emanix: (emanix)
I have seen a couple of articles recently with a very similar theme: Porn is bad because well... it's bad, mm'kay. And also kids might see it.

I'm not going to address the question of whether porn is 'good' or 'bad' for adults (I think the answer, as with so many things, is somewhere in the region of 'it depends'), but I made a couple of comments on facebook in discussion about these articles specifically regarding children's access to pornography that I wanted to retain for later use, so I'm going to publish them here to refer back to.

---
[Comment one]
Critiquing the existence of porn by objecting that children might see it is like criticising the existence of cutlery because toddlers might hurt themselves on it*, or of horror films because underage children might see those too. Yes, it happens, and sensible folks should take precautions against it happening, but kids are not the target market for porn in the same way that toddlers are not the intended market for knives, or for horror movies.

On the whole the folks who make porn are also in agreement that it's not intended for children, and take steps to avoid it. The people who make porn easily accessible for children are the people who steal it/share it/pirate it, and not the people who make it. Nobody is making porn with the *intention* of kids seeing it, so I think that 'what about the kids who see this?' is not a terribly useful criticism of its content, or of the industry itself, only how it's distributed - and again, that's usually more down to folks other than the makers and publishers of said porn. I think most folks would quite rightly be annoyed at someone leaving knives around where kids can get at them, without blaming the person who made the knife, or trying to ban the manufacture of knives outright. We can accept that there is an appropriate place for knives, and for horror films. Why is the same standard not applied to porn?

On the other hand, I'd far rather kids were watching people having a nice time with each other than, for example, people being beheaded - which is apparently perfectly acceptable in mainstream TV, even before the watershed, while images of naked people enjoying themselves are not."

*By comparing porn with knives, I am not saying that I think porn is 'dangerous', just that neither is a tool intended for children (and it was the first analogy that sprang to mind)


---
[Comment two]
Coming back to this after pondering for a few more hours, it follows that tightening up on copyright infringement would probably have a far more pronounced effect on reducing children's access to pornography than any newly created obscenity laws, but to do so in a way overtly linked to porn would probably be political suicide as the government would be accused of protecting the pornographers' interests. Bah. Politics is rubbish.

---

So is that the answer to kids accessing material not intended for them? Tightening up on copyright infringement? It's already 'wrong', but currently it's a civil lawsuit and not a criminal one. What would be the impact of making copyright infringement a criminal offence, and would it be effective without international cooperation? Would a public organisation chasing down incidents of copyright infringement help or hinder artists? Would it cost more or less than hunting down 'obscene' materials? Who would get caught up in the collateral damage?

What other ways exist or could exist that might be more effective in preventing children from accessing material not intended for them?

I don't have the answers, only lots more questions, but I think these are more important and relevant questions to be asking than simply 'Why don't we ban EVERYONE from watching porn in case children also see it'. Or you know... while we're at it, we could ban kitchen knives, alcohol, all prescription drugs ever, heavy metal music, horror films and the manufacture of cars, too. After all, everyone knows that children shouldn't have access to those...
emanix: (emanix)
So this just happened.

Background: I'm in the process of redecorating my accidental house in Manchester, including the yard, and having spotted a roll of astroturf outside one of my local carpet shops, marked with a sign saying 'roll end sale', I measured up the space concerned and then wandered in to the carpet shop to make enquiries about size and cost.

I just happen to have my henchman with me. He's hanging back behind me as I wander in, because it's not his house and the purchase has nothing to do with him. Nothing about his body language is saying 'pay attention to me'. Apparently this doesn't matter.

We step through the door and the manager has clearly stepped out for a minute. There are two ladies there, and one asks me if I mind waiting for the boss to get back. I'm fine with that, and about ten seconds later 'the boss' walks back in. A smart-looking middle aged indian man in a suit. The lady I spoke to indicates that there is someone here to see him, pointing at me, so I step forward, expecting the salesman to say hello.

"Hello Sir!" he says peering over my shoulder, to Henchman No.1, who is standing several steps behind me, goggling.

I take a quick glance down at myself to check I haven't suddenly become invisible (nope, there I am, in full stripey-and-spotty chaosbunnific glory). I take another step towards the salesman. Perhaps he's short sighted or something.

"Hi!" I say, rather pointedly, as though he'd spoken to me in the first place.

At this point he literally steps AROUND me to ask Henchman No.1 what he's looking for.
Henchman No.1 is silently shaking his head and pointing at me, and right now I'm getting kinda pissed off, so I march back in front of the salesman and tell him "ME. You speak to ME, please."

Mr. Sexist Salesman did rather grudgingly then proceed to talk to me, but clearly wasn't actually paying any attention to what I said, because while I was asking him about the astroturf I had seen outside, marked as 'roll end sale', he then starts pointing me at carpets inside the store. Carpets that are clearly not roll ends, either.

Wow, sexist carpet salesman, this is the 21st century. Do you seriously mean to tell me that you've never had to treat a woman as a potential client before?

Eventually it turned out that the astroturf was NOT in fact in the sale, so I got the price and sizing availability from him and we left. Unless it turns out that his price is the cheapest source of astroturf in the entire country, I don't believe I will be going back, except possibly to let Sexist Carpet Saleman know how much money I spent with a competing store, and why.

If anyone else feels like calling Carpets World to explain why you also will be giving your money to other carpet stores, they can be contacted here:

Carpets World
787 Stockport Rd Manchester M19 3DL (Levenshulme)
0161 248 0420
emanix: (emanix)
Dear Stranger,

Read the damn profile. Pick something that might be a mutual interest. Start a conversation about it. It's really not hard. If I wanted generalised spam messages with no connection to my own personality I'd go look in my trash email.

No love,

Someone who's very bored of getting form letters from people who clearly don't give a shit about who I am other than 'female'.


*Yes, this happens often enough that it is worth having a form response that I can copy and paste. Now, finally, here it is.
emanix: (Default)
If you were watching my twitter, or my tweet-archive (http://emanix-tweets.livejournal.com/) on the 14th of October you'd have seen this series of tweets:

  • Mon, 18:29: I suspect those who ought to see this won't, but #PSA: MEN! FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK, WOMEN ON THE STREET DO NOT EXIST FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT!


  • Mon, 18:29: #PSA brought to you by several groups of assholes who demanded I 'perform' in some way on the street today, just bc I'm female. #SmileDarlin


  • Mon, 18:34: Not usually quite so angry at male entitlement, but after 1hr outdoors & a 5th demand to please a total stranger, nearly threw a punch.


  • Mon, 19:10: Actually, now I think about it, a T-shirt reading "I AM NOT HERE FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT" would be the perfect answer. @bigcalm


It was a Monday afternoon, I'd been at home looking after my partner's cat and doing some work. Y'know, hanging around the house.

And, oddly enough, despite my reputation, I'm not in the habit of hanging around the house dressed in anything provocative, or even particularly eyecatching. A T-shirt, a skirt, a fleece hoody. Not things that yell "Look at meeee!"

And then I step out for just a second, to talk with the next door neighbour, and the door slams behind me.

So, perhaps not the most auspicious start to an afternoon, but I figured it was a sunny day, I'd view it as an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, take a walk, run some errands.

Perhaps it was the weather. Perhaps I'm just not often walking around my area on a Monday afternoon. I don't know, but it seemed like there were more men around than usual. And they all wanted something. Attention? Yeah, mostly.

I bristled as I took the shortcut down the edge of my local park, when a guy accompanied by two pals yelled 'Give us a kiss!'
I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists and checked there was a wall behind me if I needed to defend myself (since I walk with a stick, I'm always conscious that, given fight or flight, the 'flight' bit really isn't an option), and I kept on walking past. Shoulders tensed. Very, very aware that they were behind me.

Does that sound like an overreaction? Overly paranoid? As a lone woman, in a quiet, and not particularly overlooked area, being approached by three guys, one of whom is yelling at me, even if it is 'friendly', I don't think so.

The next guy? I don't remember what he said. It wasn't anything that could have got him arrested, but whatever it was he wanted me to do, I didn't feel like doing it. And I could feel the waves of disapproval coming off him as I didn't comply. As he walks past, frowning. Muttering about what a miserable bitch, or something to that effect.

The thing is, after an hour out of doors, and several of these approaches, I'm so keyed up and on my guard that I'm even ready to punch the elderly gentleman who passes me outside the rail station and cheerily shouts "Smile, Darlin'!" - but what business of his is it if I'm smiling anyway? It's not YOUR face, it's mine.

The worst bit, though? This isn't even that unusual. It's all the time. It's everywhere. women put up with this sort of behaviour every day.

Kitty Stryker posted a blog about the same thing, the very next day: "hey baby, nice tits, where you going?"

Check out the cartoon with that blog. It's the fifth panel that says it all to me: The guy yelling out of a car window, "Hey, I'm talking to you!... Fuck you then!" There's this undercurrent, you see, of aggression to a lot of these 'exchanges' (I use 'exchanges in quotes, since usually the approaches are entirely one way). There's so often this air of entitlement - and when the guy doesn't get what he wants, of anger. As though, as a female person, I owe him. And, perhaps, just possibly, if he doesn't get his way, maybe he'll resort to violence.

Yes, I've exclusively used male pronouns to refer to people who behave this way. Would I be just as pissed off at this behaviour if it was women demanding that I 'perform' in some way on the street, for complete strangers? Yes, I would. Especially if they were in groups, and bigger than me, and I were on my own. But 99.999% of the time, it's a man, or multiple men.

And even if it's just one guy, who isn't all that aggressive, it's hard to challenge this shit. We're trained, as girls, as human beings, to be polite. Even to people who aren't being polite to us. We're trained to try to help, to try to please. Maybe we'll even try to oblige, just to 'be nice'. But sometimes, it's time to make a stand, and draw a line, and say 'this is not okay', so here I am.

I really don't imagine for a minute that anyone reading this blog will be the sort of guy who demands anything on the street from a total stranger. But just in case... if you find yourself about to call out a demand, or even a request. Even "Smile!" have a think about it. You have no idea who this person is, where they came from, or where they're going to. You have no idea what the last half-dozen people they passed said to them. Maybe they got locked out. Maybe they're on their way to a funeral.

Fine, if you get eye contact, wish them a good day, but do me a favour... do us *all* a favour, and don't give orders to random women on the street. Respect people's personal sovereignty, people!

NOBODY owes you a smile, or a kiss, or the time of day, or even a hello. No random person on the street owes you ANYTHING. And you don't owe them either.

Actually, what you can *really* do to help if you are a guy, and you see this sort of behaviour, what you can really do about it, is calling that stuff out. You don't need to make a massive fuss. Just a shake of the head and a comment along the lines of 'That's not cool' will go a very long way, especially coming from another guy. From someone who is, near enough, their peer group. If you get the opportunity to expand, see if they can empathise with the hypothetical woman who's on her way to a funeral, and really doesn't want to be yelled at. Explain why the behaviour is shitty.

And if you're a guy, and I hear you explaining to another guy why this sort of thing isn't respectful of women? I will happily owe you a beverage of your choice.

And in the meantime, to take the message to the people who actually need it, on the street, in the politest way I can, I'll be wearing this:

I am not here for your entertainment.

If you want to take the message out there too, the awesome  [livejournal.com profile] joreth (@Joreth on twitter) has made these shirts available in her Spreadshirt store here: http://polytees.spreadshirt.com/your-entertainment-A8317338
emanix: (Default)
In all seriousness, sometimes I quite enjoy flicking through FHM. I have a partner who buys it for the pretty pictures, and whilst we've still discussions to have about that regarding objectification and gender politics, sometimes it bears an ironic reading as an insight into the ridiculousness of male popular culture (plus as nasty body image messages go, I find it less offensive than eg. Cosmopolitan). Today though, I noticed this little gem:

50 Greatest Mistakes You've Made With Women

No. 27: Being too much of a pest on the dance floor


Lesson Learned: "At what point did we think that thrusting a stiffy up and down her thigh would be acceptable? We're lucky most of us didn't get arrested."


So, hang on a minute... The only problem here is being 'too much' of a sex pest? Being 'a bit' of a sex pest is okay? I note that the article conveniently doesn't go into any further detail about where exactly the line is drawn. So... it's perfectly fine to ignore a woman's (or anyone else's) boundaries for the benefit of your own kicks up to what point exactly? Apparently rubbing an erection on an unconsenting thigh is Not Okay (which I suppose is something to be thankful for), but what is okay by FHM, exactly? Pressing said erection against an unconsenting young lady without moving it around? 'Accidental' groping? General invasion of personal space?
Oh, and apparently it's only being a sex pest on the dancefloor that's a problem. In private, it's okay to be a sex pest, perhaps?

No. Just no.

Guys, let's try something. Let's get this clear, it's a really simple concept.

Being a 'sex pest' is not okay ever.

Only 'YES' means yes.
emanix: (Default)
I have lots of other things to catch up with, but it seems I'm most productive when I'm angry - and this idiotic article (and a swathe of similar ones) makes me EXTREMELY angry.

So what's wrong with it?

Here's the headline: "Failure of contraceptive implants sets back battle against teen pregnancies"
and the subtitle: "Bad press surrounding 584 cases in which women trusting in Implanon implants fell pregnant is a blow to family-planning advisers"

Terrifying - 584 failures - that's got to be bad, right? Well, no.

Why not?

Because statistically, that number of 584 failures makes Implanon an AMAZINGLY EFFECTIVE contraceptive.

Let's take a look at a table of statistics about contraception - I've taken my stats from here

Type of contraception
Implanon Hormone Implant: 0.05% failure rate.
Condom: 2-15% failure rate.
Crossed Fingers (no contraception): 85% failure rate.
Number of women expected to become pregnant during one year
(out of 100)
0.05
2 to 15
Around 85
Number of women expected to become pregnant during one year
(out of 82,000)
41
1640 to 12,300
Around 69,700
Number of women likely to become pregnant over 11 years (out of estimated 1,000,000)
584*
20,000 to 150,000**
Around 850,000**
-
*actual statistic
**this is a low estimate - stats are based on only one year of use.


Contraception failure rates are measured by the number of women out of 100 who would get pregnant over a year using that contraceptive. So as you can see above, using no contraception at all, 85% of women WOULD get pregnant. Condoms have between a 2 and 15% failure rate. That means between two and 15 women will pregnant over a year whilst relying on condoms for contraception. So if 82,000 women were using condoms for contraceptive protection for a year, between 1640 and 12300 of those women would get pregnant.

So let's just compare those condom statistics back to the headline: We are told in the article that 82,000 women per year are fitted with an Implanon implant. Compared to condoms, 584 failures out of 82,000 women is very low - far less than 1%.

But that's not the end of the story.

It's not the end of the story because the 584 pregnancies they're talking about in this article weren't over one year. They were over ELEVEN YEARS. We're talking about barely one twentieth of a percent, 0.06%.
If all of these women had used condoms instead, we'd be looking at an extra 11,716 women who would likely be pregnant due to contraceptive failure - not just once either, that's every year.
That's ELEVEN THOUSAND WOMEN! Eleven thousand lives that *haven't* been disrupted by unwanted pregnancy, because they were relying on a more effective form of contraception. If they hadn't used any contraception at all? 69700 unwanted foetuses PER YEAR. This is what happens when you put people off using safe contraceptives with idiotic scare tactics.

Yes, these women "thought they were 99% safe" - based on the number of women who have actually had Implanon fitted, they were actually 99.94% safe (equivalent to one in about 2000, vs. one in 100). I'm sure it's not much of a comfort to the women who have experienced a failure (after all, on an individual level it's no longer a statistic - you're either pregnant or you're not), and of course it would have been wonderful if they could have been 100% 'safe', but compared to around 70,000 of those same women each year who would have been pregnant if they had no contraception, that's a vanishingly small number.

It's not perfect. No method of contraception is perfect, and not everyone gets on with hormone based contraception, but it's by far the best out there. And it makes me sick with anger that scare tactics like these stupid headlines are being used to trash what is clearly the most reliable means we have of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

What's the real agenda here? I have no idea. Maybe some crazy idea that that declaring contraception 'unsafe' will put teenage girls off from having sex? Maybe a complete lack of understanding of statistics. Perhaps a misunderstanding of how contraception really works - and a belief that there's a better method out there? Currently, there isn't a better option - unless you combine several at once, eg. condoms *and* an implant, or a coil, or or whatever (and of course, implants and coils don't protect from STIs, so that's an excellent idea anyway). Sadly real science doesn't give us perfect answers, it just gives us better ones. And they're getting better all the time - or they would be, if only journalists would actually understand the information they're presented with.

- - - - -
Additional information:

If you have an implant and you're worried if it might be incorrectly fitted:


What to do if you are worried?
If you are already using the Contraceptive Implant and are not experiencing any problems you probably don’t need to worry. However if this coverage has concerned you then you can speak to your GP, Reproductive Health Clinic or call the Family Planning Association (in the UK) on 0845 122 8690.

Remember this form of contraception is more than 99% effective and for the majority of women who opt to use it they experience no problems and are happy with it as their contraceptive choice.
--from Dr. Petra Boynton's blog entry, Contraceptive Implants and Media Panics – what you need to know (click for more details)

- - - - -

Update two:

There's some more decent information at these sites (though many of them still fail to compare with failure rates for other contraceptives):

http://bishuk.com/2011/01/06/contraceptive-implant/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/journalism/blog/2011/01/contraceptive-failure-figures.shtml
http://dianthus.co.uk/implanon-and-contraceptive-failures
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/01January/Pages/info-implanon-contraceptive-implant.aspx
emanix: (restricted area)
.

Extended Title: Collateral Damage - How certain members of society are disadvantaged and/or criminalised by laws intended to protect. - Part 1. How being assaulted can make you a criminal.

I had been planning to present an essay on this topic later on, after I'd put up OpenCon follow-ups (they're coming!) and I still intend to. At the rate I am coming up with new examples, it may turn out to be several, possibly even a book, chaos save us. However, an article on the BBC News site was brought to my attention this afternoon that literally made me feel nauseous.

Long, ranty and potentially triggering for some (for reasons that should be clear from the above title). )

I'm not a lawyer. I don't have the legal language to name whatever system we should be using, but this isn't it. Victims of any kind of assault need to be able to choose, at any point in the process, to back out without fear of censure. To demand otherwise is inhumane. If we want to take crimes against the person seriously, then lets do that, but not at the expense of criminalising the very people who need the protection of the law.




Edit:
Another similar article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/nov/09/woman-jailed-dropping-rape-charges
emanix: (Default)
I've been thinking a lot about the impermanence of things lately, and there will be a more abstract post about this at some point, but this has been annoying me specifically this week.

I usually keep my nose out of politics, but I've noticed an odd blind spot lately, particularly in opinion articles about the benefits system in the UK. The blind spot is the assumption that things will continue to be as they are in perpetuity. That is, families who are unemployed and living off benefits will continue to be unemployed and living off benefits, and families who are high-earners and paying taxes will continue to do so, thereby subsidising the 'lazy layabouts'. Or conversely that virtuous families who are on low incomes and struggling are kept there by the system of privilege and can never escape. Now, perhaps for a certain proportion of the people in this system, each of these might be the truth, but they both miss the point of the entire benefits system.

Social benefits exist because whatever situation you are in now is temporary. Work is temporary. Health is temporary. Your current age is most definitely temporary. Being out of work, or ill, or old tends to be temporary also. The entire point of jobseekers benefits, and health related benefits, and pensions is not to encourage people to rely on the state, but because these things could happen to anyone. (They also exist because people who are out of work, ill and desperate are more likely to commit crime if they can't afford food, shelter, heat. So the taxpayer benefits from people having a safety net in that way too. Just sayin'.)

I find it bizarre that the bigots complaining about paying taxes can't imagine a situation in which they themselves might be ill, or homeless, or old, and in need of help. The lack of imagination astounds me. Banks collapse, families break up, companies go bust unexpectedly. Illness is unpredictable. You simply can't insure for everything.

Enlightened self interest, people?

Just like the national lottery... it could be you.
emanix: (Default)
Hi, I'm a polyamorous woman, and I don't exist. In fact, I don't believe that polyamorous people exist.

“Huh?” I hear you say. “But you just declared yourself polyamorous. Up there! It says so!”

I did, and I do. I call myself polyamorous because I see this as an important part of how I relate to other people in my life. So I call myself poly in the same way I call myself an agnostic, or a Londoner, or a wearer of polka-dotted shirts. I get sick and tired, though, of hearing about poly people vs. monogamous people as though we're different species. Worse, the constant bickering about whether it's 'natural' for human beings in general to be monogamous or not. Good grief! Are we animals? It seems like a lot of people are deeply invested in perpetuating the split, but it's a false dichotomy that drives me up the wall. This may be an unpopular position but here I go:

There is no such thing as a polyamorous person.

There is no such thing as a monogamous person either.


I find it bizarre how often discussions about poly versus mono the arguments seem to fall back to biology. Folk are either claiming that we are ALL supposed to be one or the other, or they're claiming that there's a hard-wired difference between the two. Really? It's like claiming there is a biological reason for being a liberal versus a conservative, or a vegetarian versus a carnivore . The difference between these people is simple, obvious and nobody's arguing it: belief. When the issue is how to run a country or what to eat for dinner we're all happy to stick with arguing that this or that is the more rational option – x or y is better because it benefits people (or animals) in this or that way. So why on earth, when the issue is how to organise relationships, does everyone start insisting that nature has all of the answers?

Seriously, why on earth is anyone asking which is the 'natural' way to be? The natural way for us to be, running along some of these lines of thinking, is naked, eating raw foods and huddling in natural caves for warmth. Except that's not true either – the natural thing for us to be doing, as creatures of logic and imagination is *thinking* and basing our behaviours on the result of conscious thought, whatever internal system of logic we happen to be using.

What does nature want us to be doing? You know... it really doesn't matter. We started ignoring what nature wanted from us the minute we started adapting our environments to suit ourselves instead of vice versa. What matters is what we THINK. In other words, the difference between the mind of a monogamous person and that of a polyamorous person is the thoughts and beliefs inside it – and these are mutable things. On a daily basis people make the decision to stop, or start eating meat, choose which party to vote for, make decisions about moral and cultural issues based on their experiences and understanding of the world around them. If we are rational adults – and I think we are all aspiring to be rational adults here, no? - then we base our decisions on what our logic circuits tell us, not our bodies.

I'm Emanix. I'm a carnivore. Not because I believe it's the only right way to be. Not because I believe it's more natural, or more 'evolved', or because there is a fundamental difference between my brain chemistry and that of my vegetarian friends. I'm carnivorous because to me it's what makes sense on a daily basis.

Oh, and I happen to be polyamorous too.

I've had a few comments on the carnivore thing. Yes I know what carnivore actualy means, yes it's hyperbole for the sake of humour. My artistic license can be viewed here: [link to Artistic License'] it states 'Licensed to bend the truth in the name of comedy'. Can we get back to the point now please?
emanix: (Activist)
I've seen it in all sorts of places, the assumption that bisexuality has to mean that a person is equally attracted to both sexes, not notice the difference between, and so forth... Marcus Morgan has a lovely rebuttal to that one in this article: Bisexuals: putting the B back in LGBT and I also love The Bisexual Index's FAQ: Bisexuals don't have to be equally attracted to men and women.

This isn't the logic fail I'm going to address today though.

The logic fail that bugs me, and keeps on bugging me is this: the idea that if I am exactly equally attracted to both sexes, I will have had exactly the same numbers of male and female partners. Why does it bug me so? It fails to take into account the huge % of population that *aren't* bisexual.

So let's get this erm... 'straight':
even if I am EXACTLY equally attracted to men and women, I have NINE TIMES more chance of finding a compatible opposite-sex partner than a same-sex one*

Let's go through the workings:

I'm not going to hunt down stats and references right now, since the important bit here is the logic, which is flexible to whatever the exact statistics are, but of the research I have seen, the *highest* statistic for members of the general population who are interested in relationships with the same sex is roughly 10%

So working with that maximum statistic let's follow this through to work out my chances of getting a girlfriend, versus the chance of getting a boyfriend as a bisexual woman.

Now, we've been told that 10% of the male population is open to same-sex relationships. With a bit of give and take for bisexual guys, and for those not interested in relationships at all, we can assume that roughly 90% of the male population is interested in relationships with women. So my dating pool of guys is potentially 90% of the entire population of males.

On the other hand, the proportion of females interested in same sex relationships is only 10%, so oh look! -

% of males potentially interested in me: 90%
% of females potentially interested in me: 10%

Assuming roughly equal populations of men and women, and that roughly the same number of men and women share compatible views and interests with me, this means my dating pool for men is nine times larger than my dating pool of women.

So if I really want to date the same number of women as men, looks like I'd have to put nine times the effort into chasing them down - oh wait, wouldn't that necessitate being nine times *more* into women, if I was really willing to put that effort in? Well gee, I think that it would.

(Of course the same logic works perfectly well for bi guys, it was just easier to focus on one person to use as an example, so I picked on me)

This also handily refutes the all too common hypothesis that being bi 'doubles' ones chances of getting a date. Sure, it might increase a little bit - my pool of possible dates goes from 45% of the population overall to oh, about 50% - assuming that nobody is being bigoted or biphobic, of course. But since I have had both straight men and gay women tell me that they wouldn't date me because I'm bi, I suspect that any actual increase in number is cancelled out by the increase in prejudice.

Still, on the positive side of things, while being bi doesn't double my chances of getting a date, it *does* double the number of people I get to appreciate aesthetically - gay guys and straight women included. Since enjoying the eye-candy doesn't require mutual attraction, I guess I can check out twice as many people on the street, as long as it's look but don't touch.

Hey, you monosexuals?

Here's lookin' at you! ;)


___
*yes, yes, I know, this is referring to binary genders in order to keep the statistical workings simple - for the purpose of being inclusive, please assume that when I am talking about same-sex and opposite-sex I mean 'exactly like me' and 'not exactly like me', respectively
emanix: (Default)
Dear OKCupid,

We've known each other a long time. I've seen you go through a lot of changes. I remember when we met, way back when you were still The Spark, the special connection I felt between us. We had so much in common! I really felt that you were a site that cared about me as a person. I felt like who I was mattered to you. I fell for your charming wit, and the quizzes. Oh, those quizzes!
We spent many a happy hour together. So, when you became a dating site, I stuck by you.  I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and it paid off. After all, you still seemed to have the same values, and of course, you still had the quizzes. I even kept my profile alive, despite reaching polysaturation point a long time ago, because you helped me reach out to new members of the poly community, and to people who enjoyed my artwork. Your matching algorithms kept on linking me to people I already knew and liked - it seemed like such a good sign. You helped me make new friends, some of whom became lovers. I introduced you to everyone I knew. You were almost part of the family.

We've had a lot of happy times together, you and I, but now I just feel betrayed.

A couple of days ago you sent me this email (highlighted exactly how it appeared in my inbox):



emanix:

We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid's most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you'd like to know.
How can we say this with confidence? We've tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people's reactions to you in QuickMatch and Quiver.
. . .
Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:
You will now see more attractive people in your match results.
This new status won't affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You'll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.
. . .
Suddenly, the world is your oyster. Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn't just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.



I double-checked the date. Had I managed to get my months mixed up and it was somehow April 1st again?

Apparently not.

I actually felt sick.

OKCupid, what are you telling me? I've stuck by you for so many years, yet secretly you only ever really valued me because of the way I look, and up until now, i just wasn't 'attractive' enough for you? Because I have a picture that people like to click on, I am suddenly an 'elite' member of society, and I deserve to be matched with other people who are in the same 'elite' group?

All this time, you've been secretly filtering what I got to see, based on some arbitrary measure of 'attractiveness'?

This is not a function I subscribed to, I was not asked if I wanted to be moved into this 'exclusive' group.  I can see no way to disable this new level of filtering, and that makes me really rather angry. If I was actively looking for partners or friends through you I would be more than just rather angry, I would be LIVID. I'm tempted to go pointy breastplate shopping as it is.

I don't WANT 'more attractive' people in my match results. If I'm going to be matched at all, I want to be matched only on what I have in common with people. That's it.

Honestly, OKCupid, I thought you were above this sort of thing. I though you valued people, because of who they are, and not what they look like. I thought you, like me, considered moral fibre more important than muscle fibre. I thought we didn't believe in that eyes-across-a-crowded-room crap. Now suddenly I find out that you're not who I always thought you were, and I'm supposed to be glad that I've made the grade?

I'm gutted. Seriously, OKCupid, how long has this been going on? Is this a new policy? Have you been screwing around behind my back the whole time I've known you? What other elitist and exclusive crap have you been pulling that I don't know about? I feel that you've betrayed the trust in you that I had built up over years.

Most of all, I want to ask what the hell you were smoking when you added that final line: "Go ask an ugly friend". Really? You're telling me that suddenly I'm more special to you because other people have told you I'm pretty (and this based on click-thrus to my photo, which for all you know could be based on 'Hey! Look at that freak!'), and now you want me to go and choose one of my own friends to pick on, and tell them that they're not a part of the club? Just how insensitive can you get? I don't care if it was meant to be a joke, in the context of the whole betrayal thing, it just wasn't funny.

I'm not quite sure where we go from here. I may never find a dating site quite as cool, or as poly friendly as you. We have too many mutual friends for me to just leave without thinking it over. Maybe we can still be friends. I can tell you though, I will find it hard to trust you again.

Your old friend,

Emanix
emanix: (Default)
Or 'I can't be arsed to wade through all the crap'

I have to confess, I hate Facebook. I hate Twitter. I hate Livejournal too, though not quite so much. I disabled Google Buzz without even looking at it. I utterly detest every networking site out there designed to keep us all up to the minute on the minutiae of other people's lives. I've been hating them for a long time, with an almost unreasoning passion, and yet the light bulb as to exactly why I do only went on last night after I was in bed.

I was lying awake the other night, feeling utterly worn out, suffering from information overload. Ironically from nothing to do with social networking, but the thought was in my head 'I want all this information weeded out and only the important points left, preferably in a digestible format' – and 'bing!' suddenly the light went on about exactly why it is I am so attracted to, yet frustrated by all of the above sites. There is no system in place to weed out the crap and only see the important details – and there could be.

A lot of my friends insist that the only way to inform the rest of us about new additions to their family, house moves, impending marriages, starts and ends of relationships, new jobs etc. is by posting details on one networking site or another, and I guess that's okay. That's pretty much what these sites are for, after all. If I care about my friends then, I'm supposed to read these – and I *want* to read them.
The trouble is that to get to the important updates, I also have to wade through dozens of posts about 'I just had a really nice cup of tea', or 'I just gained/lost a random animal in this online game I'm playing', or chatty responses to other users (or whatever), and that is bloody hard work. It makes me feel deathly tired just thinking about it.*

This is the bit that drives me utterly crazy, though: I go offline for a few days because I have work to do and then there's no way to find out what I missed because there's way too much information to struggle through – but my friends have posted it, therefore they expect me to know.

What I want is an 'importance' rating on posts, and the ability to filter by it.

I imagine it working like newspaper headlines. Posts rated with high importance sit on the front page in bold type, and the chatty little editorials about how much you love digestive biscuits take a little more finding, for those who have the time. Alternatively they display in chronological order, and the reader just gets to filter out the less important posts.

Just imagine, it's the end of a hard day, you have ten minutes to spare, and you want to see if anything important's been going on – so you click on the 'show me the headlines' button, and there they are! All of the things that your friends really want you to know – without any of the nonsense. Got half an hour? Set the importance rating to 'Medium' and check the things your friends think you might find useful. Wouldn't that be wonderful? No need to be connected all day every day. No panicky feeling that you're missing something when you go offline, or guilty feeling when you don't go back to check what you've missed after a holiday – you know you can catch up on the important things at any time!

In database terms it's stunningly easy to code - I can do it myself (and I'm no great expert), which makes me wonder why it hasn't already been implemented. Can it really be that, like me, nobody quite thought of it before? Perhaps the owners of these sites feel that the knowledge that somewhere in amongst all that wittering there are some things you really ought to know is what forces us reluctant users to keep coming back? I for one would be a whole lot less reluctant if there was an easier way just to dip one's toe in, rather than total immersion being the only option.

So to my friends – I love you, I really do, but there are a lot of people I care about, and I just don't have the time or energy to read everything you write. Until this happens, do me a favour, and when you see me, assume I don't know, and *tell* me what's going on in your life.

Dreaming of the day when I don't have to sweat the small stuff.

M.

*Update for clarity, and to highlight [livejournal.com profile] just_becky's comment:

"Having said all that though, sometimes I do like to read the posts about the minutiae of my friend's lives. Sharing in the daily trivia can make me feel less isolated and more a part of their lives than geography currently allows."

(Me) Totally. That's why I want the importance rating system, not a cutting out of all the minutiae entirely. Sometimes I really *do* want to hear about that sandwich (ooh, sausage and gherkin! sounds yummy, actually ;-)), and I do want to feel included - without the worry of missing something vital.

In other words, I have no problem with the general gossip and silliness being there, I just want to have the option to skip it and get to the 'meat' when I'm pushed for time.
emanix: (Default)
1. Drowned spiders do not float, they sink.

2. If said drowned spider is in a cup of tea, it is therefore invisible (even more so if you happen to be in a dark room and focussing your attention on watching a film at the time).

3. The sensation of having a dead spider in your mouth is remarkably like sucking on the leafy bit from the top of a strawberry. Thankfully, it doesn't taste of much.

4. I have also realised that whilst not scared of spiders in the slightest, I have no idea which breeds are toxic if ingested, or any clue where this one had been. Yuck. :(

5. (Gap in knowledge) Still have no idea how said spider got into my cup of tea - now carefully inspecting all teabags and spoons for 'passengers', and hoping that none are stupid enough to abseil down from ceilings, or climb up from the table into my mug of hot beverage. The tea is sacred, dammit!

---

Notes to self (Mostly unrelated to above incident):

1. Do not feed trolls. No matter how tempting to do so. Even if they plead. Also, like gremlins, absolutely do not feed them after midnight.

2. Do not make blog posts about issues with specific partners, no matter how much it masquerades in your head as a request for advice, it's probably a rant in disguise. As a wise person pointed out recently, it's undignified as having your rows in the middle of the street. Don't do it. On the other hand, composing said rant for the benefit of the person concerned, and showing it to them after you've spoken about the issue in person, may be a good thing.

3. Really, seriously, don't feed the trolls. Nothing good ever comes of it. Put the conversation down, and step away.

4. Inspect all tea-making equipment carefully.

5. Don't get online before household chores are finished for the day. This means they'll never happen, and then you end up with dirty dishes and no clean clothes. - Doh!
emanix: (Default)
Note: The following post is NOT likely to be triggering, at least any more so than a toiletry bag, but may offend/upset a few people. It is not, however, a personal attack on anyone, and the blog I am referring to is not on LJ.

I just came across yet another blog in which someone uses the term 'triggered' to mean 'somewhat upset/annoyed me'. I'm not going to link to it, as it's just one example amongst dozens that I've noticed lately. This is not what 'triggered' means, people.

Triggering is what happens in PTSD and similar anxiety disorders. It refers to an event or object, not always predictable* that causes the person to experience a flood of feelings and/or flashbacks that are incapacitating in nature, and in themselves intensely stressful. Misusing this term to mean 'anything that upsets you a bit' is intensely invalidating towards people who genuinely have experienced this.

I don't like to play the victim card, because I don't see myself as a victim. I went through a bunch of crap**, it left a few scars, physical and mental, I was incapacitated to the point of being unable to leave the house for several months, and I still have the odd recurrent symptom. I learned from it, was changed by it, in some ways for the better, took responsibility for my recovery, working through a long slow process of desensitisation in safe environment with safe people, and then moved on. I'm not interested in sympathy for what I went through. I don't think post traumatic stress is a club to beat people over the head with either, but I want to make it clear that I am coming at this from a position of knowing what I'm talking about. This is my lived experience, and I'm telling some of you - I really hope you know who you are - that your use of this term seriously trivializes my experience, and REALLY PISSES ME OFF.

By all means mark your posts about sensitive topics 'potentially triggering', but be damned sure you know what it means before you claim, yourself, to be 'triggered' by anything. In your parlance, it 'triggers' my urge*** to beat you until you understand both that PTSD (&c.) isn't a political tool, and that comparing your feeling of being a bit shocked/cross/angry (possibly the most intense feeling you've experienced in your sheltered life, but still a manageable sensation) to another person's being completely incapacitated by terror and despair is inconsiderate at best, downright offensive at worst.



*I was at one point triggered into an unexpected flashback by the sight of a friend's toiletry bag (ironically said friend is a trained psychotherapist, but of course he had no idea that his bag of shampoo etc. looked like the one belonging to my abusive ex-partner, or that hanging it on the door of a hotel bathroom would remind me of a situation in which I nearly died - then again, who better to have a flashback around than a friend who also happens to be a therapist?)

**Referenced lightly in my introductory post

***I am not a violent person, and merely having an urge does not mean I'm going to act on it, but boy have I had to grit my teeth.
emanix: (Default)
Just realised that I've been failing to receive incoming text messages for an unspecified period, possibly since last weekend. I thought things were quiet!

Apologies to anyone who's been trying to message me and failed to get through. I'll post again when it seems to be sorted.
emanix: (emanix)
I was planning on making my first post in 2010 a bit of a retrospective, inspired by the 'new decade' posts on my friends list, and maybe add in a couple of new year's resolutions. Perhaps I'll still do that, but this piece of idiocy has got me annoyed enough to make my first post this year a rant instead.

The above link is about a supposedly scientific study about a part of the female body that has been politicised and argued over for several decades - The G-Spot (1). Academics and doctors are still arguing about whether or not this particular body-part even exists, while the more experimental of us are busily testing it out for ourselves in the bedroom (My own report from a small, but not insubstantial sample: Yes, it exists, as does female ejaculation).
So how do the researchers test the reality of this myth? Do they conduct a physiological study, and *look* at the female anatomy to determine whether, perhaps, there might be genuine physiological backing, as some studies (2) have done? Do they try stimulating the area, as one classic study (3) did?

No, they designed a questionnaire.

In a society where the average heterosexual male still has trouble finding the clitoris - a perfectly visible, external organ that nobody is debating the existence of, and when public knowledge of human biology is pathetically inadequate, apparently these researchers are claiming that asking women where their G-spot is located and getting inconsistent responses is evidence enough that it doesn't exist.
Whether the women are twins are not makes no real different to the idiocy in the design of the study. I mean, Hello? Is anyone even being taught the existence of the G-spot in schools? I think not. And certainly not when the participants of the study were at school. So all the average woman has to go on is hear-say, and if she's lucky enough to have had a GGG partner or two, maybe some small amount of exploration (I've been lucky enough to have some extremely open-minded and giving male partners, and it's been tough to get more than a brief exploration out of them - I hate to imagine what it's like for other girls.).

I wonder what would have happened if the same study had been done on males, asking them the location and function of their prostate gland? I imagine the results would have been much the same.

This study proves nothing at all except just how poorly educated women (and men) in the UK still are about their own bodies.

Me, I've come from a scientific background. I do understand about the issues with designing studies. The problems of medical ethics are many, and funding towards examining something like this is rare, especially since our attitude to sexual pleasure is still tinted by the victorian attitudes of our past, perhaps even more now than in the 50's when the original work began. Sexology is a field where most of the researchers hands are tied, and they risk being discredited at the slightest whiff of personal experience being included in their conclusions. But jeez... a randomly selected questionnaire to decide on whether a much beloved part of my sexual anatomy exists or not? I'm not amused.

I am, however amused by the turnabout from Freud up to now - Where in Freud's time the clitoris was deemed the 'incorrect' way for a woman to orgasm, and the vaginal orgasm was the only 'proper' way for a mature adult woman to climax, thus leading to decades of strife for women who could only orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris. Now we are being told that the vaginal orgasm does not, in fact, exist, and that the clitoris is the only 'real' way for a woman to receive pleasure.
Wait, actually, I'm not amused. I'm incensed.

Are we still in an age where researchers really think there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' way to stimulate the female body? Or anyone's body?


Considering Andrea Burri's claim that she is "anxious to remove feelings of “inadequacy or underachievement” that might affect women who feared they lacked a G-spot." What about the women out there who have already found theirs and are now being told it doesn't exist? So I've been having imaginary orgasms all this time? What?

I really wish that some of these self-appointed protectors of truth would simply shut up and stop telling me how to enjoy my own body.

Maybe some women don't have G-spots, and some do. Maybe some women don't have sensitive G-spots (and hell, I've met guys who don't have sensitive dicks), I'm sure some women have just never looked, and maybe some more of them have been cursed to a lifetime of miserable sex because their partners read the wrong news article.

Meanwhile I've had partners (male and female) who can come from having their ears sucked, their lower back stroked, their necks nibbled, their nipples clamped, only from being fondled through thick denim fabric, or from merely a word in the right tone of voice. Other partners have struggled to orgasm even with powerful vibrators and hours of work (we got there in the end, though!). Let's face it, we're a diverse species, with a myriad of differences, and that includes sexual function just as much as everything else.

People, if it works for you, use it. If you're with a partner, don't play the odds or go with what worked for previous partners. *Find out* what works for them, and use it. Treat sex manuals (and scientific studies) as suggestions for things you might like to try, not as the damned Holy Bible of Sex.

Can we please get the researchers out of the bedroom, now?



____

*Last minute update: a voice of sanity, Doctor Petra Boynton says much that I have, and has more detail on the original study. Apparently lesbian and bisexual women were excluded because manual stimulation might 'skew the results' (i.e. women who actually knew what they were doing might incorrectly demonstrate the existence of this 'mythical' spot). Read More

Also a good (if depressingly close to the bone) piss-take article: MEN WHO CARE ABOUT THE G-SPOT ARE A MYTH, SAY EXPERTS
____

References: (I don't usually bother with references, but this one pissed me off enough to actually put some work in)

(1) Link to Grafenberg's original article on 'The Role of Urethra in Female Orgasm'.
(2) BBC article about an Italian study.
(3) Time Magazine archive - classic study involving Beverley Whipple.
(4) Deborah Sundahl's book on how to stimulate the G-spot, and the phenomenon of female ejaculation.
emanix: (dots)
I hate dieting.

I hate the mysogynistic attitudes pushing women into looking a particular way to please men, and the bitchy fashion crap perpetuated by women too. I believe that healthy bodies are beautiful, whatever the shape and size (and the range of shapes and sizes among my partners and exes demonstrates this just fine). Aesthetically, I love my own body just as it is, hips, boobs, bum, all of it. Unfortunately my right knee joint doesn't agree.

My right knee joint - the one that I've had dozens of operations on, and several accidents to boot. The reason I walk with a stick, however stylish - is complaining that I'm two, nearly two and a half stones over the healthiest weight for my height, and it's not happy. I'm not 'fat'(you probably wouldn't guess it to look at me, as it's pretty evenly spread), I'm not even clinically obese, but I am over the 'best' weight for my size, and my knee is reminding me it was happiest when I was a couple of stone lighter. Reminding me by hurting a lot, and locking or giving way at inopportune moments.

I don't have the option to exercise it off. Any attempt at jogging and my knee joint may explode. Serious swimming causes more pain than I could imagine before I tried it. Cycling causes noises that would make even the least squeamish amongst you grimace. I can get on with yoga, some martial arts, even belly dancing, but none of them is particularly the sort of cardiovascular regime I'd need to properly lose weight.

So controlling what I eat, or being unable to walk is the option I have.

My body doesn't like this either.

We have this conversation:

Me: "Hey body, I know you want me to be a bit lighter, so today I'm going to give you lashings of fresh fruit and veg, and lean meat, and lots of lovely fibre. I know how you love that."

Body: "Oh yeah, I do love that. But hey, where is the fat? Where are the starches and the fast sugars? You're cutting me down on carbohydrates too? You're... you're starving me!

Me: "But this is what you wanted, you want me to weigh less!"

Body: "Starving! You can't do this to me! Chop off an arm or something to get lighter, just give me MORE!"


And so on...

The thing that bugs me, which diet books and clubs and magazines always miraculously fail to mention, is that the whole point of dieting is to give your body less energy than it wants. It makes me feel tired, grouchy, run down, no matter how much healthy stuff I'm eating, because my body is simply getting fewer calories than I'm using - and that's the whole point.

My body, on the other hand, has the same attitude to calories that I do to money. It likes to have a little set aside for a rainy day. It wants to have a tiny bit extra each day to pop into the savings bank in case of emergencies. It asks me

"what if there's a famine?"

Me: "There's not going to be a famine. We're NOT going to starve. You have plenty of reserves, use some of those!"

Body: "But war, pestilence, plague, the death of all your loved ones! The sudden crumbling of society! There is no certainty!"


My body, it seems, has a rather pessimistic outlook on life. It is rather sceptical about the continuation of society-as-we-know-it, and insists that I might one day NEED these extra stores. However, where my little nest egg in the bank may one day become a house, or an investment of some sort, or one fine day in the far future even a pension, that nest-egg of stored energy that I'm lugging around every day is unlikely ever to become anything but a nuisance.

So I have my knee joint grumbling that I'm putting it under constant strain, and occasionally going on strike, and my stomach on the opposing side crying hysterically, staging all sorts of melodrama, wailing that doom and destruction may befall us, and I'm going to wish that I'd kept a hold of that extra icecream-portion's worth of podge. And here's 'me' caught in the middle with no way to win other than to accept that one side or other is going to keep on grumbling at me.

Apparently, I am at war.
emanix: (Default)
This morning's pillow talk was about female archetypes in fairy tales and animated movies (particularly Disney - *spit*), and how much I loathe the passive 'princess' character type that girls are given to aspire to.

Not actually what I'm wanting to talk about, but it felt like an appropriate way to start the day.

A year and a day is a rather fairytale time period - it sounds so romantic, doesn't it?

Today marks a year and a day since I last saw the psychopath (and those of you who know me well will know I don't use the term lightly). Perhaps not a day to celebrate, but a day to be marked.

I was in London for a year and a day before I left for Canada with the biggest mistake of my life. There are some aspects of it I absolutely don't regret.

I am glad that I ignored the advice of well-meaning but patronising people who told me that I shouldn't try snowboarding with my knee problem. I am still happy that I finally found a sport I can really get to grips with, and a way for me to actually move fast.

I don't regret the time I spent coming up with the concept and original sketches for my graphic novel project, or in many ways the awful emotional situation I was in, isolated from any support network, that allowed me to escape into it for weeks at a time, and produce work more prolifically than any other period of my life.

I don't even regret how I acted in relationship to him - I was over-generous, somewhat naive, and turned the other cheek far too many times, but I would rather be that forever than make myself something I hate. The cracks didn't begin to show until well after I was locked into a caretaking position, and I refuse to be the sort of person to leave someone homeless, jobless and clearly mentally ill, however much of a bastard they are.

I somewhat regret not taking him to court over the several thousand pounds he owed me, and I most certainly regret not pressing charges over the violence, especially once the police were actually called in, which might perhaps have held him back from doing the same to someone else (sadly, I became aware only after the event of his history of violent and threatening behaviour - when I believed I was the first, I could imagine I might also be the last. If only.). 
On the other hand I have spent my time getting over and away from that, and putting myself in a better position, rather than engaging with the British legal system in what I still feel would have been a painful and ultimately pointless quest.

I am glad to have spent my time strengthening my links within the various communities around London so that I have a better support network, and I will be in a better position should our paths ever cross again.

It depresses me somewhat that I still feel I will spend the rest of my life moving away from him, but on the other hand I rejoice in how far I have come. Just as I wear my physical scars proudly, as trophies of my experiences, I accept the changes wrought in my personality too, by bad events just as much as good, and I realise that if it wasn't for the psychopath I wouldn't have had the motivation to move into activism, and to make the world a better place in what way I can for other people. That doesn't make his existence any less of a blight on humanity, however.

Tonight I go out with friends, and observe the crowd of wonderful people that surround me, and thank whatever powers might be for the life I have now, the fact that I still have it, and how amazingly good it is, one year and a day on, and carry on creating my own 'happily ever after'.
emanix: (Default)
The response is a little late, but I had left this link open with the intention of responding to it. Who knows whether it will do any good, but here's the email I just sent: 


Dear Deidre,

A friend brought to my attention your post on bisexuality from earlier
this month (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/deidre/sextherapy/2469004/Dear-Deidre-Coping-with-bisexual-issues.html)

While I agree with some of the points you make - for example, that
simply being attracted to someone is not necessarily a reason to break
the rules of your existing relationship, and I certainly do believe
that a little personal responsibility would make the world a much
better place. However I think your view is innately biased, and as a
bisexual woman, and a friend to many 'straight' men and women who have
also experimented with their sexuality over the years, I have to speak
up.

You cite the 'thousands of letters from readers over the years' as
your source for information - but you must realise that as an agony
aunt, you simply don't hear the success stories. You exist to hear the
tales of woe, the failed, or failing relationships. Why would anyone
write about a relationship that they are happy about to an agony
columnist?

Bisexual people most certainly exist,  in larger numbers than you seem
to believe, and are able to have perfectly happy long term
relationships. Some of them monogamous, and some of them  polyamorous.
Also in my experience couples who jointly experiment with their
sexuality, and explore who they are *together*, are much more likely
to remain a couple than those in which one partner is forbidden -
eventually this becomes a 'deal-breaker' and the couple dissolves
anyway.

Obviously, I don't believe any partner in a relationship should be
forced into a situation they're not comfortable in, and if one partner
isn't interested in threesomes, then that's not going to be the way to
go. The idea that this is always a 'one way journey' however, is
ridiculous.

I applaud your choice of links, however, (at least they've vaguely balanced, even if oddly lacking in y'know... bisexual sites)
and your advice about being honest with any children involved (although I would stress that
treating them as confidant, rather than just keeping them informed, is
also a bad idea!).

Wishing you well,

Maxine Green

July 2015

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