What to Tolerate as a Sex Positive Blogger?

As I went through my comment feed today (on the blog and twitter) I was struck by a strange feeling that I have become desensitized to a lot of the crappy comments I have to deal with, and I really don’t know how to feel about that. I am on a personal mission to share my experiences in non-monogamy and the communication growth that I have gained during this time. I share things about my life, my experiences, perspectives, and even the sex positive body image that I feel more often than not. I put myself out there, not to brag or gain notoriety, but instead to work through my thoughts and feelings while at the same time earnestly trying to help others going through something similar. But the thing of it is, whenever you post something online you are opening yourself up to the good, bad and the ugly.

And today, I was struck by just how unimportant the trolling has become to me. Even 6 months ago, I recall talking to @huntergash on gtfo about how much the trolls were basically ruining the online experience. I remember feeling enraged, and passionate about the subject. And now? I feel almost numb. As if, I no longer care about trying to educate or enlighten these trolling and aggressive anonymous beings. And it feels incredibly weird.

With everything going on politically right now, I guess it’s almost fitting that I feel less like my voice matters or will be heard with the correct people. As much as I try and funnel those who just want to look and not glean anything from my writing to the appropriate channels (Patreon), I still get a barrage of inappropriate comments on a seemingly daily basis. And I find myself lazily muting, or blocking them, rather that responding. Is that in part because I am much busier with life than I was 6 months ago? Or perhaps are they “winning” so speak, in that I am accepting their presence as part of publicly posting? Or is there something else that I haven’t quite thought of or just won’t admit to myself quite yet. Maybe, just maybe, it is too daunting a task to educate strangers.

Case and point. Have you ever known someone who has been overly aggressive or sexual in person, only to find that on social media they brag about how they have never been that guy and are disgusted by the men who belittle women? And did you feel helpless to call them out? Or a gut wrenching conflict to out their behaviour thereby stooping to a level they may understand? Or did you just ignore and reconsider if your memory of past behaviour was even accurate? I ask these questions publicly because I am struggling to define my role right now. I feel like my voice is falling on deaf ears. There is no educating new readers, rather, people skim and agree with the parts they like and ignore the parts they don’t. No one wants to question themselves or ask the tough questions. Have I in the past behaved inappropriately and am I willing to admit that and grow, change or even just asking questions?

I love blogging, and being public. But the reality is that it feels less important than it did in the past. It feels like the conversation is over, and people read what they like and dismiss the rest. There is no challenge of opinions or desire to better ourselves. Should I go back to scolding strangers who violate my trust and sex positive outlook? Or do I continue my latest trend of just ignoring? Honestly, it feels so challenging right now to continue the dialogue of a sex positive nature and balance the outright stupid comments with those of my incredible resources, fellow sex positive bloggers and fans.

My Sexiness Conundrum

Can I confess something to you?  Well, here goes, I just celebrated a milestone birthday, aka, reaching my mid 30’s.  And here’s the thing, for the first time, I am struggling with it, because I am really feeling my age.  Not in the aches and pain sort of way, but rather, in the realization that youth is fleeting.  While I fully accept my body just the way it is, I am suddenly coming to terms with the reality that others may not.  And while, I know this sounds incredibly superficial, being regarded as attractive matters to me.

I wish so badly that it didn’t.  I wish that I could just go out into the world not giving a damn what people think 100 percent of the time, but honestly, I do care.  Every so often, this weird feeling overtakes me where I am not sure how I am portraying myself to my friends or even those around me.  Again, I want so badly to spout off about how looks don’t matter, and it’s what’s inside that really counts.  But if I’m being honest, first impressions do matter.  How you look, smell, smile, or even just carry yourself can make a lasting imprint on a person.  And I cannot help but worry that as I age, I may have to put more effort into ensuring that I project the image that I want.  That statement alone puzzles me, with deep conflicting emotions of wanting a devil may care attitude, but also, craving a little bit of attention from time to time.

 

Take for example, an event that happened on my birthday, which might better illuminate where I am at right now.  I have a friend that I find quite attractive (OK I actually have quite a few because honestly I love my inner circle to pieces), but for this story let`’s just focus on the one.  He`’s a man that I would find myself quite attracted to if things were a little different, ie valuing the friendship far more than incorporating anything sexual.  Yes, that is a mutual thing, and not some cheesy friendzone nonsense.  For me, a friendship with this guy just makes complete sense and anything physical just wouldn`’t.  But in a moment of drunkenness, he mentioned something off the cuff about me being gorgeous, as an almost afterthought during a conversation where I was trying to figure out which of the fine ladies at our table he was most interested in so I could encourage him.

Booze was a factor, and we have never talked about attractiveness prior to this, so while I could completely be missing the mark about context here, those words were uttered.  And without rhyme or reason I found myself awash with this complete wave of relief.  Sweet, a friend I find attractive thinks I am attractive too.  That`’s awesome, quick mental high five, and I happily went on with my night.  But days later that`’s where I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  Why was just being friends with this guy not enough?  Why did it take him telling me I was attractive to give me that additional validation of our friendship?  Why did I feel that incredible wave of relief?

Again, this isn’t one of those posts where I really want to sleep with the guy.  This has nothing to do with sexual chemistry, but instead everything to do with some innate desire to be viewed as sexy by those around me.  I guess it’s just startling that I have not yet grown out of that phase of my life.  I genuinely wanted to be the lady in red, when I was in my early 20’s.  That woman who would walk into a room and turn everyone’s head.  Why? I just cannot describe exactly why, because the reality is, if that ever happened I would turn beet red, be overcome with emotion and either start giggling or crying.  But again, reaching 35, I sincerely wonder, if I have missed my chance to turn all the heads in a room.  Was that a mere fantasy of youth?  Are these moments of feeling sexy going to become less frequent?  Am I seriously going to have to start doing yoga and taking care of my body on a daily base now?  Do I just have to accept that I am always going to have this superficial urge to wow people from time to time and that’s just part of who I am?  Perhaps though putting a little extra effort in now isn’t this horrible beast of an idea…?  Oh how I wish my looks didn’t matter on the level they do.

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It’s Calgary’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth Time Again!

Yes, that’s right, it is time for my annual post celebrating everything that I love about Stampede, from the sluts, to the men in tight jeans, and of course the ability to drink without shame at pretty much anytime of the day!  If you are like many of my readers who have yet to experience the Calgary Stampede, I can honestly tell you that it would be worth checking out at least once in your life.  From the rodeo, to the grandstand, rides, live music and parades, there is something for pretty much everyone.  And did I mention the booze?  Because, yes, there is a lot of it!

Now one of the first things you will notice is the daisy dukes and cowboy hats.  Next, you will probably notice that the entire city transforms into a western wonderland, ripe with window painting of horses, chuckwagons and everything that can wear a cowboy hat.  And if you want to sit down for a moment, why not try one of the hay bales found pretty much everywhere?  While you take a seat, enjoy the street performers and more enticing to me is the incredible people watching.  It’s basically one big party, where young and old celebrate this incredible 10 day festival.  I actually tear up the first time I see the rides each year, and smell that intoxicating scent of mini donuts!  Our community comes together, united by western pride, and it is freaking awesome.

Over the years I have written posts about stampede sluts, dress code, and one lamenting the first and only Stampede I have ever missed.  And while I never tire of the Stampede, I have watched so many of my fellow Calgarians poo-poo the Stampede.  They see the gross underbelly of our little festival.  The extreme expense, the same ole thing year after year, and the infuriating influx of tourists on our roadways.  I get it, it can be frustrating.  But, as the eternal optimist, I see the power that the stampede has.  And the incredible way that brings people together.  For nearly a decade every time I went to the grounds I would run into my first childhood friend.  It was never planned, and was equally exciting to both of us each and every time we saw each other.  And if you consider that the grounds can get upwards of 100’000 people per day, it truly is serendipitous that something like that could happen.

I love watching my city transform for those few days.  And I love the sense of pride in seeing my city rally together to celebrate this annual time of year.  And of course, I love the freedom to dress as slutty as I want so long as I have added some sort of western flair.  It’s an outdoor event!  And it’s great… and I love it!  So go, Woop it up!  And give a little Yee Haw to your fellow cowboy or cowgirl.  So, go hog wild, have some fun.  And please, if you hook up with someone new, please practice safe sex, because I don’t want to have to keep writing posts about infidelity and STI’s in the aftermath of Stampede!

I have added a little Stampede fun on my Patreon page!  There may be a cowboy hat… 😉

The Swing Club High

Saturday night my partner and I decided that we needed a night out, swing club style.  And yes, it has been a while since we’ve attended a club. So, in direct contrast to this time last year when we were attending once a month, this actually felt like more of a treat or a special event if you will.  One of the things that we are both very good at doing is going in with low expectations (which I do not mean negatively).  And by that I mean, if we attend and get to talk to a few couples throughout the evening and finish the night with just the two of us having sex surrounded by people we call that a great night.  And I know, for anyone who has never attended one that may come as a shock.  So, I will re-iterate for clarity.  If we are able to socialize and then just have sex the two of us, we go home meeting our expectations.

Now with that in mind, this last weekend, was a rush!  And why?  Because we not only chatted with one new couple, but we actually connected with a bunch of really rad people.  There was laughter, mingling and just a general excitement that felt electric.  I mean, we actually met a few couples that we want to see outside of the club.  And that, is truly amazing for us.  Imagine how hard it was for you to find someone when you were single.  Now imagine that the dating pool is only 1% of that, being non-monogamous specifically.  And now we are looking for not one, but two people we get along with!  It’s a teeny tiny mathematical number that if we looked at the odds with a critical mindset, it would probably be better to just not even try.

Thankfully though, I am a near annoying optimist with an unwavering perseverance to keep trying.  And for my partner, well, the rewards far outweigh any risk, by pretty much the positive power of whatever negative we are sitting in right now.  And that is why I am jubilant right now, in knowing that we interacted with a few couples!  I mean, it’s a damn near impossibility and yet, here I sit, trying to calm my mind from racing too far ahead with the fantasy of dating multiple couples at the same time.  So, I am trying to snap myself into a logical, reality based frame.  But, I cannot quite shake this smile.  And to hear my partner daily say how much fun Saturday was, just brings a smile to my face.  It was fun, and we have real opportunity in the future to continue the fun.  And, well, I am just on a little bit of a swing club high right now.

The actual events of Saturday were fabulous, with playtime and touching of new people and the amazing visual stimulus that we keep coming back for.  But, the reality is, I am far more excited for the future us, rather than where the two of us were in that moment just shortly around 1 AM.  It’s easy to get laid in a swing club, especially when you bring your own partner.  What’s tricky, is finding something fun outside of it.  A couple with whom, you are trying to set up a date in the real world.  And if everything lines up the way I am so hopeful for, maybe a few of them?

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Re-Branding the Term Swingers

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term swinger.  Really think about it for a moment, and allow a picture to form in your mind.  Good!  Now chances are incredibly high that something negative or taboo, or cliché started to form.  Perhaps a fishbowl full of keys, or shag carpets, or some seedy basement reeking of sweat and stale beer, or just a big orgy with lots of pubic hair!  I for one, always picture a 60’s scene pool party with that one dude who is short, greasy, lots of chest hair and an inexplicable amount of scantily clad women hanging off of him.  Now I know from personal experience that this is not the case, but swinging is just not a modern term, and thus it’s difficult to envision the term free of its rich history, it’s just not representative of the modern participant.

 

Now if you are one of the few who either didn’t have an immediate negative image form and instead something funny, or sexy popped into your mind congrats!  But the reality is if you are part of the lifestyle or know people in it, it can be difficult to separate the stigma from the reality.  Or even to look at people who have admitted to swinging without a bit of a skepticism.  You know they look normal, but you may wonder what is wrong with them, or their marriage or just think they are clearly not typical swingers, because swinging is not normal and the word has a lot of visual stigma attached.

 

With all this taboo, and preconception in mind, you can well imagine why so many people who identify as swingers are looking to rebrand the name.  It is human nature to want to be accepted in society, or at the very least not judged at every turn.  And swingers, polyamory, open relationships, and all the other labels on the non-monogamous spectrum have taken their share of societal beatings over the years.  No one group outside of monogamy holds a universally accepted relationship norm.  And that is why, over the last few years we have seen an influx of people trying to break free of stigma and or prove the judgemental people wrong.  And if you’re a regular reader, you know I am one of the many voices trying to promote acceptance and understanding with my own breaking free of monogamy.

 

So let’s take a look at what prompted this post, a little tweet from a friend whom we will call @HunterGash (who you can follow on Twitter): “It’s been my mission for 2 years on the show [Hunter Gash and Alley Cat on GTFO Radio] to find a term that doesn’t have the stigma attached like “swingers” does.  #FWBLifestyle needs to begin…”  In his eyes, the idea of merging friends with benefits and lifestyle is the closest fit for the modern swinger.  It’s kind of catchy hashtag FWB Lifestyle.  And really, I can see something like that catching on, especially from those who are in the know and want a re-invention of the word swingers.

So here is where I am struggling.  I am in my mid 30’s and am experiencing social interaction with a bombardment of labels.  Every group out there is trying to break free of stigma by creating new terminology, better suited labels, and just in general trying to fit into a more descriptive box.  If you read my post about labels, I go into the idea that labels equals exclusionary boxes.  And by using online dating in that post as the main example it does hit the heart of my issue, I don’t like labels.  I like living free, fluid and with the ability to explore all new experiences without being tied down or branded so to speak.  And so when this friend proudly proclaimed his new term for swingers I was immediately against it.

 

But then, being the balanced, person I am, I started questioning his motivations.  And I agree with the why and the how, and the term is useful and accurate.  However, that still leaves me with the predicament of a new label and term to now promote, use and explain.  Is that easier or even the best idea?  Do we fix the broken term or scratch it and start over?  Have we learned enough about our selves and relationships to not screw up this new term too?  Or will we end up in 30 years looking back on #FWBLifestyle going, those people were so weird, and were basically horny rabbits, who spent far too much time in hot tubs ignoring their families, and had absolutely no pubic hair anywhere… EWW!

 

After flip flopping on whether this new term is a good idea, necessary, or will one day replace swinging in our minds I say this.  You do you, and let me do me.  If using a new term helps you find your place, and gives you a defined sense of community then all the power to you.  If labels and boxes give you certainty and comfort, then go for it.  Breaking free of terms that have stigma attached and misrepresent a large community is a completely understandable cause.  For me though?  I prefer to break free of labels and move towards a more fluid existence.  In the real world it seems like labels are less important than on social media.  So perhaps it’s time to pool our resources towards more in depth conversations and explanations of what we already have and do away with trying to re-invent the wheel.

 

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