We have important steps to take in learning about desire, consent and pleasure-based sexual experiences in the wake of #MeToo. [TW: this piece contains discussions of #MeToo and sexual violence in varying forms.] Started almost ten years ago by Tarana Burke, #MeToo has
What sex resolutions are you dedicating to making for yourself this year? The new year is upon us, and there's something about this time of year that has a particular magic to it. The start of the year offers the chance
Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.Dear Cam, I'm exploring my sexuality and experimenting with different kinks, but I'm getting kind of worried about the kinds of things that I've been interested in. I'm not hurting anyone or anything, but some of the things that I find through online or in my imagination are... not as typical to what other people are into. But they turn me on. Am I a freak or what? -Turn Me On Turn Me On, Your question immediately made me think of a Dear Sugar columns [trigger warning: mentions and slight details of rape, incest] to which Cheryl Strayed responds to a reader concerned that her interest in submission means something with a line that stands out completely: icky thoughts turn me on. The thing about what turns us on is that it's both connected and independent from the rest of us. The things that turn us on, like everything else, don't exist in a vacuum. Your curiosity and interest in them could be coming from a subconscious pull or it could simply be the sensation of something — the feeling of leather on skin, the look in a domme's eye as they train their pet, or something else entirely — that just speaks to you. You're not necessarily required to dive deep about the why of what turns you on. If it's something that you are consciously consenting to, are ethical about, and aren't harming another person (or yourself) with, then I say that you're free to explore to your heart's content. What turns you on doesn't need to fit into a box for others to consume neatly.
Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.Dear Cam, I'm not quite sure how to navigate this. I have a white partner (we're polyam) and I feel like he gives his white partners more space, patience, and consideration to feel insecure or needing validation to feel safe in a polyamorous relationship than he gives me. Am I imagining how big of a problem this is? Why is empathy something that's used so often against Black folks in relationships? How do I talk about this? -Deserving of Empathy
Deserving, Whew, this question has been on my mind for a while and I'm glad that you brought it up. By no means is this a unique problem to your relationship. In fact, I've heard this question raised over and over by the BIPOC in my life, no matter what kind of romantic relationship they have. I believe that in every relationship — romantic or not — everyone involved has to commit to performing labor for the betterment of the relationship. But when it's done evenly (i.e., both parties commit to doing labor for each other and themselves), the relationship itself is healthy and balanced. It's when this labor falls unfairly on one party that this balance is thrown out of whack. And because nothing exists in a vacuum, we can't separate the fact that this imbalance of labor almost always falls on the shoulders of marginalized people. There's a rising interest in non-monogamy, which is great, but I think a lot of people who are first learning about or are new to non-monogamy often forget that there's work that goes into these relationship structures as well. We're still interacting with other people, and that means that we still have to take care in treating them with respect, love, and understanding and not just project our own assertions and demand they fulfill our needs without considering what effect that will have on them. So much of this creates violence and unnecessary hardship — especially when we take identities like race into account. There's also an assumption here, it seems, that your partner thinks that there is an equal dividing of care he gives to you and his other partners. Care and work that goes into a relationship doesn't come with an on/off switch; it isn't neatly divided between "yes" or "no", "all" or "nothing". It's highly unfair of him to assume — not even ask — that you would need "less" support in the relationship with no evidence other than the assumptions he's making on your identity as a POC.
RELATED: #ASKCAM: CELIBACY IS A VALID CHOICE
Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.Dear Cam, How do I go on dates with other cuties when I don't even have time to go on dates with my wife? When any "taking time" feels more like "stealing time", how the hell do you prioritize? -Not Enough Time
Dear Not Enough Time (NET), First of all, I want to say, thank you for writing in about this. This may not be the sexiest topic, but it's SO important to talk about. This sounds like the classic dilemma that more folks encounter than you realize, monogamous or not. We have a lot to deal with during the day: there's school, work, commuting, social media'ing, catching up with friends, family drama, sickness that can sneak up on you, aging and shifting relationships. All of this impacts the way that we prioritize and schedule our day. It seems like you definitely already have a lot on your plate, NET. I think the first thing to do is to be clear about what you would like to do and what you are capable of doing. If we all had unlimited time, energy, and resources, there's so much that we would be able to get accomplished. But there are so many barriers that make that impossible for many of us, and that's okay. We have to be honest with ourselves about what our own boundaries, limitations, and desires are. I would consider writing down exactly what your priorities are: what absolutely needs to be attended to, in the moment, no matter what? What are things you would like to make more time for? Where are your openings for time to realistically fit those things in without overextending yourself?