They specified 20ml of pee. I was like “I have so much more to give”

We have a quiet day, so I’m taking a little field trip to the Hassle Free Clinic.

It’s been a long long time since I last had a sexual health check-up. I think they’re vitally important for most anyone to be aware of, but especially if you’re seeing multiple partners. I would hate to think I was unintentionally transmitting a condition to anyone. The thing is, once you’re engaging with more than one partner, the knock on effects grow exponentially. You’re no longer just worrying about how you’re affecting a partner, but you’re thinking about their partners too. And if your multiple partners also have multiple partners, your responsibility grows. I’ve been lax, and I’ve felt shitty about it for a while. For so long, I didn’t have other partners, so it felt like I could let it slide. That’s less of the case now. While I happen to be using condoms and other contraceptives, that’s still not 100% preventative. It’s been difficult finding the time to drop in, which has been awfully enabling. Sometimes if it’s important, it’s more about making the time. Sex is great, I want to keep doing it and sharing that experience with others, so it only makes sense to check that the experience is all I’m sharing. It’s far from my first checkup, and it won’t be my last.

I’ve never had an issue before, but I think it’d be obnoxious at best to assume I won’t. I want that information to make informed decisions and own any potential conditions I contract. I’m very fortunate that I haven’t been made to feel stigma around my proclivities, which I’m sure is a gendered thing. The last time I came here (which, after signing the drop in sheet, I discovered was 2013! Jesus Christ), the guy was like “you have only had one or two partners since your last checkup, and you used condoms. I’m not sure this is that necessary”, but as a medical professional he did his job anyway.

It’s pretty packed in here right now, and the wait is probably around an hour. In the office staff’s words, it’s quiet at the moment. For years I felt kind of iffy about what my previous tester had said, but I get it. There are a ton of vulnerable people who need this service, and if I have alternative places to go where some of these folks might feel unsafe, then I’m gumming up the works a little. I could go to my GP if I booked an appointment. I mean, I’m not gonna leave right now, but he had a point. Last time I visited I didn’t have a GP, but I do have that option these days. If the system is to work best, I’d better serve it by exercising my options.

If my last checkup was any indication, I’m likely to be asked about my sexual activity. They’ll probably ask about partner genders, and specific styles of intercourse we’ve engaged in. They’ll get me to pee in a cup (and boy oh boy, have I got some urine locked and loaded), and let me know of anything to be aware of. To be totally candid, I’m getting interested in exploring how my attraction to same sex individuals manifests, and it would be cool to gather knowledge of what I should consider. Sure, that know how is all on the internet, but it feels easier to digest when obtaining that info from a medical professional.

Oh geez, I’ve been called already. Hassle Free indeed.

I hope you have a fucking great time, sincerely

Fair warning, I’m gonna talk about some sexy type stuff today. If that’s not your thing, enjoy the rest of the internet until tomorrow. ‘Cause it’s not like there’s anything sexy on there, right?

I haven’t talked about sex in a long time. Why? I’m not entirely sure. It might be that my parents sometimes read, and gosh forbid they know I’m making whoopee. Really though, that’s not it. Am I afraid of tarnishing my image as an irreverent little scamp who makes puns and talks incessantly about 90s pop culture? Not quite. Am I too busy clutching my pearls to type the word “orgasm”. I’m not. Am I constantly scrambling for topics to write about day by day? I am. This however, is not an act of desparation. I had a couple of chats over the weekend, and I feel like I’ve got some stuff that’s worth hearing for some people.

Sex is weird. People are weird, therefore bringing multiple people together to simulate making more people is exponentially weirder. Also sex is tied up in so many bullshit social morasses that it gets tricky to keep your head above the mire. The muck is fine, sex can be wonderfully dirty, and that’s can be great. Not here to yuck anybody’s yums.

I’d wager that socialisation plays into how we feel about sex a lot more than we may think. Sure, the media and advertising shapes a huge amount of our views as to what we find sexy, ways to have sex and what good/bad sex looks like. My guess is it goes a lot further than that. I can’t speak to womens’ experience, but it seems like there’s a gratuitous amount of pressure placed upon image. Hell, I’m listening to a podcast right now where Allie Ward talks to an expert on Beauty Standards (the study of which is called Kalology, apparently). The ins and outs of it are more than a litte absurd, and I’m sure all women know intimately more about the struggle than I do. I’m not here to talk for them. It’s not like men are entirely exempt, and I’m sure Marvel Studios have done wonders in making men feel inadequate too (remember the surprisingly buff Chris Pratt workout pic?). Equality, this is what we’re shooting for, right?

Look at me, vamping like a food blog. What I want to talk about today is partnered orgasm pressure from a male perspective, and how it’s letting us down. Because I don’t think us men talk about it enough. This is also probably gonna be a very het-oriented view. I apologise.

As men we’re often told that our sexual prowess is one of the many things that defines our masculinity. We’re supposed to be virile, dominant, borderline animalistic. Raging horndogs with big ol’ dongs. That’s male sexuality, apparently. If you’re a good partner you fuck good, your partner’s eyes roll back into their head, they cum buckets with ten orgasms, and your sperm is so mighty that your partner instantly has quadruplets. That’s the manly thing to do.

Unsurprisingly, this creates a ton of pressure. Here’s the thing about arousal, it’s all mental. If you’re all stressed about having to be a certain something in the bedroom, there’s a high chance that will affect performance. It’s tricky to get it up and keep it up when you’re anxious about whether you’ll be able to get hard enough. Or if you’ll be able to sustain it. Or if she’ll enjoy it. Or like, what if your dick is weird? Or too small? Or you don’t feel dominant and animalistic? GOOD LUCK, BUDDY.

I’m gonna take the charitable assumption, and guess that whoever I’m talking to wants their partner to have a good time. That most want congress to be a mutually fulfilling, satisfying and pleasurable jaunt. So I’m gonna share something I heard a while back that helped shift my perception.


It was from famed sex educator and porn star extraordinaire Nina Hartley. She said that orgasms aren’t given, they’re facilitated. You can be the sexiest goddamn entity in the world, you can be physically doing everything you can, you can tap into all your partner’s favourite sensual triggers, and they can still not orgasm. It’s because you’re not making them orgasm, they are.

Remember when I was saying arousal was mental? No matter what you do, if your partner can’t bring themselves to a place where they can let go and access their orgasm, it ain’t comin’. It’s not necessarily because of what you’ve done or haven’t done, but sometimes it’s out of reach for all of us. It happens. Releasing to the point of orgasm isn’t always accessible, and neither does it define the experience. I’ve had many bouts of amazing sex that haven’t resulted in an orgasms, both for myself and/or partners. That hasn’t stopped it from being amazing sex.

Take from it what you will, but the important nugget that I took from this lesson was to get ego the fuck out of there. It’s not about you. The be all and end all is how you can help your partner access a place where they can let go. Any concept of virility or value tied to an ablity to “induce” orgasms is fucked up and unhelpful. Get that shit out of there.

Make your partner comfortable. Ask them what they want. Your “job” is to help them have the experience they’re looking for. They’re connected to their own nerve endings, chances are they have an idea of what makes them feel good. Do you have go to techniques that “always work”? There is no “right” way to do things. Everyone is different. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily apply across the board. Listen to your partner, look for body language and try to interpret what that means. If you don’t know, ask. The socialised notion that we should all “just know” is super fucking harmful, and likely holds so many of us back from more fulfilling experiences. If you’re gonna ruin the moment by showing genuine interest, maybe you both could do better with different people.

If they have an orgasm? Great. If they have ten? Great. If they have an excellent time? That’s what we’re looking for. If we’re all enjoying sex, maybe we won’t be so scared of whether or not it’s happening the “right way”.

Hot take it or sleeve it

I sent an email to HR today.

I had no complaint, but I did have a question. Is there such a thing as workplace appropriate sleeveless male attire? Most of my female coworkers tend to have bunch of options. There are tanktops, sleeveless dresses, blouses, etc. They’re all totally fine within a professional environment. Some have open toed footwear, even. This isn’t me bitching about gender inequality, because the workplace still exceedingly revolves around the needs of men (office thermostat, etc). Our workplace is pretty forgiving in terms of attire. Lots of people wear graphic tees. I sometimes do on a short Friday workday. It all goes without comment. I like that our dress codes are quite relaxed, I feel comfortable for the most part when I’m at my desk.

I’m also a husky dude who sweats a bunch. This is less comfortable. My entire back, my chest, my belly, they’re all problem areas that accumulate perspiration by my simple existence. I’m never not somewhat sweaty. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to install a fan at my desk. I wear plain t-shirts most days. They’re tidy enough while remaining basic and unassuming. What options do I have for cooling down through clothing? If I’m normally wearing t-shirts, are they suddenly no longer appropriate if my arms are showing? I’m not talking some kind of loose workout shirt that shows off chest hair/nipples. I just want more airflow. Are arms inappropriate? Most people have them. Why are male arms less appropriate than female ones? Once again, I’m not complaining, I just find it arbitrary and would appreciate clarification. Hell, if I could wear a sleeveless blouse, I’d consider it. We’ll see what HR says.

Little Mermaid controversy. She’s black now. Who cares? I’m not gonna take this space for easy dunks on entitled racist dipshits. There’s a talking crab with a French accent. Suspension of disbelief is part of the whole Disney arrangement. Like pretending the new Lion King is live action. What I think is more interesting is our collective take on dissenting responses. Is anyone actually concerned that the anti-black mermaid mob has a point? Do you think Disney really cares? They’re printing money by making the film. That’s all that matters. Like the “Star Wars White Genocide” blockheads, and “Ein as a husky? Cowboy Bebop is ruined!!?!” dorks, these are opinions that aren’t worth our time. What would happen if we let them shout into their echo chamber without responding? What would they do? Would these children tucker themselves out? Get bored and move on? Give up the ghost? I know it would take immense self control not to correct someone on the internet (I’m definitely not immune), but it could be done.

The thing is, we give them the attention, and it convinces them that their opinion has even an iota of credibility. We’re responding, getting riled up and giving the trolls what they want. News sites desperate for content run stories on the controversy, then they try to present both sides. The other side is tilting at windmills. We can just let them. It’s an option. What will they do? The chances that Disney would recast are considerably negligible (not that I trust Disney whatsoever, especially after the James Gunn bollocks). I know we’re all desperate for that sweet, sweet, hot take, but it’s not worth interacting with these ideas. The world is enough of a tire fire that hot takes are an unlimited, renewable resource. These clowns can be (and are) wrong, even if they don’t know it.

I may have a chip on my shoulder, but it’s only cause I have to wear sleeves at work.

Lions are prouder in groups

Happy Pride everyone.

That may have been too generic fellow kids-ian. What am I? A bank? “Flushable” wet wipes? A fast food restaurant? The sheer amount of rainbow capitalism as LGBTTQQIAAP people become more accepted into society is as overwhelming as it is hollow. I’m very very far from the first to call out this base, cynical and transparent shilling, but egads I’ve noticed a plethora of companies this year. Happy Pride! Love Yourself! Something “Fierce” something “Yaaaaas” something “AF”. A ton of empty statements thrown out without so much as a stance. Just hollow all the way through. Trying to gain the marketing benefits of aligning themselves with a movement, but adding nothing meaningful to the discussion. It’s like an apology, there’s more to it than simply saying “sorry”. An apology has three parts, right? An acknowledgement, remorse and empathy, restitution. By just adding a rainbow to their ads, hanging a flag or changing the colours of their icon, they’re doing the bare minimum as an attempt to get the queer dollar. It’s so fucking brazen. If these companies admitted that cultural, historical and systemic persecution took (and takes) place, and how they plan on changing their ways in order to make people feel more welcome/accepted, that’d be saying something that a colour scheme fails to. Being a queer friendly brand doesn’t just mean that your Malibu Stacey now comes with a glittery hat, y’know?

So I’ve got this… garment? It’s been evolving over time. I originally bought a too small white button shirt for a schoolgirl outfit. We were having a big surprise party for a friend who’d finished his first year of mature education and I thought it’d be a fun bit. I didn’t really intend to do another schoolgirl costume, so when friends and I had a tie dye day, I sacrificed it as my only white shirt. At some point I realised that simply having the short arm bits restricted my blood flow, so I cut them off at the shoulders. It has maybe two bottom buttons, and that’s as far as it closes. It’s become a pseudo pride outfit, as a weird tie dyed mishmash of a vest and a white button shirt. Business casual? It’s a look, by any means.

I was going out to the trans march last night to support friends. I figured it’d be fun to dress up a little. Very last minute, I spotted this garment in my cupboard. It was gonna be a warm night, and I’m never not sweating excessively. Perfect. I put it on and walked out the house to meet a friend. Out on the street, I noticed that I was getting a ton more attention than I usually do. Aside from some occasional bright colours, generally I dress in a pretty nondescript style. I’m not implying that it was all negative attention, I just very much noticed the burning of eyes on me. Maybe people thought it looked great, maybe they thought I looked silly. They probably made assumptions about who I am and how I identify. It made me feel kinda self conscious, even carrying the amount of privilege as I do. I’m not used to that kind of attention. At the same time, I knew that feeling anything but confident and positive would do both onlookers and myself a disservice. I made sure to keep my posture straight, not to avoid glances or anything. Be proud and confident.

A disclaimer: I’m not saying it’s the same as what so many people experience on a daily basis. I am saying that I’m able to identify a little bit more with how many must feel. I’m sure those who refuse to conform to rigid gender paradigms probably know that sensation all too well. However they choose to outwardly express themselves, if it doesn’t align with the mainstream, most likely draws attention. Maybe it makes them feel self conscious or on edge. It probably opens them up to all manner of harassment that I most likely won’t experience in my life as a white cis het dude. Some people are hell bent on reinforcing outmoded societal structures. There’s clearly a ton of bravery to people expressing who they are for themselves, that I really can’t fathom on a meaningful level. Still, on a macro level, I think my lizard brain gets it that little bit more.

I really do hope everyone has a fantastic Pride, and that maybe society starts trying to make an effort to understand soon.

I’d say these men can “get fucked”, but I don’t wish that horror upon their partners

Oh hey, just your reminder that the world is a festering cesspool and we’re all circling its drain.

This Alabama shit is fucking abhorrent. It’s unfathomable that in 2019, people are still putting their fundamentalist religious bollocks above women’s right to bodily autonomy. It’s fucking crazy that they’re all “every life is sacred”, but they seem not to give a shit about how an unwanted pregnancy could directly impact the lives of adults. Like, yeah, every life is sacred, but we don’t give a shit about the quality of life, or challenges faced by those possessing a uterus. Maybe women seeking abortions sincerely did want to raise a child, but the circumstances of timing would mean that their chance to accomplish certain apirations or career goals were hindered by the responsiblity of raising a child. Maybe they don’t have the financial stability to give the child the quality of life they desired, or it would impact their own quality of life. Maybe they were young and out of their depth, and thought it was what they wanted at the time, but they’ve realised that’s no longer the case. Maybe they were coerced into it by some dude who just wanted to get his tip wet, but had no wish to be a father. Maybe pregnancy could have severe health impacts to the mother, and the risks would override her desire to give birth. I don’t know. I don’t have a uterus, and I wouldn’t presume to know what was best for those who do. It’s really fucking terrifying that the bastards putting these draconian laws into place are almost uniformly men. I don’t know how your logical threads connect, but surely anyone could see how absurd that is?

I’ve definitely taken shits bigger than a 6 week foetus. I know that without looking it up. And while I still think of them from time to time (really, I do), I’m very happy that they’re no longer in my body.

After looking it up, a 6 week foetus is about .25 inches, or roughly the size of a sweet pea. Which is not to say that I have anything against parenting. I think it’s wonderful, and I have unending support for those who want to be parents to have the right to do so. I equally support those who don’t want to be parents to have the right to not do so. I don’t think that’s a controversial opinion?

I have no illusions that this clusterfuck was started by anti-abortion lobbyists, and seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade. The fundamentally conservative right have been pushing very hard over the past few years to influence elections and grease the wheels of lawmaking through back pocket deals. I know the idea that “money talks” is not new, nor is the notion of corporations buying the rights of citizens. I mean, it’s here in Canada, lest anyone feel comfortable that we’re safe here. This is a movement, and it’s pretty apparent that blind conviction and fury are winning out over nuanced understanding. Yeah, sure, we’re on the verge of a mass extinction and we’re all going to die faster than we’d expected. That doesn’t mean we need to work so hard to drag humanity back down into the mud.

Every life is sacred, but some are more sacred than others, apparently.

I have an instant pot, I’m not going anywhere

I was watching some CNN documentary on Netflix about sex all around the world.

It wasn’t particularly well made. Clunky, obvious edits, an obviously professional, but uncharismatic host. There was an episode on India and its sexual culture. They were talking to a trans woman about her life, about the culture that surrounds gender ethnicities in India that diverse from the “norm”. She said she used to be a software engineer, but post transition she’d been softly forced out. She’d taken up sex work as her only means to get by. I’ve got no moral quandary with sex work. It’s real work. I was sad at what had transpired, that she’d been more or less forced into it out of necessity, not out of an active desire to choose that career.

I thought about trans people worldwide, and how they so often suffer for something as arbitrary as gender. Why do people give such a shit about it? What even is gender, as far as people are concerned? For all the baseless pearl clutching over this notion that trans people want to assault others in bathrooms, that they’re deviants, etc. It’s all fear. It’s fear of inconvenience, fear of change. People don’t want to have to think about what words they use when addressing someone. They don’t want to be embarrassed by using the wrong pronoun. They’re afraid that they might be attracted to a trans person and, does that make them gay??? They’re afraid that the world they live in has grown and adapted, and it’s evolving to a point where they don’t feel like the centre of attention anymore, and that’s alarming. Or something, I dunno. Empathy isn’t always a breeze.

I’ve been listening to season 3 of Serial. I thought I’d give it time to finish, for the season to come to an end. To wait and keep my ear to the ground for blow back, in case it wasn’t great or took unconfirmed liberties. I heard no ill mentions, so I loaded it up. Holy hell is it ever damning of the criminal justice system. Season 3 is based around one court in Cleveland, and the cases that run through there. They talk with prosecutors, suspects, police, other citizens, etc, and try to present a top down view of how the system spirals between everyone it touches. It’s harrowing, hearing how minor convictions lead the marginalised into a life of crime. How the actions of the police are complicit in this system. So much brutality and coercion, with no regard for the lives they’re throwing away. Individuals losing years of their lives to prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Innocents left to rot in the shuffle. The show has an obvious liberal bias, but even taking that into consideration, it’s mind-blowing how careless action on behalf of the system is perpetuating the behaviour it condemns in the first place. It’s not like “the system is corrupt” is newsworthy anymore, but that doesn’t stop any of this from being bracing to listen to. It’s totally unreal, and for so many people that’s very much the reality of their life. Who knows if bringing in a radio documentary crew and drawing attention to it has the power to change anything, but as a total bystander, I fucking hope so.

It’s quite the world out there. Maybe I’ll stay in tonight.

There’s gotta be a Toxic Schick joke somewhere in here

Hi friends. I did a lot of arguing on Facebook today. Because I’m perennially lazy, I’m basically just gonna blatantly repost a bunch of the stuff I wrote. It’s still writing, right?

Hi friends, it’s 2019. Just a reminder that you can…

1) Have an opinion about something.
2) Learn new information.
3) Change your opinion.
You’re not stuck with your first opinion just because you had it.

1) I thought Paddington was gonna be a worthless kids movie solely made to cash in on a long deceased franchise.
2) It turns out the script is very funny and charming, and the film is a total pleasure to watch.
3) I now really like Paddington.

Then I got into a BIG discussion with two blokes about the recent Gillette ad addressing toxic masculinity. It took a while and got basically nowhere. So, no different from the rest of the internet. This was not created as a wall of text, but a number of comments that I’ve stacked together. I hope it makes some sense in this format.

Toxic Masculinity is not saying that masculinity is inherently bad, it’s saying that there are aspects about the way masculinity is commonly framed, presented and performed that aren’t helpful for anyone.
The idea that men have to be stoic and cannot show weakness leads to men holding in emotions, then letting them out in harmful ways. Whether this is anger, violence or suicide, it’s not great. It harms us men, and people of other genders often face the consequences of these emotional outbursts too.

The whole “boys will be boys” mentality often lets men off the hook for shitty behaviour, but the behaviour we excuse at a young age can lead to a lot of men thinking the same behaviour is acceptable and useful as an adult. It tells men that we’re not responsible for a lot of the shitty things we do, that it’s okay because we’re “just boys”.

I’m not sure why people have an issue with the idea of encouraging us to be more compassionate and caring about others. If you’re already not being shitty to others and exhibiting the kind of behaviour that this message opposes then congrats, it’s not about you. But just because you don’t do something, that doesn’t mean the message isn’t helpful for other men who are doing this stuff.
Does that make sense? I’m not trying to be aggressive or really point fingers here, but I do think that a lot of men are either hearing the wrong message, or intentionally professing ignorance to prevent having to challenge their own behaviour. It’s holding all of us back as a society.

Do you know how often women get approached by men? I don’t believe that it’s inherently wrong for men to approach women, but there’s gotta be some context, right? Had they made eye contact? Engaged in fun banter? Did she show signs of interest? Or did the guy see a woman he thought was attractive (who hadn’t even noticed him) and put his desires for contact above any indication that she was looking for it? Does this treat her as a human being? Or a potential walking vagina? I think it’s pretty important for us to challenge these behaviours and ask why we do them.

I think it’s very important to be able to separate the ideas of “This is not my experience” and “this isn’t real”. Nobody has ever punched me in the face, but that doesn’t mean getting punched in the face isn’t a real experience that people have had.

If you haven’t experienced the fallout of this kind of behaviour then sincerely, that’s fantastic. Would you not want to encourage the idea of other people not having to experience it too?
Also I’m pretty sure that on some level you have experienced the fallout of toxic masculinity whether or not you knew it. Have you ever felt insecure for not being assertive in a situation? Or feeling small when someone has physically threatened you? Or inadequate about the way you look if you’re not six foot with rippling abs?

The notion that we *have* to be a certain way to be sufficient can really tear us down and prevent us from being our best selves. It’s okay to not feel like an alpha all the time. It’s okay to feel weak and tender at times. Understanding these feelings lets us extend compassion to others who are going through hard times. I personally don’t see an issue with that, I don’t know about you.

A big turning point for me was when I realised that “not all men” really just means “the exception proves the rule.” If “not all men” are like this, but a lot of men are like that, and you’re not like that, then you being an exception proves that it’s a general rule. Ergo, the message isn’t about you. If you can ignore ads for cigarettes because you don’t smoke, then you can ignore messaging about shitty behaviours if you’re not exhibiting these behaviours.

Toxic Masculinity doesn’t say all men are bad, it also doesn’t say all women are perfect. It’s saying there are harmful behaviours that need to be addressed, it’s not saying there aren’t other harmful behaviours worth addressing.¬†I feel like there’s a bunch of false equivalence going on here. If it were true that the incidence of female perpetrated sexual assault was on the rise, it’s very, very, very unlikely that there would be as many female sexual predators as male ones. It’s not that these things don’t happen or the behaviours aren’t worth condemning, but there’s an exponentially larger power dynamic that shifts the scales in a preferential manner towards men. There are exponentially more men in positions of power. There are a lot of people in positions of power who are abusing this power. Saying that a lot of men commit assault is not the same as saying that women don’t commit assault.

If 1000 people got stabbed with forks in the US in 2018, that would not be equivalent to the amount of gun deaths in the US in 2018. Overall, yes. People should not kill other people, but fork stabbings would not be an epidemic on the same scale or be as pressing to address as gun death.

I want to put it out there that I don’t give a shit about Gillette. I really don’t. They’re a shitty corporate entity like anybody else. This is not going to make me buy Gillette products, I don’t care about the brand and this hasn’t changed anything. I do believe that the message they’re spreading is important. I think we need to examine behaviours we’ve always taken for granted and challenge them, if we’re ever gonna grow. I wish this message wasn’t being bound to a corporation. At the same time, I know that this has gotten the attention and spread it has precisely because Gillette have the reach as a corporate entity. Gillette can fucking rot for all I care, but I can hold the views of “fuck Gillette” and “I believe in what they’re trying to say” simultaneously because I’m a thinking person and not a one-dimensional cartoon character.

If people start buying Gillette razors now instead of Schick, I do not give close to a shit. I’ve never cared about consumers’ razor purchasing habits before and I’m not gonna start now. If this message encourages any number of men to rethink talking¬†over their female colleagues, approaching a disinterested woman in public for their own reasons without considering her perspective, giving unwanted physical contact to a woman, teasing young boys for having tender feelings, or getting into physical altercations to solve problems, then that’s something I do care about.

I wonder what I’ll argue about on the internet tomorrow…