Being back in school is challenging. Academics are HARD, yo…at least for me! There’s a whole-lot of learnin’ to do and keeping on top of everything isn’t easy. Luckily the part where I love what I’m doing makes the study load feel a little lighter. It’s tough, but kind of in a good way because I feel I’m being pushed in the right direction.

I’m also being stretched emotionally, which is something I didn’t necessarily expect. Our professors don’t just give us factual information, they make us get all introspective and work on ourselves. Seriously! The faculty have this bizzarro philosophy that self-awareness will help us become better, more compassionate professionals. Whazzup with that?

Here’s an example. Sexuality educator and counsellor, Reece Malone (from Winnipeg! Canada represent!) led a seminar on gender variance and diversity. Before his workshop, I’d assumed that I was a super-cool, mega-enlightened kind of gal who didn’t have any trouble embracing the reality that not everyone’s gender is defined their genitals. But then Reece came along with his brilliant teaching that forced me to go beyond the rational, think-y part of my brain. He made me examine my emotions and gut reactions. And it became pretty obvious pretty fast that as much as I want to be the person who’s totally fine if her little boy decides he wants to be girl, I’m not quite there.

Below is an assignment our class was given. In bold are the prompts from Reece, followed by my answers. Doing this exercise forced me to face the reality, that I definitely have some prejudices around gender identity.

(Warning: This gets kind of long. Bear with me, okay?)

When I meet a person on the street whose gender is unclear to me, Iimmediately feel flustered. Despite my intellectual beliefs, I often find myself scrutinizing their face and body, looking for clues about their gender. I have to consciously remind myself that a stranger’s gender is none of my business, has no effect on my life and to stop staring.

If someone I’ve known for a long time told me that they used to be another gender, I…react differently depending on what they look like. If their body or presentation has characteristics of another gender, I might be less startled. I’ve had this experience with a few long-time acquaintances and my first thought was something like “Ohhhh…it all makes sense now.” But someone whose look is completely in line with my concept of what a person of that gender looks like, might surprise me with their confession.

What I do when I am talking to a student/client/person whose gender is unclear to me, isif I don’t need to know, I generally don’t ask and I try to avoid making any gender-specific references in our conversation. If I think gender will be relevant or it becomes relevant in the conversation, I usually share my preferred pronouns in the hopes that it will encourage them to do the same.

When someone says they are neither male nor female, I…become self-conscious about the language I use around gender. I begin to think very hard about certain phrases I tend to use like “opposite sex” or “boys and girls”. I try not express to that person how awkward I feel, because I feel that’s my issue, not theirs (but I worry that they pick on my awkwardness anyway). I also feel guilt. I wish I was as accepting emotionally as I am in my head.

What I think about the statement “people are neither men nor women” is…that isn’t true. I think ignores the identities of people both trans and cisgender who feel very strongly that they are men or they are women. I believe men and women are the genders that are validated and acknowledged in our society and I believe we need to create space for all the other gender identities that exist, but there are people who are men and women.

If a friend wanted to have genital surgery to present more as a woman I…would ask them how I could support them. I love my friends and I want them to be happy. I honestly don’t feel that surgery would bother me. I think I’d be most concerned that they felt loved and accepted and I’d want to make sure they knew that I cared for them.

My reaction to a trans person who does not “pass” as the gender they are presenting is…that it’s fine. I don’t have to prove that I’m a woman. They shouldn’t have to prove their gender either. It is likely I will slip and use the wrong pronouns, so I’ll be apologizing a lot!

If my parent told me they were going to start to present as the opposite gender than I had known, I…would be really surprised. I think my first impulse would be to tell them that I loved them. Knowing my parents, they’d be deeply hurt if they thought I no longer cared for them. I’d be afraid that they would experience rejection from other people in their life, so I certainly wouldn’t want them to feel any from me. That having been said, it’s hard to imagine my mom as a dad or my dad as a mom. I’m fairly certain I’d also be sad. I’ve known them both my whole life, so to watch such a significant part of who they’ve been for me change or disappear would be really tough.

My current thinking about the reasons some people are trans and some are not is…I’ve never thought about it. Being cisgender, I’m rarely challenged to think about why my gender is what it is. Now that I am thinking about it…I still don’t know. I’m not sure that I personally feel a great need to seek out a “reason”. I just feel it’s important that I learn to sincerely accept people as they truly are.

I think the relationship between being trans and mental health is…profound. I can only imagine the emotional pain of living with an identity that many people don’t understand, acknowledge or accept. I also guess that the continual threat of rejection, or worse, violence could cause severe stress. Because many in our society refuse to embrace gender diverse people, I can understand why they are at greater risk for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and have a much higher rate of suicide. That is part of the reason I feel so strongly that I need to keep working on my own prejudices and to take part in whatever work needs to be done to create a trans-inclusive society. Everyone has a right to be who they truly are and to thrive with that identity.

The first time I met a trans individual I felt…ashamed. During the first few encounters, I thought they were a man who was coming on to me. I didn’t like the attention and kept my attitude cool and distant. Eventually she confessed that she was biologically male and transitioning to female. She had identified with me as another woman and was trying to reach out. The shame came from knowing that I had pulled away from someone who simply wanted friendship. Once I realize what was happening, I also felt a bit of pride that she wanted me as a friend. Despite my early behaviour we did eventually become pals.

When someone tells me they may be trans, I question…I don’t know that I question, but I’m curious as to what they are feeling. I sometimes ask, “How are you feeling?”

If my child tells me that his/her best friend may be trans, I think…That I need to speak with my son, find out what his understanding of trans is and help explain anything he’s confused or concerned about (assuming I have the answers). I would also tell my son that he should ask his friend what name/pronoun they like, to use that name and model the behaviour by doing the same thing myself.

I think people who…react violently towards transpeople, refuse to use a person’s preferred name/pronoun, who ask questions about a person’s genitals or how they have sex, who claim that gender identity is inappropriate to discuss with children, who ask “are you a girl or a boy?”, who make disparaging comments about trans identities, who refuse to work with or hire trans people, who insist that trans people conceal their true identities…are transphobic

When I was younger I thought trans people were…women who were born men and had penises. The first depiction of a trans person I ever saw was in The Crying Game and for a long time, that was my only point of reference. I assumed there were also men who were born women and had vulvas, though I had never heard of or seen any. I don’t think I knew surgery was an option, beyond maybe breast implants for women.

If my child came out to me as a trans woman/man, I would initially feel…excited. I love my son and I wouldn’t trade him for anything, but before he was born I always dreamed of having a daughter. So I think my very first thought would be, “Yay! I have a little girl!” But I would very quickly start to worry. I would worry about how best to supporting her and helping her navigate her new identity. I’d be terrified about the bigotry she could face and how it would affect her self-worth. And when she was older, I would worry a lot about her facing violence when she was out in the world.

If my partner came out to me as a trans woman/man I would initially feel…concerned. My partner is the most important person in my life. I know how much he loves me and I know how frightening it would be for him to reveal something he thought might end our relationship or worse, drive me away. I know he’d need support. I think my first impulse would be to reach out as his best friend. But with time I would probably be angry. I might feel like I had been cheated out of a husband. And I think I would be profoundly sad. I love my partner the way he is now. If he came out as trans, I’d feel like I’d lost him even though internally she was the same person. Finally, I think I’d feel guilty. Because with any other person in my life, I think sooner or later I’d be able to accept the change and love them all the same…but I’m not sure that I could do that for my partner.

If my brother/sister came out to me as a trans woman/man, I would initially feel…I don’t have siblings, so I honestly don’t know. I’m thinking about how I would feel if it were my best friend, who’s been in my life for thirty years. I think I’d be surprised but of all the people that are close to me, I suspect that would be the easiest coming out for me to accept. But with time I would…probably feel a lot of responsibility towards them. I might become a little overzealous in my attempts to be supportive. I could totally see us having a conversation where I’d start asking about their transition, their feelings about their transition, what I could do to help their transition and they’d turn to me and say, “Shut up! What Not To Wear is on!”

Yeaaaaah. I doubt I’ll be winning the Nobel Prize for gender acceptance any time soon. But at least now I know where some of my prejudices are and I can think more clearly about how they might affect other people and how I can work to change my attitude. Hopefully that will make me a better educator and maybe a nicer person.

I invite you to consider some of the Reece’s prompts – they’re great food for thought. And if any of you are so inclined, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Intersex

The other day The Bean asked if all boys have penises, which seemed like a good opportunity to start talking about difference between sex and gender.

“Let’s talk about biological sex,” I began, “Can you say that word? Bi-o-logical?”

“Biological,” the Bean repeated carefully.

“Awesome! Biological sex means what kind of body a person is born with. You were born with testicles and penis, so your biological sex is male. I was born with a vulva and a uterus and other parts. My biological sex is female. Some people are born with a mix of male and female parts. They are intersex.”

“I wish I had all the parts,” said The Bean, “I could pee SO MUCH!”

I made a mental note to come back to anatomy at a later date.

“Gender is….” I hesitated, trying to think of the best way to summarize the complexity of personal identity in six-year-old terms.

“I know! It’s like Like Star Trek: The Next Gender-ation,” The Bean offered.

“Uh…no. Gender is who you feel you are inside.  Some people believe they’re girls, some believe they’re boys, some believe they’re a mix of both and some believe they aren’t either. Some people aren’t sure. But it doesn’t always have to do with what kind of body parts you have. So not everyone who has a vulva is a girl. Not everyone who has a penis is a boy.

“Who do you believe you are?” The Bean asked me.

“When I was little I was a girl and now I’m grown up, so I’m a woman. That’s what I feel”  I told him. “What about you?”

“I feel I am…a dog! That’s my gender!”

It’s an ongoing process, people. It’s an ongoing process.

Posted with The Bean’s consent

 

Earlier this week, The Bean discovered a bunch condoms in my office, which led to the inevitable question, “What are these for?”

His question was a prime opportunity for me to hone my parenting and sex educatin’ skills. And to make a new video. Check it out here:


 

What unexpected questions have you had to answer about sex? How did it go? Do you have a practice kid? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.

 

The other night my pal stepc brought my attention to the following news item via Twitter. It’s a quick read but if you’re pressed for time, the gist is this:

Cathy Sanders, the mother of a 13-year-old Nanaimo boy objects to the distribution of an animated flip book in her son’s grade 8 class room. The book, produced by Catie.ca and distributed by AIDS Vancouver Island features an explicit demonstration of a woman putting a condom on her erect partner’s penis and having sex with him.  According to the article, Ms. Sanders is pissed about the graphic nature of the pamphlet and the fact that it apparently upset her kid quite a bit.

(If you’d like to see for yourself, check out Ian A Martin’s latest blog post.  He turned the flipbook in to a pretty nifty animated gif. As I said, it’s graphic, so exercise necessary discretion when clicking through.)

I have to admit that when I first read the article, my initial reaction was ‘Bah! It’s not that big a deal. Cathy Sanders is uptight, overprotective and blowing this thing WAY out of proportion!‘.  I even composed a tweet to that effect. But as I looked over my 140 characters snark, I thought, ‘Hold up there, Judgey!‘ . Sanders may be affronted by flip-book sex but I have my own set of biases…

  • I am building a career predicated on the belief that frank, open and explicit communication about sexual health and pleasure are a good thing. Not everyone shares that belief.
  • I’ve worked in the sexual health/pleasure field for several years. Graphic depictions of sexstuffs have become normal and commonplace for me. This isn’t the case for most people.
  • I’ve spent the last three years of my sex education career working with youth. I know that many teenagers are sexually aware. I’ve become extremely comfortable with the reality that teens may be sexually active and may have sexual partners. But sexual readiness comes at different times for different people. Just because many of the youth I’ve encountered have been interested in sex that doesn’t mean this woman’s son felt the same way.

I’m also biased because I’ve spent a lot of my career advocating in favour of sex education for youth that goes beyond the telling them how sex will get them pregnant or sick. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy defending against the type of inflammatory rhetoric that calls a museum exhibit pornographic or claims that comprehensive sex ed curriculum will “teach kids how to have anal sex”.

So I read the article and because of my biases, my first impulse was to get defensive. But then I thought a little more. I thought, ‘This woman probably loves her son and wants what she feels is best for him.‘ I thought about how it might feel to be confronted by your troubled child and a cartoon erection if you weren’t expecting either of those things. I thought about parents and the type of messages we’re given about the role we’re supposed to play in our children’s sexual education.

I don’t feel the pamphlet was pornographic nor would I say that it was categorically age-inappropriate for 13-year-olds. But it may have been age-inappropriate for this particular 13-year-old, or at least unsettling. And when I stop to consider his mother’s position I do feel some sympathy for her. ‘Cause in my experience, parents are primed on exactly three types of sex talks: The Birds, The Bees and The BasicsYour Body Is Going Through Some Changes; and finally Only Have Sex When You Are Ready (You Are NOT Ready!) Son, Let’s Talk About This Naked Flip Book And Why It’s Bothering You, isn’t in the parents’ sex talk playbook. For the most part, we’re told it’s our job to dissuade our kids from having sex. So while I disagree with Ms. Sanders’ characterization of the book, I can sympathize a bit too.

As I was discussing this article on Twitter and later with The MoMs, I realized that as much as I talk and teach about sex, I rarely talk about sex education as part of parenting. And I think I need to change that. Yes, I have a certain level of factual knowledge. But how to convey that information to my son? I know my role when I walk into a classroom or workshop. What is my role as a parent?

Like most parents, ultimately I want my son to grow into a healthy, happy, decent human being. I know that as an adult his sexuality will most likely affect that health and happiness. But what do I say? How do I impart my ethical belief that everyone has the right to make their own choices about their own bodies, when my parental instincts are already hollering at me to MAKE HIM WEAR A CONDOM!?

If he chooses to be sexuality active, long-term I want him to enjoy those experiences without shame or fear. But if it turns out he’s straight, there’s a reasonable chance I’m going to ruin is early dating life by screaming “DON’T GET ANYONE PREGNANT!” every time he’s with a girl.

I want to tell him that he should have sex when he feels ready? But if he asks me, “Mum, how do I know when I’m ready?”, I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know if that’s my question to answer.

All of this to say, that it’s hard. Parenting means flying blind most of the time, especially when it comes to sex. I guess this blog post is my way of sending out a signal. Tell me, fellow parents, how do you feel about sex-educating your kids? Do you have fears, issues you feel ill-equipped to deal with? Do your emotions and the instinct to protect your young ever clash with your general belief system?

It’s sobering to realize how quick to judgement I can be. It can be far too easy to position myself as the enlightened sex expert in these situations. But while our boundaries may differ, Cathy Sanders is probably a loving, well-intentioned parent who found herself in a situation she probably didn’t know how to handle. I can sympathize with that, because I’ve been there…and I will be again.

Aaaand…we’re back!

As I mentioned earlier, The MoMs, The Green Bean and I took a quick trip down to San Francisco.  Spending time in the Bay Area is always a pleasure, but we also had much business to take care of, namely scoping out neighbourhoods, looking at homes and meeting the locals.

By now, many of you know (and the rest of you have probably guessed) that come June, the family and I will be leaving Ottawa and moving to San Francisco!

Actually, it looks like we’ll be moving to Berkeley, where a slightly less expensive rental market will afford us an extra bedroom for guests. It’s a pretty happening city in its own right and a short BART ride away from its sister across the Bay. We spent the bulk of our time Berkeley this week and the friendly people, bountiful markets and vibrant night life were seductive indeed.

Why the move?

I decided several months ago that I wanted to continue my career as a sexuality educator. To do so, I knew I’d have to further my education. After a lot of research, discussion with colleagues, discussion with mentors and discussion with my family, I decided to I would apply to begin graduate studies in Human Sexuality this fall. The program that best suited my needs was the The Insititute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, located smack dab in the middle of San Francisco.

The family I and briefly considered the distance option, which would have meant travelling from Ottawa to San Francisco for two to three weeks at a time, every four months. It was doable, but the more The MoMs and I thought about it, the more we realized that that much time apart was going to heap a ton of extra stress and work onto both of our shoulders – something that neither of us wanted.

What we wanted was to spend more time with each other and with The Bean. We wanted a break from some of the obligations that have us both a bit bogged down. The MoMs’ brother and his family recently made a big move to Australia. It was a risk leaving their very established life behind, but the fresh start has done them a world of good. The MoMs and I began to wonder if a new beginning might do us good too. Both of us love San Francisco. Nice weather and the opportunity to be outside in sunshine year-round would undoubtedly be good for the Bean. The MoMs could work there. I’d have access to some of the best sexuality resources and experts in the world. The more we thought about it, the more we realized heading out to California was a no-brainer. So we’re going.

The plan as it stands now is to go for a least a year. I have very strong attachments to Ottawa – especially the family of friends I’ve made in the almost fifteen years I’ve lived here. I also see that there’s a real need for sex positive resources in our city. Eventually I’d love to come back and continue working as a sexuality educator here in the capital. We’ll see what life has in store.

So that’s the jam. There’s a triple-long list of to-dos to get done before we pull up stakes. While part of me is champing at the bit to start this new adventure, I know the next few months are going to race by and I know I’m going to miss the shit out of Ottawa once we go. So I will enjoy the time I have left here, while I look forward to a new set of experiences and the chance to cross item number 8 of my 40 Before 40 off the list!

In the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, I’m introducing a new feature called: Question of the Week.

In university my classmates and I used to write a ‘Question of the Day’ on the blackboard in the theatre student lounge. These questions almost always centered around sex and almost always sparked some lively, informative discussion. All that talking about sex helped me feel okay about sex. It seems like a tradition worth reviving.

Of course participation is completely optional. You can answer often, occasionally or not at all. If you have something to say but you’re feeling shy, you’re always welcome to comment anonymously.

So without further ado, let’s get to this week’s question:

How did you first learn about sex?

I’m lucky. My introduction to sex was safe, simple and very straightforward. I was three or four years old when I asked my mother how babies were made. Mom calmly replied that babies were the result of  intercourse. She went on to explain that intercourse was when a man put his penis in a woman’s vagina. My mom described sex as something totally normal, which I realize in retrospect was some pretty rad parenting on her part. I walked away from that first conversation with a shiny new piece of knowledge and virtually no prejudice about whether this sex thing was good or bad

Most experts agree that when preschoolers ask questions about sex, adults should answer their question directly, without going into  a lot of additional detail. Which is what my mom did. Throughout, it’s also what my teachers and other adults in my life did. Because sex was always described to me as a penis in a vagina and because all the pictures I saw in books were static, I thought sex was passive and still.  My mom told me that grown-ups enjoyed sex because it was pleasant and pleasurable. I assumed she meant “pleasant” the way grown-ups thought drinking coffee was pleasant or reading magazines was pleasant. The word sex conjured images of naked people lying in bed, quietly connected at the crotch, talking about taxes or names for the baby they were making.  It wasn’t until I saw my first saw porn that I understood how active sex can be.

That’s my story. I’d love to hear yours. The comment section is open – tell me how and when you first learned about sex.

 

photo by Harrywad

Early this year mini mega-star, Willow Smith chopped off her hair-whipping locks in favour of a super-short ‘do.  A whole ‘lot of people got all kinds of upset because OH NOES, SHE’S ONLY ELEVEN and ACK SHORT HAIRS R 4 BOYZ and HER EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED, GOOD LOOKING PARENTS MUST BE REALLY PARENTS!!!!

Last week, the exceptionally talented Jada Pinkett-Smith confirmed that she’s exceptionally rad at being a parent. She took to Facebook to share the lessons she wants to teach her daughter about her hair, her body and her choices.

 

Image by Tim Geers

Number 11 of my 40 Before 40 is: Write a book.

Shelley Taylor is, amongst other things, a champion of sex-positivity, the founder of Venus Envy and an all-around superb human being. She’s also the creator of Pass The Herpes, an awesome blog that discourages stigma by encouraging people who live with genital herpes to share their stories.

Shelley asked me to participate in a blog hop.  It’s similar to a chain letter, except instead of correspondence, each blogger answers a series of questions about their book. Vain woman that I am, I lept at the chance to write an entirely self-focused entry about my book. Then I remembered that I haven’t written a book…unless you count my  NaNoWriMo endeavour from 2005, which you absolutely should not because it’s utterly dreadful.

So, no book yet; however it is on my list of things to do before I hit the big 4-0. So consider these answers a preview of my future literary endeavours.

What is the work­ing title of your next book?

The Talk: How to speak to kids about sex and what to say.

How did the idea come about for this book?

A few months ago, I found myself on the periphery of some controversy about a local museum exhibit designed to teach youth about sexuality. I thought it was fantastic presentation. Critics of the exhibit feared it was too explicit. Time and again, I was confronted by the argument that kids should learn about sex from their parents, not from a public institution. I disagree that sexuality and sexual health should be exempt from public education spaces. However, I total support the ideal that parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other caring family members can be an integral part of a young person’s sex education.

Unfortunately, most caring, conscientious parent-types don’t have easy access to comprehensive information about sex. Even basic stuff, like using lube or dentals dams as part of safer sex practices are things I only learn about through my work. People can’t and  shouldn’t have to become professional educators to access to the information their kids need. I thought to myself, “Self, what can you do to change this?”

My answer?  Start by offering advice on how to talk to youth about sex but follow up by giving them all the accurate knowledge to share.

What genre does your book fall under?

Sexual Health. Or Sexuality Education. Or Nadine Is Determined Not To Be The Only Parent Whose Kid Who Yells “Ovaries” In Public.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A movie version of a non-fiction book about sex? Balls-out awesome!

LeVar Burton because he would bring the ‘Reading Rainbow’-style, educator cred. My friends Kate and Natalie Joy who are both fantastic actors and fantastic parents. And finally, Sir Ian McKellen because then the Oscar nomination’s in the bag.

The one sentence rendition of your book

Teach yourself how to teach your kids about sex.

Will the book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Since we’re dealing in hypotheticals, let’s assume I’ll get picked up by a big-time publisher. Let’s also assume they’ll give me a big, fat advance which I will use to secure my retirement and to buy Fluevogs.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me a few days to solidify the concept for the first manuscript. I suspect writing it might take a little longer.

What other books would you com­pare this to within your genre?

That’s the thing. I haven’t come across any other books quite like this in the genre. There are books that give advice on how parents can talk to their kids about sex but I haven’t found any that also include a lot of factual information.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Every moment during a class or training module or workshop that made me think, ‘Wow. I wish I’d learned this when I was twelve.’

What else might pique the reader’s interest about your book.

Sexually transmitted infections are fascinating – fascinating, I tell you!  My book will include a comprehensive chart listing all the STI’s, their symptoms, their effects and known treatments. It will also include some sort of fancy-pants legend. It’s seriously going to blow your mind!

Now hop along to:

Danielle Writes 642 Things

My dear friend Danielle wears many hats. She’s an author, a poet, a mother, a partner and a stand up comic. She was a fixture in Ottawa’s spoken word community until life whisked her away to Seattle. Settling into a new home while raising two young children and nuturing one’s artistic career would be more than enough to keep most people busy. But Danielle is not most people ( I suspect she has secret powers). Inspired by the book 642 Things To Write About, Danielle has made it her mission to write 642 things in 642 days.  If you want a glimpse into the extraordinary mind of a woman living an extraordinary life, check out Danielle and her blog – immediately, if not sooner!

 

 

 

Originally posted March 11, 2010

photo by trec_lit

I’ve had a variety of unremarkable day jobs: government work, standard retail…that sort of thing.  Then, through a series of flukes and coincidences I’ve wound up with a whole other career…in sex.  There’s much to love about working in this sphere.  It is, by nature, a sexy field to work in.  I get free and/or discounted condoms, toys and other paraphernalia. My work has helped me sort out some of my own issues related to sex and body image.

I also see a lot of boobies.

I love what I do.  That having been said, there are quirks of the trade.  Here, for your education and amusement are 10 occupational hazards of working in sexuality.

10.  All Talk. Less Action.

I talk about sex all the time. Which leads some people to assume that I have sex all the time.  The truth is that Man of Mans and I live jam-packed lives as working parents to a young child.  If you invite us to a party, you may catch us sneaking off to a seclude corner somewhere but it’s just as likely to be for a power-nap as for make-outs.  Add to that the high probability that I’ve spilled something sticky on my shirt  and really it’s miraculous that I get any action at all.

9.  Condom Surplus

Condoms, condoms everywhere.  A box in my spare room.  Leftovers from presentations.  Standard swag at conferences.  I come across random rubbers in my purses, my pockets…once stuck to the bottom of my shoe.  Need some latex?  Come see me. I have enough to sheath every member of our fair city.

8. Jumping To Conclusions

Once some friends came over to hang out and one of them brought a video. I immediately wondered why they had brought porn and if they wanted us to watch a group and would that be super-awkward?  It absolutely would have been, except for the part where the movie was The Big Lebowski.  I sometimes forget that when most people say  “I brought a video” or “come round the back” or “I could eat some sushi” they’re being literal. Life is not one continuous double-enterdre

7. Buyer’s Remorse

Access to deeply discounted toys and other hot paraphernalia is awesomehats.  But like with anything else, I’m susceptible to the seduction of sale prices, regardless of what the item is.  As such, I’ve come home with a few items that far exceed my sexual ambitions and/or flexibility.  When I look at an item and think “where does this GO?”, that’s probably  a clue that it’s not the toy for me.

6. Impropriety Is The Spice Of Life

Due to the nature of our work, conversation around the office water cooler tend to be about the current season of Lost…and clitorises. Oscar fashion…and clitorises.  The latest federal budget…and…you know.  I can and will bring any conversation back to the clitoris.  It’s a deeply ingrained instinct.  Great for work and nights out with certain friends.  Less wonderful at wedding receptions or playground chat with my fellow parents.

5. Blurting!

This one’s related to number 6.  Recently, I was at dog training class when the instructor asked us, “what is something you really, really wouldn’t want your dog to have in his mouth?”  No one answered.  The instructor prodded futher, “Really?  Nothing?  Nothing you wouldn’t want your dog to grab…perhaps trot out in front of guests?”  “Um…your vibrator?” I ventured.  Everyone in the class looked at me like I’d eaten a kitten. “I meant something like shoes,” the instructor corrected, “Dumbass.” She didn’t say that last part but it was strongly implied in her tone/withering glare.

4. Spoiler Alert!

One of my many guilty pleasures used to be pulp fiction novels.  Sadly, I can no longer enjoy them.  Or soap operas.  Or romantic movies.   I can’t be in the same room as a sex scene, without critiquing all the titillation out of it.  Because of my professional lens (or “smartypants-itis”, as I like to call it), I ruin pop culture sex for myself and I wreck it for other people too!   One friend has already stated emphatically that she will never watch Y Tu Mama Tambien with me.

3.  Not Pimpin’

Dear Random Strangers Who Approach Me In All Sorts Of Random Situations,

I work as a sex educator. That’s not the same thing as doing sex work. I support it, I just don’t do it. If you want information on safer sex practices or how to locate the G-spot, I’m your gal.  If you want access to a sexually experienced kink-specific, instantly available play partner, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask elsewhere.

2. Family Bonding

My parents are very supportive of the work I do.  *Very* supportive.  Perhaps too supportive.  Like when my mom (Hi, mom!)  came to the fellatio workshop I was giving and sat in the front row.  Then she enlisted my help in selecting a vibrator.  It was only a minor stroke, but one that I feel is responsible for at least 50% of my typos.

1. Rashes

Blisters. Sores. Pustules. Warts.  The most casual of acquaintance will describe dermatological afflictions of their genitals in graphic detail.  Not that anyone should ever feel shamed into silence by a potential STI.  But I’m not a doctor or anything close to a qualified diagnostician (though I can point you in the direction of someone who is).  Also?  People tend to initiate the rash conversation when I’m eating.  Let me finish eating my yoghurt, then we’ll talk about your discharge.

 

Feel the excitement!

I love reunions!

I’m not talking about the high school variety. I’ve never experienced one, though movies have led me to believe it will be a wacky night of poseur hijinks and the eventual realization I’m better off than the cool kids all set to Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’.

But today I’m talking about a much anticipated reunion with The Man of Mans!  He’s been in Bejing for the past ten days doing business-y things but that’s all done now. Tonight he’s coming home!!

Ten days may not seem like a terribly long time. I certainly know couples who have easily endured much longer separations. But this has been the most time we’ve spent apart in well over a decade.  As such, I’m jump-up-and-squee excited that my best friend will be back in our bed tonight!

It’s also been my longest stint of solo parenting. In the past, I’ve relied on my family to step in and give me hand when The MoMs is away. This time I decided to go it alone. Although I wasn’t really  alone.  I’ve gotta give props to The Green Bean. He has been all kinds of excellent since his dad left : helpful, co-operative and full of hugs. Seriously, the kid has shown unprecedented levels of awesome this week.

Yesterday I saw my shrink. I told her that I’d been nervous about taking charge of our family fort all alone. The MoMs is a partner in the true sense of the word. We do the heavy lifting of raising our child and running our home together and as such, I rely on him a great deal. So I was pleased to discover that I was able to manage reasonably on my own – at least temporarily.  And as I said to Shrink, although I’ve missed The MoMs immensely, the silver lining is realizing that it’s not because I need him. I just like him an awful lot. I cannot wait to see him again!!

So calloo callay! My reunion is but a few hours away! I’ve done okay during my time alone but I am more than ready to have my partner back!