This is a personal post, so if you’re not here for a long-winded LiveJournal moment, skip it and get back to the frolic.
Comment from a recent post:
deepjunky: I have a hard time imagining you as a painfully lonely person.
Well, I’ve got nothing. I think it will always be like this. There is no “always” or “forever” for me. Even if I want it.
The pain in my chest started tonight. The place in there, it hurts. The place I hope someone might be all the time to make it fluffy and cupcakes and the good kind of sweaty and maybe even love me when I’m cranky, something made of delicious fuzzy, fussy boyness. I do want this. Sometimes I wonder if a girl might fit in this place for a minute, at least to festoon it with gossamer and pretty teacups and soft skin. It’s the place most of you have someone all the time, your people, your blood: family. I am empty there. I never go home for the holidays. I do not know where to go. When it’s time for family gatherings, or people start talking about high school, I imagine myself to be see-through. I want to just not exist and let that empty spot expand until it absorbs me, and I am gone.
But I never talk about this stuff. A couple weeks ago I saw that the anti-porn people had found my pro-porn video, the fun, lighthearted one. I was alone, with no one to talk to. I watched this pour down the screen in silence. Looking from laptop, to window where I can see the Castro, then back to laptop, with a hint of my own reflection in the afternoon light. I quietly read and clicked; I blocked people so oily and toxic, and the detailed nature of their hatred for me was stunning. It had been a long time since someone said that I should be dead. At least since being a Chronicle writer. It will always, and forever, stop a woman in her tracks to see someone call her a cunt who should die, and then incredulously watch their words unfold in nightmare writ bold as they elaborate.
I used to write about this more. I eased up when I attracted dedicated trolls; two have harassed me online since 2008. But even though, I still feel good about what I do. Threats and troll tactics annoy, but actually amuse me most of the time because they are so predictable and clumsy. They are never as smart as they think they are. And my true weakness cannot be exposed because it is on my sleeve.
I spend time with friends almost every day. I go about it alone. There is much love between me and my friends, and people who know me seem to really get attached to me. Protective, even. Sometimes when I’m with my friends, my chest is hurting really bad. Like feeling punched hard enough to bring tears to my eyes. It’s not always like this, just when I have a lot of stress, or long for the other half of my heart and don’t feel whole. I know I should be past that, the not-married-or-whatever thing, after all, I’m that sex writer. I’m the one who writes things that helps couples, makes people feel better about their sex and their genders, the girl who drops everything to get sexual abuse survivors to counselors. A girl who cheers other girls like me who want to own their sexual expression or exploration. The girl who answers the phones and gives teens somewhere in America supportive and warm advice about sex when they are so scared they call a 1-800 number. I might be sexy, even if unconventionally so. I’m a pin-up and a dancer (clothed, even). I’m supposed to have it all together. Because if I don’t, doesn’t that undermine my “sex expert” status?
That’s what I might have thought ten years ago. Until I got sick of seeing all these so-called “sex experts” who made fake personas to present people with an image they thought people expected. It took me about five minutes of observing sex and media to get that people were not connecting with what they were expected (or told) to want by sexual know-it-alls. Imaginary sex advice givers with glamorous sex lives in urban cities. Exploiting tropes for pageviews, sales, viewers. Perpetuating the myth that they had fab (or adventurous) sex lives, so you should buy what they were selling. Porn stars who become accidental sex advisors. Fake. Sketchy advice. So instead of those models, I made my own. I take chances and let myself be seen every once in a while. Vulnerable. Sometimes painfully lonely, even in a roomful of friends. Feeling like a foolish girl who checks her phone too many times.
The thing is, in all my years as a sex educator and writer, one of the things I’ve learned is that the kind of perfection we think might come from the most amazing sex life in our imaginations — having “perfect” mind-blowing sex — does not make you into everything you need to be whole. It can be a big part of our striving for completeness, absolutely. For some it’s the cornerstone of finally having their life be their own. But don’t buy the illusion that magical orgasms or decadent debauchery or puzzle-piece-perfect monogamous sex is that unattainable thing that if you just could unlock its secrets, you would be — whole, happy, made of light and money and love.
There will always be heartbreak. And it will hurt… and then it won’t. The wind is howling outside here in San Francisco with such force that it was making it hard for people to walk down the street outside my apartment. The cat is sleeping in the middle of the bed as if he does not need to share it with me. More deadlines loom as I fuck around writing a LiveJournal post on my professional blog. These things are how life goes on, and will continue to as I breathe around heartbreak. I’ll always have it, until I find that thing that makes it easier. If I do. Meanwhile, the cat will continue to hog the bed, and I will continue to write. Sometimes it will hurt, and sometimes I will forget all about it. Life is bigger than my missing piece.
I changed my IM status to DNR. That should make some people happy.
I’m trying to provide something different here. I put out information about sex and present it in a way that lets people figure things out for themselves. I think that trying to tell someone there is any “right” way to be about sex, or that the key to happiness is having a certain kind of sex life, is bullshit. I just updated one of my sex guides and there wasn’t a whole lot to update in the heart of the book because while people can come along and make new techniques every once in a while, or offer a different perspective, the elements I’ve put down on paper (and pixels) are solid tools. They’re there for remixing and making your own song (or technique, or sexual lifestyle). Or they’re there so you can understand it, and say. “no, thanks.”
I often hope that people come along and write my books differently. Remix. Meanwhile I’ll make more. I continue observing sex culture too, and hope to provide something different with that as well — because I need to see it change, oh so badly. Even if my point of view is not in agreement with yours, I want us to look at how people talk about sex and behave about sex together and give it the critical eye — we deserve smarter conversations about sex. I’m not afraid to ask questions that, for reasons I will never understand, others are afraid to ask. Like, why things are presented in a certain way. Where the data came from. Why are we expected not to question sexual assumptions and stereotypes.
Sex (being sex-positive and tolerant of others, especially) isn’t about doing anything you want. Sex can make us really happy, though. It can also make life’s heartbreak feel like Alien, about to burst out of our chests. Satisfying sex might be the path to happiness for many, while other people will tell you that the opposite should make you happy. Either way you swing, it’s not gonna make you 100% happy. At the same time, sex is not something that is separate from life. I think to believe this might just turn you into someone who threatens women online.
The person who wrote how I was a cunt and should die like a cunt, their missing pieces are pressing up against everything inside them so bad, they can’t function. They have lived their life doing what they think they should, or likely what they were told they should do, and how that would make them whole and happy. They are so bitter and angry they have become psychotic and the cultural glue holding right and wrong behaviors together in their heads has come apart. They resent that the package they were given can’t be returned, and they have to live with it. In it. To them, someone like me is very upsetting and threatening because I’m showing them that there are lots of us who are a few steps closer to that feeling of completion because we stopped buying the illusion which claimed that a perfect life could be achieved if only we did what we were told. About sex. We stopped buying the bullshit, and it’s making people who did really, really mad. For them, women like me must be destroyed. If not, the cost is their soul.
All this over a little sex-positivity.
It takes a lot of work to become who you really are.
People like the guy that wants me dead (the new one) has accepted what society has told him he should be. And I think we see how that’s working out for him.
My heart hurts and I’m really lonely sometimes, but it’s not because of the haters. Compounded: I have lost many, here in San Francisco. I’ve only been able to go to one funeral but there have been many in my life, and some people might think I’m callous for not going. The one I went to, I almost fainted in the church. This road is hard.
But it’s my road. And I’m going to do something with it.