Marriage & Family Counseling??

I feel like I am all over the place. But in the past few weeks I have become increasingly interested in being a marriage and family counselor. Here is part of the statement I have written for one school:

<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝";} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;}  –>“I have navigated complex and non-traditional intimate relationships and desire to work with other couples and families navigating non-traditional and alternative relationship structures. In the course of this navigation, I have had a difficult time finding a therapist who could understand and validate my experiences, perspectives, and feelings. I feel a sense of hope in thinking about being the therapist I have always wanted for myself...

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I feel into this. Comparing to how a PhD program makes me feel, this seems like a better fit for me. I want to have a highly practical degree, with which I feel like I can make a difference, a client at a time. The compassion and interpersonal skills that counseling takes seem to be natural inclinations of mine. My biggest concern with a Marriage & Family program is the foundation which, from what I know, is highly monoga-normative. I am fairly confident that my own background will help balance out those messages and frameworks. Now I am just stressed out trying to get applications done by the priority deadlines (early to mid January). But I am grateful that I have a life where I can investigate, research, and follow the things that give me pleasure.

Profiting from Stripping: Expectations & Entitlement

I posted a review of “Strip City” a few days ago. Remember this quote?

“In every strip club I’ve been to, the stage is a sacred space. Girls Only. Men can approach the side of the stage to tip, but that’s it…The sanctity of the stage is highly symbolic- like a woman’s virtue, her bedroom, her sex- violate it and you violate her.” (p158-9)

It seems like a lot of girls I work with feel extremely entitled to earning well above $20 an hour; if they are earning closer to $40 an hour they stop complaining.

My first reaction to hearing this is “Why do you feel so entitled to earning so much money? It is well above minimum wage, and you only work part-time. Stop complaining!”

And then I realize: so many girls that I have met view their bodies as private or off-limits, and in order to display their “virtue,” their “private” parts, they must be well compensated. And I realize that this is in part due to the history of strip tease and strip. Our puritanical roots tell us that our bodies are shameful. In order to see other naked bodies, people have long been willing to pay well. (I also fully validate the idea that everyone has their own physical, spiritual, and other boundaries, and for some dancers, showing their pussy is crossing a boundary.)

For me, I expect to leave work with a substantial amount of cash because of the stigmatized and taboo nature of stripping and because of the fact that I am not an employee and so do not receive an hourly wage or benefits. There has to be substantial pros to stripping to make it worth it to me to forgo social normalcy and employee benefits I could find working at the gym or restaurant. The amount of money that I have the potential to make is one of those pros. (The other pros being those I have discussed in other posts: achieving a state of “flow,” being an exhibitionist, being around other naked women, exercising, socializing, getting pretty for work, etc.)

For better or worse, or for simply what it’s worth, I just don’t really view my body, or anyone else’s, as sacred. My body is a body. I value it and nourish it and take care of it. Just as I value other people’s bodies. But I don’t see them as shameful or dirty. And so I don’t expect to be paid simply for getting naked. I understand, however, that that is precisely why I am getting paid: because I am getting naked and because it is a taboo and socially unacceptable form of work, there aren’t as many people willing to do it. So I can reap the benefits of a larger societal issue with slut-shaming and sex negativity.

Ideally, I think sex work, including stripping, would get paid wages comparable to other high-end service industry work. There were would be hourly wages, benefits, sick days, etc. And these wages might (and probably would) still be higher because of the high value of the work involved. But it is fascinating to me that high pay is expected purely because of the fact that there is a naked pussy, versus the fact that the work is taboo and doesn’t provide hourly wages or other benefits given to employees.

Happy Birthday to J!

Happy Birthday to a sexy, funny, intelligent, thoughtful, amazing, communicative, compassionate, inquisitive, adventurous, and all-around rockin’ individual and partner!
I hope that this year is even more wonderful than your previous years! And I am so excited to be sharing it with you 😀
Here’s to some fabulous sexy time to celebrate!
Love, K

Dreams & Implications

All of my sexual dreams from the past couple of weeks include women. There is my good friend dressed in a hot garter set, ordering me around, not letting me come until she says so. There’s another one I can’t quite remember. It’s too fuzzy. (Darn!) And then one with a woman I just met, who I don’t feel attracted to when I see her, but in the dream it was really fun and sexy. We wrestled on the floor, laughing and grinding. It was hot.

I have been so into ladies and lady sex. My desire for emotional and physical intimacy with women is back.

I lost my romantic inclinations toward women for a couple months. But in the past month or so, they have come roaring back to life. Why? I don’t really know. Maybe because I have finally shaken off the last vestiges of the summer drama and my heart is ready again to trust women and to be with them. Whatever the reason, I take my sexy lady dreams to be an indication that my subconscious is diggin’ the lady vibe again. Which makes me really happy. And horny.

Also, I had a pretty phenomenal dream in which I tell my parents that I am dancing. In my dream, my mom takes it pretty well. She is concerned, but she receives it well, without judgement or blame or guilt or shaming. And my conversation I have had with her since my dream, I have this state of mind that she already knows and I feel so much more comfortable talking about other things and not stressing out about the fact that she doesn’t know that I dance. It’s quite nice to have that kind of release and resolution, even if it wasn’t “real” (it was still real for me even though it didn’t actually involve my mom).

Bam! 😀

Follow-Up Post: Polyamory Identity/Orientation

Dan Savage posted this today:

Is Polyamory a Sexual Orientation?

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I said “no” in last week’s Savage Love, kicking off a shitstorm in the comments thread, in my e-mail inbox, and here and there on the interwebs. (Even the right-wing nutjobs have taken notice.) At least one poly person agrees with me:

There are a few problems with describing polyamory as a sexual orientation. The first of which is that polyamory is not sexual. Polyamory is about relationships, honesty, and intimacy. Look back at the definitions given by Loving More. Not a single one mentions sex. Calling polyamory a sexual orientation is a joke.
Secondly, polyamory is not an orientation. Polyamory is not a physical desire or a feeling. While there is not complete agreement on what polyamory is, there is clear agreement about it isn’t. And it isn’t just an attraction to multiple people. As Shaun pointed out, if you define polyamory as a feeling or an inclination, then half of the country is polyamorous, which is an absurd result. Almost everyone feels attraction for multiple people at the same time. This does not make them polyamorous.
A third problem with describing poly as a sexual orientation is that being poly is nothing like being GLB. Being GLB is about the type of person to whom you are sexually attracted. Being polyamorous is about the amount of people you love. Describing polyamory as a sexual orientation suggests a false equivalence between the groups, and seems like an attempt to coopt the sympathy that the GLBT community has built up.

I’m hearing from lots of poly folks who disagree. I’m going to let them have their say in next week’s Savage Love.

Thank you, Dan, for giving J and I a voice in the camp that disagrees with your view. 

A big thing that I find issue with here is that polyamory, to me, is not a sexual orientation, but rather, a relationship orientation to have Dan continuing to describe it as a “sexual orientation” is a tad annoying for me. An individual can “orient” poly and, for whatever reason (by choice or circumstance), have one partner. I really appreciate Anita Wagner Illig’s comment from Dan’s post. A lot of what she wrote resonates with my own perspectives, and I find her explanation quite articulate: 

Dan, thanks for being open to all the feedback, including my own, and thanks for giving our community the opportunity to address this question in your next column.

I agree, as I did in my blog post, that polyamory is not per se sexual orientation. And you are quite right that PP uses the word poly incorrectly. Still, I don’t want to be too hard on poor PP, he has enough to deal with without our taking him to task for misusing words. I created and moderated a very large yahoogroup for several years that serves people in PP’s situation (LivingPolyMono). I have seen SO many people come into the polyamory community trying to work out this kind of conflict, and I know we will continue to see it happen as more and more people realize that monogamy isn’t their only option.

As to the question of orientation, it’s important to acknowledge that for a significant number of polyamorists, having more than one romantic partner with everyone’s knowledge and consent truly is something they experience as a part of who they are. Like being gay, it doesn’t go away if they happen not to have other partners at any given time, so it’s not to them about what they do. It’s still how they see themselves, the way they frame their lives, or at least the part of their lives that have to do with love and intimate romance. Yes, they can make a choice to not have other partners. Some do so more comfortably than others do. Some have happy monogamous relationships regardless – and some don’t. The choice is definitely much more difficult for some than for others. And just as regardless of your sexual orientation you can choose not to partner with men, polyamorists can choose not to partner with more than one – but it doesn’t change their orientation toward nonmonogamy.

I believe we need new language for this. Sexual relationship orientation or romantic relationship orientation is a mouth full, but it’s all I’ve got. I’ve been using those terms to refer to myself for lack of anything better for a few years now.

When New Desires Emerge

At the recommendation by a friend a while ago, J and I took this interactive sex questionnaire. At the time we didn’t have a whole lot that took us by surprise. We are usually pretty honest about desires and fantasies that come up.

Well last night we took it again. And there were a couple of new things!! I imagine this questionnaire would be fun to take together every six months or so to find out if new desires have emerged for someone and hadn’t yet been verbalized.

The most surprising one (to both of us) is that we both desired me (K) to be slapped during sex. Slapped on the face. SLAPPED! Haha! We both kind of looked at each other, and were like, Yeah! That could be hot!

Well during a raunch session last night I was wrestling a little with J, holding his arms back while I rode him. He whispered excitedly to me, I want to slap you! I said Do it! He forcefully sat up, and slapped me. It was a rush!! I told him to do it again, and he did. The anticipation, the physical sting, and the rush of endorphins afterward was awesome! 

You never know when a new exciting thing will be discovered. I am not sure how far this physical pain thing will extend for me (I already knew I like really hard spanks and I like my boobs squeezed pretty hard), but so far it’s all been really positive! I like it as part of my healthy sexual diet. I don’t want to be slapped every time we have sex or spanked every time for that matter. But as part of our explorations and taking part in the full spectrum of sexual experience, it’s pretty great!