Monday, January 22, 2018

What's Love Got to do with it?

I have been putting on the backburner now a book about my post Divorce life and I plan on it being part parody of Eat Pray Love called Eat It, Wear It, Fuck It.  It was those three phrases in my life where I pretty much assigned those values to what was or is important to me as I entered the third act as I call this phase of life. I often said, "If I can't eat it, wear it just fuck it."  And that last one took on a series of meanings as that phrase often does.

I divorced at age 45 and was utterly bored by the idea of dating, Tinder did not exist and Match was too online for my tastes. I have never liked the idea of putting oneself on display and I abhor the need to glossy advertise my fabulous life to the masses via photos and stories about what I am currently eating, currently wearing or currently fucking, hence the title. But I did use personal columns, bars and other ways to what the kids call hook up but again rebrand it all you like, it is one night stands and the door to my bedroom was quite a revolving one there for a time.

What I have learned since that is men pretty much will fuck anyone or anything they can and sometimes they have a type or a standard that precludes that but that is a fairly low bar to hop over.

I have had bad sex, great sex, okay sex and non-consensual as too drunk, too high to confused to stop the process as it went on but would I call in rape, yes. When a man takes a woman beyond comprehension to agree to any of it - it is rape. When men ignore the obvious, when they use their anger, their power and your vulnerability and still fuck you they are predators. And men go out of their way to find women at their most vulnerable in which to exploit and use that for sexual satisfaction.

The few men I had great sex with often were one-offs and I only wished I could have known why but I suspect they were married, involved with other women or just really good predators who did not feel the need to bring harm but pursue sex at will and do so with allowing all parties to have a semblance of dignity.

The most aggressive and hostile of sexual encounters I had was with a man named Chris Harrison.  He was angry duplicitous and truly a sick fuck in every sense of the word. It took me a long time to recover from that and it led me to be a new kind of predator - a Cougar. I went after younger men as their ignorance and lack of experience enabled me to I believe at least have an upper hand but I found out women never do. That led to the night of Feb 12th with "Shar" who for whatever reason I believe drugged me despite having had consensual sex with him in the past for whatever reason felt compelled to bring me harm, shove drinks down my face to the point of alcohol poisoning and then let me drive myself in my car to the car wreck that took my life. I am sure as the bystander who found me and made the essential 911 Calls that saved my life saw Shar/Char (I never knew what the fuck his Muslim name was and did not care about his last but he called himself Shar) walk up to the vehicle and say, "She is breathing" and walk into the night. He did not return calls by the Hospital as they retrieved his number from the text exchanges on my phone and a week later I received a text asking "You recovered, care to do it again?" which I believe was all to cover his actions. He never returned any phone calls by me nor from my Attorney Ted Vosk who tried the number but failing to get a court order from Verizon to release the info and the texts and calls exchanged from my phone that night to verify his existence.

For whatever reason he and Kevin Trombold refused to do their responsibility and duty to defend me and secure my story despite the fact that they decided to believe me after a year of documents and evidence on hospital records that mentioned his name and even in my delusional brain injury I spoke of that date and his possible intent to harm me. But Harborview had decided I was a mentally ill/ drunk, despite my insurance and identification they intentionally altered medical records to reflect the head injury as the lowest of diagnostic issues treated me like the garbage they thought I was.

The reality is that women are disposable and we have a sell by date. We are like food, we fit the needs, the fashion of the time and not everyone has a taste for what is on offer but if you are hungry you'll eat anything.

I have long said I am angry but actually this simply comes from a place of resignation and in turn acceptance. I am expired goods and damaged ones not even good enough for the half off table so to that I say fuck it and go on. I watch from the sidelines and listen to the rich and the famous lament stories about their histories of abuse and shame and I feel nothing for them as they are still and rich and famous and I am nothing.

If there is one thing I will do is write books I have yet to decide if they are fiction or stick with the idea of non as well truth is stranger but the reality is that what sludge will come out of the rocks to lend their truths to what is my story?

Growing up in the 70s I have heard that this was used to defend the Priests who molested youth as they were confused about sex. It is the same bullshit Harvey Weinstein used and of course others claiming that this was a different time. Yes rape back in the Fifties was so much nicer and topped off with a Scotch. Hey Mad Men's creator is also allegedly a raging pervert but then again did you watch the show, the men were as well. Apple and trees my friend.

Now as we find Celebrities trying to dance around the maypole with support and in turn their own confusion, I think Bill Macy said it best when he commented that Men were now under the spotlight and have to face their role in this shit.  And yes men we are turning that interrogative light on to you and your friends when your locker room talk was well not so much talk but actual confessions about your propensity for violence.

And when I read the below article today in The Washington Post I had to concur that the sexual revolution did change the power of the sexual dynamic. Do I think we live in the age of the hook up? Yes but we always did and the reality is that it enabled it to be more open but it did nothing for women in the long run. We still slut shame, women are still assaulted and there is now an immense kickback to access to health care and reproductive rights. The idea that owning our sexuality is a good thing but the idea that it changed the relationships between men and women for the better is absurd. It never was great and still isn't. So blaming the 70s is the new excuse du jour as it was just promiscuity dressed up as acceptable and why? Big Pharma saw money. It was thanks to the creation of the  Birth Control pill that enabled women to consent to sex without recourse.  Sadly it gave way to a series of events that included mass cults where sex became a weapon and tool in which to manipulate,  which gave way to a Herpes epidemic and other STD outbreaks and in turn more drugs in which to treat. Then that became AIDS with its own stigma and more drugs and more blame seeking and name dropping. And now we have what? Freedom and control all tied up in a big knot of shit and you wonder why the religious right went nuts. They were sure when sexuality was repressed nothing bad happened, no disease, no rape an and no babies ever conceived out of love and in turn aborted. Sure what.ever.

Sex is complicated. It is messy in every way and in turn is mostly a mental exercise. Frankly I can get the same physical stimulation with my bag of tricks but every now and then I find I miss sexual romance, flattery and this thing called conversation. Some of the best foreplay I had was talking about it before I ever did it. And in turn why I found younger ones actually boring and in the long run not worth the effort. I only agreed to meet Char that night to have drink and when he arrived late and said he had to cut it short I was relieved. I guess he changed his mind when I went to the ladies room. Men seem to think that eating or drinking prior to their arrival means you are less interested as that was Chris Harrison's explanation for why he assaulted me that night as I was eating an appetizer while I waited for him to arrive. I never forget men's bullshit sadly. Does any woman? Ah that too is I am sure a catalyst for again any reason men feel compelled to use and abuse.

I do believe the idea of Tinder, Match, etc enable people to avoid conversation and in turn opens the door for more miscommunication and potential encounters to go awry. The ugliness of saying to someone they only want to sexually exploit, use or experiment on you is slightly distasteful so we make up stories, lies and compliments in which to turn someone into your sexual live doll. Kids I am over it. I would never fuck anyone unless they sign a legal document, that could be a marriage license or a waiver whichever works as why kid ourselves, sex is a contract and you need to spell it out. And no love has nothing to do with it nor make it better. It just makes you like the person more and that is not a bad thing in any aspect of life.

Divorcing sex from love hasn’t made sex more fun, more safe or less complicated
Concepts like consent can fall apart during sex with strangers.

By Gracy Olmstead The Washington Post January 22 2018

For days, the story was inescapable. In an article for the website, reporter Katie Way detailed the experiences of “Grace,” a young woman whose date with actor Aziz Ansari went terribly wrong. According to Grace, Ansari kept initiating sex despite her nonverbal cues and distinct reticence. The article launched countless responses, quickly delving into arguments over what counts as assault. Many young women chimed in to say they had experienced similar encounters — experiences that left them feeling wounded and confused, if not traumatized.

Grace’s story comes a month after the New Yorker’s notorious “Cat Person” short story, which depicted an awkward sexual encounter — one that later catapulted into the aggressive, but in the moment, was mostly just unpleasant. Many women said they found Margot’s story (“brutally and uncomfortably”) relatable. It spurred a healthy and valuable debate about bad sexual encounters, ones that transcend the legalities of consent and touch on the deeper dignity and happiness of the human person.

Both “Cat Person” and the Babe article suggest that we may have lost something in today’s casual hookup culture: an ingredient in more old-fashioned sexual encounters that, while by no means foolproof, helped us avoid some of the more painful moments described in Grace’s and Margot’s stories. We wouldn’t entrust a stranger with our car keys, phones, children or bank account numbers. But in the age of Tinder and casual hookups, our bodies are not one of those off-limit items. And that trust has not been well rewarded.

Many of the questionable, awkward and potentially criminal sexual experiences that land in the news happen between strangers (or at least between those with little deep or long-held knowledge of each other). As the story is told in Babe, Ansari should have picked up on Grace’s cues. But it’s very difficult to understand or determine the verbal cues of a person one barely knows. After a lengthy investigation into a potential sexual assault at the University of Virginia, investigators concluded that the accused student couldn’t have known that the accuser was too drunk to consent to sex, in part because he had just met her. While one-night stands promise adventure and intrigue, they also leave a lot of room for confusion and surprise — for ignorance, fumbling unease, heartbreak.

Ansari aside, well-intentioned men and women can confuse signals or leave important things unsaid during a casual sexual encounter. They may struggle to be blunt with a stranger, and thus lose the ability to communicate important truths. As Elizabeth Bruenig pointed out last week, we’ve turned sex into just another social interaction and emptied it of any supposedly sacred or taboo elements. But in doing so, we’ve chained sex to the social norms and etiquette we’d expect in other social interactions: the subtlety and politeness, “grin and bear it” attitude we might have at a boring party or work meeting. This makes it difficult for people to truly express their feelings and desires before, while and after having sex.

Beyond the realm of innocent misunderstanding or regret, many sexual partners choose to ignore the nonverbal cues of a potential sexual partner. Perhaps it was not Ansari’s intent — maybe he was truly surprised and oblivious to Grace’s desires — but Grace describes feeling assaulted after their date. And many of the women who shared their experiences after reading Grace’s story related it to sexual violence and unkindness, a deliberate obliviousness and malevolent persistence that left them with deep trauma and hurt. There’s an inherent danger in having sex with someone who does not know you — and, therefore, does not particularly care about you.

Our casual hookup culture may promise greater independence and excitement. It’s a means to sex without too many (or any) strings attached. But that lack of strings also comes with downsides: the divorce of love and sex means that we’re more likely to have painful and awkward sexual experiences. Romance may be harder to come by. Communication will be much more difficult.

In a 2002 study in which participants were asked their feelings after a casual hookup, 35 percent were “regretful or disappointed,” while only 27 percent felt “good or happy.” A 2012 Canadian study found that 78 percent of women and 72 percent of men who had “uncommitted sex” reported a history of feeling regret after the encounter. In addition, the American Psychological Association notes that “among a sample of 1,743 individuals who had experienced a one-night stand, Campbell (2008) … found that men had stronger feelings of being ‘sorry because they felt they used another person,’ whereas women had stronger feelings of ‘regret because they felt used.’ ”

Of course, marriage and committed partnerships still hold peril for miscommunication and abuse. It is still vitally important for sexual partners to be honest with each other and to care for their own needs. That said, in a truly loving relationship, sex should be unshackled from the perils of potential aggression and freed from the hesitancy of strangeness. It should unfold within an atmosphere of true care and kindness. Sex within a loving relationship has the potential for intimacy and respect in a way that sex with strangers never can. A romantic partner of several months should be able to read their lover’s facial expressions or nonverbal cues with ease: to pick up on body tension, voice inflection, even the subconscious needs or feelings of their spouse or companion. What’s more, the longer the relationship, the more two people are enabled to learn the needs and desires of their partner — not just to address or demand their own.

For some, this is an obvious point. But in a world in which casual hookups are becoming ever-more common, it’s still worth pointing out. Our bodies are not mere shells: The deference or disregard with which they are treated have a deep impact on our souls and minds. Some have unfairly mocked Grace for calling her date with Ansari the “worst night of her life.” But truly, the vulnerabilities of sex are manifold — and leave a lasting impression on the human person.

What might have happened if Ansari had listened to Grace and backed off, allowing her time to get to know him and go on another date or two? Perhaps they would have eventually had sex. But more importantly, they could have become friends. Giving up a night of sex with a stranger could have led to a relationship that promised more. But in a world that emphasizes the fun thrills of casual sex, people often shut the door on more lasting or deeply fulfilling sorts of relationships.

Our cultural debates surrounding sex in the modern era suggest that it’s the monogamous and committed who are missing out on something. Their faithfulness excludes them from the independence and serendipity they’d otherwise get to experience. They’re likely to get bored, to lose out on the thrills of strangeness and excitement.

But perhaps one thing “Cat Person” and the Aziz Ansari story suggests to us is that those with freer, more casual sexual lives can also miss out on something: the joy of intimacy with someone who knows them deeply and well. This must be a part of our conversation surrounding sex, or we risk withholding something precious from women and men who might want more than a one-night stand.

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