02/08/2018

SEX | end the orgasm quest

2018-08-02 17.51.15

ok, i would have been a huge hypocrite if i said that orgasms weren’t a big part of, or the reason behind, my sex life. i don’t really remember how i discovered the big O for the first time, nor how it felt, but i know i was soon hooked on that sweet wave of pleasure electrifying the whole body.

hell yeah, i love orgasms. but i do think they’re incredibly overrated in our society, leading to uncomfortable situations during sex, stigma, shame, and a lot more. that’s why i want to put a few thoughts about them out here.

not everyone is able to orgasm*
* that does not mean, however, that the person doesn’t experience any pleasure at all!
orgasms are presented as something that is an easy-peasy thing everyone is able of, but that’s not really true, and, after having several discussions with many of my friends who were worried about their inability to orgasm, let me tell you, if you can’t really climax, it’s alright. you’re not alone. there’s nothing wrong with your body, nor you’re “broken” (ughhhh). but also remember, just like everything in one’s life, your body’s abilities and features are fluid and might change with time, so don’t give your hopes up just yet.

orgasms are great, sure, but they’re not everything
speaking of that, i’ve also had a plethora of talks with my pals being almost desperate about the fact they can’t orgasm. but, real talk now, as much as i love cumming, i don’t think of it as the best thing under the sun or anything. to be quite honest, i’d pick a good meal over an orgasm any time. sleeping on a fluffy, super-comfy pillow for the rest of my life or having a great orgasm every day? gimme that pillow, thanks. literally, there’s so many things i’d pick over orgasms without a moment of hesitation. yes, they are great, but the pleasure that leads to them is pretty amazing too, and  i could definitely be happy with just that.

orgasm is not the single goal of partnered sex
and that leads me to yet another issue: stop making sex with people about the climax only!! i don’t know about you, but i find it incredibly difficult to cum with other folks, and truth be told, i don’t even remember the last time i came with someone (i mean, i did a few months ago, but that was thanks to my own, um, work, so i guess that doesn’t really count, right? and if you’re interested, yes, i used to fake them. can’t be bothered anymore). i think it’s a shame when all the effort during sex is centred on getting off instead of actually enjoying the sexual pleasure you give and receive. and nah, sex without an orgasm is not “bad sex,” not at all. it can be fucking amazing, the best sex you’ve ever had perhaps, and still there’s no Os involved (true story!!), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t oh-so-good, right?

people with vulvas are not “harder” to get off
that’s just some stupid misogynist bullshit stemming from the normalized form of cis hetero sex that prioritizes penile pleasure. nahhhh. NEXT!

you do not owe an orgasm to anyone, and no one owes one to you
bb, there’s really no need to dislocate your jaw or strain your fingers or feet (i see you, foot-kinksters) or whatever. i know you want to please the other person, but we all have our own limits, and you should never cross them just because you feel like you’ve “promised” someone something. and the same thing goes the other way around! someone has agreed to get a little playful with you, that’s great, but it in no way means they are a robot whose only job is to get you off. treat each other with care and respect, please!

but, you have every right to and deserve one!
again, the classic cis hetero dynamics tells that the main goal of sex is the ejaculation of sperm, and that there’s nothing be done after that. i call bullshit! the real purpose of sex should be a consensual exchange of pleasure, with each person defining how they derive said pleasure on their own terms. regardless of your gender, shape of your genitals, body form, or anything else, you DO deserve pleasure, and you DO deserve to cum, if you can. don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

ok, i guess that’s that.
don’t ever let anyone’s norms or expectations enter the sweet world of your own pleasure!

08/07/2018

MENTAL HEALTH | mental illness benchmarking

2018-07-08 20.41.34

those of you who’ve been following me for longer now already know that despite struggling with my mental health for almost a decade, i only started getting medical help about a year ago, and began therapy at the beginning of this year.

why did i wait that long? well, the answer is pretty simple: STIGMA. and even though it might seem like the stigma around talking about mental health is progressively lifting, it is still deeply rooted in how we perceive, and therefore, experience, mental illness(es) too. and that’s what i want to talk about today.

does that sound a bit confusing to you? let me break it down then.
(and, as always, i will try to explain my points on my personal story. however, that does not mean what i’m describing universally applies to everyone, of course)

this stigma is a very peculiar thing. not only that it is behind all the repercussions one faces when openly talking about own mental health (such as losing a job, friends, a place to stay, or, in fact, being at much higher risk of being met with police violence) and makes the people you want to confess to seem like real jerks letting you down and not really caring about you (because, thanks to the stigma, they have never learnt how to approach a mentally ill person), it also forces itself onto the mentally ill themselves.

due to the fact that the mental illness discussion has been frowned upon for so long, a lot of mystification surrounds how each mental illness actually influences those suffering from it. thus, there is an understanding (which is very wrong) that the symptoms and characteristics are the same for everyone, that every single mentally ill person experiences the illness in an exact same way. there’s a whole lot of other misconceptions attached to it too: that other people can “tell” how serious your illness is; that if you’re still able to somewhat function “it can’t be that bad;” that mental illness aren’t as serious as physical ones; that once you start getting medical help, you’ll be fine, and if not, you’re “not trying hard enough”; that your progress/recovery will be linear.

i believe that all these ideas really harm anyone who struggles with their mental health. how exactly? through a practice that i call “mental illness benchmarking,” something i recently discussed with my therapist. there is the generally approved image of what a certain mental illness looks and feels like, and that becomes a certain benchmark. a reference point, if you will. you know you feel bad and that your mental health is definitely not ok, so you try to check your symptoms and match them with these clean-cut categories. but wait, my experience doesn’t really fit anywhere? and, um, it’s actually not THAT bad. i can still go to work/study and have friends, i can’t really be ill, right? guess i’m just over-dramatizing, haha. so you shrug it off and go on with your days, and it keeps on getting worse and worse, but you’re still not confined to bed, surrounded by takeaway leftovers and snotty tissues (because that’s how depression, for example, is often presented), so “it’s not THAT bad.” and you do keep on questioning if you, maybe, but only maybe, might not really be mentally ill, but nah, it’s not that bad. until one day, you crack. and you realize you should have gotten help ages ago.

and that’s something that happened to me, actually. as some of you might already know, my dad also suffers from depression. when i was a teen, he cracked exactly like that, and his depression showed in quite the perfect media form: he just laid in bed, slept a lot, and was basically a ball of sadness. that was my only first-hand experience of someone suffering from mental illness, and for years, it was the benchmark for me. i had anorexia, self-harmed, planned my suicide, cried myself to sleep, but i couldn’t have been really ill, because i was still a very active and productive person. since the discussion around high-functioning mental illness only opened up years later, i believed that since i wasn’t that curled up ball of sadness, i couldn’t have actually been mentally ill. and i wasn’t always sad, i could still laugh and smile and stuff, how do you explain that, HA?

i had been failed by the society’s perception and definition of mental illnesses, which prevented me from doing anything about my mental health for years. i did not realize that all that extreme workaholism i definitely did exercise was in fact just a fight with my fear of being a failure, fuelled by the, back then, unnamed anxiety. i did not realize that being bitter and negative weren’t really my personality traits, but the depression overtaking my whole being. i had no idea each person experienced their mental illness differently, that the symptoms could change and heighten and overlap, and that, most of all, all i was feeling was valid.

all those years full of doubting if what i was going through was real, of down-playing my actual state of mind, and of persuading myself that it wasn’t that bad at all lead to where i am now – ruled out of “normal” life thanks to the depression and anxiety i left untreated for so long. i haven’t had a proper job for over two years, i dissociate every time i am faced with unknown situations or simply when i’m out of my safe space which is my room (which makes my long-distance studies incredibly difficult for me), unable to travel or be productive the same way as i used to be. while i know i am on a good track now, thanks to my therapist and psychiatrist, i often think of how everything could’ve been different if all this stigma didn’t influence how i—and others around me too—treated my own mental health.

i know that this is a real long read, but i felt a huge need to share it and, perhaps, help someone out there. the belief that mental illnesses have very specific and rigid characteristics needs to be destroyed; no, smashed to tiny little pieces, for god’s sake!

depression is not just about being sad and miserable 24/7. 
anxiety is not just about overthinking everything. 
bipolar disorder is not just about mood swings. 
OCD is not just about liking things organized. 
and so on.

if you feel like your mental health is not ok, don’t question yourself, don’t downplay it – go with your guts and try to get help. of course, medical help is not available to everyone, but there’s a lot of free support groups (even on Facebook), so that can be a start. 
treat yourself right, ok, mate?

15/05/2018

GENDER | queering up the everyday

queer

so you’ve familiarized yourself with feminist and queer theory. you’ve realized that the gender binary is bullshit, that our society is incredibly sexist and racist and classist, that not everyone is born with the same privileges, that even feminist and queer movement itself has a lot of issues within itself. but what now? how can you, as an individual, practice your queer and feminist beliefs and, so to say, get them out there? how to turn the theory into, at least some form of, activism?

well, worry no further, i’ve compiled a short list of things i myself try to incorporate into my everyday life to act according to my beliefs and share them irl!

ask people for their pronouns – it can be as simple as saying “what are your pronouns?”. or saying “i’m Anna and i go by she/her. what about you?”. i really believe this is a practice we should incorporate everywhere and at every occasion to finally break the gender binary!

use gender neutral language – “they” instead of “he or she.” use other neutral terms when describing people. while it might seem like a whole new thing, this is actually incredibly easy in English. it might be more difficult in other languages that are very gendered by default, but it’s possible too.

don’t assume anyone’s gender until they explicitly tell you (and respect that after) – refer to people as “they” until you’re really sure how they identify.

continue to educate yourself – follow feminist and queer Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/... accounts, join online groups and forums, check out articles on websites and online platforms, read books, attend events,...

support/participate in the community – whether financially (if you can afford it) or just by your attendance or voluntary labor, there’s so many ways you can help out organizations promoting feminist agenda.

use your channels to promote feminism – people always slam social media but i believe they have a great potential in encouraging social change. share interesting articles. express your opinions. highlight others doing great work. of course, this doesn’t apply to the Internet realm only – you can also promote your beliefs simply by your choice of clothing and accessories (e.g. feminist merch such as tees, pins, stickers,...), talking to people around you, distributing leaflets/posters of like-minded communities and projects etc. etc. – the list is endless.

stand up in the events of violence and discrimination – of course, first you need to evaluate whether the situation is safe enough for you to challenge the discriminating person. but, you know, i really believe in the saying “silence is violence,” and by deciding to overlook occurrences of oppression, you are perpetuating and participating in it too.

educate others – share your knowledge. recommend articles, books, courses, videos and so on you enjoy. explain to others when they do something wrong, why it is not ok and how can they change their behavior.

empower others – step away to give platform to those less privileged than you. support causes that might not affect you directly but harm others significantly. think outside of your own reality, and support anything that goes beyond.

support others – highlight other activists that do brilliant work. amplify other people’s voices. sustain a supportive, strong community!

these are a few examples you can practice in your everyday life and contribute to changing the society, step by step. most of them are really simple and easy to incorporate, and while they might seem like they’re small acts that might not have much effect on their own, trust me, they can push the norms a bunch.

how do you incorporate feminism into your daily activities and who you are in general? do you have any tips? please let me know!