Archive for the ‘sex of the icky parental kind’ Category

This is a fascinating article, as people’s stories of long-term relationships usually are.  You don’t have to be into open relationships, I’m not, to understand and relate to much of what Melissa Broder is talking about in this piece, “Thoughts on open marriage and illness” in Literary Hub. 

As much as anything it is about familiarity, desire and long-term relationships.

There is something about a long-term relationship that takes away the ability to see the other person. We stop seeing them as their own entity. We stop seeing them as a possibility, rather than a possession. Or we stop seeing the possibility of them not being there. The gap we have to cross to get to them is no longer there: the gap filled with doubt as to whether we are loved or whether he will text or whether he likes me. We stop fucking in that gap, or fucking from across that gap. We start fucking in some new shared space that we feel we own. Or maybe the shared space is still the gap but we fuck there for so long we stop seeing it.

I made conscious choices in the relationship I am in now to protect us against over-familiarity. But reconciling that with acceptance in its various forms, self-acceptance as well as of the messiness of life, things I am also actively pursuing, has been complicated.

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“Whenever you put your body online, in some way you are in conversation with porn.”

– Ann Hirsch

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Reasons to be apart: being sick, being tired, staying up late, skipping dinner, having my period and not wanting to tell someone I have my period, not shaving my legs/painting my nails/brushing my hair/pulling my stomach in when I’m naked, being lazy, being bad-tempered, letting ex-boyfriends text me, spending time with friends, masturbating before sleep, wearing PJs, being with my kids, writing. None of this I say; all of this I summarise as ‘being alone’. Why do you need all this time alone, he asks.

Reasons to be together: I love him, I want him, he doesn’t like when we’re apart.

(Notes from last year).

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When I work with a person, I work with them for three hours. Nobody can perform for three hours. I have stamina, and I will wear them out, and that’s pretty much how I work. Every time I work with somebody, they say, “What do you want me to look like? How do you want me to be?” And I say, “Sit where you are and do whatever you want.” I’m refusing to tell them what to do.

There is nothing to hide behind, so a person is folding and folding and folding, and I think that’s why, almost every time, the person ends up looking like a child. They look like they are toddlers. I’ve been using the hashtag #TheBodyIsInnocent because when you strip it down, there’s a little kid in every single human, and that is something I saw afterwards. That was not my initial idea. Whatever my initial idea was, my discovery was a child. I was like, “Everybody’s just a baby.”

It seems like consent was important every step along the way, which I found interesting because we rarely talk about consent in non-sexual contexts. Why did you choose to do it that way?
When I tell other photographers [about my process], they react like, “That is crazy. You cannot do that. You’re just wasting your resources.” Because I’m expending my resources and my money to do this, and when I photograph someone who then changes their mind, that’s time that I didn’t photograph someone else. People say, “No, don’t use this.” What people don’t like is often the best picture in my eyes; they’re vulnerable in [those pictures], and that’s why they don’t like them.

But I feel like that’s the only way [this project would be] possible. If you always had that door open behind you and you knew you could walk away at any moment, would that change the way you were in the photo session?

From Suzannah Weiss’s “The photographer fighting against’body positivity'”, an interview with Anastasia Kuba in Broadly via Clem Bastow.

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File it under men who think it is no big deal that you did their washing for them. When actually, you want to say. You don’t live with a man and haven’t for a couple of years now and you work, parent, run a house by yourself and so, doing someone’s washing is a very big deal. 

File it under men who cook for you. Under men who learn vegetarian recipes. Under men who have never dated vegetarians before. Under men who have exclusively dated vegetarians.

File it under men who love to eat pussy and think they’re the only one.

File it under men who sulk when you’re the one turning yourself inside out to see them.

File it under men who text you to tell you they’re calling you – they don’t ask, they tell you – even though you left them ages ago. Under other men who motion you over to your own fence by saying “come here, you’re not in trouble”.

(Note: not written about current events in my life).


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I read Monkey Grip (1977) by Helen Garner last year and I can’t believe that it is a) Australian and b) I’d not read it until now and c) something this good and interesting was written about single parenthood and wasn’t handed out at the door. It’s set in a very different time to now but captures well the compromises you make with difficult men and also, the possibility of freedom that exists as a single mother.

I thought about the patterns I make in my life: loving, loving the wrong person, loving not enough and too much and too long. What’ll I do? How much of myself will be left hanging in tatters when (if: I don’t want to end it) I wrench myself away this time?

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