Sunday, July 11, 2010

Four worlds.

There's this world, online. Everything's very dramatic here--we're very open with our viewpoints and our self-disclosure, very quick to argue, very willing to let emotions run ridiculously high in a world where there's little risk or embarrassment associated with turning into a screaming moonbat at any provocation. But even as anonymity and distance make moonbats of us, they also form unlikely communities, places where people who could never talk about sex or gender with each other in reality create forums to share the things you just can't talk about.

There's pervert world. That world is the best. It's like the online world--full of geeks and openness and not over-encumbered by shame--except there's much less acrimony because of the face-to-face nature of things. Most people don't have the balls or jerkitude to get into a screaming argument face-to-face over the sort of thing they do online, and those that do tend to not get invited to a lot of parties.

Also, in pervert world you can have sex for real. So that's a major plus.

There's square world. For me, this consists mostly of my coworkers and my family, and my experience of it includes a lot of self-censorship. It seems like it should be easy not to say "so I was getting fucked up the ass the other day..." but honestly, that's how a lot of my best stories start. Even when things aren't sexual, there's still stuff I feel like I can't bring up in front of the squares--something as simple as hanging out with my friend, his wife, and his girlfriend requires a quick mental edit. Of course it's no big deal to just say "three of my friends" but the necessity of catching myself and making that kind of edit always weighs me down a little.

More than anything, I have to restrain myself from chipping in on any conversation about sex. If I just don't talk about sex I'm okay, but every time a sexual subject comes up in gossip I have trouble not sharing my actual scandalous opinions. When The Girls at work are talking about "fellatio: gross, or so gross?" I just don't feel safe chipping in with in with "actually, for me it's completely awesome and I genuinely love the feeling and the taste." It would be weird.

And then there's the real world. I have no idea what goes on out there.


  1. Actually, I've had some of the best converstations at work when I disclosed some of my 'pervert' world. People seemed genuinly curious, and I've yet to recieve any negative feedback.

    Oh, and I love the faces - "What are you giving your GF for X-Mas?" - "I'm undecided between the plug and the vibe, what would you recommend?" - Cue priceless face from coworker and some pretty good conversation - he actually believed, that all his GFs satisfaction should come from him.

  2. The real world is square world squared.

    I understand the concerns about speaking with people on sexual issues. I'm always anxious that I never want to resemble this Onion article:,1224/

  3. I hear you on this one, Holly (although the whole friend, his wife and his girlfriend? I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Some things go too far, and are just morally wrong for human beings in general -- what are we going to allow next, guy, girl, aardvark? The whole poly thing is a farce and just a third-rate facade to dress up swinging as something related to 'family' and not just cheap sex. Okay, end mini-rant).
    I spent Saturday night at The Society down in CT, was up until 6:00 am, and in addition to not being able to tell the vanilla world how my weekend went, I can't even explain the bags under my eyes this morning with anything decent ("It was a long bus ride back from Hartford, then drive back from Providence" opens up questions).

    The continuing filtering wears on one after a while. One way to reduce is to (slowly) let folks in your life know about the alt stuff, although that can be perilous of course (especially with work -- you can lose a friend or have a family member stop talking to you, and that sucks, but losing a job can hurt a lot more). Another way is to simply beat the snot out of somebody on a Saturday night (I recommend it as a wonderful stress reliever, and I'm sure Holly and others can recommend it as stress-reliever from the other end of the whack, too).

    But ultimately it still falls a bit short of being able to unify the elements of your life, which I'd like to do at some point. Other than those folks who have jobs that don't care/it doesn't matter if they're kinky, etc. -- you lucky few :) -- I'd like to hear from the peanut gallery, how do folks here handle the division and secrecy?

  4. Anon - Where do you work? Because in my work environment, I would be genuinely concerned about being fired if I shared to that level. I might be able to explain polyamory to them--mayyyyybe---but I think that bringing up kink or sex toys would very quickly lead to a "we take this kind of thing very seriously" discussion with HR.

    Sarah - That Onion article always makes me self-conscious.

    Jack - I know exactly what you mean about the weekend thing. Yes, you can truthfully and un-scandalously say you were "at a social event that went late", but it takes a conscious effort to formulate that kind of weasel statement and it gives you none of the satisfaction of actually being able to talk to people.

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  6. Ashur --

    Please note that one can be at a fetish/bdsm/kink (apply your preferred label here) event and not have it be about one's sex life. For instance, while I had fun Saturday night, I was at The Society primarily in my role as a member of the board of directors for NELA, coordinating the volunteer party for our most excellent volunteers. So I was working for the not-for-profit that I volunteer the majority of my spare time for; that's the kind of thing that adults in the workforce often discuss with work colleagues as part of their routine social interactions, at least in my experience here in Massachusetts in lower and middle-class environs (YMMV).

    I wrote "let folks in your life know about the alt stuff," not "let folks in your life know about your sex life." "Alt stuff" covers a huge spectrum -- I'm not sure of your age or personal experience, but hopefully (yes, I use it in the 'improper' sense, but it's currently watershedding over to being correct by usage, so let's move on, shall we?) you know that there's a lot more to an alternative lifestyle than just sex.

    Please give the comments in Holly's blog -- and Holly's writings themselves -- a closer reading, and more reflection, before responding next time; otherwise one might draw the impression that you were one of those juvenile blogroll folks waiting in the weeds and just looking for opportunities to attack or make pithy, snide comments, and my guess is that that's not the impression you're trying to convey. I know that for myself, a pause in lieu of fapping out a quickie response via the keyboard generally improves my understanding and commentary later.

    Plus it turns a lot of people off and may cause them to pre-emptively tune out your (internet) voice, and I'm pretty sure that you'd like your message, whatever it may be, to get across.

  7. I work in a hair salon. So I'm one of those lucky ducks that it doesn't really matter to my co workers if I'm kinky. I don't tell my clients, for sure, but but in the back room when no ones in the salon I'll just tell the girls things. My assistant manager thinks it's odd but has a to each her own opinion and my other co workers think it's cool and want to know more, even though "it's like totally weird and freaky, Dorkie is totally weird and freaky so it's okay for HER"
    though salons tto be a lot more open about things like this. The girls are always talking about their sexlives anyway.

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  9. Ashur, what is it about you that makes everyone want to hang out and play twister with you?

    Will you be my prom date,?

    Smoochies x

  10. By the way, Ashur, here in the sunny UK, a faggot is a kind of meat ball. We eat them with mushy peas.

    Can I make you a faggot costume? It will be super funzies and I know you didn't mean to use that world to alienate everyone. It will have googly eyes and gravy details and everything.

    It was a reference to British cooking, yes?

  11. (although the whole friend, his wife and his girlfriend? I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Some things go too far, and are just morally wrong for human beings in general -- what are we going to allow next, guy, girl, aardvark? The whole poly thing is a farce and just a third-rate facade to dress up swinging as something related to 'family' and not just cheap sex. Okay, end mini-rant)

    You are joking, perhaps? Ascii flat text has failed to convey your meaning properly, if so.

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  14. Dear Ashur,

    You seem to have a case of:

    [X] Repressed homoerotic urges leading you to make posts about "faggots".

    I recommend:

    [X] Gratuitous amounts of kinky homosexual play and intercourse.


    PS: No, I won't oblige you; I don't play with boys, especially not 15-year-old ones.

  15. Why do you need to tell people about your sex life again?

    It's not necessarily "telling people about our sex lives" it's telling people about our lives. As Jack has already indicated, the two intersect and telling people about the nonsex bits will inevitably start a conversation going that'll point toward the sex bits.

    A woman telling her coworkers "My girlfriend and I saw the best movie last night!" isn't talking about her sex life, and yet by mentioning that she has a girlfriend she's opened up a whole can of worms. Therefore this woman has to change her statement to be about her "friend", or she has to be prepared to face the attitudes or questions people will have when they realize she's dating a woman.

    Also, a surprising amount of the time people at work (my work, anyway) actually do talk about sex. It's true that I don't have to participate (and indeed usually I don't) but it's a form of social bonding to compare and contrast bedroom anecdotes and if I stay silent every time I don't get to bond.

    My workplace pays a lot of lip service to "diversity", and if I were gay or bi I probably could mention a girlfriend and have it be accepted. Telling people "OMG I had the best weekend! My boyfriend and I went to Pride and I helped him dress as a woman and he looked so beautiful that everyone wanted to take his picture", however, opens a can of worms people might not be ready to deal with. And yeah, I even feel as though HR could end up getting involved, depending. "Talking indirectly about sexual orientations that are obscure and confusing to my coworkers" (drag hag, dom, sub) could easily be confused with "talking about gross inappropriate sexual stuff". So I'm careful.

    But man, Pride weekend was soooo good - my boy was so happy to be able to be a girl in public and be accepted - that wish I could've told everyone I saw.

  16. ...and actually even if HR would be fine with it, I'd still have to deal with all kinds of questions that straight vanilla people never encounter. Frankly, I'm not sure I have the strength to deal with it all if I "came out".

  17. @ perlhaqr:

    I was indeed joking, and being ironic (I will cheerfully confess, poorly; Holly, knowing me, would have understood, but not a larger [blog] audience, unless they've read and remembered some of my postings a while ago here, which they'd have no reason to do [they weren't exactly the stuff of legend or anything]). While I probably wasn't (in) the triad Holly was referencing in having to edit her thought-to-mouth sequence, I could have conceivably been so; I'm a man with a wife and a girlfriend (a D/s-involved and romantic girlfriend, not solely an additonal sex partner to whom I refer as girlfriend). I am an adherent and embracer of polyamory (and my mom referred to my wife and girlfriend recently as her daughters-in-law! I'm so damned happy).

    I'm also a huge fan of aardvarks -- I collect them, my next tattoo will probably be an aardvark, and when I use a scene name (which is rarely), it's Master Aardvark (I only go by Lord Snuffleupagus 1) in this blog, for the amusement of it and 2) during correspondence with the girlfriend, also for the amusement of it). Hence my man-woman-aardvark spiel -- themed for additional absurdity.

    And then I added the poly's-really-swinging mantra just to be a bastard and gratuitously pile on.

    But as always the internet doesn't convey tone well enough (or, to be honest, makes it harder to convey tone, and we often don't do enough to make that tome clear). So, to paraphrase Caesar (in the Shakespeare play), "The fault, dear perlhaqr, lies not in Ascii flat text, but in myself." :)

  18. I find that I have an inner circle who know certain things. They'll know, for example, that I test sex toys and that I've got a passion for sex education. The same way that many of them have a passion for engineering or Amnesty International. I find that with trusted friends that I've known a long time, it's much easier, because they don't need to share your passion to respect it.

    Other times, it feels less appropriate to share (aside from when it's glaringly obvious eg, Christmas gatherings and on the bus). For example, a debate will come up about laws for sex workers and most of my company will shrug and say 'I guess I gotta read more into it before I have my say' and I'm sitting there wondering how and if I should share the reading that I've already done. It's not a big worry but I don't want to look like someone being all 'look at meee' and sound like I have all the answers because I sure as heck don't.

    It reminds me of when I was younger and walking back home from a lover's house after a night of sex. I used to half think that people could just 'sense' the sex on me and a projector above my head was playing out the night's events. It was so much a worry as it was a feeling of being undercover.

    I think this is why we find ourselves in these little pockets of the internet. I don't *need* to tell everyone I check Violet Blue's site once a week but it's nice to see the connections there to remind me that I'm not the only one.

  19. Oh shucks, I wrote a really long entry and I think I messed up the submit button.

    In short, the internet is a great tool for making one feel less lonely and remind us that every connection we make with someone, represents a real person in the real world. It's not a need as such but it's great for those days that you feel like the only one in your company with certain interests and passions.

  20. I'm glad you clarified, Jack, because I was strongly considering writing a furious rant about your despicable assholery. ;)

  21. Dw3t-Hthr --

    Henceforth, just call me Gru. :)

  22. This was probably one of my first attempts at being a less vitriolic person on the internet. I'm glad to note that my policy (in this case) of not immediately jumping to Condition Alpha Red worked out well.

    And hey, if you really were so obtuse as to be a "My lifestyle is fine but we should throw yours under the bus" kinda person, I could have always come back and flamed you later. ;)

    Also, pretty much exactly what Dw3t-Hthr said. I'm glad I didn't go off half-cocked.

    (Reading internet blogs after getting up at dawn to mix concrete by hand for several hours... well, my first reaction was "My shovel! I could hit him with my shovel!" :D )

  23. I've applied for several jobs in the offices of various politicians. I think if I get one of those I'm going to be quite circumspect.

    I also applied to Guttmacher, though ...

  24. No, furious rants about despicable assholery are to be aimed at ME. Although I am a bit low on the da-quotient at present.

  25. @ perlhaqr:

    It better be a pretty big shovel. I'm large and kinda dumb, so it's like it is with brontosauruses: you hit me with a shovel and my nervous system lets me know several minutes later. :)

    In my life I serve as an ongoing, shining example of multiple kinds of failures for others to avoid, but embracing a "My lifestyle is fine but we should throw yours under the bus" philsophy doesn't happen to be one of them. :)

  26. I work in retail, and when I first started going out and about in the pervert world (instead of just engaging in pervert-world-type-stuff in my own apartment) I was working in a sort of conservative, "family friendly" sort of store. It was miserable for lots of reasons (homophobic slurs in the break room, upsettingly incompetent managers and more!) but one of the things I hated most was feeling like i was leading a double life. I was so guarded that all my coworkers thought I was super-square and straight-laced. I found it vaguely creepy, especially as my social life became more and more centered around people I met in pervert world.

    Now I work in a much more sex-positive store, and it's so much better. It still would be completely inappropriate to come into work and, say, complain about how sore my ass is from being smacked with a belt at a party the night before, but it's nice to be able to say "Oh, my boyfriend wants me to meet him at this workshop about pressure points and SM after work." and have my coworkers a) know what that means and b) say "Cool! Who's teaching that?"

  27. one of the things I hated most was feeling like i was leading a double life. I was so guarded that all my coworkers thought I was super-square and straight-laced.
    I'm obnoxious, immature, and sex-negative enough to kinda like that part. I try not to even think the words "sheeple" or "freaking the mundanes," however.

    Though I think I'm entitled to an "if they only knew" every once in a while.