but it’s there. So let’s use it to confront rape-supportive behavior, rape jokes and rape culture whenever we can. Let’s listen when we’re told we’ve done something that inadvertently supports rape culture, rather than getting defensive. Let’s learn from feminist women who speak and write about sexual violence and rape culture. Let’s support our local rape crisis center and state sexual assault coalition. Let’s be “aspiring allies” to feminist women, as together we work to create a world free from sexual violence.

  for Ms. Magazine

Filed under rape rape culture media culture society feminism privilege

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A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, [it is] an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.
Naomi Wolf, as mentioned by Reid Mihalko on Facebook

Filed under health equality control freedom choice culture peer pressure

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Yes, we live in a sexist culture, in which women have no good choices when it comes to our bodies. We live in a sexist culture in which women are valued primarily as sexual objects, and at the same time are shamed for our sexuality. It seems to me that we have two choices as to how to respond to this. We can try to navigate the narrow, essentially impossible shoals of these contradictory expectations, and try to find that perfect, socially acceptable line between slut and prude.

Or we can say, “Fuck it. There is no way I can win — so I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want. I’m going to wear overalls, or I’m going to wear high heels. I’m going to have sex with twenty strangers in a night, or I’m not going to have sex with anyone. I’m going to dress conservatively and professionally in public at all times, or I’m going to sell naked pictures of myself on the Internet if I bloody well feel like it.”

And in saying, “I can’t win, so I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want to do,” we can create the beginnings of a victory. We can create the beginnings of a world where we really can win. We can create the beginnings of a world where we’re a little more free than the women who came before us… and where the women who come after us are a little more free than we are. We probably can’t create a perfect world, where women’s bodies aren’t commodified in the slightest (not in this generation, anyway). But we can create a better world: a world where women’s bodies and minds belong less to the patriarchy, and more to ourselves.
Greta Christina (What I May Do With My Naked Body: A Reply to Azar Majedi About the #NudePhotoRevolutionaries Calendar)

(via sexisnottheenemy)

Filed under freedom choice sexuality society culture

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Slut Shaming and Why it’s Wrong, by astrorice

Not only an awesome all-around video on slut-shaming and it’s impact on rape culture, but I’m so impressed by this teen’s passion and knowledge! And most importantly: courage to stand up to adults and fellow teens about a topic she is passionate about, and in the minority. 

Filed under slut-shaming rape culture teens sex education culture