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Here are some things that happen to a dude when he first starts to speak up about feminist issues:
He discovers that women in his life whom he would never have associated with the word “feminism” have strong opinions about the things that he’s talking about. Because while we have the luxury of perceiving these things as not being about us, and thus not relevant to our lives, every woman he knows has had to consider what she’d do if she got pregnant when she didn’t not plan to. Every woman he knows has been talked down to by a man who wasn’t as smart or capable as she was. Almost all of them have been treated poorly or made uncomfortable by some dude at some point who saw getting into her pants as a prize to be won. Even women who seemed like just one of the dudes begin to share experiences that he never would have imagined that they’d had, because doing so around him begins to feel safe.
Other dudes, they get really offended. They call him pussywhipped, or claim that he’s just playing up some sensitive guy routine to get laid. They contest his manhood, call him a mangina, or claim that he holds some white knight hero complex, and they’re the real advocates for equal rights, because they’re willing to bully women without giving them special treatment!
He realizes that these issues that seemed like they were not relevant to his own daily life are actually very much about him, too. That issues that seemed, at first, to be matters of fairness that required taking a stance simply because it’d be cowardly not to are actually issues that affect him in every aspect of his life.
Realizing that feminist issues are also dude issues is a major revelation.
I want my life to be one of love, not rage
Kindness, not contempt
Joy, not suffering
I want to be alive and present in this moment,
not lost in thought and delusion.
- Zen poem
Early spring brings beauty into the harsh landscape of winter. It’s also a time a change. For some people change can be a scary thing, it can lift you off your feet feeling ungrounded and unsure of where you’ll land. People do all sorts of things to avoid this kind of change. But there are other things about change that are really beautiful and wonderful.
In his book about anxiety, Flying Lessons, Dr. John Snyder talks about anxiety as a feeling of movement, while depression is the lack of movement. From this perspective anxiety is a gift, it gets us off the couch and out of the house. It can be motivating and exciting, for example the best learning takes place when we feel a little bit of anxiety.
However, when we feel a lot of anxiety, we can feel trapped, unable to move, and afraid of change. It’s at these times that it can be helpful to take a step back, refocus, and pay attention to where you are right here, right now. The poem above, about mindfulness, describes one way a person might approach mindfulness. The author’s intention suggests that they do feel rage, contempt, and suffering, but are looking for ways to not allow those feelings to run their lives.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness. Some people find it in physical activity, working out by themselves and being in that moment. For others it’s found in nature, or simply sitting still for a minute with a cup of tea or coffee. Having this space amid the chaos of change can shift a scary situation to one that is manageable and maybe even exciting. Tiny Buddha is a website that often has articles about mindfulness, living in the present, and reducing stress. Two books that are also good introductions to mindfulness are The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hahn and Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
The Joys of Lube! A New Study On Lubricant Use Among Adult Women
Posted January 25, 2011
We all know the old adage, “a little bit of lube goes a long way.” Okay, so I made that up, but research on the use of lubricant during solo and partnered sexual activity demonstrates the benefits of lube. In a new study of women, there is a clear benefit for sexual pleasure and sexual satisfaction when using either water- or silicon-based lube.
In a study of 2,400 women, researchers at Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion investigated women’s reports of sexual satisfaction and sexual pleasure when using no lube, water-based lube, or silicon-based lube during solo and partnered sexual activity. Women were randomly assigned one type of lubricant and asked to assess their sexual experiences for two weeks. The participants reported greater sexual pleasure and satisfaction when using either silicon-based or water-based lubricant during sexual activity compared to activity without any lubricant. Indeed, this corresponds with the majority who report using lube during vaginal or anal intercourse (70 percent) and masturbation (60 percent) to make sexual activity more pleasurable.
Complete article: http://kinseyconfidential.org/joys-lube-study-lubricant-adult-women/
Tiny Buddha: 7 Vital Choices for Happy Relationships
by Lori Deschene
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~Lao Tzu
Ten years ago I thought I was going to marry my college sweetheart and become a young bride, which made it all the more devastating when happily ever after didn’t pan out. When we broke up, I felt literally like I lost a limb, complete with phantom sensations of his hand in mine.
It didn’t take long for a dark guilt to bubble up—a constant festering reminder of all the mistakes I’d made. I was highly unstable and insecure back then, and most of my relationships revolved around holding me up.
In the ruins of that romance, I didn’t know what scared me more: that someone else might hurt me again or that I might hurt them enough first to deserve it.
I simultaneously felt an aching need to fill in the hole where he’d been and an overwhelming sense of nausea at the thought of being with someone else.
For eight years I ping ponged from fling to fling and extreme to extreme—putting myself out there far too soon or completely hiding my authentic self; expecting mountains to move or anticipating the worst; choosing the wrong people and refusing to let go, or choosing the right people and running away.
In each case, I either burdened the guy a body bag full of my fears and insecurities, or dragged it around myself wondering why dating felt so exhausting.
I learned every lesson the hard way after first proving myself completely insane by doing the same things and over and over again and expecting different results.
I’m now a little less than two years into a peaceful, loving relationship, and I realize the journey to this connection had more to do with loving myself than finding him. No relationship with someone else can ever compensate for secretly believing you don’t deserve it.
While I by no means know everything, I feel the hard part isn’t knowing what makes a healthy, happy relationship but actually applying that knowledge consistently. It’s a lot easier to make a laundry list of lessons than it is to put them into practice, especially when heightened emotions are involved.
So I’ve done something a little different to explore the different ideas that support healthy relationships. As I often do, I put a question out to the Tiny Buddha Facebook page: what’s thekey to a happy relationship?
I took a sampling of the nearly 200 responses and grouped them into 7 tips. For each one, I listed a few simple ways to apply those ideas right now. If you’re not currently in a romantic relationship, a lot of these can still apply to the other relationships in your life.
1. Practice self love first.
It seems like you can only have happy relationships if you can be happy with or without them. ~Erika Gonzalez
Know that it is not the other person’s job to make you happy. The only person who can do that is you! ~Christi Emmons
The ultimate kicker: be honest with yourself about who you are. ~Kelly Bell
Know that you can be yourself and still be accepted. The best relationship is when you bring out the best in each other, and you are purely content when neither has anything to say. ~Stephanie Schwenning
Take it off the page:
- Make a list or mental note of all the things to appreciate about you. Realize everyone has flaws, and there’s a lot more right with you than wrong with you.
- Work on forgiving yourself. The past is the past and you deserve to put it behind you, but no one else can let it go for you.
- Be good to yourself today. Practice yoga, meditate, or take a walk.
2. Focus on compatibility.
Be best friends first. ~Wendy Nicholson
Have an incredible “like” for each other. ~Diane Bateman
Have shared (or at least compatible) values and communication. Everything else can be forgiven, accepted, or put aside, however values are the root of how we relate to all beings. ~Frank Ra
Find the person who inspires you to be a better you, and always encourage them to become the best them. ~Corinne Morrill
Take it off the page:
- If you’re single, do something social that you love. You’re more likely to meet compatible people if you get out there and foster your interests.
- If you’re in a relationship, spend some time sharing something you both enjoy. My boyfriend and I met at karaoke, so singing together is a great way to connect.
- If you’re in a relationship with someone and it always feels like hard work, ask yourself: are you trying to jam a square peg into a round hole? It can be scary to walk away from the wrong person, but it’s the only possibility of meeting someone who will feel right.
3. Practice acceptance.
Accept that not everyone or everything is perfect. We are all perfectly flawed. ~Simon Kirk
Be non-demanding of your partner—partners don’t tell each other what to do. ~John Bigl
Mutual adoration and acceptance of the differences that make each of you individuals are keys to a phenomenal relationship. ~Casey Kimes
Happiness is a choice, as are all things in life. I choose to see and feel grateful for all of the best qualities in my partner, rather than focusing on shortcomings. ~Emily Roberts
Take it off the page:
- If you feel yourself focusing on everything someone appears to be doing wrong, ask yourself if there’s something else upsetting you. It’s easier to blame other people than it is to look in ourselves, but oftentimes that’s where the problem is.
- If you feel like changing something about someone else today, ask yourself what change you can make in yourself instead. If you feel unappreciated, show appreciation. It’s more empowering and productive to show people how to treat us than to complain about what’s lacking.
- If there’s something you just can’t accept, ask yourself if you’re willing to walk away because of it. We can’t change other people, but we can change our relationship to them.
4. Have realistic expectations.
Don’t expect it to be happy all the time. ~Stephanie Goddard
Don’t sweat the small things and speak up when it really is important to you. ~Elizabeth Sadhu
Remember that it isn’t always happy, but get through those not so happy moments together or apart, whichever is needed. ~Jessica Duff
Keep realistic standards for each other. ~Ashna Singh
Take it off the page:
- Eliminate the word should today—how a relationship should work, how people should act if they love you.
- Notice when you’re projecting something onto the other person that has nothing to do with them, like a fear from a past relationship. Then make an effort to let it go.
- Recognize when you’re looking for that person to do something for you that you need to do for yourself, like make you feel lovable or take care of your needs. Then release those expectations and do it for yourself.
5. Be kind in words and deeds.
Think about the person’s feelings before you speak or criticize them. ~Dana Brewer Covey
Have a fast ear and a slow tongue. ~Mark Ward
Have compassion and grow together, not apart, as the years go on. ~Krista Tverdak
Love must be bigger and stronger than anything else. Never keep any record of your partner’s mistakes and faults and be ready to forgive. ~Mel Escobar
Take it off the page:
- Make an effort to really listen—not just wait to talk.
- See the other person as if for the first time. It’s all too easy to take someone for granted. Really notice all the wonderful things they do, and let them know what you see.
- If you get frustrated with each other, ask yourself, “Will this really matter after I’ve cooled down?”
6. Be honest.
Talk about things that leave you vulnerable from the heart. ~Cheryl Floyed
Compromise and dream together. ~ Becca Stinson
From my grandparents, who have been happily married for 60 years: the three C’s: caring, communication, and compromise. ~Emily Larsen
Don’t sweat the small stuff, and if something really is bothering you talk about it in a calm controlled manner. Leave drama in the theaters and movies. ~Ben Reyna
Take it off the page:
- Open up about something that you’ve been keeping to yourself. It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic. People can only be there for us if we let them.
- If something’s on your mind, express it without implying the other person is responsible for your feelings.
7. Remember to act.
When you’re bored, do something about it. ~Ernie Somers
Adjust to change. Adjust to moods, lifestyle changes, and new additions, and always remember to love. ~Elysia Cordero
The rest comes and goes as we change and grow and struggle, but being able to laugh together brings you back together. ~Kerry Kokkinogenis
Have rich individual pursuits and pursue things together. ~Laura Texera
Take it off the page:
- If you haven’t in a while, take time to do your own thing today—completely on your own or with friends.
- Take time to laugh together, whether it’s watching funny YouTube videos or trying something new together.
- If you feel dissatisfied with your life, don’t assume it’s your relationship. What other adjustments could you make to feel happier with your place in the world? Maybe you need to take a small step toward a hobby or more fulfilling job.
Start over again and again. ~Miguel Angel Carrillo Infante
It’s a new day–a new chance to practice giving and receiving love.
Link to original article: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/7-vital-choices-for-happy-relationships/
Worst Post-Sex Mistakes You Can Make
Just had some of the most bangtastic sex ever? Or the worst most awfullest? Or median averagest? There’s still a chance to change the course of events and impact the way you and your partner(s) remember the deed. And how you remember the action affects how you perceive the possibility of future action.
Here’s the latest podcast from Dr. Timaree about post-sex behavior, both what to avoid and what to try, if you want everyone involved to look back fondly on the event. Whether you just want that hookup to recall you in a positive light or you’re trying to build a genuine sense of intimacy with your loved one, this one deserves a listen.
Check it out here: Worst Post-Sex Mistakes You Can Make.
You can also search your iTunes store under “Timaree.”
Thanks and good sexin.
Check out this link to an amazing piece written by Ivan E. Coyote, “To my butch brothers and sisters and genderqueer and FTM family: I will not draw a line in the sand between us. I refuse to let one little “s” divide us, ever. Not ever. My choices do not trump yours. I will celebrate your uncovering yourself and becoming who you need to be as I have always done.”
5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men
If you have a scrap of progressive politics in your bones, it’s no surprise to you that sexism hurts women. Like, duh. That’s kind of the definition of the word.
But we don’t talk as much about how sexism hurts men. Understandably. When you look at the grotesque ways women are damaged by sexism — from economic inequality to political disenfranchisement to literal, physical abuse — it makes perfect sense that we’d care more about how sexism and patriarchy and rigid gender roles affect women, than we do about how they affect men.
But men undoubtedly get screwed up by this stuff, too. Not screwed up as badly as women, to be sure… but not trivially, either. I care about it. And I think other feminists — and other women and men who may not see themselves as feminists — ought to care about it, too. Click here for the rest of the article…
Do Kinder People Have an Evolutionary Advantage?
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.
There’s a certain amount of brouhaha amongst some evangelical Republicans over a minor presidential appointment in the Commerce Department. Amanda Simpson will perform a job for the public benefit that I can’t define. I’m pretty sure most of the American public doesn’t know what the Senior Technical Adviser for the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security does. But, because she’s transgender, it’s prompted an associate dean at the extremely conservative Liberty University to propel himself into the media’s light to proclaim that, “This isn’t like appointing an African-American in order to try to provide diversity and right some kind of discriminatory wrong. This is about political correctness.”
Absurdly stupid. Because, of course, it should be no issue at all, because people are people, and work ought to go to the person whose experience best merits it. And stupidity compounded because I’m unsure how obstinately self-blinded someone must be to believe that transgendered people don’t face deep prejudice. The prejudice is dumb, as it is at all times, but especially so when directed at a scattered group with no agenda other than to fit in and be left alone. But I guess there’s always a learning curve. I had one.
When I was in college, for a summer I lived in the gayborhood, a tree-lined neighborhood festooned with flowering trees, bars where the twee boys liked other twee boys, nightclubs with friendly, enormous bouncers who knew my name and said hello when I came home from work at 2 a.m., and the best all-night diner in the world. I lived with friends, sardine-packed in an apartment above a dry cleaner’s that we’d nicknamed “The Big Gay Haus,” immediately upon occupancy, because pretty much everyone was a lesbian except for me. There were girls and girls and girls packed into the place as partners changed and swapped in our own summer of college love.
But, then one of the girl’s girlfriends said she was really a dude in a female’s body. I wasn’t even sure what that meant. And things changed. While they did, I tripped up. I used the wrong pronouns; I used the wrong name. Everyone did. It’s confusing as hell when someone switches which box they tick on government forms. In the multitude of faces in a city, it was hard at first to see the changes in “Henry.” To go from the super-tough-looking lesbian chick in the gender-neutral leather jacket to a baby-faced kid in overlarge shirts doesn’t attract public attention right away. Because first there’s just cutting the hair and binding the chest, purging closets of girlish things and holdover skirts.
It gets harder after that. Henry took hormones to facilitate physical changes to make his body match his spirit. At the time, there was a tap dance under the light of the full moon required by most agencies that provided legal hormones, so he took the illegal variety. He’d troupe off with his girlfriend for the daily shot in the bum that made him into a pain in the ass. Living with an FTM is like living with a teenage boy—flooding back all those memories of pimple-faced jerk wads from junior high. He was frequently cranky and humorless, and it was even worse because the summer heat that year was brutal, and people transitioning wear extra layers to bind down the breasts. He treated the breasts not just like they were some vestigial tailbone, but like they were shameful. So he’d melt under a binder and two dark shirts to prevent their being caught by any eye. Sometimes he’d give up in a huff and go home with a pile of Slim-Jims to lie in front of our one beleaguered air-conditioner.
The longer he took the hormones, the more an imagined eye turned into real, confused stares. People glared when he waited in line for the men’s room. One time the bus driver tried to throw him off for swiping through his “Male” stickered transit pass. When we visited a friend’s dorm with all the collected ingredients for a taco-making adventure, the security guard laughed at his ID card. We watched “Boys Don’t Cry” over and over again, and hoped nothing ever escalated into violence. Henry was steadfast, despite everything, to live in a way that was true to him. He knew better than the rest of us, even his confused girlfriend, that balance would return. She watched with the rest of us to see what would happen, while he carried on with living and waiting to be considered simply normal again.
Henry brought over more transitioning friends, and our apartment turned into a way-station for people at all different stops on the way to mind-and-body unity. The more time I spent with more people, the easier everything became. I was fluent in hormones and binders, chest surgeons in Canada, and telling off security guards. And living with that many people with that much insight into the male and female mind had its advantages. Before going out on a fancy date (at that poverty-stricken life point, this meant anything that involved spending money), I had three different dudes that used to be girls applying their leftover MAC makeup to my face with skill that far surpassed my own. I was told truthfully that the blond actor I lusted after was a diva and an idiot (not that that stopped me).
Years later, when Henry finally got his chest surgery, we joked about the ooze sopping from the mighty wound across his chest. I brought Slim-Jims as a get-well-soon gift. Everything was simple. And everything ought to be simple now. With the presidential appointment, with whomever. Just like my friend Henry, most people simply want to live, work, and be happy with the ones they love.
As for the wing-nut evangelicals, I think their hate is gonna make them lose in the end. [The Huffington Post]