Wednesday, 29 September 2010

On Being Human

I've just been looking through some anti porn websites... A new one launched recently, The Anti Porn Men's Project. Finally! A space for men who have the vision to see that porn doesn't just damage women, but it devalues men, too. It is unhealthy to define masculinity in terms of treating women like sex objects.

It's good to know there are other voices, albeit still a minority, campaigning against the mainstreaming of what are unacceptable and inhumane practices. Our society has taken something innately damaging and normalised it to the point where most people just accept it - with a shrug if not open arms. Pornography is not inevitable, somehow a necessary evil! When we treat it as such instead of taking a stand against it, we do ourselves and future generations a disservice. What does it mean if most teenagers' ideas of sex and intimate relationships are formed through the lens of pornography?

The bottom line is that we are dealing with something that dehumanises, that diminishes, which makes women throw away commodities - when she's been thoroughly used and abused and is too damaged to 'perform' anymore, she is cast aside, another nameless woman put in front of the camera. Pornography robs people of their humanity. In pornography, women are shown being dominated, humiliated, penetrated and double penetrated and triple penetrated - hurt - and as liking this. Women are shown as constantly gagging for sex.

Respect and dignity have no place in this picture.

The pornographer wants the viewer to get a buzz from this. Even the men in porn sometimes act surprised that the woman wants such extreme treatment (usually large insertions in her vagina or rectum). No wonder when women are raped so many people say she asked for it! Women in pornography are rarely depicted as saying no to anything. And when the viewer might be in danger of thinking something being done to the woman looks painful, she is often given a line saying it's fun, that she likes it.

From the women used directly in pornography to the men and women who live in a society which accepts the selling of women for sex, everyone's a loser, if not financially then certainly humanly speaking. Money triumphs over humanity. And do we really want to be lining the pockets of pimps and pornographers?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Fucking Intimacy

I found in my former life that there was fucking, and then there was intimacy. Ne'er did the two meet! The concept of loving sex, in a partnership of equals, was completely alien to me. In the context of violence, choice is meaningless. I did what I had to do to stay safe, sometimes instigating sex even when I didn't want to in an attempt to avoid a beating. Or else I did what I was made to do, whether by physical constraint or threat of violence. I had no control over my body, what happened to it, who had access to it, who used and abused it. Treated like an animal, I became one - living on instinct, without dignity or respect. Rape and dignity, violence and dignity, pornography and dignity are not compatible.

Unable to remove myself physically from what was happening to me, I removed myself mentally: I numbed out. Even now, my memories remain scattered, a series of snapshots preserved in all their glorious technicolour, with huge gaping voids of time inbetween, lost. The things I do remember I'd perhaps rather not, but then the gaps disturb me too.

I can still struggle to link sex with intimacy. I can still feel very detached when I am touched, or very vulnerable. My default position is still one of wariness: of being hurt, of being used, of being humiliated again. I still cry occasionally in an intimate context. Awkward though that may be, I guess it's a good thing. Tears bring healing, and it's progress that I allow myself to feel, even if I sometimes wish I felt differently! Allowing myself to feel, to be fully present, in a sexual context is still something I'm learning. I've had to unlearn a lot of things about people and how to relate to them. Not all men are like the men I met in my previous life.

I believe that trust is earned. I don't give it away lightly. I do get scared about getting hurt again. A lot. But ultimately I know that I can't survive on my own, trusting no one. That way lies loneliness and addiction! It's not something I take for granted and it comes and goes at times, but it's just good to be alive and have a chance to do things differently, to be in my own skin, to state my own needs, or if I'm not sure what my needs are, simply to know that it's ok that I have them.

Know what I'm saying?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

On Dreams and the Dreamer

I awaken, a tangle of confused thoughts and memories, of limbs and bedclothes. I feel the sweat trickling down my back, down my face. Soaking. The dream I was having is one of several, one of a rotation, a familiar set. These dreams...

They are a pushing out by my subconscious, a spewing out of matter pushed down and buried for my survival. When I dream like this it is a replaying, a reliving, of my past. It haunts me. The images may change but the scenario does not: I look down on a body, a body that belongs to me and does not belong to me, look down as my ex and the other men abuse it.

This body!

It may run but it can't outrun them, may resist but it doesn't stand a chance. Hopeless helplessness. My body. Me. I am the spectator, the voyeur, I am the fear and the shame, the pain and the terror. I am my feelings, in my body but too much, or else I am on disconnect, a floating mind, connected by the slightest thread.

I am and I am not.

Sensations so real in these dreams. Too real. Being touched and I don't want to be. Wanting to scream but nothing comes out. Trying to see but the darkness of a blindfold. Senses out of kilter, scent and taste and touch alive and overpowering.

My mind is letting in stuff, slowly, yes, but some of the blackouts, the gaps in memory, are being filled in. In all honesty, sometimes I'd rather not remember.

An image.
A sensation.
A snapshot.

Curiously, gloriously, split from my body, there but not there.

The pain and the darkness is a part of me, I choose not to live in it these days in recovery but I cannot stop it slowly leaking out of me, working its way out, the Unacceptable forging its way out. No amount of denial, no amount of distraction, will stop this. Unwanted? Yes. So painful my whole body aches with it. But necessary, absolutely. My body and mind healing themselves on a deeper level than I can understand. Being heard brings healing, being accepted brings healing, and I need to hear and accept myself.