The Latest Gender Debate in the Media – Transgender Actors

I just finished reading an article stating that Scarlett Johansson stepped down from the role she had agreed to play, whereby she was going to portray a transgendered person.  Obviously this has been a media shit storm from the onset, especially when it was announced that she would play this role and not someone who was transgendered themselves.  Now, I have a few thoughts on this.

Firstly, why did she need to step down or decline the role?  Why in the world does the general populous get to dictate what a producer, director, writer, etc wants or can do with their movie and their investments?  If you don’t like something, don’t go see it.  Pretty simple stuff.  And as we all know, social media is a skewed view of what the real world wants or will support.  It’s a platform that works based on the notion that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and might I just add, something I absolutely loath in real life.

Second, are transgendered people actually trying to state that unless you are transgendered yourself, then you are not qualified to understand, empathize or portray what you go through?  Is this group truly preventing actors from acting?  Honestly!  Do you need to be a pirate to actually portray one on the big screen?  No?  Well then, this whole debacle is ridiculous.  Now, if you are saying that this role would have been perfect to award to a qualified transgendered person for exposure, etc, then please understand that this mindset works both ways.  If only a transgendered person could properly fill these shoes, then you open yourselves up to the criticism that transgendered people are only fit for transgendered roles.  And if I am not mistaken, that’s not what acting is about.  It’s actually about portraying someone else, and convincing the audience that your role is authentic and believable.  You know, pretend and make believe, or dare I say, to act?

Third, if this media shit storm strikes the movie or project hard enough, it could lose investors and never be made at all.  And then guess what, you just lost an amazing opportunity to bring a role like this into the mainstream dialogue.  The exposure you risk losing, cannot possibly be worth this much fuss, can it?  This seems like simple math.  Would you like something, or nothing?

Fourth and finally, if you truly believe that only a transgendered person is qualified to act out this very important part, then guess what?  You have failed to portray to the public exactly how you feel as an outsider in society.  And not to put too fine a point on it, but you will remain a victim and an outsider.  Not every member of society will be able to understand exactly what your pain is.  But know that each of us have our own unique pain, and it is empathy that allows us to work together as a society to accept and love one another.  And you do not need to wear every single human beings shoes to accomplish that.  It is time to learn how to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a more effective way and stop playing the poor me card.  We all try that as young children, and guess what?  It does not fly in the adult world.  So time to pick a different tactic!

And honestly, these arguments I have put forward can be substituted for a long list of social justice warrior causes that are currently in the media.  Stop giving grease to the squeaky wheel, just because we don’t want to hear it squeak anymore.  Instead lets try to get to the root cause of the problem and try to fix that.

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Social Media Versus Reality: Gender

I saw a tweet on Father’s Day, that basically asked you not to wish dad’s a happy father’s day if you are not sure of their preferred pronoun.  And well, this got me thinking…

Every time I take a social media break and get out into the real world I am stunned by the dichotomy of the two worlds.  And specifically I am talking about gender.  While I will not claim to be any sort of expert when it comes to all the gender diversity, I am certainly one who likes to have an open mind and always learn more.  I try to write with a less male/female vernacular, and I do attempt to employ the “softer” tones of they or them when it makes the words flow a little more naturally.  I do this, mostly because I want my writing to be relatable.  I want people to seamlessly put themselves in my shoes or gauge a new perspective free of the gender limits.  And while I cannot promise to always get it correct, I am happy to have a broader voice that appeals to more people.

With that in mind, I sometimes forget just how staggeringly different the real world is.  Social media is this idealized bubble of how society should be, mixed with trolls and outliers for a strange balance.  It works in a weird way.  I feel secure in my views and fairly happy that I am surrounded by so many sex positive and open minded individuals, even though I have no clue what many of them look like, (thanks social media).  We get along on a level that is interesting and often educational for me.  And that is in stark contrast to the realities of the offline world.

Take for example washrooms.  The online world makes it seem like genderless washrooms are becoming more and more common place and are an inclusive, amazing steps for businesses, schools and events to start incorporating.  And in the social media bubble, I am all for it.  No one should ever feel shamed for using the restroom.  But then, I get out into the real world and remember that going to the bathroom in front of people is absolutely awful!  I do not like peeing in front of women, so how in the hell could I comfortably do that with all genders in the same space?  Oh, wait… I do.  In many swing clubs, they have a bathroom where both men and women can go together to ensure that partners do not unnecessarily get separated from each other.  So, the reality is I have been doing this for years.  And yet, in the normal day to day setting, it feels uncomfortable and just plain wrong to do.  Especially in the workplace or in educational facilities. But a swing club is like a little invite only bubble, just as social media is.  Maybe in some future reality bodily functions won’t be such a big deal.  But today, in the here and now, I do not enjoy public washrooms!

So, let’s look at another example.  Using social media, I again try to use an inclusive voice.  I work hard to be mindful of my diverse network of people.  And in doing so, I try and catch myself when I call out men or women for bad behaviour.  I make many attempts to broaden my finger pointing and use words like people, or humans or really anything that removes gender.  But, the real world is a stark contrast from this online community.   I won’t lie, it’s so refreshing to sit down with a girlfriend and bitch about all the ways men and women are different.  To talk about gender in the workplace and just how lopsided even something as benign as dress code is.  For you see, the workplace is not an open and genderless environment.  Perhaps someday it will be, but right now, we are not even close to that.  It is polarized.  Men do this, wear this, talk like this, and women have their own rules for behaviour, dress and acceptable language they can use.

Gender exists all around us.  We see men who hold open doors, believe in being chivalrous, and always pay on a first date.  We see women getting dolled up, wearing high beautiful heels, and acting in a way that opens the door for me to take care of them.  If you go to a bar, you see men talking crash and crude, objectifying women.  And you see women gossiping and bitching for hours on end over a few bottles of wine.  Men work the physically challenging roles, and drink beer to unwind.  And the ladies, well, they are the nurses, the teachers and the caregivers.  Will this change?  Of course it will.  We are constantly evolving.  But when you talk on social media forums, it feels like men and women are being shamed for doing things that feel natural to their specific genders.  And we must remember that that is not healthy either.  It takes time to undo decades of gender roles and our socialization.  And truly, I don’t see a problem with maintaining a certain level of division, so long as there is a place to include those who want to break free of their moulds.

We are living in a polarized real world society, with the online community providing us an ideologized space.  There are going to be clashes as we figure this all out.  But if I can offer one peace of advice, just be open, understanding and inclusive wherever possible.  Don’t get too stressed out about calling people him/her/they/them.  Just be kind and respectful if you are ever corrected.  This is going to take time to figure out a system that works for as many people as possible.  We cannot expect language or gender norms like this to change overnight.

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Sex Censorship: The Modern Book Burning and The War on Women

Make no mistake, the internet is experiencing a very scary purging of sex content in the form of sexual censorship.  With the closure of Backpage, and Craigslist personals (US only, Canada still seems to be available) sex workers are being put at risk.  And by risk, I mean pushing them out of the safety of the internet and directly onto the streets.  This is terrifying.  And this doesn’t just stop at sex workers.  For example, YouTube is now removing entire channels dedicated to sex education and the cloud has been deleting entire profiles, videos and images specifically targeting escorts and sex workers.  We are moving into the dark ages where we are again running and hiding from the word sex.  We are reaching a critical climax with the technological information purge, or what I feel is the modern book burning.  And if you are thinking you are not affected, please don’t stop reading as there is more!

With SESTA-FOSTA in effect, third party websites are now liable for the content that is written, shared and promoted on them.  While the guise of child endangerment and trafficking pushed it forward, the real victims are sex workers.  They cannot use platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Switter etc to promote and screen their businesses and clients, putting them at extreme risk of extortion, their very physical safety, and their means of income as sights like Paypal are liable under this new law as well.  Which ultimately will push these workers back onto the streets or worse.  And yes, pushing out sex workers has a negative effect on all of us.  It’s called the oldest profession for a reason.  History has shown us time and time again that humans will find a way to have their sexual needs and desires met, one way or the other.  To fight this, is futile and recently we were reminded just how dangerous it is which I will touch on shortly.  And with the legal threat of third party liability, sex workers will move to the next safe place to advertise, and that will most likely be on dating apps.  That’s right, dating apps like OK Cupid, and Tinder will be the next targets.  So, do you still think this doesn’t affect you?

This censorship is so far reaching that even taking pictures of sex toys may/will result in discretionary removal, blocking and/or just banned.  And as of today, Twitter will start to remove all nudity that elicits arousal.  Are you freaking kidding me?  This is censorship at its worst because it is subjective.  Is there some big review board somewhere that will review nudity to see if it gets someone hard or wet?  Internet freedom is not under attack, it is no longer a thing.  Again, if you think this doesn’t affect you, you’re just not listening.  If you cannot even take a picture of a sex toy, where does that line end?  Can you not take a picture of condom to promote and educate safe sex?  And honestly, there is no end in sight, and no clear picture of who makes these determinations.

So what’s next?  Where is the internet headed?  Where are we as a society going to end up if we cannot embrace healthy sexual discussion and acceptance.  Oh that’s where it’s headed, straight into fear and outright hatred of sex and women.  Are you ready to read about the real world ramifications of the breakdown of sex positive speech, availability, education and just general knowledge?  Well, ready or not, Toronto women were just attacked by a 25 year old man, on the street, by a van of all things.  And why? Because he was part of a group called the Incel Rebellion, which is short for “involuntary celibate”.  This is a group of violent men, who have slurped up the Kool-aid that women are the enemy.  That we should not have autonomy over our sexual rights and body, and that men have every right to get laid, by whatever means necessary, including rape.  Yes, you read that right.  I will be honest, I have a lot of difficulty researching this group of men, and my stomach turns just thinking that these predators are a part of our society.  It’s bone chilling and I cannot go into more detail without tearing up.  So research this subject with caution.

How can women be feared this much?  Why are we losing our autonomy at such an alarming rate?  How as a society can we attack sex workers, and allow organizations that promote bodily harm to women to continue?  Where is the poison that started this all?  And how the fuck do we fix this?  I want to say that with education and compassion the next generation will be better than us.  But, I don’t think we can, as an equal society wait that long.  Women are dying.  Sex workers, have reached the point of desperation and are taking their own lives.  Men, believing they have “rights” to us as objects has resulted in death, all over North America, and honestly I couldn’t research beyond that.

This has to STOP!  And it has to stop now.   The war on women must end.  And the book burning of sexual content, information and education has to be eliminated.  And RIGHT NOW!  This is a human crisis.  It’s not men versus women.  It’s a poison that is infiltrating our very ethics and morality, and we need to find the antidote.  Being shocked, silent or dismissive is over.  For my part, I will continue to post nudity on my blog and on my Patreon page, and proudly!  I will continue to blog about sex, relationships, sexuality and non-monogamy.  I will continue to support sex workers and my community of sex positive individuals.  I will not be silent.  And neither should you!  As I tweeted today “Things are not looking good right now for freedom of expression, from the female perspective.  We need to do better.  I hate being right about it getting worse before it gets better… how much more can society fear sex and women?”  Join the conversation on social media.  Talk to your friends and loved ones.  We cannot silently watch women die as our freedoms are ripped from us!

Aggression and #30DaysofLingerie

During the month of April (For Twitter users) there is a very sexy and fun hashtag called #30daysoflingerie.  I was super excited when I found it, late of course, but I joined it anyways.  I figured it would be an incredibly fun way to connect with sexy people and show off a little.  And it started as just that, finding lingerie, taking selfies and posting to twitter.  And I had the added fun of sending the best ones to my partner (who is not on twitter) for a little extra hint of exhibitionism.  I was part of a group and it felt exhilarating to share my sexy side in a way that was outside of my blog or Patreon.  And my followers for the most part were super supportive and extremely welcoming of this little bit extra.

So, all was fun and games, right up until post 10, and that’s when I learned a hard, but valuable lesson.  I do not like aggression, and I absolutely loath it from women.  Yup, I went ahead and said it.  Being exposed to highly aggressive people, especially in a sexualized environment where I already feel vulnerable and exposed will and did push me over the edge.  As a result, I have officially quit playing the game that I was originally so excited about.  But I learned I a great lesson about what I find attractive and can now better articulate something that really turns me off.

I am turned on by assertive, and confident people.  I want to surround myself with them both in and out of the bedroom because they challenge me to be better.  And I love that feeling of intellectual discourse blended with a person who knows what they want and are not afraid to ask for it.  And further to that, I get instantly wet if the person they want, is me.  Being wanted by someone I prize is indeed a sexual high point for me.  Oh swoon, that, and that alone… Ok I need a moment.  Phew… back on track here.

There is a line between aggression and assertiveness, and after this hashtag I forced myself to analyze exactly what crossing the line really meant to me.  I have been put off before, but could never quite articulate what the turnoff was, well, until now.  Unprompted crass or crude behaviour, and or the encouragement of negativity, are the two main things that stand out after a few days of soul searching and analysis.

Let me explain.  I do not find strangers demanding that I give them more, or brag that they would get me off in heartbeat if they were in my bed to be a turn on.  Nor, does an aggressive proclamation of just where they would stick it if I spread my legs wider for them garnish any type of arousal.  It does not encourage me to take sexier pictures, in fact, quite the opposite.  Being objectified that roughly, makes me want to stop showing off altogether.  I like light, sexy, playful and flirty when it comes to text and in person conversations of a sexual nature.  And I love being told that an image of mine is driving someone wild, or they can’t wait to get home to their partners as a result.  That is the line of what makes a turn on for me and why I show off, knowing my images are having a positive affect.  So crude objectification, in my books, is bad, and not sexy.

Now onto the point of encouraging bad behaviour or negative emotions.  First, I don’t equate sex with being bad or naughty.  For my personal sex life, I love passion and fun above all other things.  And to the point of this blog, I don’t ever want to feel dirty or used by some random internet stranger.  It is vulgar to me.  So that’s why I post pictures that I feel are pretty, or artistic or just really freaking hot to me.  That’s my prerogative when it comes to sex.  There are no mixed messages here, and nothing in my language that is up for negotiation.  Any rough play, or BDSM, is the one place that is completely private for me and off limits to the public.  I require complete trust in this regard and obviously there is no trust present with internet strangers.  And if you’ve met me in person, while very open, you know I speak my mind, within the firm boundaries I have put in place.  I know many people get turned on by raunchy and dirty language, and I in no way am trying to shame those people.  Just simply stating that it doesn’t work for me.  I don’t need a bunch of strangers objectifying me to get off.  I have a fabulous sex life, and writing my blog, posting pictures and showing off on Patreon are simply an extension of that.  If I wanted to be spoken to dirty, I promise you, I would ask.  Until that time, remember you are on a public forum, and you’re not nearly as anonymous as you think you are.

And that’s a great segue way into the second component of this, internet strangers trying to encourage negative behaviour in me.  Reading that a person wants to get me angry or riled up so I post more dirty pictures is quite off putting, especially from a woman.  Part of the reason I specify women here, is that with a man, I feel comfortable calling them out, or muting or even blocking if they don’t learn their lesson.  With a woman though, I can’t quite let go of my biases with regards to not looking like a bitch, or perceived as such by other females.  So I let it slide, or nervously giggle even though I’m enraged and disgusted.  Again, I know it’s sexist, but with men I can handle shutting them down, but women, I just want to crawl into a hole and avoid the entire encounter.  I have troubles rationalizing why anyone would feed off of negativity or want more of it.  It is a complete libido killer to me, and that’s where I find myself right now.  The lingerie challenge has lost its appeal for me.  I have encountered some incredibly aggressive women who made me feel uncomfortable and dirty.  And rather than deal with it, I have chosen to stop playing.  My terms, my choice.

But I don’t regret the lessons I have learned from the experience.  I know more about my turn ons and turn offs as a direct result of this hashtag and my involvement in it.  And I want to make my final statement very clear, I am writing this post, for me and my sexuality.  I am not in anyway asking anyone to change or modify their behaviours because everyone’s sexuality and turn ons are unique.  We aren’t born with a user manual of sexual attraction, and in this case, I learned more about myself by putting my images out there, than I would have by just avoiding.  But I know when to quit.  When things aren’t fun anymore, and the lessons have been learned, it’s time to move on.   So thanks to the wonderful and amazing people that discovered me while doing this challenge, I hope you stick around, but if not, no hard feelings.  It was fun while it lasted.

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Re-Branding Single Men Who Swing

 

In my last post, I discussed the idea of re-branding the outdated term of swinging, or as @HunterGash suggested, adding a new term that better defines his relationship norm and would probably better identify a large group within the lifestyle.  While I personally don’t agree that adding new labels is beneficial in the long term, there was one group that I may actually feel could benefit from a different term, and that is the single lifestyle men.  I know, this may come as quite a shock to many of my readers, especially if you have read a few of my angry rant posts regarding singles in the lifestyle.  But I have given this a lot of thought, and ultimately, I don’t think single men should use the term swingers.

Single men have a lot of hurdles to overcome being a part of the lifestyle.  More in fact than any other group, and the reason is, there is too large of a supply for the actual demand.  As a result, single men are very visible and any bad behaviour is seen, remembered and preventative measures are quickly put in place.  It only takes one bad apple to get a bad reputation for the group, and as there are so many of them, it’s easy for things to get out of hand and therefor simpler to just ban them altogether.  And I have to include myself, because it is much easier to just say single men shouldn’t swing rather than trying the tedious task of weeding out the bad apples or trying to educate them, especially in the heat of the moment.

But, after interacting with a bunch of really great single guys who are positive additions to the swinging community I realized that there has got to be a happy medium between letting them over saturate the community and banning them altogether.  How then do single males become a positive asset within the term swingers?  The best answer I could come up with, is they don’t.  Hear me out…

I think the easiest thing for men to do at this point, is drop the word swinger altogether, and just start saying they are non-monogamous males or something along those lines.  The word swinger is not working, it never really has, and men already have a bunch of terms to pick and choose from that work better anyways, without all the additional stigma of being a swinger added on.  Let’s take a look at a few of the terms available, non-monogamous, single men (a little joke), bulls, bachelors, FWB etc.

To me, single men are not swingers by definition.  Swinging is about partnership, relationships, team building, etc and these are things that single men are not.  Now this is not supposed to be inflammatory or be interpreted as me not wanting to include singles in the lifestyle.  When you’re flying solo, you’re not fully swinging and that’s OK!  Let’s look at single women in the lifestyle, they are given the term unicorn, and I don’t think many people would even think to call them swingers.  They are almost elevated above swingers, as an almost prized possession, whereas single men are below swingers (this is a stereotypical example for a reason and not my personal opinion).  The thing is, singles are not equal to swingers.  Swingers is plural and singles, well, you can do the math on that.

So in short, why as a single male would you set yourself up for double the stigma when you don’t have to?  Why would you even want to use the term swinger?  While many are trying to re-invent it, or rename it, you can just walk away from the label and just be non-monogamous, or bachelors, or even that you enjoy lifestyle parties.  In the words of my old boss, Keep it simple stupid (again, a joke).  Go for what works, and stop fighting what simply isn’t.

And if you want to test out my theory, try putting swinger on your dating profile and watch all your matches disappear.  Then, switch to non-monogamous and while this switch will not open doors, it will keep them from being slammed in your face.  And you are much more likely to get some real conversation going by people who are inquisitive or a little more open minded.  Why is this?  Stigma and taboo are real and very hard to overcome on paper.   So why would you set yourself up for a polarizing hard no right off the bat?  That’s just setting yourself up for failure or at the very least creating just one more difficult hurdle to overcome.  So break free of the double stigma of being single male swingers and avoid all the added negativity of the bad apples who went before you.  Play to your strengths, and don’t hold onto weaknesses.

 

Thank you to all who have checked out my Patreon page already!  I love being able to share some sexy behind the scenes pictures that don’t quite make it to the blog.  So again thank you, and cheers!