I know you from another context. What is this blog?
First things first: this is a blog about sexuality, specifically my sexuality. If that makes you uncomfortable, please think seriously about whether my writing here is something you want to encounter. You don’t have to read any further than this sentence.
Second, I ask you to be respectful. Whether or not it makes sense to you, whether or not the things I share are things you would choose to share about your own life or process, I have made a deliberate choice to write and publish ideas and stories about the way I approach sexuality and relationships as a queer person, as an abuse survivor, and as someone with a specific set of sexual ethics and desires. I do this for a variety of reasons, many of which are laid out here and here. If you are feeling shocked, confused, titillated, upset, or otherwise taken aback by something you’ve read here, I invite you to consider why I might have chosen to post it here rather than assuming that I’ve done so foolishly.
Third, I invite you to educate yourself. Though I do see this blog as a resource for readers, it is not a 101 resource. I don’t have the energy or resources to answer every question about relationship violence or bdsm, and I have no interest in justifying either the nature of my desires or the reality of my experience of abuse. I hope to compile a relevant resource list at some point (and feel free to comment if you’ve got a resource to suggest), but please understand that there is only so much educating I can and will do.
I witnessed your high school relationship. It didn’t seem abusive to me.
Yeah… often abusive relationships don’t from the outside, especially if you don’t know what to look for. (Hint: the fact that we seemed really into each other does not not somehow mean nothing abusive was going on.) Anyway, this is absolutely not a space where the reality of my or anyone else’s experience of abuse is up for debate. Please either respect that or leave.
I know your high school girlfriend. She’s really a good person.
I actually don’t believe in the idea of a “good person,” particularly when “good person” is used to mean “person incapable of oppressive actions.” Truth is, we live in a world that does not teach us how to support, respect, or take care of each other or ourselves, and even those of us who are actively unlearning the oppressions we’ve grown up steeped in are capable of hurting each other in really big ways. Which doesn’t make us “bad people” (I don’t believe in those either); it just means actively examining our own actions and beliefs is part of learning to treat everyone better. And imagining that anyone is incapable of oppressive actions is dangerous and unhelpful.
As for my high school girlfriend, this really isn’t about her. For all I know she’s held herself accountable a dozen times over for the way she treated me when we were teenagers—I’m not in touch with her and have no interest in being. The stories I tell here are mine; I tell them not to make a statement about her, or anyone else who has treated me poorly over the years, but because of the impact they have on me and how I do my sexuality and my life.
Aren’t kink and or power exchange oppressive?
They can be. Not unlike the ways that ostensibly power-neutral relationships can be oppressive if the partners aren’t carefully and intentionally navigating real-world oppressions as well as each person’s needs, boundaries, and desires. I certainly don’t suggest kink as some kind of magic bullet that makes relationships consensual and mutual, but I don’t believe it’s at odds with building consensual and mutual relationships either. It is what you make of it.
I have a different question you didn’t answer here.
You are welcome to send me an email at circumstanceandcarefulness [at] gmail. I can’t promise I’ll answer, but I’ll do my best.