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This afternoon i invested several uninterupted hours catching up and reading, my various and long loved birthing/preggo/parenting blogs, resources and fb groups. It’s something I have been wanting and meaning to do for a few months now. My interest these online spaces had piqued especially of late, as there is some serious and pretty hardcore anti home birth, midwife and doula propaganda out there at the moment. It’s also not a solely led US conjecture anymore. Some of the ‘medically based’ anti home birth stuff is appalling, i was looking at one UK based website run by a female doctor (obgyn if i recall correctly) and the vitriol is just unbelievable. Not even going to dignify the site with a link, it is 100% accusatory, blaming and hyperbolic. How it is ever appropriate to tell a grieving parent, publicly, on the Internet that their daughters death was caused by their choice to home birth and that ‘you killed your child’. I shit you not! I weep for humanity at times, I swear to fucking Babs. And here I thought the whack job Todd Akins and Republican platform were the general spaces (in the Western world, that is) that promoted and led the attack for 3rd party ownership over women’s bodies and fetuses!
This afternoon one particular post on modg blog transfixed me, it sucked me in and completely blew my mind. (linked below) Its a really amazing, honest and in parts, vulnerable post but unashamedly so, regarding her fears and desire for a VBAC with her upcoming 2nd birth. What is incredible about the way modg writes is the way she strips away the bullshit, niceties and mommy-expectations and opens a safe, articulate space and dialogue for others to share in turn. This particular post has 250 comments and 3/4 of which are women recounting and sharing their birth experience/s, most of which are honest and open accounts, with varying levels of detail and information. I read every single comment. There is definitely some pro natural childbirth sentiment but on the whole I found a wealth of anecdotal experiences about so many different facets of pregnancy, childbirth, recovery and boobie milk. I have gained a much greater insight into the seemingly universally and often crippling concept of the ‘perfect birth’. It was also pretty fucking cool to read about loads of ladies eating their placentas or planning to and for the most part without the PPD qualifier. Heaps of open discussion regarding the mental and emotional demands and risks faced too.
In all the time I have spent researching and reading about what it’s like to actually make another person, this particular post and consequent sharing of stories, hopes, regrets, knowledge and future plans in the comments, has by far been the most insightful and meaningful piece of information i have accessed so far. What really struck me the most was the overwhelming support and love and validation. I have some small and still fairly undeveloped ideas about women centric communities and networks for pregnancy, birth and parenting but hadn’t really seen that element come together in an online capacity and certainly not in Australia. It is especially unique to find a space where lots of women were sharing lots of diverse experiences, beliefs and ideas.
Something I have noticed, at length, is that different modes of childbirth values or beliefs splinter away from each other and become islands. I have always been able to see the clear divide between medical and non medical childbirth camps, but the more I read and research, I see a pattern of trauma because the labour and birth don’t fit predefined goals of the chosen birthing values. It’s also really difficult to approach any of this sort of stuff as it is so deeply personal, beliefs and values have been thought about and invested in, post partum there is also often a heady mix of regret, sadness, trauma, disappointment, stress plus a hell of a lot of pressure and expectation from various sources in a women’s life.
What I find continually appalling and just flat out unfair is the vocal, self entitled vitriol aimed at parents and their parenting. In saying that, most of the loaded, judgey, shaming stuff is leveled at women. I also see much of the judgement and righteousness directed at pregnant women and new mums about their choices is coming from other women and mums, which is terrifically sad and so horribly counter productive. Then there’s the natural or home birth experts and of course the cries in the media from the medical experts, whose opinions and advice actually vary wildly depending on where you go, who you see and sadly, how much money you have. On top of that you’re trying to work out what is best with your partner, but both your families are also often going to chip in their 10 cents, sometimes more. Government and society definitely have their legislature in your womb and body autonomy, not to mention if you hold and practice religious beliefs and of course your immediate and wider communities affect and color us as people, parents and families.
New families are grossly under supported and isolated within our communities, especially in non-urban areas, but yet every single area of your life will have something to say (loudly, too) on what you should and shouldn’t do, what is and isn’t ‘best’ and what is flat out right and wrong. No wonder 85% of new mums in Aus experience some form of post natal stress leading through to severe PPD, post traumatic stress disorder and total breakdowns.
I do believe there is a huge amount of new parents and bubbas out there who are massively judged and criticized yet grossly under supported. I too have been just as guilty of this seeming righteous ease we have in society when addressing pregnancy, childbirth and parenting choices.
Not actually that long ago I would spout my crunchy bs about my all natural, home birth, in water with my doula by my side practically from the moment of conception. When realistically that’s only an option I would choose, if it was safe to do so, I have no way of predicting whether I will have a low risk pregnancy that can engender this sort of birth. Also, the more I read the more I think it’s foolish of me to have an anti epidural stance, I’m really just removing one of the tools I may need to access in birthing, despite what I think when I’m pregnant or even actually heading into labour. So many birth experiences cite having an epidural as the difference between getting through a vaginal birth and having to section. Especially with epic long labours and induced births. No, I still don’t really want a c section, if possible I would love to have a vaginal birth, but when it really comes to down to it, no matter how my baby is extracted from my body it will be super-bullshit-amazing-awesome that I gave birth, whatever giving birth ends up meaning for me. I have realized the crux of childbirth, for me, it to get the ginger doom child out of me as safely and best I can. I don’t see a rigid agenda surrounding my birth experience a pathway towards keeping myself calm, in control and empowered to make decisions if I do need to.
Its heartbreaking to me that so many mammas feel robbed of their perfect birth or that they failed as a biological woman and mother. There are layers of guilt, shame and self blame all based around the physical birth not achieving what was wanted or expected. I can in no way, even begin to fathom what this scenario would be like or do not seek to dis value the loss, sadness or trauma that is felt surrounding unwanted medical interventions. It does sadden me that sometimes the pressures we heap onto ourselves to reach these heavily constructed and idealized births only serve to further compound the stress of deviating from what is wanted and planned.
What I am driving at and realize more and more is that those whom are heading into pregnancy and child birth need infinitely more love, support, understanding and active, meaningful, immediate community networks and resources. We most definitely need to find more ways for women to connect, share and bond about their experiences, whatever mode of birth they chose or ended up having. The different camps, ideologies and practices for childbirth need to come together at least enough for information and options to be available to address on a scale, rather than having to basically pick a team and either pretend the other side doesn’t exist or that is so undesirable its not even worth knowing about.
All of this stuff is hard and scary and unpredictable so lets stop making unhelpful and self interested comments and instead provide as much information as we can, offer help and resources, listen wholly to fears and concerns but most importantly we need to open our hearts with as much compassion and understanding as possible. No one really actually knows the answers, that’s precisely why it is so bloody frightening. I hope we can, in future, create environments with the support, information, expertise, connectedness and lots of other mums and dads of all backgrounds engaged and involved in. Then new parents can be empowered to work out exactly what is available to them, organize their network effectively around themselves and to clearly address what birth really means to them.
Sending a bazillion kudos to all the brilliant parentals out there. I have bonkers levels of respect and love for you folk. Big squishy love shaped cuddles. You guys totally fucking rock!!
I quit my job. Or the cooler sounding version, I quit my job in porn.
Wow. It’s really real.
I am looking to move into something very low-key, likely temping doing admin or data entry, at least til the end of the year… I’m actually thinking of dipping a toe into the world of camming, to see how it all works and whether it is viable income. Thoughts?
Definitely going to focus myself on applying for school for next year over the next week and a bit.
Onwards and upwards and looking forward to having much more in the way of creative energy, especially to direct here, I have lots of ideas of things to rant about and photograph.
Laci Green, sex posi blogger and amazing all round lady has been brutalised for saying a wrong term in a youtube film she made WHEN SHE 18. When it was brought to her attention she issued an apology and explained that she was young, immature and lame for using a derogatory term.
It is totally fucked and I sometimes wonder about humanity. The internet can be an ugly place folks.
Jezebel have thankfully covered this and called it out for the utter *bullshit* it is.
The article with the ‘offending’ post and the psycho abuse and threats is here:
I love Laci Green, she openly and honestly demystifies and explains so much about sexuality, putting her face to her name and walking the fucking walk of sex positivity. That is mega ballsy and totally fucking awesome.
She deserves a medal, not to fear her personal safety!
Sung to the tune of Changes by David Bowie.
Soooo, later on this week I am heading back into the ifeelmyself.com studio to touch myself up on camera. It has been a really, really long time since I shot proper website content type stuff. I’m really excited, I’ve found myself daydreaming about it since I booked it in.
I’m currently feeling super positive about my body and sexuality, the timing is fantastic. I have been ‘testing’ my capacity for orgasm recently and am really looking forward to pushing myself as far as I can go when I’m shooting.
I will also have my sweet rip-off Hitachi on hand. I have mastered the art and can now give myself the most toe scrunching and body twitching orgasms with it.
Expect a report on my experience, am aiming to have an excellent time though!
For some stupid reason I have felt grossly inadequate this past week regarding blogging and the making of sexy-things.
Sorry for being a lame-o.
Although I do have a couple of rather lovely things in the works!
Intertubes, I have something to tell you, something kinda huge…
I asked my partner to marry me.
He said yes.
I was dressed as a unicorn at the time. It was kind of surreal. Surreal in the awesomest possible way.
We were laughing and crying. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment for as long as I live.
This intense moment was followed immediately by an intense, emotional, pleasurable and beautiful fuck. After he came, we lay together and he helped me orgasm too. I left a small, but satisfying puddle on the bed.
Life is pretty excellent, ya know.
So, I finally made it to my careers psychologist appointment. Becoming a sexologist is my dream, my passion and ultimately the goal of my life.
A combined social work and psych degree is a big, long and scary thing to approach. By the time I do the year of Sexology on top, at the end of that, it’s like 8 or 9 years of school. I’m not sure if it is the best course of action for me, really need to think further and check in with my friend who is currently working for an organisation as a sex educator.
My head feels so full of stuff right now, it’s a little overwhelming and I’m looking forward to my partner being back home, to talk to this week.
If I can be employed as a sex educator in schools and in the community at large, with a social work degree, I am thinking I will go ahead with that. Once I have my social work degree it would greatly reduce the time of a psych degree and I can pursue that second degree perhaps a little later in life, or possibly part time whilst working as well.
Although a part of me thinks I am reluctant to take on the duel degree because I am scared. I am scared of failing of being too overwhelmed of taking too much on and this whole thing is really full on general.
As I said, lots to think about.
Day 2, Sunday, the final frontier. To be honest, I woke up on Sunday missing the shit out of my partner and I really just wanted to go home. I rugged up in a blanket, grabbed my towel and toiletries and headed for the showers. It was exactly what I needed, a long, hot shower and just some time inside my head and away from other people.
(I should add to this write up, that both Saturday and Sunday of Sex Camp were 8am starts, so I was out of bed before 7:30am both days. I usually get up some time after 8am to go to work, I mean, it was okay, but I have been feeling pretty damn tired all week post-camp.)
Brekkie was once again stunning, I grabbed a serve and headed over to my friends in the meals tent, then I found out there was BACON. The decent sized serving of pork shaped goodness along with my veggie fare perked me right up and brought a smile to my face.
My first workshop for the day was directly after breakfast, it was called ‘Healing Sexuality’ and I wasn’t too sure exactly what it would entail. I attended to try to gain some insight and move past my aversion to touch. When I say that, I mean I do not wish to be touched by strangers, in any way and I am extremely guarded with my personal space in general of late. I have an extremely visceral reaction if a breach of that space is made. I never used to be this way. I am certainly not this way with people I am close to, although at times I will go to some lengths to avoid being touched in general. I’m not sure when it started, but it seems to come and go… I used to want to literally hug the world and was open to all kinds of encounters, but something has fundamentally changed and it often makes me feel quite unhappy to be so ‘closed’.
The workshop was brilliant, it was run by the woman who was manning the Women’s Tent the previous day when I was feeling anxious and had been really fantastic and grounded towards me. Super calm too. The best thing for anxiety is a calm quiet person who doesn’t expect anything of you.
We all sat in a huge circle and so many people voiced their own painful experiences, from psychological elements of damaged sexuality, through to many people present standing up and voicing that they had genital herpes. I saw so much courage in the people around me, so many different stories and it was really eye opening to the stigma of STIs and STDs.
I then went and grabbed some lunch, caught up with the folks I knew and decided to skip the next workshop and pack up my belongings so I could leave directly after the final workshop of the day. Thankfully the initial ‘you cannot leave sex camp until the closing ceremony’ BS had been adjusted, you could leave anytime after lunch. I was fairly annoyed at how the leaving Sex Camp was handled, basically up until Sunday apparently if you wanted to leave you *had* to find one of two people and only then would permission to head off would be granted. We were told that organisers didn’t want it to be easy to leave. I was not and am still not cool with this, on any level, it made me feel extremely uncomfortable and once again a major issue very poorly and insensitively handled by organisers.
As far as I was concerned, anyone with a walkie talkie could radio and I would be leaving, if I needed to, thank you very fucking much. Yet again, another scenario that set me on guard.
I packed up my shit into my car, wrote some more and then read my book on space for a whiles. The final workshop I attended was run by a lovely and rather amazing lady I sort of know, but have definitely felt much admiration for. It was called ‘Genital Show and Tell’ and was a women only space. The first half of the workshop was watching Betty Dodson’s film ‘Body Sex’ which has kind of changed my life, but that is a story for another day. The film being shown was impromptu, but actually created the perfect setting as it gave an idea of what the workshop was trying to achieve.
For the demonstrative part of the workshop it was a small circle of women, varying ages and experiences. Basically, starting with the workshop presenter, we each showed our genitals in turn and pointed out various parts of ourselves with use of a hand mirror. It was possibly the most confronting, bonding, amazing, beautiful and full on thing I have ever done in my life. One woman had given birth to 5 children before realising she was gay! On her last child she tore a little and chose not to have stitches, you could see where the tears had healed. So many incredible stories and experiences of owning a vulva, yoni, pussy and all the different, winding journeys toward orgasm, love and self acceptance.
I left this workshop absolutely exhilarated. A perfect note to end Sex Camp on.
I said goodbye to my friends, jumped in my car and headed home to my much missed partner.
Right now I am still reflecting on my experiences from Sex Camp… There were so many positives and negatives, it has been difficult to weigh up my opinion overall. I have read so many glowing blog entries from other attendees and wonder if I just too critical, although I think for a $350 ticket to ride, I definitely expected much more and certainly far, far better organisational efforts. As someone that puts of their own events I know almost exactly what goes into such a weekend and how much easier having a budget makes that process.
There is a part of me that wants to speak and run a workshop at the next Camp. There is a part of me that wants to put on my own multi-day, sex-postive space for learning and development. And there is a part of me that thinks I would be better to explore areas of sexuality that interest me much more intensively, than a weekend of bits of this and that…
It has really taken me this entire week to recover, so to speak. Although it feels good to have my experience and thoughts, thus far, written down. For now.
I am sure I will have more to say about Camp in the future, for now I think I need to continue to digest everything.
All the meals were incredible! A vegetarian catering crew had been hired and they just totally rocked. Such. Good. Food. Brekkie in the morning was great, good fuel for the day ahead. I skipped the first workshop of the day on Saturday and went to chill, also ended up writing for a couple of hours, I was still processing everything from the previous evening and didn’t feel strongly about either of the workshops.
My first workshop was ‘Sex after Childbirth’ which was a very small, intimate group and a very informative space. I want to be a sex postive mum and also try to maintain the best possible sexual connection that I can have with my partner throughout my pregnancy, when I do actually enter that phase in my life. Such great advice, the crux of which was essentially that child birth is a rebirth – I will change when I become a mum and thus the sex I will want to have will change, as will my body and that’s okay. Very affirming and lovely and gentle.
It was then time for lunch and I was able to hang out with my peeps and decompress. Once again, very tasty noms were had.
The next workshop I went to was ‘Spanking, Breath and Ecstatic Trance’ with the most amazing dom. The theory and demonstration was brilliant, she had a model and also demonstrated negotiating the play as well. During visualisation of being spanked and also spanking I immediately pictured my partner and had an immediate genital response. Intense! I also didn’t want to play with anyone but him when it came to possibly putting theory into practise towards the end. Everyone started partnering off, I didn’t want someone trying to partner up with me and panicked slightly. I made a hasty exit and headed to the womens tent.
Womens tent totally saved my ass. I was pretty anxious and feeling a little overwhelmed, but it was so tranquil and lovely I very quickly calmed down and allowed myself to warm by the fire. I spoke to the lovely woman there, soon after one of my lady friends came to the tent too, she had began to feel overwhelmed also. We had an interesting conversation about anxiety and feeling uptight in general, I began to realise more and more this weekend how much the idea of being touched by anyone but my closest is not okay. I am not really 100% sure of where this aversion came from but it is a very strong visceral reaction…
There was a break and then we went into the ‘Female Ejaculation’ workshop run by the awesome C and G. ZOMG. Stand out workshop of the weekend. Straight forward, frank and so much information and science. Love it. G gave so much anecdotal information from her own experiences and C followed it up with the science and anatomy. I saw the most detailed slides of the female genitals and reproductive system that I have EVER seen. This theory, information and diagrams was followed by C demonstrating helping G to ejaculate. I know G and she asked us, her friends, to form a bit of a protective ring around the massage table.
Goddamn, it was SO intense. I was clenching, squirming and massaging the back of my own neck. G was able to ejaculate twice and it was incredibly beautiful and humbling to have her share herself in such an intimate way. That lady has mega balls, I tells ya. Afterwards I was in a daze, I was sharing her afterglow and it felt like I’d just had an orgasm myself.
We trundled off to dinner, ate our food and dissected our day and experiences to one another. Some of my friends got themselves jazzed up in outfits and we went to check out the performances. The first performance I caught was brilliant, the second was a spoken piece that had *zero* trigger warning and the presenter merely said ‘okay folks, it’s going to get a little bit darker in here’. Basically it was the presenter from one of the days earlier workshops ‘Speaking Sex’ and she was detailing, rather artfully, a date rape experience. I don’t often think about the sexual assault I experienced but the words leaving this womans mouth nearly exactly mirrored what happened to me.
I froze. I couldn’t breathe.
Thankfully the amazing friend next to me immediately noticed and asked if I was okay. I said no and got up and stumbled out of the tent, got my shoes on as fast as I could, she followed and we went up to my dorm and sat in front of the fire while I decompressed. I was pretty pissed off at this point, it’s not hard to let people know a performance maybe triggering for them. Also I think some people may have been at Sex Camp to help themselves heal from sexual trauma and such a performance, without warning, was extremely insensitive.
Eventually our other friends found us, they were worried but immediately understood when I explained. I had righted myself by then, so we also donned fabulous attire and headed to the silent disco. I wore my white elvis jumpsuit and danced my arse off. One of my friends A, borrowed my sailor outfit, W was totally suited up and J looked so super cute and fabulous.
We had a massive, trashy boogie. It was SO much fun and an amazing release. Except for the bit where the guy in his lame elvis suit tried to get way too friendly. I said pretty much told him to step off in front of a bunch of people and he went away. My favourite bits about the disco were the teeny little laser in the corner of the room, taking my headphones off and listening to people sing along to different songs with abandon and us going outside to dance in the cold air, the disco was like a sauna and we chattered, laughed and just carried on, it was ace.
Once fully worn out we went back up to my dorm, G, C and many other lovely peeps were hanging out there, we chatted some more, ate snacks and got dozy by the fire. I said goodnight to folks, they headed to their tents and I to my room. There were muffled moans and groans until I fell asleep, some folks were putting their days learnings into practise.
I on the other hand read my book on space by torchlight, I was sleepy but needed to wind down. As I snuggled down into the blankets I wondered what the following day would bring… Everything I had experienced thus far had been huge.