On Writing A Sex Scene

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So in my post on New Year’s Day I mentioned that I wanted to write a book. In truth, I have been working on this already, and parts have been shared with different people.


The book changes POV, and part of the story involves the changing relationship/dynamic between two of the main characters. As simply as possible, they go from outright shouting matches to what is essentially stress relief/hate fucking. It’s not the main part of the story, but it’s in there. It boils down to using sex as a coping mechanism, and it not necessarily mattering who the other person is, but seeking human contact in the closest warm body you can stand touching you. Is it pretty? No. Does it happen? Sure.

Two people have read these parts relating to their relationship through in their entirety. Others have read chunks here and there. And it’s been quite interesting getting the feedback, because the guys that read it send me back much different interpretations than the girls.

I.e., the guys don’t understand the girl character’s agency.
Or, really, that she has agency. They’ve stated that they believe she’s being used.

I had a discussion about this with one of my very close guy friends – and he said it may have been a matter of experience. Have those reading it experienced sex in this way, even second hand? Is it beyond the purview of their experience and, therefore, it makes little to no sense why a character would behave in that way or make those assumptions or do x then y to get to z?

I don’t believe this is a 50-50 split. I don’t think every girl will immediately get it and every guy will immediately not. It’s simply that I’ve never experienced such a clear gender divide in interpreting writing before.


It’s not that this doesn’t happen. Look at the stigma around romance novels/women’s literature, erotica vs. porn, sci-fi, and some graphic novels.

How do we overcome this? Do we overcome this? It’s experience, and preferences, and choices, and life. There are conversations to be had about the differences between Literary Fiction and Women’s Fiction, but how we interpret the book itself? That’s a person to person case.

And this is not to say that the scene in question does not still need editing. It does. Or that I’m not grateful for the feedback. I am.

But when do you, as a writer, say, I’m listening to those comments more than yours? I can’t address your feedback and this feedback and not make it look like I was of a sound mind when this was being created?

Or maybe I’ll just stare at the computer screen until my eyeballs bleed, because writer’s block is just so, so real.

On A Child’s Thought

"I want to be an astronaut, president of the United States and ruler of the universe! Chica power!"

I had to visit relatives this weekend. Like many, my family can only be described as “colorful.”

For a very long time, I was the baby of the family. I was delegated to the kid’s table. Even after starting graduate school, it was still the kid’s table. It was an odd contrast, because from the time I was a teenager, I was always asked about boyfriends, what my dating prospects were like, etc etc. So I was being treated like a child while being expected to live up to certain adult expectations.

I thought they’d finally given up, until my cousin asked me a question last night.

Now this cousin, I understand, has not had the best socialization. At family gatherings, there is minimal interactions between mother and daughter. It became very apparent upon entrance that the mother expected my sister and I to essentially babysit her daughter while she got some adult time. My sister and I were having very little of this.

My cousin, at one point, asked my sister and I if we had boyfriends/husbands. My sister said no. The cousin, who is 9, patted us each on the head and said, “That’s okay. You’ll find someone someday.”

Oh, hell no.

What has this girl been learning.

What has this girl been told about us.

What has this girl been told about single women.

What has this girl been told about her goals for her life.

What has this girl been told that she thinks it is okay for her to pat 20-somethings on the head and say, oh, that’s okay sweetie, you’re still of breeding and marriageable age? You could still find somebody…

Fuck.
That.
Shit.

I like men. Obviously. This blog is proof. Dicks can be really good. Can be terrible, but can be really good.

But I have never *needed* to date. Wanting and needing are fundamentally different things.
I will never need a man.  

And isn’t about fucking time we taught our daughters that? That they can stand up on their own two feet and be their own person without someone else by their side hogging their spotlight?

I want to hope that my cousin will figure this out herself, and I want to hope that she will learn it’s not okay to pat single women on the head like a lost puppy. It’s not a lot of hope, but it’s there.


Regardless, I’m currently sitting in the airport, by myself, eating a meringue, enjoying the last rays of sunlight. And I will sleep in my own bed and and enjoy all the space and the blankets myself, because I can and will.  

On Leicester Square

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Headphones in ears, giant fuckoff bag beside me, and a book open in my lap – all the telltale signs of leave me the hell alone. And yet, I could feel hipster fuckboy’s eyes on me for two stops before he crossed over to sit next to me. It should be noted that my entire end of this conversation was said almost completely deadpan.

“What are you reading?” He asked brightly.

I held up the book. It was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.

“Oh, so you’re a feminist?”

“Yes.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t until last year. I thought they were just all feminazis who hated men, but then my ex got me on it. I know it’s about equality now.” His smile still in place, nodding at his own innate genius for figuring out that 2 + 2 = 4.

“Good for you.”

“Yeah, like, we’re all equal right? Just makes sense.”

I nod, and turn back to the book.

Yes, well done for understanding that women are, indeed, equal to you, and those fighting for said equality are not the same as actual Nazis. Excuse me while I swoon over your unwashed beard and immediately drop my pants here on the train. Who said a little vibration ever hurt anyone?

“I didn’t think I should come over here, but, there was just, something about you.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Something about me?”

“Yeah, you just have that vibe about you.”

“What vibe?”

“I don’t know, but that vibe.”

I know what he’s talking about. It’s the ‘you’re different from the others’, vibe. The, ‘you’re not like other girls’, vibe. The, ‘you’re a challenge and therefore I must prove my manhood and make you want me’, vibe.

It’s the vibe that says I’m calling you on your bullshit and you don’t want me to, you’re not used to it, or you want to convince me to stop, that you’re different, you’re different than the other fuckboys.

“Maybe you’re a party girl?”

He takes stock of the eyebrows creeping up into my hairline and tries again.

“So, you’re a student?”

“Sure.”

“Can you help me?”

He doesn’t know what stop he needs to get out at. It’s with a sinking feeling in my gut I realise we’re getting out at the same station.

“So you’re like, far out of town?”

“Why do you say that?” 

“All the students have to live far away to afford to live here, so you’re far away?”

Yes I will definitely tell you where exactly to bury the body.

“What are you studying?”

“Politics.”

“Ah wow.”

“Yeah.”

“I’m just visiting here for a couple days.”

“Cool.”

“Can you guess my country?”

“Probably not.”

“Oh, come on. It’s shaped like Africa!”

Fkdajfkladsjf;lkasdjfladsf

“What?”

“It’s in Europe and shaped like Africa!”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You study politics and you can’t guess that country?”

>.>

“No.”

I don’t remember the country, but it sure as fuck is not shaped like an entire continent. Side note, you reckon that was a good imperialist sentiment? Sure, we can take it over. Our country is a mini version of it. We’re *supposed* to expand there, just like God intended….

“So what are you doing now?”

“Meeting friends.”

“We should hang out.”

“No.”

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“I have a date.”

“Ah really?”

“Yes.”

“Can I come?”

“What? No.”

“Please?”
“You want to come to come along with me to my date?”

“Just tell him I’m gay.”

Can we take another moment to consider just how many groups of people he’s insulted at this point?

“No.”

“It would be so fun.”

“No.”

We’re approaching the stop. I grab my bag and sprint out the door. He’s left with a bemused expression on his face, twirling in a circle trying to find the right exit.

I left him to his confusion. For all I know, he’s still wandering around down there.

On Birth Control

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Some of these stories will take place during what I like to call “the time of vag hell fire.”

This is, quite literally, the time when sex felt like terrible, horrible pain, because of the medication I was on at the time.

See, when I first heard about male birth control, and the fact that trials would stop due to side effects, I was a little ticked off.


Scratch that, I was pissed as hell.

 

For seven years, I was passed from birth control pill to birth control pill, and spent five years on a pill with dangerously high estrogen levels that put me at higher risk of a stroke, (even more dangerous because of my family medical history) put me at a higher risk of infection, and caused severe damage to the nerve endings in my vagina.

Also, because I kept trying to have sex while I was in pain, my body tried to defend itself against said painful sex, and started causing muscular contractions that still existed up until this year.

There’s actually physical therapy for people who need to work their way through stuff like this.

Essentially, because of ineffective doctors, lack of information, and myths perpetuated about how sex is supposed to be for those who possess a vagina, I suffered for years when I didn’t have to.

I don’t know how to describe it except for the feeling of ‘out, out, I want this out right the fuck now.’

And that’s not how it should feel.

Even if you’re doing it wrong.

 

Which brings us back to this idea of male birth control.

My first reaction was that of, “So they can’t handle a few mood swings? Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

 

I then recognized my pettiness, and felt guilty. I wasn’t angry at the guys in the trial, I was angry at an industry that for decades has refused to recognize the very real complaints of people suffering from depression, from nausea, from weight gain and loss, from very serious side effects, and has done nothing to improve their products.

But, just because we have suffered doesn’t mean others should as well.

 

I am lucky. It took multiple doctors appointments to sort it out, but eventually I moved to a different city, saw a different doctor, and received competent treatment. They recognized what the meds were doing to me, prescribed medication to help heal the damage done to my nerves, and got me on Mirena – the plastic version of the IUD that I will advocate until my dying days.

 

I say this not only to bring attention to it, but because this era of ‘the time of vag hell fire’ played a role in stories I will tell. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but knew that something wasn’t right, and when it was fixed, that played its role as well.

 

For so many reasons, this should no longer be an issue.

  1. We should not be demonizing feminine sexuality – turning feminine virginity into something that can be ‘taken away.’ If we could begin to dispel this myth on hymens and sex ‘supposed’ to be painful the first time, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me such a long time to sort it out. (see above video)
  2. I feel this goes into the stigma attached not only to the health care of women and transwomen, but also to mental health care and sexuality in general. When you’re taking a hormonal contraceptive, you’re taking just that – hormones. You are altering your body chemistry. If we, as a society, were more open to talking about mental health and cis and trans women sexual health, maybe we could get better at sorting out which medication was right for us.

 

The pill and other hormonal contraceptives can be so helpful, but that doesn’t mean they cannot also cause harm.

We have to be better at recognizing this is real, and acknowledging that cis & trans women who are saying something is wrong are probably more aware of their bodies than men are.

 

With that being said, stay tuned for some more stories about terrible sex.

On Dirty Minds

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My friend just sent me a message.

“Hey babe are you a fitted sheet?
Because you’re complicated and hard to manage but I definitely want you on this mattress.
And I don’t mind having to wrestle for it ;)”
-“Ahhh. Omg. I love it.”
“That last bit I made up especially for you!”

There’s an old stereotype that men think about sex every 7-8 seconds.
That would be 8,000 times a day.

Why do we continually think that men are more sexual beings than women? Because

  1. They’re not.
  2. They’re not.
  3. They’re really not.(But, 50 Shades is some bad shit, David)

I’m so grateful to shows like Grace and Frankie which have unapologetically put women’s sexual desires front and center – saying to the world yeah, our libido doesn’t die. We may have to make adjustments based on health and age, but, yeah, this is real and we can be open and honest about it.

My friend and I – same one from above – are both cis women, who, while we fail spectacularly in the ‘getting a guy to actually go home with us’ department, do pretty well in coming up with creative lines that might get them there (I use ‘might’ loosely.) To the point that we recently spent an afternoon coming up with (mostly nerd inspired) pick up lines.

Gems included.

“Daredevil’s not the only one who can perform well with a blindfold on.”

“…Yeah I don’t know if I can handle that Iron Fist.”

“Can I introduce you to Jessica Jones? She’s smart, sassy, super strong, and can really take a pounding.”

(In context of conversation of turn ons….)
“Seriously, can you turn off this faucet?”
“Washington’s not the only swamp that needs draining.”
“I thought you’d be running like a well oiled machine by now.”

My point, beyond revealing just how much we are not going to get laid in the near future, is to say that girls talk about sex all the damn time.
This has nothing to do with pleasing cis, hetero guys, making you want to like us, that you and you alone are making us explode with never before seen cock greed, or that we’re these weird hybrid alien creatures of hormone induced lust.

We are human beings and therefore capable of desire.

Cool? Cool.