Abusive relationships are romanticised and even fetishised in popular movies about love. If a man really loves you he’ll disrupt your life, cross clearly stated boundaries, stalk you, coerce you, and argue that he’s helpless in doing so because his overwhelming love for you just forces him to do all these things. He just loves you so much, so that must mean it is true love. Parents let their teenage children watch Twilight as if there’s nothing wrong with modelling such destructive and unhealthy relationships in movies. We get a warning if there’s any boobage to be seen, but I wish there more awareness of the dangers of romanticising unhealthy ‘love’. How awesome would it be if Twilight started like this:
WARNING: The following show features abusive behaviour performed either by professionals or under the supervision of professionals, Accordingly MTV and the producers must insist that no one attempt to recreate of re-enact any activity performed on this show.
Remember the “tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight?” lyric in Grease? It’s a classic, obviously. But even in more modern movies, some really creepy, rapey, stalky stuff comes out. Jealousy is framed as romance, possessiveness is framed as love, stalking is framed as caring. And yeah, movies about healthy everyday relationships would be boring, but the scary part is that all this abuse is never used as ‘bad stuff’. If a man hits a woman it’s “oh my heavens look what horrible things she’s going through” but if he watches her sleep… for months.. without her knowing.. that’s supposed to not freak us out?
Dan Savage probably became my hero when he got the president of the United States to tell gay kids that things get better. I mean honestly the whole It Gets Better project was amazing, but that was a whole other kind of amazing. We’re certainly not where we have to be regarding LGBTQ rights, but that was such a powerful thing to happen.
I agree with Dan Savage a lot. Like, a lot.
(Fuck first! GGG!)
But not always.
It took me a little while to understand his position on cheating. I tend to be a bit too black-and-white when it comes to morality, and since lying and deception fall in my ‘bad’ category I’m a little bit unforgiving when it comes to cheating. I think consent is very important in intimate relationships, and having sex with other people without your partner knowing is just so disrespectful. Either let them know you intend to be non-monogamous, allowing them to break up with you if non-monogamy is not for them, or don’t sleep around. I really don’t think lying so you get to keep your relationship is an acceptable thing to do.
But Dan Savage has argued that sometimes, in some situations, cheating might be the lesser of two evils. If you and your partner are financially dependent on each other, or your partner is very ill and breaking up with them would mean they lose health insurance or housing, if there are extreme circumstances, sometimes maybe you need to do what you need to do to stay sane. I guess. I can see that sometimes cheating might be the best option in a collection of sucky options, so it’d still suck, but other options would suck more. I suppose. I’ve become a little bit more open-minded about that, sometimes the world is just not fair and there are no right choices.
And I also agree that, as a society, we’ve placed too much importance on sexual monogamy. Given the fact that a very, very large group of people cheat sometime in their life, perhaps we should take a bit more of a pragmatic attitude towards monogamy. It seems we’re not really good at it, generally. Many of us try, because we desire a monogamous relationship, but many of us fail. Dan Savage thinks we should look at monogamy the way we look at sobriety – it’s hard, sometimes you fall off the wagon, you get back on the wagon. If you only fall off once or twice in you life, you’re good at monogamy, not bad at it.
I need this on my wall. So Much.
I don’t know. I’m not monogamous myself, but if I found out my partner had lied to me about such an intimate, personal aspect of our life, I would be devastated. Not because I care much about who he has sex with, but because honesty and respect are fundamental to our relationship. By violating that he would violate something that our whole relationship is based on, it would violate my trust.
When weighing different options, we should take the harm cheating causes into account. People who have been cheated on often feel traumatised, not because they feel sex is so important, but because their trust has been broken and one of the closest relationships in their life was affected. Our connections to others are so important, our attachments so central to our well-being, harming that harms a person in their core.
Losing a loving relationship hurts too, obviously. Being open about wanting to have sex with other people and finding out your partner does not want to be with you if that’s what you’re going to do, that hurts. But the harm you cause when you cheat and they find out is huge. We should not be too nonchalant about cheating in situations where the other options (not cheating, or being honest about wanting sex with others) are actual possible options.
So in this case? I completely disagree with San Savage. Instead, bring the subject up with your husband. Treat him like an adult you can talk to, an adult you can trust, an adult who has the right to make his own decisions about his life. Tell him “hey remember that fetish I have? I’d like to explore that, how do you feel about that?”. And he’ll tell you if he wants to know about it, if he’s okay with it, you can discuss a Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell agreement, or perhaps he’d like to set some boundaries on sexual acts. And if he simply rejects the whole idea and tells you no, well, then you’ll have to decide if cheating is the best of all options. But I think we owe it to each other to respect the trusting, loving relationships we have, and respect each other as adult human beings who get to decide, given all the facts, if they want to be in a relationship with you. Deceiving others into staying is not okay…
Growing up in the Netherlands I got some relatively good sex education. Obviously there was a lot that needed improvement, it was mostly reproductive biology, and sexual diversity was just a paragraph in one chapter telling us that some people are gay and that’s fine too. Still, I remember when I was around 11 years old my teacher got pregnant and asked the class if anyone knew how that happened – nervous giggles everywhere of course, but we all already knew about the penis in the vagina and the sperm reaching the egg and all that. In secondary school we were taught about safer sex practices, that masturbation was normal (including a really, really awkward movie with a girl underneath a sheet touching herself) and what all the body parts were called.
We’ve improved a lot. Children as young as five get comprehensive sex ed, which now includes a lot of focus on consent, feelings, relationships and communication. I love this movie where they discuss what you can do when grandma wants to kiss you and you don’t want that.
But I think John Oliver of the Last Week Tonight Show did an even better job. “Lube is your friend… trust me”. Every child needs to see this!
I think this is a really lovely video, Inside Australia’s largest brothel. It seems sex workers can sometimes become defensive about their jobs because there is already so much negativity and stereotyping, so I enjoyed hearing these women talk about the negative sides of their job in such an open way. The interviewer obviously did something right :). Also, it shows yet again that men don’t “buy a piece of meat” or “a hole to fuck” but instead are looking for a connection, intimacy and to be accepted and seen. Australia has regulated sex work in most states which seems to work quite well – I’m hearing a lot of positive stories from working women here. Punishing consensual sex between adult simply should not be an option.
A while ago, Mara and I watched Frozen and I thought it was cute. Disney movies are just so nice and simple and the songs are catchy! This video made me smile :D.
Ah yes, our favourite Laci Green! I disagree with her so, so often, so often Laci (rape culture? Nope.) but she’s just so cute. And, apparently, not anti-nonmonogamy! Yay! And yay for sex in long term relationships :).