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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Sexual relationship, disability, body confidence, enthusiastic consent, esteem (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Sexual relationship, disability, body confidence, enthusiastic consent, esteem
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm about to go into a board meeting, then have to deal with a bit of an emergency, so won't be back until morning.

But you know, one thing I can most certainly do is try my best to do.say things that ARE just for you.

So, how about voicing what you want from this person that's just for you, knowing that whatever it is, if it's within my ability, you'll get it? [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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Heather, I didn't quite know what to do with what you said to me. I think that says something, but I'm not quite sure what yet.

It made me feel quite emotional, and I'm not sure if it was what you were really meaning, but it helped me get some things clear about at least some of what didn't feel quite right.

My partner is getting there, but he's still not getting it. I'm really sure that the positive things he said are completely serious, and not just "I'll say nice things so that you'll be quiet", but the effect actually feels a bit that way to me. I find it really hard to go on asking for what I need when someone is so very nice about it, and all into how much they want to do that, but actually isn't responding to what I said.

After saying some really good things, he actually, in effect, put it back onto me. He asked me that if it (him being non-communicative) happened again, in spite of him trying not to, to tell him. No. No no no no no. That is not our final "catch this situation so it doesn't happen" position. I Said that I cannot do that. He's asking me to do something that I said I'm really struggling with. It's not fair to put the final responsibility for sorting it on me when I said I can't. It puts the responsibility and pressure back on me when I was trying to get rid of it, and basically puts me back in the same place.

Worse. I said HARD LIMIT. I know he knows what that means. Maybe he missed it, but those are a pretty bad two words to miss. Hard limit, hard limit, hard limit, hard limit, hard limit, hard limit, hard limit, hard limit, hard limit. When someone expresses a hard limit, you Do Not then negotitate what happens if that limit is broken. A hard limit is not to be broken. Full stop. You do not go near a hard limit. And if people cannot guarantee that one of their hard limits isn't going to be broken, then the sexual encounter just doesn't happen. End of. Simple as. Having probably the first hard limit I've set casually overridden in conversation nearly as soon as I expressed it does not make me feel safe. HARD LIMIT. This Is Not Happening.

I didn't manage to say that at the time because I was confused and didn't really realise that that's what was happening. I thought more that, he's trying to be part of this, to negotiate. Being a good partner in a functioning relationship involves negotiating - so I automatically negotiated. Although I didn't really say "yes", I said, "I can try...but it might be hard for me". The thing is, there is no negotiation around hard limits.

He's not getting that, certainly by this point, it's that non-communication itself that is really not ok for me. And me pointing out that it's happening might help him, but it won't help me, because it's already happened, and already put me in the place that I already explicitly said I am not prepared to go to again.

I want him to ask me what I need. I want him to take care of that one thing himself, because I really can't. I know that that may be a lot to ask, but I don't say "can't" lightly - and he Knows that. I handle a lot of my own rubbish so that it doesn't hurt him, and I'm prepared to take nearly anything else on, so I feel like I Should be able to ask this. I'm a Survivor, for goodness sake, don't cross my limits, or there'll either be a very very unhappy and messed-up Redskies or a pretty fighty Redskies.

I need him to sort that situation himself. I can be a part of the solution, that's fine, but I cannot be presented with that situation. And I've already tried everything I've got to help, and it didn't get anywhere, so he's got to take the lead on it now.

Once more: HARD LIMIT on the situation of Partner giving off no signal whatsoever, or conflicting signals, about what he wants/whether he's into it/ok or not, and not even a "I don't know".

I'm sorry if this goes off on one a bit or doesn't quite make sense. I'm a bit upset and I don't think I can make it come out more coherently.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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While I was reading this, I was actually cheering from the sidelines. Still kind of working my way through it, but the biggest thing I got out of it was that even though you're feeling upset, you're having some really good, strong moments of clarity around what you need and in support of the fact that you need them, period.

I agree: with hard limits, the deal is that people can accept them, or they don't. And if they don't, then we just don't interact together in whatever way that hard limit is needed for that interaction to be okay for whoever's limit it is.

This?

quote:
I want him to ask me what I need.
If we were writing a musical composition about all of this, I think this would be the key we'd write it in, if you get me. In other words, it seems like this theme is really your big deal in this, is very central to all of this, and is the biggest thing to focus on.

Yes, negotiation is part of working relationships: but so is reciprocity and balance and two-way movement of all of these things. I hear you, through these posts, very focused on finding out and knowing what your partner needs, and it sounds like you put a lot of effort into doing what you can to assure those needs are met. What I keep seeing and hearing is that that seems very one-sided in a lot of ways, and you want it to be mutual. You want some equity.

Sound about right?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ClaudusCogito
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Dear Heather, Hello Scarleteen,

thank you so very much for taking all the time and energy to provide advice, help and support here.

I am 'him', apologies for the late joining, but the last week was ridiculously bad with loads of blocked time and lack of internet on top of it. Well, finally I am here to join the conversation and contribute my perspective, if and when necessary. I will try to keep my future replies shortish as Redskies asked me to leave this thread to her and address my issues in a separate one, which I am more than happy to do.

Firstly, I have to say the overall context described by my partner in the initial post(s) is really spot on, I have little to add to the general description of the problem, even including my very own issues (some of which I will elaborate on elsewhere as they maybe help to tackle the problem).

Secondly, I am generally happy to try and discuss whatever is necessary to sort our problem out and find a way to make our (sexual) relationship work better and happier. Obviously, some things will take time, effort and may require thoughts, change and temporary unpleasantness, but that is fine by me.

This being said, I must admit that my gut reaction to your last post, Heather, was: "Wait a second, this is not fair, I am all in for equity, equality and mutuality." In fact, it was my impression that Redskies and I had a very open and balanced communication on most parts, each of us spending a lot of time asking what the other person wants, needs and feels like or checking if something is okay or should be intensified, stopped or changed. Learning now, that apparently this is not the case and I have been -for lacking a better word- 'leeching' needs met of my partner is shocking and in fact not, how I would want things at all.

Obviously, I am not saying that my perspective is true and right, but the way I understood the overall situation, I had been asking and double-checking loads including taking on board a majority of things my partner indicated as a need or want. I was aware that the particular situation this thread is focussing on was different and more complicated, needing some help from someone outside our relationship, but by no means was I assuming it would be this bad.

Partially, this might be due to me not realising/reading things correctly and -once again- anything that might help me find a way to deal with that (in a different thread) are very welcome. However, some of the more recent posts are absolutely(!) news to me, particularly that we were deep in safe-word-territory. When Redskies pointed the most recent post out to me some fiveish hours ago, the severity of it all hit me completely out of the blue. The reason, why I still tried to negotiate was not that I was hoping to sneak some responsibility back onto my partner, but that I had completely missed the 'hard limit' hint.

Here, I have to say though that this is in all likelihood a huge misunderstanding. While I am fairly clued up about non-mainstream sexualities (e.g. BDSM) and am familiar with some of their vocabulary (bottom, top, vanilla, switch...), I am not entirely knowledgeable and up until reading the latest post I did not have the slightest idea that 'hard limit' is in fact a technical term akin to 'safeword'. Adding that I am not a native speaker and that sometimes particular meanings/strengths(connotations of words allude me, I did not pick it up as a warning. Having inferred that I had just missed a major, major bright red flag (and read up on 'hard limit' elsewhere), I am terribly sorry for reacting the way I did.

To use a street-light analogy, to me the problem was clearly not a green one, I was well-aware that we have found an aspect of our sexuality that needs working on and could use some help. When reading that my reaction had not 'just' been 'bad', but actually triggering my partner (something I similarly did not know), I went to (dark) orange, but was still assuming we where in negotiation territory. Hence, my approach to go "I see this is really not at all good for you, I will absolutely do my best to provide at least a baseline 'I don't know' whenever possible." The "but, if I am not realising something, could you please warn me", was not meant as putting responsibility back on her, but rather as a 'failsafe'.

I know I can be terrible at reading people sometimes and while I do try my best, I miss things, do not get subtle hints and get confused if I am not sure what I am supposed to do. The clearest solution for that has largely been to ask people to spell things out for me, if it appears that I am not getting them. As I would really dislike creating a bad, harmful situation just because I missed something (even though I tried not to), I naturally added this to my promise to change my behaviours.

This was not intended as an easy way out of taking personal responsibility, sitting in my armchair and waiting for my partner to speak up and do the care work. Had I realised that asking my partner to spell something out as a last resort would in and by itself create a triggering situation, I had never ever done so and I have -after speaking to Redskies earlier- made clear that I (hopefully) now have understood the problem and will of course not expect her to do anything like that without further questions asked and negotiations added.

I hope, this long response sheds some light on what has been going on on my side of the whole problem. Needless to say that, I will ask more questions in the future and (even) more explicitly keep my partner's needs in mind. Still, I am not sure how I am supposed to know that I have missed something, especially when I felt that I had already asked...

As my partner has initially posted, I have loads of issues of my own and, quite unfortunately, some of them are also revolving about matters of insecurity, knowing what I want and trying to figure out what the other person wants / acting wrongly being part and parcel of the whole thing. This will have to wait for another thread though...

Thanks again!

[ 09-27-2011, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: ClaudusCogito ]

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Heather
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Hey, Claudus, it's great to virtually meet you. [Smile] I think it's also super-fantastic you came here to try and work this through together, even though I know it can be a little weird doing it in front of such a big window. I will do my level best to be very sensitive with both of you, and know I know how sensitive all of this is, especially online.

I'm wondering if before we all dig in a little more, it might help for both of you to just do two things for yourselves, each other and me, which is to post:

a) what each of you ultimately wants out of this conversation between all of us, and
b) what things either of you have read the other saying or said to each other in discussions around this that were big surprises/unexpected statements where you feel like you either might need some grounding, some time to parse things, or some extra-working through.

Know what I mean by that last bit? If not, I'm happy to try and clarify.

Once I can see those things, I think the best way I can help is to perhaps, as a third-party without my own emotional stake in this, lay out where I'm seeing the biggest conflicts and then suggest some ways I think you two could try talking about them and working on them in a very practical, problem-solving way. Sound good to you both?

[ 09-27-2011, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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The "hard limit" thing was my mistake. It's also that "limit" is such a standard word used about consent too, I had no idea it wouldn't be familiar to Claudus. Glad we've sorted that.

I understand why Claudus feels a bit odd about Heather's reaction to my previous post, as in nearly every other situation he's great at checking in with me, explicitly asking what I need and creating a space to then make it happen. But I really feel that that hasn't happened around this specific situation, and in that context, Heather's response made me nod and feel happy.

I don't have much "happy medium" space in between not voicing my needs and being fairly forceful about it. If I try to do it lightly, it just doesn't come out right at all, is not understood as need-voicing, and doesn't do anything (with anyone). Claudus knows that about me, as I've directly addressed it before, and he said that while it understandably wouldn't be comfortable, he'd be ok with it so long as I wasn't vindictive/spiteful etc.

I think I'll better identify exactly what I want out of the conversation after a bit of thought.

Heather, your suggestion sounds good to me.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Heather, I'm aware you've already had quite an extended conversation with me here, and I appreciate this so much. I didn't know where else to go, and I wasn't having any success figuring it out for myself the way I have many other things (I discovered Scarleteen 2-3 years ago as part of that [Smile] ). I've had repeated not-positive experiences when I've looked for help with other things, so that's a really tough thing for me to do any time I don't know much about the person I'm asking, so it's a huge deal that where I felt ok asking - here - was ok talking to me. I'm just meaning that I'm aware I'm slightly older than your usual target demographic, and not quite asking standard questions, and I appreciate so much that you're still giving your time.

I'm not sure that I understand exactly what you mean with b). I get the general idea, but I'm not sure what things you're meaning to be included in that, so I think I would appreciate some clarification.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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Seriously, I'm absolutely happy to help if I can. It's all good!

With b) what I meant was like what Claudus experienced reading about hard limits. That was unforseen on his part and a surprise. If you've had anything like that in his responses to any of this, conversations around all of this and feel like "Whoah, that's new," or "Wow, I didn't think that was an issue too, add that to the list," that's what I mean. Does that make more sense?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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That makes sense. What about in one's own reactions/thoughts/feelings - are you also including, for example, things that came up for me that I myself hadn't previously realised?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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Yep!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ClaudusCogito
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Just as a brief note, my part of it is now up as a separate thread, incl. the answers to the questions.
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Redskies
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I might have to answer these the other way round to try to get into this.

I don't think anything Claudus said was new to me, apart from one word/phrase that he didn't know, and that's not a word I've used before, I don't think, and now he knows it, so that's not really a huge deal.

In this conversation, I consciously realised how tough I find Claudus' mixed signals (although I emotionally knew it some time ago) and that I can't be healthy with it, at least in the way it's been so far. I consciously realised that it triggers me in 3 ways - around my own psych issues, as a Survivor, and around a previous bad relationship. I also realised that in that specific context Claudus hasn't been taking care of me or my needs, and that I need that to happen, and that I mind that.

What would I ultimately like out of this conversation? I'd like Claudus and I to have a way of working through these things without our own individual issues colliding. I'd like to find a way in which I can tap in to checking out just how much I need something/feel strongly about it, even when someone else has genuine, understandable needs that perhaps conflict with mine. I'd like Claudus to have some place he can go for anything he needs to help his own issues, so that I know he's taking care of that, and all I need to do is be the support he asks for, and not trying to figure out what he needs in the first place. I'd like to really know that I can bring up anything sex-related that I need to with Claudus and it'll be ok, and that we'll get somewhere with it.

I'm quite struggling to answer this properly, but I think that's the best I have at the moment.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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This looks great, both of you! And without saying anything else, I really appreciate that this kind of shared openness and joint participation: it's always really nice to see people so obviously invested in each other and a relationship of quality.

I'll sleep on this tonight, then get started having a go at it all tomorrow. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I am so sorry to have to keep apologizing to you!

I woke up yesterday without any internet or phone service, and didn't have it again for most of the day, then was in a meeting until late into the night. I intended to make that up to you by coming on this morning and tending to both of your posts, but had a bunch of mean in my email and some site comments, and am finding that it put my brain in less than an inspired place.

So, I'm afraid that I have to give you a raincheck of a day or so again, and as you're clearly lovely, patient people, so I know you will be patient, I thank you for your patience in advance.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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Thanks for letting me/us know.

Sorry to hear about the mean! These people... have no idea in the world what they are criticising.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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ClaudusCogito
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Sorry to hear your last days have been sub-optimal, hope things will clear up. Looking forward to your thoughts and advice, but of course an inspired place would be much preferred. [Smile]
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WesLuck
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Yes, it's amazing how easily some people can criticise a service where healthy, non-judgmental information, advice and discussion about human sexuality is not only tolerated, but is the norm. I guess some people have agendas they deliberately or below-consciously try to push onto others.

I give you my best wishes, Heather. Hope you're feeling better soon. [Smile]

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Heather
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Just FYI, my next hour is being dedicated solidly to the two of you. Going to sit down with your posts to the exclusion of everything else, go over all of them again, and then start a thread expressly for the both of you working together. That way, we can talk about things jointly there, and I can easily pop back to each of your own threads to talk more about each of your stuff individually as you'd like.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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And here that thread is: http://www.scarleteen.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011380.html

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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Heather, when you're summarising something to Claudus: that he "feel[s] comfortable declining when she does" [initiate]. Oh my goodness, if only that were true. Well, I can't speak to what Claudus actually feels, but that is So not the message he gives out. If I'm initiating sex out of the blue, certainly after I was aware of how uncomfortable and unsure he can be, I'll do it verbally, to try not to put him in that position. Maybe something like "so, um, I'd be kinda interested in sex..." Or more recently, trying my damndest to get round the problems, "So, what I'd really Like to say to you right now would be that I'd really enjoy sex with you..." I wish he Would just decline if he wanted to. Even really bluntly, if necessary. Anything that just says it's not his thing right then. Instead, I get the really clear message that I did something wrong by mentioning it or asking. And that's not ok. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it not being his thing at any point, but there's also nothing wrong with my suggesting it - unless I have a framework to work from that says "X occasion/circumstances to suggest sex feels inappropriate/threatening/etc and therefore not ok".

Being made to feel like I said/did something wrong when I had no way of knowing it is a pretty big trigger for me.

It also leaves me in a bad place because then I have no idea when I can and can't suggest sex, or even simply express thoughts about it, and the only place I go from there is no longer having any wants about it.

That's a part of the straws/precedents/direct communication point you wrote to me. I would much rather go with direct communication whenever there's any kind of difficulty or uncertainty, but his reaction makes me feel like I am supposed to know whether it's ok even to suggest or mention sex. Which clearly I can't, and clearly doesn't work.

He doesn't seem comfortable declining at all. He seems threatened, badgered, offended, worried, like something very unreasonable and unpleasant is being asked/expected of him, but which he still feels duty-bound to consider; and he doesn't actually decline.

Just to be clear, he does also at other times decline, and it seems ok. Those are the functional times, so I guess we're not talking about them, as they're ok. What I've said here is what happens sometimes, in particular circumstances.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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We can dig a bit into this when we're talking together, but perhaps one thing for you and I to discuss and explore is to check in and start with square one, seeing if you feel like sex between you is even sound right now.

In other words, if what you're saying is that you don't think your partner always feels able to decline sex when it's not what he wants, and you feel really stymied around even asking about sex because of that, that suggests to me that it might be unsound for you two to have a sexual relationship as that stands, regardless of how much the two of you want one and enjoy one sometimes.

How do YOU feel about that? In other words, if what you're saying here is that often enough, you don't think your partner is earnestly capable of saying no when they feel no, you're saying there are some big barriers to real consent, as well as big barriers to you feeling like you can initiate and then soundly have real consent. To me, personally, that's a "whoah, pull way, way back from this until we can get there." What about you?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Redskies
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There are plenty of times when we've been sexual where Claudus' consent has been very real. Every time we've been sexual, because lack of definite enthusiastic consent would make me stop. He is definitely capable of and has been giving real consent.

When the kind of situation I described above has happened, what's happened is that we've had a bit of time where he's clearly bothered, and gradually we manage to come round to talking openly and frankly about what's going on. He seems much, much happier after a talk like that, and generally overall gradually improving. Hm, "gradually we manage..." - to be more honest and frank about how I experience it, I try to check out with him what's going on and do what I can to make him feel able to get in touch with what's going on for him and feel comfortable enough to share it.

I think I know what Claudus meant with the rest of his original point. What I've done, at least twice, probably more, is: once we'd talked and seemed like we'd aired where he was at, and he seemed comfortable again and not worried by me or the situation, I reiterated very clearly what I'd already said - "I never, ever want you to do anything you don't want to do" to make really sure I wasn't going to scare him, and I sat over his legs and said "do you want to have sex with me right now?" I did that very deliberately, setting up a situation where he could learn how to/that he can say "no". My full intention was for him to say "no" and for me to immediately swing around to his side and cuddle him. If he hadn't said "no", I would've told him that he didn't seem all that happy, and probably told him to say "no" to me and that I was then going to cuddle him. But instead, he paused, looked at me, said "yes" and reached for me and pulled me to him with obvious certainty and comfortableness. Each time I then said what I'd been meaning to do, and that actually right now in this moment I don't feel like I'm in the right head-space for this.

Overall, he seems to make some progress when these things happen, but as I've said, it's triggering me and I'm not getting the support I need around it, so I really can't do it any more. Claudus does indeed show when something isn't quite ok for him, but not in a way that's healthy for me or communicates acceptance of my wishes. (Acceptance as in, "it's cool that you feel like that and I know it doesn't mean that I have to do anything", not acquiescence.)

I've become well aware that that situation is really not ok, and that's why I stated a hard limit. I've not been sure whether it's necessary to put a hold on the whole sexual relationship; I've been taking it as it comes. For the last week, we've avoided any situation that could be problematic and had sex only in ways where it doesn't come up. That's certainly not a long-term solution, but as a very short-term thing, particularly while we were actively trying to find a way of approaching the difficulties, that felt ok. It actually felt very helpful - it's felt good to me for us to connect sexually only in happy, healthy ways, and also, he's been more clearly desiring and engaging than I've known before. Partly he's gradually been moving in that direction anyway, partly I know he's making an effort to be more connected in himself and more communicative about that, and partly I think he already feels a bit better just for starting this conversation. Plus, of course, we've not gone near situations/activities that have caused difficulty before.

As I said, I know it's not a long-term solution. For example, if I start feeling unhappy tomorrow about the fact that I probably can't suggest sex, or not without the risk of being made to feel bad about doing so, then that's a problem at the heart of things that can probably only be dealt with by calling a hiatus on the sexual part of the relationship. I'm perfectly willing to do that if necessary, because it would be the only way of taking care of myself and of our relationship.

Right now he seems to be more interested in sex than he has been, and I a little less (partly slight stress about other things, partly a head cold...), so we seem better balanced right now than in the past; so it seems like what we're doing might be workable right now. But as I said, if tomorrow (any "tomorrow") I feel not-ok about not being able to suggest sex or have certain activites, that will be the time to take sex off the table. And I'm sure it wouldn't keep working for particularly long; but I'm also seeing what we turn up in this conversation and where we can go from that.

I genuinely feel that yesterday, today, (etc) this way of doing things was pretty positive. I prefer my sex a little bit queered anyway, and Claudus is definitely no "normative" sex devotee. Also, it's fairly clear to me that he's "learning by doing", and that's cool with me so long as it's not damaging me.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Just to put my angle on something Claudus said: twice, when we had sex of some kind, I was very into it and wanted to/was close to orgasm, but found the stimulation wasn't quite right, and after some time, found that I was suddenly completely not interested and experienced a crashing low mood for an hour or two. That was something I'd never experienced before, so I had no idea it was coming. It didn't seem to come from any rational thoughts, but was something that I really couldn't control. I told Claudus that I wasn't upset with him, that it wasn't his "fault" or that he wasn't "good enough" and that I was sorry. I was very aware that it would be quite tough to be confronted with that in a partner, particularly if someone is a bit insecure.

I believe that each person is responsible for their own sexual satisfaction and well-being, so I looked to myself to sort out my issue. Having had it happen twice, I found I realised when it might be going to happen again, and made sure to change things so that it didn't.

I didn't know that Claudus was carrying around a load of feelings about it. If I had, I would've been able to tell him for a while now that I have a handle on it, that he doesn't need to fear that happening again (although I can't absolutely guarantee it) and that it really was my responsibility to manage and not his, but I could only do that once I knew that it was something that happened to me and what the approach to that felt like.

And of course I wish that Claudus hadn't had that experience with me; he really didn't need it on top of everything else.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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I'm quite uncomfortable at a couple of the things Claudus said he's been feeling. I don't mean that he's been wrong to feel them, just that it makes me uncomfortable.

"Partner needs sex" - I guess, bottom line, I do. I'm still wondering for myself where exactly that leaves me in the "it just makes me human, it's just how I am" to " maybe that makes me (or something about me) a bad person" spectrum. I certainly don't think I should be able to have that with any particular person. And I'm not "reliant" on him for sex, or going to leave him or cheat on him in order to have the sex I want with someone else - we're not monogamous, so that's not even relevant. It does matter to me to be able to have a rewarding sexual interaction with someone I have a close relationship with (although if that wasn't where a particular person was at, I would completely work with that; I can't speak for long-term because I've never been in that situation). What's been the real thing in the way for me about having rewarding sexual interaction with Claudus is not anything physical/mechanical, but that he's not seemed fully invested/relaxed/enjoying it. My general attitude to physical/mechanical issues (of what people enjoy, not health issues) is that they sort themselves out if the people involved want to have rewarding sex together enough and are comfortable talking about what they're doing.

I experience something with Claudus that I haven't with any other person, a kind of intensity of really basic touch and wanting to touch. I don't have the slightest inclination to walk away from that, and I've told him that I've not known that with anyone else. I guess I'm slightly upset, and a little concerned, that he was/is feeling the kinds of worries he was/is.

"Sex needs to be satisfying" - I'm a bit upset about that one too. There's no way I want to be feeding into someone's negative feelings about that, because it's not what I believe in. I don't believe there's any such thing as "good in bed", because people can learn, and different people like different things. I'm responsible for my own enjoyment and satisfaction, and I don't know why I'm stuffing it up with Claudus. And pinning things to orgasms - SO not what I believe in. I don't do it for the orgasms. I know that after a certain point, I need one (or several), but I think that's something very different, and it's also something I can be responsible for (particularly now I've learned that apparently my body does not want to continue at very-close-but-not-quite indefinitely).

I'm hearing things from Claudus that indicate that at least part of his thoughts are still in a place where sex is something he "provides" (and that's quoting him). I don't think that that's helpful. I know that he rationally believes that sex should be a shared, mutual activity, and yet some part of his thoughts still seem to be elsewhere. From what he's described, it's clear to me that I haven't been enjoying sex fully with him because he's been focusing on his partner's (me) enjoyment to the exclusion of his own, which has meant that I haven't been able to see/enjoy/bounce off My partner's (him) enjoyment. Plus, I typically pick things up from people quite acutely, so I'm not surprised that I've not felt able to really enjoy oral sex on me or able to discuss it openly if what I've been sensing from him was something along the lines of "I hope this finishes soon" or "ow" or "why isn't this working" or "I must do this right".

I'm also upset that he felt that way. That's not something I'd ever want a partner to feel. Those are not things that belong in anyone's sex life, and I'm upset that I was a part of building that situation for someone.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Ha, that post sounds a lot more negative than I feel. I'm a little upset about a few things, sure; I'm just being open about that. Overall, I feel really happy that Claudus could identify and talk about what's been going on for him, and it's really positive for me that a lot of things I've been noticing or experiencing are falling into place with a "well, yeh, that would be why...".

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

Posts: 1786 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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