Do I Have to Stop Supporting Someone’s Work Because There Are Sexual Allegations Against Them?

Over the Christmas holidays I read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, and I absolutely loved the blend of humor and his take on modern dating because it overlaps with what I teach and coach in my day job.  It was one of those positive affirmation books.  Something that I envisioned promoting as a tool to help send the message home of how my clients could or should be approaching dating.  There were just so many times that I nodded excitedly, yes, YES!  This is exactly what I have seen over the years and this is exactly the problem that needs to be sorted out.  Thank you Aziz, for researching this, and providing a book that basically spells out the current key focus in modern dating, that quest for perfection.

So, just as I am in the process of adding this book to my recommended reading list on my coaching website, a sexual allegation was made against him.  Well, damnit!  Now what do I do?  Do I now have a moral obligation to stop supporting his past work, because of a woman’s unproven story.  But wait, does it even have to be proven?  Isn’t that the whole point, that we are starting to shift the mentality to trust women when they come forward, because it does more good than harm?  Ok, let’s go with that.  I’m trusting that this woman was truthful, that she said no, and he crossed the line.  Fine, but what do I do with my recommendation for his book?  Do I pull the book and stop encouraging clients to read it?  Do I start from square one, finding a similar book, with a premise that I support, and an author who has no black marks against him to help my business?  Can I ethically feel comfortable giving this guy money, in order to help my clients?  These questions are difficult because it affects my livelihood.  I could lose prospective clients because of where I place my support.  But, I could also use the resource as intended to actually help people who matter to me.  And let’s be realistic, his book has absolutely nothing to do with the allegations.  So on a simple apples to apples comparison, do the pros’ outweigh the cons’?

These are the tough questions we need to start asking ourselves.  We are making it clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.  But where is the reach of this going to end?  Is this something that will affect a person’s future indefinitely, impact their past work and ruin the lives of their children?  Where are we going to draw the line?  Or will it be judged on a person by person basis?  In essence creating a flexible standard of judgement based on the alleged actions and taking into account a person’s history or even accepting their apology? Or perhaps we will land somewhere in the middle, I just don’t know, nor does anyone right now.

I will tell you honestly, that I felt a little weird watching Aziz Ansari last week, on an episode of Comedians in Cars, Getting Coffee.  And I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t find the episode funny, or because I am questioning how to judge his work knowing, that he made a woman feel uncomfortable.  It is super tough to answer honestly.  My biases are showing and I’m not sure how best to address them, other than to start asking questions.

And it’s only fair to ask you all the same question.  Will you click on his cover below that I’ve provided to see his book on Amazon?  Are you curious about the comparison between having no choice in partners, to near infinite choice and how that’s affecting our overall happiness?  Or, now suddenly, is all his wisdom and humor invalidated?  And more to the point, all the interviews, and hard work of his collaborators, do we no longer get to hear their voice because the name on that front cover may have acted inappropriately and we are angry?

When I re-read the title of this post, I desperately want to have a yes or no answer.  But the truth is, whichever celebrity or professor, or politician that I insert into that question, I came up with different answers.  And I think it is a good exercise for each of us to go down the list and put our beliefs to the test.  It’s one thing to shame a person, but where is that line, and is there some degree that they are all equal or can have comparable ramifications.  At what point do we stop supporting their work, whatever that may be?  And for how long and to what degree do they get penalized for?  I think it’s healthy for us to all take a step back, and look at the bigger picture.  Where do we see our future, and how do we get to that place of mutual respect for all humans beings.  Once we know that, I think this will start to get a little less fuzzy.

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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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Swing Clubs, Singles, and Consent: My New Years Eve Tale

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me question if writing this post was even worth it, because I felt incredibly dissolution and let down after my New Years Eve swing club adventure.  Now that I have a bit of clarity and less emotion, I believe this post needs to be written and a few of my views openly discussed for the good of our non-monogamous/swinging community.  And if you’re outside of the lifestyle looking in, let this be an eye opener, that consent is mandatory and anything less will not be tolerated.  So let me begin my tale.

My partner and I have attended the same New Years Eve Swingers party for 3 years in a row in sunny California (our Christmas vacation destination).  We are familiar with the venue, the rules and in general the vibe.  We specifically seek out this particular club because it has the largest crowd of people, which boosts our chances significantly of finding like minded couples, great conversation and the hope of sexy times.  This New Years Eve however, was different.  Firstly, when we walked into the club, they were turning away a single guy at the door.  As luck would have it, this New Years Eve coincides with the usual single male welcome night.  While unfortunate for the guy not checking the website first, I was not too concerned being that our first time at this club single men were allowed and we didn’t have much of a problem.  To protect couples and keep active membership, there is a couples only play area that single men are never allowed into.  It even has security guarding it, or has every time we have gone previously.

For whatever reason, this New Years Eve the club was quieter.  I would say maybe there were 150 couples, whereas in years past there have been upwards 270 couples.  This actually had its very sexy benefits for us, because after midnight, we didn’t have to wait in line for the sex swing in the couples play area.  I could go on and on about how much I love that thing, the open corner its in, how hot I feel in it, etc.  However, I could not enjoy my time in the swing for long because within a few minutes we had a lonely male start to lurk completely unaccompanied by any female.  After my partner asked him to move on, we both decided that we would be much better off doing some exhibitionist exploration as the venue was so empty.  So, after a few quick sexy strokes in the hallway, we made our way to an upstairs balcony with a mattress and railings and the sexy sounds of a few couples playing.  There are 4 mattresses on various levels that overlook a mirrored hallway, with a white railing for the safety of the upstairs couples.  It’s a very hot little area, with couples on each bed and little cubbies below us, that you can see from the mirror.  The visual cues are beyond hot, really the stuff that has kept us coming back.  It’s an absolute playground for sexy times!

So here we found ourselves, getting hot and heavy with my partner overlooking the hallway of the couples only area with not a care in the world until we saw him.  A fully clothed single male who had wandered down the unmonitored hallway, alone.  And he wanted to watch our show.  My partner told him no and to move on.  I tried to get into the groove and switched from a passive on my back to a more in control doggy style, and knew that a big O was getting incredibly close.  The guy got closer and I glared at him, and turned my face.  He did not get the clear memo of no from my partner, and did not take the hint of my very angry face.  And as luck would have it I lost control, and reached for the railing as I started to cum.  And that stupid, single male, reached up and grabbed my hand as I was orgasming.  A fucking stranger, with no consent, grabbed my hand in my most intimate of moments.  I slapped his hand, but honestly, I was so consumed with pleasure and now the tinge of anger it was difficult to really process anything.  I felt a little uneasy, but thankfully also so safe with my partner that I was able to enjoy the rest of the night including another trip to the swing.

But in the morning, I felt violated.  I felt gross, and hurt that this guy was allowed back in a couples only area and was able to grab me and get away with it.  No, did not matter to him, body language meaningless and consent didn’t cross his mind.  When I reached out to the club a few days later, they were less than helpful.  They seemed more focused on me making a false claim that singles were allowed than the fact that there was no security around and that I felt uncomfortable.  They advised me that I should have stopped what I was doing, and immediately gone to their office to report the guy.  Are you freaking kidding me?  I was in no condition to stop mid orgasm to go and tattle on this guy.  And further more, why was a guy allowed in the club who was not aware of the rules of consent?  Or the rules of being part of the lifestyle?  Or basic human decency that you don’t touch another person without permission EVER?

I’ve written multiple times on why I don’t think the majority of single men should be allowed into clubs, and incidents like this only confirm my belief.  This isn’t an unwarranted stereotype or stigma. Men, when alone in clubs are usually stupid and make poor decisions.  They think with the wrong head.

Now I want to say a few words to the men in the lifestyle who are single, respectful and follow the rules.  I appreciate that there are a few gems in the swinging community.  And I wish that there were more of you because I love cock.  But I need to ask a serious question.  What are you doing to improve things for your acceptance in the community?  Do you tell your male friends about the work it takes to get into the lifestyle?  The hours upon hours of communication, self confidence building, and research to understand the rules and the core value of consent?  Are you a proactive member of the community who would educate someone, tell even a friend that he was out of line or if necessary call someone out who crossed a line?  Do you sit on the sidelines, keeping to yourself, staying out of trouble or are you active and proactive?

I ask these questions because I want to know the motivations for being single in the lifestyle.  I want to know what drives you, because then we can work towards finding a great and sex positive way to include you.  It’s obvious that the current standard isn’t working for single men, or for couples.  Men are not satisfied being excluded and couples are beyond frustrated with situations like I described happening or much worse.  We are not playing together in a positive way.  I almost feel like when men are finally allowed into a club, they figure that they have to try everything because they may not get the chance to be in there again.  That thinking scares me.  That mentality makes things unsafe and is part of the reason I wrote the post about not just trying the lifestyle for curiosity.  Men, if you want to be accepted, learn the rules and preach the rules.  Do not brag to your buddies about the hot live show you watched without mentioning just how many hoops it takes to actually get there.  Contribute positively.  It is not enough to just be one of the good guys.  You have a responsibility to do more, to be more, because quite frankly this experience was a deal breaker for me in ever going back to this particular club and they are one of the few that allow single.  Correlation or causation at this point make little difference to me.  The club was quiet, there was no security and members we’re not complying with the rules.  This is unacceptable.  We can all work to do better.

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