On a recent Disability After Dark Andrew Gurza interviews JoEllen Notte – a noted sex researcher & blogger – about, amongst many things, sex and depression. For some people the two go hand in hand, no matter how good or often the sex. They also talked about some of the assumptions people make about them for being so sex positive. One being is that they have lots of sex and have no problem getting it. Or that must be willing to have sex with anyone – if they decline they are accused of being hypocrites.
Odd how being sex positive turns one into a slut with no discernment and with no boundaries. “Oh sure I’d be super happy to do that with you even though you don’t turn me on and it’s something I’ve never enjoyed.”
In my life I’ve been either shamed for being as sexually active as I am for my age or regarded as a slut with no discernment. In fact I find it difficult to actually talk with anyone about my sex life without them becoming uncomfortable. What I enjoy is pretty vanilla & safe but the fact that do it makes them comfortable or triggered.
In my poetry I’ve written quite directly about many types of sex play. I had to stop performing the few s/m pieces I have because I was getting approached by men (& women) who thought I was a dom top (if you don’t know what that means such is life). An assumption I’d rather not deal with, unless they are willing to cough up $500 an hour.
They also delve into the nature of ‘invisible’ disabilities, such a depression. Many people think depression is feeling down, a sort of emotional draginess that you just can merely snap out of or that one is being self-indulgently lazy by not wanting to get out bed all day, eat for two days, or not take a shower for a week because they are in a bad mood.
Much like alcoholism & other less socially approved addictions there is this sense you just have to pull yourself up by the boot straps & get on with it. It just isn’t that easy or simple. It’s not a matter of being lazy, stupid, weak or stubborn. There are more complex forces at work & what works for one person often does nothing for the next. But I’m not a therapist but this is what I’ve observed.
We live in a culture in which loneliness is terrifying, in which only a ‘loving’ relationship is the way out of loneliness (it isn’t), that sex is the solution for horniness (it isn’t). When these solutions don’t work it often leads to shame, guilt, & depression. It’s as if the fault is our, not a culture that invests so much the wrong solutions as the only solutions.
There is one school of thought, which they don’t fully explore – bad sex is better than no sex at all (I’m not sure how that was researched). I’d argue that having no sex is better than having shamed based sex thinking it’ll make you feel better about yourself and life or for any reason.
I’m sex positive – it is a good thing when we get rid of cultural baggage. Or we get the right baggage to carry it.
(in this rough draft sample Mike & Robert are having a thanksgiving dinner in Montreal. )
A couple of blocks north of St C Mike spotted Cent Milles Brasserie. The chalkboard menu listed meats, vegetables by region and by how far those regions were from Montreal.
“An interesting concept.” Robert said.
“Let’s hope the cost of locally sourced is worth it.”
“As long locally sourced results in good food. I will be most happy.”
The restaurant was done up in a season decor. Pumpkins, gourds bales of hay around the maitre d’ station. Bats on thin wires dangled over the bales.
The evening’s main special was ‘dinde rôtie avec farce aux canneberges’ which, thanks to the drawing on the chalkboard Mike knew was a tradition roast turkey with stuffing. He wasn’t sure what ‘canneberges’ were though but he was willing to find out.
Once they were seated in the window Mike asked. “Shall I order for you as well?”
Robert was reading the menu.
“That won’t be necessary. I most certainly want to try the bière d’érable.”
“Ah, it is not a traditional drink?” Robert asked.
“Not as far as I know. The flavouring of beer is one of those trendy fads. At least I hope it’s a fad.”
“Then we will try it. Another new experience for both of us.” He waved the waiter over and ordered the beer.
“You’re French is amazing.” Mike said.
“I have been speaking it all my life.” Robert said. “As well as English.”
The beers came in tall chilled glasses.
“To your health.” Robert said as they clinked their glasses together.
Each sipped tentatively.
“Ahh a very even taste.” Robert said before taking a larger drink.
Mike did the same. “You know this could become a tradition. It tastes like fall. Maple, a little pine as well.”
“You have a sensitive pallet.”
Mike did the same. “You know this could become a tradition. It tastes like fall. Maple and a little pine as well.”
Robert took another taste. “You have a sensitive pallet.”
“I was afraid it would taste like pancake syrup.”
The waiter brought a covered basket of rolls to the table. “Pain de maïs et frais du four.”
Mike flipped the cover back and the steam brought the smell of the corn bread with it.
“This is why Quebec is called Le Belle Provence.” Robert said as he buttered one of the rolls, broke it half and gave it to Mike. He gestured for Mike wait before eating it. He held his in upturned palm of his right hand. Mike did the same without thinking.
“Merci Mère Marie pour ce repas.” Robert said. He broke off a small piece and put beside his plate.
Mike did the same.
“We will reserve a small morsel for the Grace that brings such abundance into our lives.”
“I see.” Mike said. “I’ll try not to brush it off the table.”
“Thank you for indulging me.” Robert said. “This is a part of my life I do not usually get to share under such close quarters.”
The next course was a butternut squash soup with fresh ginger.
“Ce gingembre est-il cultivé localement?” Robert asked.
“Oui. Le bistrot maintient un jardin d’herbes fraîches près de la ville.” the waiter answered.
“I did not know ginger was grown in Canada.” Robert explained. “The restaurant has its own farm for some these products. They live to their name.”
As the waiter cleared their used plates away Mike carefully protected his morsel of corn bread. The main course was next. The waiter brought the dinner plates to the table. There was a medley of fall vegetables on each. He was followed by a busboy pushing a cart with a covered plate on it. The waiter removed the cover with a small flourish to reveal the turkey, steaming and ready for further carving. One drumstick was gone, as were some slices from the breast on either side.
“If you wish,” he said in English. “We can offer the uncut?”
“No no. This is fine. Would you like the remaining drumstick?” Robert asked Mike.
“Some breast meat will be good for me.”
“Then I’ll have it.”
The waiter skillfully cut portions for both of them. He offered them a chafing dish of stuffing for each of them to help themselves. ‘Canneberges’ turned out to be cranberries.
Even though the restaurant was now full Mike felt they were dinging alone, in their own private room.
Robert asked Mike questions about his work, family but easily defective questions about himself so by the end of the dinner Mike knew little about Robert’s background. Not that that mattered as he felt, for some reason, that Robert was holding nothing back.
Dessert was pumpkin pie, freshly baked on the premises while they were enjoying their meal. Robert has his with acorn ice cream. Mike opted for the maple whipped cream. They sampled each other’s.
As the busboy cleared the table under the watchful eye of the waiter Mike and Robert both took out their credit cards.
“Non. Non.” Robert said. “My company can easily afford this meal.”
“Then I’ll leave a tip.” Mike offered. “Would forty dollars be about right?” He took a look at the bill. “Better make that fifty.”
“It is a good thing we stuck to the bière.” Robert said.
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