(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sex advice with Danny Civilized

So the last few days I've received some sex questions via text message and while I'm in no way trying to encourage people to send me questions (seriously, I have enough trouble keeping track of my currently non-existent sex life, I'm perfectly happy not being involved in yours), it's not in my nature to not attempt to answer. And if I've already answered the question, why not share the wealth?

I am not a medical professional or certified sex educator, my answers are based on extensive reading, working as a peer sex educator, and when I genuinely don't know, deferring to professionals who do know.

Random question, but if I were to use an anal douche would I fill it with water?

Mixed feelings here. Generally I wouldn't recommend douching or enemas to begin with, but if you are going to I would probably recommend water unless you know what's in the enema fluid you buy. Some kits contain laxatives that induce shitting (because for real am I going to say defecation?) while others are for more gentle cleaning. As with anything, know what you're putting in your body before you put it in. The rectal lining is fairly permeable to chemicals and things since a huge part of the lower colon's function is reabsorbing water (this why being on the receiving end of unprotected anal sex is one of the riskiest behaviors for exposing yourself to STIs). 

The rectum also is not meant to have hard stuff up in there which is why during anal play you go slow and use lots of lube. For similar reasons enemas and anal douching aren't usually recommended for normal activity because they have the potential to cause micro-tears to the rectal lining. Most brands of enema kit or anal douches say to use their product at least 30 minutes prior to any activity in part to help with this, it's a similar concept to not brushing your teeth at least an hour prior to performing oral sex.

But at the same time, I recognize that for some people poo is ew and they don't want that as even a remote possibility. You can help things flow so to speak, by eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fiber and water. Usually a shit followed by thorough shower about an hour before anal play is enough. But if you use an anal douche or enema kit, make sure you follow the directions and definitely don't make it a daily habit.

On to the next question!

Sometimes after I masturbate my penis stings for a little while, like in the urethra. Eventually it goes away and I have tested negative for any diseases. It only happens sometimes. Does this ever happen to you? Do you know what I'm talking about? Should I see a doctor?

This is one of those questions where I repeat several times that if you aren't sure and are still concerned, go see a medical professional.

If you regularly test negative for a variety of STIs or UTI (urinary tract infections) or trauma, and the stinging feeling isn't an intense burning, you probably don't have anything to worry about. To help the sperm survive in the vagina, semen is slightly basic which can occasionally be an irritant to the soft mucous lining of the urethra. This usually manifests as a need to pee after ejaculation and most people with penises experience this to some degree after ejaculation. A variety of factors from diet to hydration to how many times you've jacked off in the past few days can have effects on this, similar to the things that can cause changes to consistency. If you have no weird discharges and have tested clean, it's probably nothing. 

In very rare instances men can be allergic to their own cum, but that usually shows up like a flu after they shoot. Definitely doesn't sound like the case here, but in the interest of comprehensive information I'm including it.

There, the most complete answers I can give to these questions. Don't make me regret posting this, and for the people who have asked me questions, sorry I used your anonymous questions without permission. If you found any of this post to be heteronormative or trans*exclusive, please let me know and I will try to correct it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shit, when did this become almost 1300 words?

So this blog post is partially inspired by this lovely list of questions posted by my friend Eli after attending a facilitators gathering, partially inspired by some of my own experiences, and partially inspired by some critical self-reflection.

And I want to preface this post by saying that as an able-bodied, mixed/white, queer man there are certain privileges that I have that allow me to think about and discuss issues of privilege and oppression work in such a way that I am not triggered because it does not personally affect my life. I am able to mentally or physically walk away from a given situation/conversation if I don't like it and the repercussions I will face will be having to deal with one upset person at a later time. This is a privilege I have because of my identities.

Which brings me to today's topic. I've been thinking about the nature of friendship and connection between myself and my communities. I'm what you call... well-networked. I'm highly extroverted and motivated to maintain relationships with people. I have a policy that if I think of someone more than twice in a day no matter how long it's been, I will reach out and contact them in some way.

My Strengths Quest profile shows that my top trait is Woo, which means that I excel at winning people over and making strangers like me, that in essence I'm the opposite of shy (quite the turnaround from the kindergartner who hid behind his mother and cried when she had to leave). It's a strength of my personality that I long ago learned to use to my advantage.

Which means I have a lot of friends, and even more acquaintances. Which can be draining for some people. People see that I have 1100+ Facebook friends and balk, and admittedly, I probably couldn't tell you who some of the quieter ones are. Does that mean I don't care? I don't think so. To me, it means that at some point I cared about you enough professionally, academically, personally, by extension of my relationship with someone we know in common, that I got to know you. So even if you stop me on the street and I have no idea who you are, you're still important enough to me that I will make the time to reconnect with you. You're worth that time. You will always be worth that time.

Now, as is often the case with someone as widely connected as I am, there are many people I know who I don't necessarily agree with politically, socially, either in base belief or way of approaching the world.

I believe strongly in an anti-oppression framework that seeks to dismantle the social structures (ideologies) that cause and support racial, gender and other inequalities. I'm not always super forward about this, but I make no attempts to hide it. Some of the people I know (and thankfully this group is fairly small) disagree outright. I consider these people ignorant to reality. Some of the people I know are the kinds of people who introduced me to this and continue to educate me through their words, actions, and experiences. I consider these people an inspiration. Some of the people I know don't know about any of this and are happy to live their lives within the status quo. I consider these people lucky to live in such ignorant bliss and it's beautifully painful for me every time I have to disturb that happy little bubble. Some of the people I know at base agree with the long term goals of anti-oppression work, but disagree with the language and the route such activism has taken. I often call these people problematic because while we agree on outcomes, the kinds of statements these people make can be extremely hurtful to the safe space of individuals and communities of marginalized identities. The way they express their views often comes across as polarizing to those doing the kind of anti-oppression work I'm involved in.

This often gets them labelled as racist or misogynistic or otherwise ostracizes them from the work towards equality that they do believe in. I've seen them on the internet labelled as such things like "liberal dude bros" and "fedoras" and "_______-apologists" because they usually fit under the demographic of college-educated, liberal, straight, cishet men.

I often find myself in positions where I can understand the logic that they're coming from. I don't agree with their points outright because while they may be true in the philosophical sense, they are often at odds with the lived experience being brought up. Which given the way that the discourse around marginalized identities values experience creates a fundamental ideological difference of opinion that no amount of explaining or argumentation can bridge beyond a surface intellectual level where you end the conversation by saying "I see where you're coming from, but I still disagree."

Because the difference is one of experience and you cannot teach experience, you can only ever teach ways of respecting the differences that those varied experiences create. And since my default is to side with marginalized identities, sometimes the way to respect those differences is to know when to shut up and leave. Is that always helpful? No. Will it prevent you from further alienating those whom, at base, you agree with? Yes.

And yes, I'm biased and I apologize if the description above fits the kind of interaction we've had together. This is post is not meant as an attack, merely an exploration of the ways I interact with people.

The point that I've been working toward this entire post is that sometimes I find myself asking (or being asked) how I can be friends with such people? If I find their way of interacting with issues and communities that I care about deeply intensely problematic, how do I call such people my friend?

I think part of it is that I always try to approach situations and people non-judgmentally. Quite frankly, it takes a lot to elicit a strong emotional reaction out of me. Usually you have to build up a history of fairly toxic interactions for me to dislike you. I have a very high tolerance for a lot of bullshit. Which is not the same as not recognizing it as bullshit.

But I also find myself separating people from their actions. I can dislike, even hate what you do. If you're flaky or rude or intentionally mean, then I dislike your behavior. Sometimes even enough where I feel it warrants removing myself from any and all situations where I will encounter such behavior from you. If that means removing myself from your life, so be it.

What I'm realizing in myself though is that if I actually stop and think about it, I can never actually dislike a person as a person who has selfhood and I think that's something important to recognize. It's not necessarily something to advocate for everyone; sometimes bad experiences or behaviors from someone are inseparable from them as a person and where I have a high enough tolerance that I have yet to be unable to distinguish a difference between the two, not everyone has that ability or can afford to have that ability and simultaneously ensure their own safety.

We may disagree on everything. I may hate your views for being poisonous to the communities of which I am a part. But I will never let that mean I hate you as a person.

I don't really know if I was going anywhere beyond this, but for now, the ideas are out there.