Historic home of the future

Wish the Robert Crais site weren’t inactive; wish there were more pics of the Bonny Doon house, too. What a treat.

science fictional

A 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics has an article about Robert Heinlein’s 1,150-square-foot home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which he designed for extreme efficiency. For instance, a table rolls between the kitchen and the dining room to make it easy to set and clear tableware and food dishes. Skylights have mirrors to reflect more light into the rooms. Most of the furniture is built in.

“The built-in bed with storage drawers beneath it, the built-in divans that can be converted to extra beds and all the other furniture are built right down to the floors,” Heinlein says. “There is nothing to clean under.

“There are no rugs or any need for them. All floors are surfaced with cork tile that provides a warm, comfortable and clean footing. Nor are there any floor lamps or table lamps. The illumination is built into the house. General lighting for the living room comes…

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Love Unedited

One of the greatest epiphanies or transformations I ever experienced was about love.  Like everyone, right?

For no particular reason, with no context or situation, one day I realized:

I am free to love as much as I want.

I can love anyone I want.

And I love everyone.

 

This sounds silly, but it was a big deal for me.  I grew up in a family of deeply rural immigrant farmers, mostly older women — poor, devout, unfettered by society to a degree that bordered on Lord of the Flies, often mean, certainly teetotalling, absolutely insane.

Tightwads: my great-grandma and her family came to Minnesota through Canada about a hundred years ago.  They built a hotel in Minnesota that burned down.  They moved to Montana across the Dakotas and it was hard to cross the plains.  They settled on the far side of the Rockies on a free land parcel and set up a farm; hard labor even with a passel of kids.  Shortly after the number of kids went into the double digits, my great-grandfather died, leaving a widow under 30 with no money to farm, raise kids, and try not to die, during the Great Depression and with another war in the wings.

I’ve always said you can’t set a Man vs. Nature survival story in western Montana; if you are healthy and able-bodied, you can Boy Scout it (or MacGyver it) and live like a king, so long as you don’t lose your head.  That doesn’t make it easy, however — and being a recent widow with a slew of kids in the middle of nowhere does prime the pump for crazy.  But when your machine is set to Survive, you put emotions last.  Feelings don’t chop wood (although chopping wood does help blow off steam.) Feelings interfere with survival.

Variations on a saying from my childhood:  “If you need a psychiatrist, you’re not working hard enough.”  Says it all, doesn’t it?

After I left for college, my mother moved into my great-grandmother’s cottage, which was the center of a far-flung cluster of houses where her children lived on their own parcels of land.  When I came home one summer and told one of my many great-aunts that I was studying psychology, I got every song in the jukebox, from such classics as, “You Think You’re Better Than We Are Now, I Bet,” to strange laments such as, “You’re Just Going to Move Away and Never Come Back Now, Is That It,” and “Nobody Needs Psychology, They Just Need to Get Busy, When My Third Baby Died I Painted the Barn Five Times That Summer.”

I loved my Aunt Bea.  I’d walk up to her house in summer, and if she wasn’t out working the farm, she would fix up the player piano so I could pretend to play.  She gave me coffee in an antique tea cup with violets painted on, which I adored.  She showed me her root cellar and the rows of Ball jars of pickled beets and green beans and applesauce, shelves of cabbages, bins of potatoes.  Mom reminded me of a time when she was young, and the barn cat had kittens; Aunt Bea killed them cleanly, one by one, at laughed at Mom for crying.  Soft.

Work hard, and life is easy.  Go to church on Sunday, or rest and listen to Rex Humbard on the radio.  Coffee at all hours, and brother Lawrence’s boy brought a salmon; we’re all eating at Ma’s tonight, she’s making potet club now.  No friends, no books, no games, no music, no play, no socializing outside the family.  No hugs, nor other affection.  No “I love you”.  No.

But love there was.  A strange, miserly love from people who had to penny-pinch to qualify as poor.  Food was everywhere, but money was not, and love was weirdly the same.  People married into the family, and died, or left, or stayed silent for decades, like Bea’s husband.  The few married couples showed no signs of affection,  though they pulled very much as a team.  That was the love I observed.  How does one get from my growing young singlehood to that dull and fun-free partnership, and why in hell would I want it?

The instruction I was given in coming of age, compatible with local culture, included:

  1.  Virginity is all you have of honor and decency; protect it with your life.
  2.  Marriage is your first attainment of value, and lasts forever; step on any girl’s neck for the best catch and win him like a prizefighter.
  3.  Motherhood is the noblest achievement and also the minimum requirement to demonstrate that you are a woman.  You can’t be a woman if you don’t have babies.

Love never entered into it.

There were a lot of other rules, but that was the cornerstone of living.  Love / sex / romance / friendship / etc. were all hidden in the same vault, kept under lock and key, protected by the Coldstream Guards.  My mother and grandmother, who had both had spent time away from Montana, with good times in dating and bad luck in marriage, modified my training:  it’s okay to flirt, but not slut; it’s okay to show off, but not seek attention; and it’s very good to make boys jump through hoops to prove their love, because that proves your worth.  Humans do not have the love of 1 Corinthians 13:4; that love is the love that God had for us, I was told, but not the love we have for each other, pffft, that’s not the way it works.

Okay.  Love is jealous; love is mine; love is something precious that I keep locked in my heart (or my underwear) and only dole out in minute quantities to people who work hard and pay the price and let me own them forever in kind.  Love is finite.  If we love each other, there are no boundaries: I get to be mean to you, ignore you, expect things of you.  I give everything to you, but with no generosity; you own me, too, but you’d better not ask anything of me.  We are a single unit, held in tension.

Lifeboat love.

After realizing I did not agree with this, and also that I had no clue what I really did feel or think or believe about love, it took a lot of years of experimentation to figure out a few things.  Sometimes I got hurt, which was horrible; sometimes I hurt others, and my guts still churn to think of it.  (Sorry, my darlings, wherever you are.  We died on the altar of the science of love, martyrs to discovery, and now we know.)

Eventually I realized, through being loved, how love works.  How it should work, if you’re me.

1.  Love is a real and sincere feeling. You can’t fake it; don’t try.  Be honest with yourself!  Shut up all the you-should and the you-must thoughts that get in the way of hearing your heart’s honest truth.  KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. Test it for authenticity.  If any shoulds or have-tos creep in to your internal dialogue, put that feeling on probation until you can test it. Don’t love if you don’t feel it.  But love to the infinite power if you do.  It won’t cost you a nickel, and it won’t hurt a soul.  It can’t.  It’s love.

2.  Love is not necessarily a limited resource.  It’s like water:  no less valuable for being everywhere.  If you can connect with the real love you feel, it’s not something coerced into existence that dies outside the germ-free protective vault you created for it.  It flows out of you; you don’t run out.

3.  And what if you did?  What if you stopped feeling love, for someone or something?  Then so be it.  Don’t force it.  Don’t pretend it’s still felt.  Be honest.  Because…

4.  How you feel doesn’t dictate how you act.  Emotional honesty does not change the rules of engagement.  You no longer love someone?  Okay.  That doesn’t mean you should mistreat them; it doesn’t mean their feelings don’t matter; it doesn’t give you license to be a jerk.  Because…

5.  Boundaries are everyone’s best tool in interpersonal relations.  Check out these values statements it took me decades to find true:

  • I love you whether or not you love me.
  • I can’t force, demand, expect, or require you to love me.
  • My love for you does not materially change based on how you feel about me.

It occurs to me that popular music covered these topics:  Howard Jones sang the first line, Bonnie Raitt sang, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, and Louis Jordan sang, “It makes no difference what you feel about me / But it makes a whole lotta difference what I feel about you.”  For that matter, “Let your love flow” is more truth than I expected from a Bellamy Brothers song.  But for sheer powerful truth, here’s a quote from Still Life with Woodpecker that should be stitched on a sampler:

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”
Praise be to Tom Robbins for that, and for this:
“People who sacrifice beauty for efficiency get what they deserve.”
*   *   *   *   *

It was hard for me to feel rich.  Poor farmers don’t raise rich children, as a rule, and I was raised to scrimp and save and hoard my pennies, and my love.  Being loved, and trying to love others, taught me that I had big feelings in store.  When I started to realize that I didn’t HAVE to be miserly with love, I started to have some success in washing away the bullshit of my upbringing — the social striving, the bourgeois reverence for manners over morals, the harsh character judgments imposed as punishment for cosmetic irrelevancies and superficial traits.

The more of that BS I was able to let go, the more I was able to accept myself.  Radical acceptance with condemnation made me suicidal; radical acceptance with compassion — the knowledge that I always tried to do my best, the acknowledgement that I didn’t always have tools to do well, the realization that this is probably true for most people — struck me like a bolt.

I don’t have to deserve love to be loved.

I don’t have to deserve my love to love myself.

No one has to earn my love.

Maybe being loved will help them become lovable, just as being loved made me loving.  Maybe not.  And that’s fine, too.

“God bless the child who’s got his own.”

 

 

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To the Church that Requested Its Women Fast from Social Media (but Not Men) and Fall Silent at a Time when Women are in Pain from Being Silenced, and During Church Sex Scandals, and Right Before a Utah State Election in which You, the Church, Have Meddled:

The conference messages to women were very positive on the surface, but saying women have great capacity to love, and therefore should focus on avoiding “negative or impure”” media, is saying, very gently, “Women need to Be Sweet, not angry” — as if anger isn’t the appropriate response to injustice; as if anger were incompatible with love.

And if men are less capable of love, why aren’t *they* the ones enjoined to take a media fast, spend more time reading the BoM, go to temple more consistently, etc.? It sounds as if they need it more than we do.

But the church needs us to be quiet and disconnected now more than ever. I think this may be a harbinger of increased conservatism within the church, led by keeping women down. Hope not.

Sisters Quorum

LEAH:

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The Last Golden Age of Illustration

OverTheHill Reviewer

Being Generation X is difficult in the sense that it bridges two eras.  In the early 70s it was before the dawn of home video, videogame, and computers.  These things came onto the scene when we were still kids, and we saw this wave sort of crash over us.  Today we live in a different era, but I’m starting to sort of register what’s been lost along the way.

I think with the rise of digital art (aka photoshopping) and the shift from old media such as books to audio-visual and/or digital media that the art and the underlying sense of value in illustration has been lost.

I think the crossover happened right in the pocket of my childhood from the mid 70s through the 80s.

If you look at the history of the 20th century, the dominant media of the day started out as books, magazines, and then radio…

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Tacitus on Germanic Standards for Women and Child-Rearing

It was not the specific customs, in all cases, but the line: good customs are stronger than good laws.

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

Some of the rhetoric here seems a bit familiar…

Tacitus, Germania 19-20

In that country, no one finds vice amusing; nor is seducing or being seduced celebrated as a sign of the times. Even better are those communities where only virgins marry and a promise is made with the hope and vow of a wife. And so, they have only one husband just as each has one body and one life so that there may be no additional thought of it, no lingering desire, that they may not love the man so much as they love the marriage. It is considered a sin to limit the number of children or to eliminate the later born. There good customs are stronger than good laws.

There are children there naked and dirty in every house growing into the size of limbs and body at which we wonder. Each mother nourishes each child…

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Women’s garb in the Maqâmât of al-Ḥarîrî

Note the headgear!

Miriam's Middle Eastern Research Blog

All images taken from one manuscript of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s copy of the Les Maqâmât d’Aboû Moḥammad al-Qâsim ibn ʿAlî al-Ḥarîrî, known as manuscript Arabe 3929. The Maqâmât (or “Assemblies”) are 50 stories, written in the mid 13th century C.E. in northern Syria. The prose is written in the style known as saj’, meant to be learnt by rote and recited to others by heart.

This image of of the hero of the story Abu Zayd (on the right of the image) and his wife. This is Image f40 in the manuscript.

This image is Abu Zayd and his wife being arrested. Taken from Image f49 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing as an old woman. Taken from Image f85 in the manuscript.

Another picture of Abu Zayd as an old woman. Taken from Image f88 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing before the Kadi. The…

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Starving

I read a news item the other day that clamped my throat shut with rage tears and will not fade from my brain.

Did you see this article?

https://nypost.com/2018/04/19/mckayla-maroney-how-larry-nassar-manipulated-us-with-food/

“I think I would’ve starved at the Olympics if I didn’t have him bring me food,” Maroney said.

Nassar’s simple gestures shielded a disturbing ulterior motive. Maroney claims he would take advantage of the gymnasts’ insecurities, depicting himself as a savior of sorts, in the midst of competitions.

“[He would] buy me a loaf of bread,” she said

It’s not just how deeply fucked up it is to starve children, period; or to do so because they can jump higher when they’re skinny.  It’s not just the horrible culture of child athletes being broken like ponies, and worked harder than rented mules.  The anger about all of this is real, for me; immediate and deep.

 

But it pushed other buttons, stirred some deep pots in my basement hearth.

 

Food is involved.  A child in need of food.

 

An evil man disguised as kind…who won’t feed a child for nothing.  Coaxing trust with a trail of breadcrumbs. Betraying the real gratitude and abusing the trust.  Being a savior but also cutting a kid open, taking a pound of flesh from a kid who has none to spare.  A kid who is hardworking and hungry and trying so hard…cut up for his pleasure.  What kind of monster doesn’t take care of a kid?

 

I’m just so upset about this I can’t even describe it.

 

I never told Mom about the abuse.  For a lot of reasons, but foremost because we relied on Papa (and Grandma) for food and shelter.  We lived in their house and ate at their table; they watched us while Mom worked and commuted.  My step-grandfather was kind to me.  He taught me a lot of lessons in how to be a stand-up guy, so to speak; how to be loyal to friends, how to laugh off embarrassment, how to enjoy hard work.  He taught me how to dance in the tiny kitchen.  He taught me how to joke around, and pushed back against my grandma’s overprotection and fear for me, which taught me to be fearful.  He tried to teach me to be less afraid of bees and swimming and dead things, when I was very little, and he was the only person in the family who made statements of praise or appreciation — not only for me — but it was alien to the culture of my grandmother’s family, which he joined.
He always tried to take care of me.  One time, he was framing a porch addition and a piece of lumber slipped, cutting his head open, and you know how head wounds bleed.  He needed help and ran up to the door, shouting for my mother, and seeing me see him through the side window, turned his back and tried to modulate his voice to calmly convince me that I mustn’t look out the window but needed to get Mom right away, fast as you can.
He started molesting me when I was 8, almost 9.  I started having panic attacks.  I got my first bad grades…then overcompensated and never got a bad grade for years.  And I started eating to feel calm.  Pictures of me from that era show a healthy, smiling outdoor kid with long blond hair turning to a frowning brownette chub, over the course of a few months.  I cried a lot and acted out — sarcasm, tantrums, attention-seeking, other criminal acts in a Norwegian farm environment. Family decided I was envious of my baby sister, who had stopped being a wailing red grub and became a delightful cherub wreathed in golden curls, getting all the positive attention I used to receive.  An aunt gave me a kids’ book about transactional analysis (T. A. for Tots and Other Prinzes, by Alvyn M Freed, PhD) and I read it over and over, not understanding why it wasn’t helping.
What helped was eating.  Lots of reading, too, since I wasn’t sleeping anyway.  Eating was a sensory pleasure and made me calm, through digestive torpor rather than self-regulation. I felt hungry all the time — or what I thought was hunger; I was starved for calm.  I ate and ate and ate.  And I never spoke up.
So when I read about a man who bought a girl’s trust with a loaf of bread, I wanted to vomit my every excess, consumed over decades, ever since I was 8, almost 9.
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Processing Change / Developing Self

This shouldn’t even be a draft, but I’m going to publish it as a reminder.

DABDA (1969):  Denial – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance. 

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross framed processing news of a fatal diagnosis in stages of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and depression (with parallel tracks of hope) as a sort of stairway to acceptance.  (This frame, if I recall correctly, was to inform care providers who might support the patient better with an understanding of the steps involved.)  Other people have called it a rollercoaster, with some stages more short or long or profound in their effects, with looping back to previous sections, but the author noted that it was not a linear process.  Acceptance isn’t necessarily final but is potentially long-lasting, as there is no going back from death.

Scientific Change Results from Paradigm Change (1962) : Pre-Paradigm; Normal Science; Crisis Period; Paradigm Shift; New Normal.

Dr. Thomas S. Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to describe the history of change in the scientific community.  Pre-Paradigm (multiple incomplete and possibly incompatible theories, with no common body of agreed-upon facts); Normal Science (dominant paradigm / consensus covers everything, but unexplainable anomalies accumulate to show weaknesses of paradigm); Crisis Period (unaccountable anomalies stress people out; Normal Science tries to resolve; if it fails, move to the next phase); Paradigm Shift (old, deep assumptions are questioned and a new paradigm is established); Post-Revolution (new paradigm becomes Normal Science.) Wash, rinse, repeat.

This framework of understanding is very important to me, since I grew up in a rural area that used to admire science as a way to breed healthier livestock and produce blight-free crops with high yield…but later were convinced that science is a liar, or at best Not All That It’s Made Out To Be, because it conflicts with the Bible and conflicts with itself and things get disproven.  Sigh.

Stage of Change Model (Transtheoretical Model, 1983):  Pre-Contemplation; Contemplation; Preparation; Action; Maintenance; Relapse.

Prochaska and DiClemente conceptualized the model of change (intentional behavior change) as stages:  Not Ready to change (unaware of problem); Getting Ready to change (aware of problem); Preparation (figuring out how to approach solution); Action (making a change); Maintenance (sustaining a change); Relapse (action / change was not fully effective; time to learn lessons from failure and try again.)  Wash, rinse, repeat.

This model of change is like a personal version of Kuhn’s paradigm shift process, with the emphasis on its spiraling nature, with relapse an essential part of growth, for those of us who do not make a single correction to perfection.

Other Models:  Ohio Model; Boston University Model

Because I work in the mental health field, many of the models of change I see relate to specific problems (dealing with addiction; dealing with mental illness) but seem to follow a similar pattern.  The Ohio Model has four stages:  dependent on the system / unaware of recovery; dependent / aware; independent of system / aware; interdependent / aware.  The BU model also has four stages:  overwhelmed by illness and assessing; struggling with illness and ready; living with illness, and working on recovery; living beyond their illness, and maintaining recovery (with easy return to what worked if relapse occurs.)  Both models talk about personal change and relationship with the system of support (medical, mental health, addiction.)

These are stages of change, not development, so I’ll wait, for the time being, to integrate these essentially very similar process models into a plan of action related to stages of development.

Development of self is not a primarily corrective process, but one of evolution, or becoming something new.  Each stage has tasks and challenges that must be met for complete growth into the next phase, to meet those new tasks and challenges in a state of preparation and readiness.

One psychosocial model of development stages is from Erik Erikson:

Psychosocial stages summary table

This model means so much to me because in addition to being fascinated by ego psychology, I am a big fan of attachment theory.  The earliest lessons we learn about whether the universe is safe; where and when we can trust others, ourselves, and the world; and the importance of consistency and reliability — things being reliably “good enough” to sustain confidence that all is well and will continue to be so — i.e., hope.

(Digression:  just as an act of deliberate, serious self-harm can compromise the self — how can I feel confident in myself, knowing that I tried to kill myself?  I certainly wouldn’t rely on someone who tried to kill me! — so it might be, in a parallel way, that learning lessons of habitual reliability and consistency might help a person apply themselves to learning, or craft, or artistic expression, with discipline and confidence that doing something for an hour a day will yield fruit?  Compare this to the lessons learned by people whose motto is “Can’t Win, Don’t Try.”  What lessons did those people learn about application and outcome?)

A thing I would ultimately like to address is the neglected or overlooked process of aging, which is condemned here to a “65+” realm.  Many of the Norwegian prairie farmers in my family stayed compos mentis into their late 90s / early 100s.  I know the first five stages occur before early adulthood, and there is much less change in late adulthood, but shoving older adults in a single box marked “Wisdom” is not sufficient.

But right now Honey wants to take out the trash, and I need to make breakfast, and oh god how long have I been typing?  Another day, another distraction.

 

 

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Consent

[Caveat lector: This is a small and rubbery slice of a large and tender topic. If you can’t courteously and thoughtfully stay on my topic, I totally understand — it’s a toughie — but I am invoking the Gitcher Own Damn Blog Rule in advance. ]

So:  lately I have seen a lot of women exhorting men to STOP if the woman you are pursuing is sending mixed signals, because it’s monstrous to be with someone who is checked out of her body and not care, and if she is scared and sad, it’s not okay to have sex with her.

On the face, I get it: pay attention to those mixed signals.  If things aren’t full speed ahead, don’t go there.  Some say, at this point, “It’s not fun or worthwhile for either of you,” some say, “that’s where rape begins — not with lack of consent, but lack of wholehearted consent.”

I hesitate to disagree as loudly and firmly as I would like, since I already feel alienated from young feminists and would like to strengthen those ties rather than weaken them.  But there are so many reasons I disagree with that line of thinking, or that it invalidates my own experiences.

1. Don’t Interpret Me.  Let Me Do That.

Telling a guy not to take me at face value, but to interpret me and think he knows better than I do, is insulting as hell.  Don’t train men to patronize us, please; there is too much of that already.

2. Don’t Expect Me To Be Of One Mind About ANYTHING

I was sexually abused as a child.  There was physical and emotional abuse in the same milieu.  In order to parse out my feelings and where I stood, to derive a sense of body ownership and control, to learn to enjoy sex and move independently of my trauma, I went through a long period of having sex with people I did not have relationships with, some of whom I barely knew.  It wasn’t always easy, fun, or pleasant, but it was always profound, important, educational — I learned from it and took it to heart.  The regrets and pangs and bittersweet moments were all learning opportunities.  Mostly it was a blast, to be honest.  What I learned could only have had the value it did in the context of broad experience and taking risks, choosing to have some dodgy sexual experiences (or having some sexual interactions with a higher ambivalence quotient) simply to have them.  For science, yes; but also to follow my inner demons down their rabbit hole, to test out the stuff they whispered in my ear.  I had to do it for myself.  But any dude going into that experience with me, had he listened to the modern feminist chorus, would have run screaming, and I would not have had those chances to work out my ya-yas, would not have had those chances to experience loving generosity with near strangers who may still have fond recall of a grinning girl, glad to be grabbed, with or without the shadow behind her eyes.

3. Don’t Ask Me To Hide My Ambivalence & Mixed Feelings

Having to hide how I really feel in order to meet your excruciating consent standard isn’t just ironic, it’s absurd.

But there is also the fact that getting-to-know-you sex can be deliciously thrilling due to emotional exposure — honest needs and vulnerabilities, showing and trusting, being trusted with someone else’s raw fears and needs, feeling protected and protective, feeling that collaborative joy, or even feeling the delicate sense of exposure and discovery — including some fear / sadness / ambivalence, some acknowledgment of the same in the other person.  Just because you are a raging horndog doesn’t mean you run free from all shame, sadness, guilt, whatever.  But saying DON’T DO IT IF IT’S NOT FREE OF THOSE UNSIGHTLY EMOTIONS is to deny any sex that isn’t flawlessly perfect between flawlessly perfect people.  Which I am not, will never be, and do not wish to be.  Honest intimacy must admit imperfection.

You might think Barbie and Ken in their pink plastic Hilton represent the acme of human decadence, but the real juju comes from humping on a pile of our collective emotional baggage, and keeping each other safe as we go.

4.  Let Me Own My Mistakes; Don’t Take Consent Out Of My Hands By Making It All On Him

There is a profound difference between being raped and making a decision you regret:  consent.  If I go into sex with doubts and misgivings, and end up having regrets, I learn from that and act accordingly.  If I am taught that my dance of ambivalence ended in regret and that equals rape, then consent is out of my hands, and HE should have known better (known me better than I know myself!) and I have no agency.  Unless you are perfect, freedom means making mistakes and living with the results.

I know we all feel we *have* to be perfect — some quadrants of feminism (not my own, obviously) demand perfection, and that’s a pretty raw place — but I would argue that’s a holdover from the madonna-whore/pedestal-gutter dichotomy and should be discontinued.

5. This All Changes In Relationships

My many one-night stands were lovely.  No emotional demands, but some lovely emotional dividends; sincere effort; cheerful greed; and better or worse manners, noted and forgotten, with no lasting impact other than pleasant memories.  Consent in brief clashes is great collaboration, like splitting a bottle with the next table in a restaurant.  Consent in ongoing monogamous relationships has multiple layers.  There is the assumption that, because we are monogamous, we only have each other as a sexual outlet and must always or almost always say yes.  That if we say yes, it must be to everything.  That if I have reservations, you must feel their burden, or at least care about the burden I feel.  That sex has to happen with a certain frequency Or Else We Fail As A Couple.  On and on.

This topic is uncomfortable to me, and I don’t particularly want to talk about it.  But the fact is, I had a boyfriend in and after college who made me cry at least once per day, usually when we were having sex, which we did every day.  He later figured out he had a personality disorder that made him abusive and controlling, especially in sexual contexts, but that didn’t help when we were together.  He was also a serial cheater. But when I hear women exhorting men to stop pushing for sex if you see her struggling with guilt / shame / fear / sadness under the superficial acquiescence, I would rephrase it as a plea for empathy, as well as practical advice:

You Might Not Want To Make Her Hate Sex With You.

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