Predators in Direct and Private Messages

Yesterday I tweeted this:

So this is pretty f’d up. Everytime I post something emotional or show I’m vulnerable or struggling my DM’s explode with sliders. Men…stop fucking doing this! Your dick doesn’t look more appealing to me when I’m crying! And it’s not an invitation to get off on my sadness! by K_ghislaine

And I am astounded by the response I received from it.  In fact, I have to say that this has been my most influential post to date, far exceeding the occasional cleavage or sexy picture.  And that tells me that this topic requires more discussion.  Especially after I received a message from a guy who was genuinely shocked I posted this, and asked what men are even allowed to do or say in this #metoo charged environment.  He honestly felt that no interaction was safe anymore and was feeling stifled by the recent changes in response from women.

Ok, let’s talk about this.  9 or so years ago, I was seduced by a private message.  And it was so hot!  Within a few hours of the initial message, this guy was on my doorstep for what was to become a very regular and incredible booty call buddy.  He opened with a sexy tease, I responded in kind, and the flirtation ramped up exceedingly quickly.  He was the first guy who randomly messaged me and was in my bed that day.  Totally success case, and an inspiration to men everywhere right?  But here’s the thing, that’s not the whole story.  There were a few key things that occurred prior to this message that ensured its success for the both of us.

First, we were already friends.  Yup, that whole friendzone thing is bullshit in my opinion and maybe I will touch on that in a future post.  For now though, we had established a bit of a rapport and some trust.  To be clear, we had never flirted previously, we were truly, just friends.  Second thing that happened, I posted online that I was lonely and looking to have a little fun.  Yes, that’s right, I playfully put my intentions out there, I opened the door to have someone on my friends list message me, and take the bait.  I gave consent and permission to be flirted with using my words.  I used more than just a sexy picture (are you seeing a pattern forming yet?).  And thirdly, he was a emotionally stable and mature man, who was playful and listened to all my boundaries without any push-back or manipulation.  It was a fully consensual pairing that turned into something incredibly hot and satisfying.  And looking back, this was actually more like a 1 in 100 success rate for me, perhaps even closer to 1 in 1000.

With that story in mind, let’s get back to my tweet that started this post.  I have been struggling as of late with where I want my future career to take me.  And it sometimes feels good to just vent a little, especially on twitter because I really appreciate all the people that I interact with, and their perspectives.  I feel better just putting some words out into the universe.  It helps focus me, and well, it’s why I blog.  So on Sunday, I did just that, I wrote a little tweet stating that I was having a rough time, and I was hopeful that Monday would be better.  And publicly, there was a lot of love.  But privately, some men showed their disturbing colours.  And it sucked having my vulnerability preyed on like that.  And I do not want to mince words here, what those two men specifically did was predatory.  Offering me a kind ear, getting me smiling and then rapidly ramping up their sexual intentions without any warning or any previous DM history.  And I, like so many women who responded to my tweet were outraged.  Doing that, is NOT OK.

And guess what?  We as past victims, are onto you.  We are onto you all!  Being empathetic or sympathetic does not give you the right to proceed with your ulterior motives.  That is not consent on our parts, and we are tired of feeling weak for showing our emotional vulnerabilities and getting sexually propositioned as a result.  If I want sexual interaction I will ask for it.  And crying is not asking for it by any insane stretch of the imagination.

That being said, let me get back to the guys concern that he no longer knows how to treat women. To that, I say good.  Stop what you’ve always done in the past, and listen to the women you approach.  Watch their body language, listen to their words and ask for feedback.  Do better as a whole.  If you have always had positive “hell yes I want to sleep with you” or “OMG I love when you touch me” then guess what, what you’re doing is most likely amazing.  But, if you have ever felt a lukewarm reception to your advances, or heard the word no, or even just uncertainty, it’s time to stop and check yourself.  And as I am completely honest, I will fully admit that when I was younger, I never asked permission to touch men or women.  I lived by the assumption that every person I touched would be flattered that a decent looking female was touching them.  But you know what?  I grew up.  I realized that I preferred a fully consensual yes you absolutely can touch me, to the initial shocked and often uncomfortable looks I would get in my early 20’s.  It’s hotter for me not having uncertainty in interaction.  I can be so much more intimate and intense that way.  And guess what?  You can too!

In summary, the jig is up.  We see what you’re doing and do not like it.  The guys who are successful have a backstory that you don’t see.  Approaching a person who is vulnerable with your ulterior motives needs to stop.  And if you’ve ever become turned on by helping someone, or having a girl cry on your shoulder, keep it to yourself.  Show self control and DO NOT try and act on it.  It is not the time, nor the place.  Instead, build up a friendship.  Get to know a wide variety of people in and out of your comfort zone.  Listen, read a book or a blog and get interesting.  Only predators go after people who are weak and vulnerable.  It’s time to break that cycle!

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How Do I Get My Partner to Explore Non-Monogamy?

This question, right here, is the question that has been asked over and over again, when a person discovers non-monogamy for the first time.  They ask it in earnest, as if, there is some magical answer that will allow them to keep their spouse and start sleeping with other people immediately.  And it is the most frequent query I personally get when advertising my relationship coaching business.  But for a long time, it was the most difficult one for me to maintain composure and give a thoughtful, well crafted response.  So, I decided to put into writing the best answer I can give, which I hope will encourage any of you asking this question to make healthy decisions and not ruin your current relationship because you discovered something shiny.

First things first, you have to know your partners communication style.  And if you don’t, don’t worry, most couples don’t, but they figure out very quickly what not to do over the course of a relationship.  Finding out both your own and your partners way of thinking, processing and talking is something that is necessary if you want a healthy non-monogamous relationship, because you are going to be talking, and communicating a lot!  If you think a relationship with 2 people takes work, just imagine what happens when you bring new dynamics into the mix.  You need a solid foundation whereby you can talk about safe sex, mistakes, wants, needs, and time management, and do it in a respectful and loving way.  A relationship is a partnership, and your success in non-monogamy will depend on your foundation.

Second, you have to have an idea about what you want in non-monogamy.  Be it simply physical connections (Swinging), dating other people (Open Relationships), or even exploring new relationships (Polyamory).  And here’s the big one, once you figure out what you want, you have to be willing to discuss, and even negotiate (in a healthy way) a relati

onship norm that will actually suit both of you and fit into your current lifestyle.  For example, if you have 3 kids, work 80 hours a week and barely see each other as it is, jumping into a polyamorous relationship may not be feasible.

Third, research, network and more research.  When I first discovered non-monogamy on date one with my current partner, I felt like I was plopped in a foreign world and I made every mistake one could possibly make.  It wasn’t until I started reading books on the subject, in my case open relationships and non-monogamy, and finding online resources that I began to understand it.  Shortly after I started blogging as a way of sorting out my thoughts and emotions and sharing the research that I learned along the way.  And I think it was at about year 4, that I started building a little bit of a community of more open minds.  Friends that I could talk to about what was going on.  And that was when the real turning point was for me.  Once I stopped feeling alone, had done enough research and figured out what I wanted out of non-monogamy our relationship was able to blossom.  So don’t overlook the background and research step, as it may save you many headaches.

Fourth, time.  Let’s say, you have read the book, Sex at Dawn, and you are pretty convinced that humans are non-monogamous by nature, and this is now something that you need in your life.  Perfect, the seed has been planted.  You’ve researched, soul searched and you are ready.  But what about your partner?  An all too common thing I see, is someone rushing home excitedly to tell their partner about this amazing new lifestyle they want to explore and expecting the other person to jump right on board with the new adventure.  And, it almost always ends in disaster.  Why?  Because, we are raised in a society of monogamy.  Flipping a person’s life upside down can take a lot of time to process.  Without getting too much into the coaching side of things, it is an emotional roller coaster for the other person, and often they feel blindsided or worse when presented with the notion the first time.  While non-monogamy may have made perfect sense to you, it often does not immediately resonate with the partner.  And this is where you have to put your own relationship above the needs of your libido.  Giving time, space and allowing the person the opportunity to research, and build their own network of support if this is a direction that they are open to.

And if you get a resounding, Hell No! from the get go, put it on the back burner.  If your relationship started in monogamy, and those were the initial terms that you agreed to, then you may have to accept that that is how it will remain if you stay with your partner.  And remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Non-monogamy is work, yes of course it’s play too, but especially at the beginning it is a lot of hard work and takes an emotional toll at some point or another.

Fifth, do not go into non-monogamy to fix something.  And by this I mean, fix the problem first, talk about it, address it, etc.  Do not, I repeat, do not, expose other people to your relationship issues or use them as Band-Aids.  The goal is to be ethical to yourself, your partner, and all the outsiders that you interact with.  Non-monogamy is not the same as cheating.  It is not a way to get your needs met on the sly, and it is certainly not an easy way to avoid having the tough conversations.  It things aren’t repairable in your relationship, end things before you start swinging or dating together.  Do unto other’s and all that jazz.  No one wants to be used, or find out they were a quick fix, or simply along for the ride in your relationship drama.

And finally, don’t think you have to do it alone.  Many couples on online forums seem to feel all the blood, sweat and tears is more of a badge of honor that each relationship should go through on their own in order to be non-monogamous.  They went through all these mistakes, and you should too.  No shortcuts allowed.   Well, I am here to tell you that if coaching, podcasts, blogs, etc. were an option when I was first introduced to non-monogamy I would have taken that up in a heartbeat.  Learning from other’s mistakes can be as valuable as making them on your own, if you are willing to listen and really learn.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to ask questions, during your exploration and encourage your partner to do the same.  Sometimes all it takes is a little mentorship, or even just an ear to bounce your uncertainties off of to gain the insight you need to move forward.

So have fun out there, practice safe sex and no always means no.

 

If you want to learn more about my non-monogamous coaching services, or would like some reading recommendations please check out my site, www.breakingawayfromrelationshipnorms.com.

Consent: Why is it Not Getting Through?

Last night I could not shut off my brain.  An exciting idea struck me that I would be doing my part for Online Dating by creating a PSA to talk about getting consent before having sexual conversation or sending nudity to a stranger.  I worked it all out, and fell into a restless sleep, where I edited it throughout the night in my head.  This morning I was fueled with motivation to film it, edit and publish it for the world.  Yes I thought, this would be a positive contribution, this video would make a difference in someones life.

And then, shortly after publishing it and sharing, I sobered up.  Reality struck me, and it struck me hard.  People do not want to listen, or change their behavior.  We are all stuck it this very weird place whereby we know sending an unsolicited dick pic is bad but we don’t do anything about it.  Just today I saw a Tweet of a guy who received a dick pic over facebook and he wasn’t outraged or offended, just rather surprised by it.  And I admit, that the first time I received a dick pic, I felt exactly the same.  It wasn’t a violation the first time, instead it was a curiosity and I remember showing it to my girlfriend and laughing about it over some wine.  But by the second and third time it happened, I got angry and wrote my piece called Dear Random Penis.  And are you ready for this crazy fact?  The guy who was the last straw with sending me dick pics, and inspired the writing of that post, to this day used Dear Random Penis in his searches to keep tabs on my blog.  And sometimes late at night he even comments lewd and harassing messages.  The point was not taken, in fact, it gave him a point of pride that I wrote a piece about him.  Are you starting to see my issue here?

When we receive a nude picture or a sexually driven message on an online dating site, what do we do?  Block?  Ignore?  Start a Twitter account aimed at outing all these uneducated souls?  For my part, I felt great relief when I wrote my post about dick pics.  And all it did was get agreement from people who already knew that, and created an abusive situation for me from the guy who inspired it.  My choice to discuss, and educate fell on deaf ears.

And here I sit, after posting my video about consent and online dating, worried that I have just created the same situation for myself.  That by speaking out and trying to educate people, I will instead be putting myself in harms way.  Or even more depressing, that I will be completely ignored.  That my words will fall yet again onto deaf ears.  And this makes me very sad.

Consent is not difficult to obtain.  Asking permission before you start sexting can even be fun, interesting or at the very least a great way to practice your communication skills.  There are blogs dedicated to teaching people fun and new ways to obtain consent.  But rather than educate ourselves, we prefer the push boundaries method and seek permission after the violation.  This way of thinking needs to end.  We don’t need apps, like Legal Fling (Use caution if you google this as it might send you into blind rage) to obtain permission or consent.  We need to grow the fuck up and start talking to each other.  To communicate and to stop looking for elaborate solutions to a very simple problem.  You want to kiss someone for the first time?  Ask!  You want to sleep with someone?  Ask!  You want to flirt and send sexy messages?  Ask!

I won’t stop trying to fight the good fight.  But today, I am tired.  I am worn out.  And I am saddened to read each new article about some woman who is speaking out for the first time about her experience with harassment.  I’m tired of feeling that #MeToo feeling.  I’m tired of all the memories of abuse, and sexual harassment that are a part of my past.  I’m ready for a world where consent is the expectation rather than a difficult burden.  Please don’t let this plea go unheard…

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Judge the New Term and Ask Questions Later Said No One Ever


The lack of reading comprehension skills presented by people on online dating sites is appalling and needs to be addressed.  I have written a post or two discussing various labels in the non-monogamous world and even tried to do my own PSA, and it received some positive feedback, so here I go again. 
A common occurrence in online dating is the rapid assigning of knowable relationship norms when known words are put in new way.  For example, when I tell someone that we are looking to date couples, I almost always get a reply saying, “oh so you are swingers”.  I have to stop myself from my rapid fire gut response of, “if we were swingers I would have said swingers”.  So I take the high road and explain that we are looking to date couples.  Then the response is unilaterally, oh like foursomes?  And then I kindly break it down, and take the time to define what the word date means and relationship.  Why do I do this?  Because I would like to educate.  And thanks to this blog, specifically a few rant posts, I can say that I take pride in my communication skills.  I have worked hard to become more clear and direct in my oral and written word.  So, I will say what I mean.  If I wanted hookups, I would state that.  Threesomes and moresome, the exact same thing, I would clearly and proudly put that in my looking for column.  But that’s not what I said.
I imagine a world where people read with a comprehension above that of an elementary student.  I strive to use clear and precise language, like date, relationship and couples.  Words that are familiar to the general populous.  However, it is clear that when those things are thrown together people get confused and think of shag carpets and key parties.  Which is odd when you really get down to it, because I don’t usually chat with anyone who would have been sexually present in the 70’s…?  At any rate, I constantly ask guys what the term couple means to them.  And they unilaterally get the definition correct.  But when I say I am looking to date couples, then all manor of assumptions come out.  And they are so quick to try and have me meet their fwb.  And it seems that every single guy online just happens to have a fwb on the side, patiently waiting for me to come along to fulfill their threesome fantasy.  So, I steer them back onto my preferred course of wanting to long term date couples with my partner, and I watch their heads explode.
Most people cannot fathom this, and they get really rude, or they start talking dirty to me.  Is this like a hail Mary, nothing left to lose gameplay?  I don’t get it.  It’s like the dick pic.  Once you have been kindly rejected, do you think sending me a photo of your junk is going to make me change my mind and go mount that python?  (I am sad to say that a guy actually told me that I was missing out on his behemoth of a python and I would be sorry for the rest of my life… I’m not, he was missing teeth). 
Why is communication so difficult in this day and age?  Especially with the power of google at everyone’s finger tips!  If I read a phrase or a word I have not heard before, I google it or ask someone in the know what it means.  I do not make offhanded assumptions or judgements.  There is no race to answer a person within 30 seconds in the online dating world.  So take a few minutes before you reply with a brash term that you know, and look it up.  Or ask for clarification.  It’s not an ego thing, it’s learning or displaying interest and that is incredibly sexy to most people.  Don’t be a know it all asshole!  Use those reading comprehension skills they tested you on in school.  See what you can learn by putting new words together.  And please spend less time on using the latest shorthand or emoji’s, as people don’t actually, find that hot.  Funny at times, maybe, but never do we brag that the latest person online is so attractive and hip because he/she uses the newest and best abbreviations… swoon.   
Ok, 3 tangents in one post means it is time to wrap this one up.  We have to learn to adapt and grow in the world of online interaction because it is not going away.  Then find a way to make meaningful connections and use those skills to exist offline.  Brush up on your comprehension skills, pick up a book, get outside, learn and ask questions!  And for goodness sakes, meet people in the real world because it is much harder to be an asshole to someone’s face than it is online!

Finding Balance in Communicating the Highs and Lows

Being open can be a balance game of sorts.  My best experiences are always when I am in a good place emotionally and physically.  I suppose that should be true of any relationship you are in, however when you are dealing with more than one person, the range of emotions is wider.  I am learning to center myself and refocus on things that make me happy whenever I feel that the emotions are getting the best of me. 
My early adult years involved a lot of roles where I played therapist to my friends.  It slowly evolved into me becoming a punching bag to many of those near me.  I found myself alone, exhausted, and drained as a result.  Although I did it to myself, there are days when I find myself lamenting having to close the door to so many people who just could not understand that my sole role in their lives was not to listen to the negativity and drama that they had created.  These of course were lessons that I needed to learn.  Finding the strength to kindly, but firmly decline listening to the problems of my friends was not easy, and challenges me at times today, especially with family. 
I find that I am often guilty of trying to predict the feelings or emotional responses that the people in my life may have, and then adjust my behaviour accordingly.  It is a habit I am trying hard to break.  Often I have to verbally tell myself to take a step back and remember that my feelings matter just as much as everyone else’s.  It is an interesting conundrum to be in.  I am nearly 30 and I still have troubles validating my own feelings.  Finding the strength to say that I am having a bad moment, and then to explain that it will pass challenges the pillar of strength I attempt to embody.
I wonder if people in monogamous relationships take as much time to soul search and really discover who they are and how best to communicate.  It was something I took for granted in monogamy as I have said many times.  As I just assumed, I was a good communicator because I did the opposite of how I was raised (as most children do), and then found myself horribly unhappy and isolated.  Now that I face myself, and a variety of people on an ongoing basis there is not opportunity to become stagnant.  I constantly am being challenged and offered so many chances to really communicate with those around me.  Freedom of expression is a real gift, and having a strong emotional IQ, is the only way openness could be successful.

 As I said, it can be a tricky balance game.  By allowing yourself to feel emotions, and react with acceptance, love and support, while at the same time acknowledging that not all feelings are OK.  That your partner is not a punching bag for your emotional negativity, and finding that point where you share more positives and joys than you do the bad.  And with multiple partners this is a critical point.  None of your partners, or friends for that matter should be the bearer of all your emotional upsets, each one needs to experience good times, in order to give a shit long enough to stick around for the bad.