I’m trying out sharing a short list of links to things I’ve found on the internet that I think are particularly worth reading, about the things I often write about here: kink, trauma, writing, polyamory, representation of marginalized folks, oppression, disability, sexuality, queerness, fat activism, trans and non-binary daily life.
Queenie on grey areas of sexual experience. This post focuses on consent, compulsory sexuality, and sex normativity and how these things impact the experiences of asexual folks.
“I get the sense that asexuality and sexual violence is at the edge of this massive grey area of sexual experience that no one’s really exploring…from my limited perspective, I can see that we need more words to talk about (or just more conversations about) the motivations behind sexual decisions (whether you want to call that consent or not), about sexual experiences (good, bad, weird, undefinable), about coercion and harassment, about regret and second-guessing. What I’m mapping out below is only the tiniest corner of that grey area–specifically the place where consent, compulsory sexuality, and sex normativity intersect.”
N.K. Jemisin on the damned if you do/don’t fallacy, focused on the ways privileged (especially white) writers talk about writing diverse characters.
“You aren’t damned if you do; you’re damned if you do badly or in a way that hurts people. You won’t be damned if you don’t think and do research and do all the other things that good writers are supposed to do, but people will probably hesitate to apply the label “good writer” to you. You aren’t even damned — look, I like a hyperbole as much as the next storyteller, but what we’re talking about here is literary criticism, not the Spanish Inquisition. You will not be subjected to eternal hellfire, or even an internet “hate mob,” if you include a stereotype in your fiction. Have you ever really paid attention to how anti-bigotry shitstorms work? They don’t start simply because somebody fucked up; they start because the person who fucked up doubled down on it or got defensive rather than listening to the critique being offered.”
Captain Awkward on interrupting shame spirals with friends who have depression
“There is a ritual happening here, where they vomit their horrible feelings and you reassure them, but they don’t believe it and they don’t become more reassured. If you give yourself permission to stop completing the ritual, over time the ritual may become much shorter or even stop entirely, making room for more intentional conversations.”
Rose Lemberg on writing, privilege and marginalization
“I think that positioning writing as a privilege does us a HUGE disservice by overlooking those of us who write without privilege. Every time we look, we see that there is a literature of the marginalized, literature of resistance and struggle, literature that persists due to the sheer necessity of voice, the voice that proclaims our existence, our vitality, our wisdom, our pain, or histories, work that creates and maintains communal ties that help us persevere despite overwhelming odds.”
This article by Kai Cheng Thom about trans women’s sexuality and orgasms.
“When it comes to the mystery of trans women’s sexuality, here’s what I’ve learned: We fuck in all kinds of ways, some of which you may have to look up on the internet. We fuck all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons. Fucking us doesn’t necessarily make you gay/straight/lesbian/bisexual, and it doesn’t make you a fetishist either. It may make you nervous, sad, embarrassed, ashamed, terrified, anticipatory, curious, delighted, wondrous, awestruck. It definitely makes you human. Just like us.”
Akundayo Afolayan on Prince as a disability icon
“Visibility is really important to me; especially because positive representation of Black folks, femmes, and people with disabilities is rare. We typically aren’t seen as desirable or worthy of love. But Prince helped to inspire my self-love by exuding his confidence and being celebrated for it. I’m taking a cue from Prince. I’ve learned to be extravagant and myself not despite the seizures, but in the active acceptance of them.”
Alaina on solo submission
“Throughout my journey, I’ve tried — and keep trying — different things that allow me to please myself and submit, even if the person I’m submitting to is me. Headspace is key. A lot of it is talking to myself, roleplaying by myself or imagining myself in more exciting configurations than in my bedroom under my covers hoping my roommate won’t hear me when I come.”
Riptide Publishing has offered an apology and an action plan to address a racist scene in a book they published. This is notable as one of the more in-depth responses to critical feedback about racist representation that has come from a romance publisher.
Daniel Jose Older about love and revolution
“You told me to write this essay to our future children, but I’m writing to you instead. You said to tell them about how their mom worried, how she wasn’t sure if it was a good idea bringing black life into a world that doesn’t value it, but that she landed on hope amidst all the despair. Tell them, you said, about why their father does the work he does, what kind of world you hope to help build for them.
And I will, love, I will. But this moment right now—the night is quiet and I write while you sleep—this moment with all its weight and responsibility, this turning point in the world and our lives, is ours, and these words are for you.”