AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “women”

AskMiriam about Nudity on the Internet

Q: You seem to be sexually “liberated” (if that’s not too old-fashioned a term), and so I’m just curious to know your opinion regarding women who post nude pictures of themselves on the Internet.

(1) Do you believe, as some would assert, that, despite the “average housewife/girl-next-door” image that many websites seek to promote, the majority are in reality professional, or at least semi-professional, prostitutes?

(2) Do you feel that they contribute to – again as some would maintain – a general decline in social morals or are they rather brave pioneers opening the way to a better, sexually freer future?
A: I find this question very interesting for several reasons. First of all, I’ve done nude modelling. I’m fortunate in that, with a few exceptions, I’ve not been made ashamed of my body. As for the first part of the question, I don’t take well to women being categorized as prostitutes. There is nothing wrong with women who choose to be sex workers or women who have lots of sex, and this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether they are posting nude photos of themselves or not. I’m sure that there are some sites that use women’s photos to promote sexual services, but I hope that the majority do not. Women should have the choice to post nude photos of themselves without those photos being misappropriated. Women also have to contend with the fact that, as an example, Facebook will not allow photos showing women’s nipples. However, it’s perfectly ok for men to show theirs. This double standard needs to end.
As for the second part, I’m more inclined toward the latter, but it’s a complex issue. Our sexual mores have changed and will continue to change over time. Nude photos are just one part of the equation. Women post and send nude photos for all sorts of reasons; men do the same. Men send pictures of their penises to both men and women all the time, often without being asked to do so. Does this indicate that we are sexually freer? Perhaps, but I also think that being sexually free involves consent. I think that we should all have the freedom to post nude pictures of ourselves without being nervous as to what that could entail. Many people are afraid of the consequences for their careers, their children and other family members, and on their social interactions. As we continue to live in a sex and body negative culture, nudity will be seen as taboo. Will this change as a result of women posting nude photos on the Internet? Maybe. I think it’s a matter of how those women are seen by those close to them, and by society in general.
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Sweet Surrender

I had an interesting Saturday night last weekend followed by a very interesting day on Wednesday. Last weekend, I went with some colleagues to a gay bar here in Zhengzhou. My colleague’s friend put on a party there. The music was very good and the atmosphere was also great – people weren’t crazily drunk and there wasn’t a lot of smoking. A few hours into the night, I met a woman who I will call Mily. She looked very excitable and had, what I would describe, a nice light in her face. We danced fairly close together and she told me that I’m the first woman she’s ever been attracted to. I told her that I found her attractive as well. She ended up kissing me on the cheek and I kissed hers. I didn’t want to push anything with her, but I did want to kiss her on the lips. I leaned into do that and she shied away. She left for a bit, but then we continued dancing. I was very surprised when she kissed me on the lips! It was a very pleasant kiss. She gave me her number and said, keep in touch. I called her the following day and we arranged to meet on Wednesday. We had coffee at a very nice cafe and had good conversation. I was nervous about telling her about Ben, but then I found out that she has a unique insight into poly. She told me that she was previously married and her husband also happened to be with another woman in Thailand. She considered sending angry messages to that woman, but in the end, they actually became friends. Mily said to me, they are soulmates; I was pretty impressed with that. I told her about Ben and my past and she was very positive about it all. Unfortunately, Mily may not stay in Zhengzhou past May, but I’m sure we’ll at least have a friendship; I also want to move cautiously since Mily has never been with a woman before. She has invited me over to her house next week for lunch and she is keen to meet Ben, which I think are very good signs.

On Wednesday, before I had coffee with Mily, I had lunch with a friend and met a friend of hers, who’s interested in being poly. I think there is some mutual interest and he lives nearby, which is always a bonus. That evening, I talked to Ben about one reason why I like being with guys. I’m a pretty focused and driven person; when I put my mind to something, I can usually achieve it. When I’m with a guy, I feel all of that melt away. As per the title of this post, I can surrender myself to someone else. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing and it’s a very traditional way of looking at relationships. I think it can be traced back to my relationship with my father when I was younger. He was a pretty angry person back then and I never wanted to upset him, so I usually went along with what he wanted. I also lived with a stubborn sister and sometimes stubborn mother, so I’m used to being the one who’s more flexible and does what others want. Now, I often feel like I need to change my relationships with men, and perhaps with women as well. I’ve often been the one who takes initiative in a relationship and I want the people I’m with to take initiative as well. I also feel like I need to be more collaborative – if I have an idea, I want to discuss it more with the other person or people before doing something about it.  I’d also like to have a partner who comes up with the ideas and I can figure out the details, as I’m very detail oriented. I think there’ll be more of that once Ben and I return to Canada, when we’re on more equal footing, and I look forward to it.

Thank you as always for reading! If you have a relationship query, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

 

Reaching Out and Tuning Out

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m currently in Taiwan and Ben is in Vietnam. Recently, he met someone I will call Eve and they’ve hit it off. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got a message from her on OkCupid and when she added me as a friend on Facebook. When my partner(s) get involved with others, I like to build relationships with them. It’s very rare that others have reached out to me first, so you can imagine this was a bit of shock, especially because Eve has never been involved in a polyamorous relationship before. I think she really understands how it works, though. We’ve started exchanging pleasant messages and I’ve even been informed by Ben that she writes poetry and is interested in exploring an attraction to women. It’s also very rare that I meet a fellow poet, so for me, this is all great. She and Ben are going on a little trip this weekend and will see how things develop. If things go well, she’s interested in visiting us in China, depending on whether she can get a visa or not. Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and China have not been the best recently, so it could be difficult for her. Now, this isn’t to say my feelings about Eve have been entirely positive. Ben told me he hasn’t been attracted to someone as strongly as he is to Eve since he met me, which could be constructed as a threat to our relationship.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how women are programmed to act in relationships. We are often taught to find a man (forget what your sexual orientation may be…) and hold on to him as tightly as possible. We should be jealous and protective when another woman comes along because she might steal him away from us. If we have children with said man, we have to depend on him and keep him from being attracted to other women. Of course, these are all outdated ideas, but they are still present in our society today. I don’t think Eve would steal Ben away from me for a few reasons: Ben and I are as committed to each other as anyone can be. I don’t think Ben would allow someone to steal him away from me. It would also be against Eve’s interest to do so if she wants to build at least a friendship with me. It does seem like she’s coming into polyamory in the spirit of friendship, so I have no doubt she would betray me in some way. There is also the question of whether she would live close to us. She is interested in doing a Master’s and that could be in Canada, so we shall see where this all goes. In the meantime, I’m putting myself into a mindframe of tuning out from the normal programming I mentioned above. As the old saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. I sometimes have the feeling that Ben and I only met recently and that our relationship is still fragile. I remind myself how much can happen in a little over a year…

Thanks as always for reading! I await your relationship questions, which are always posted anonymously. My email address is miriam@askmiriam.ca

A Streetcar Named Desire

I’m in Japan now and I’ve been staying this week in a city called Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. I lived in Japan from 2008-2010 and never got the chance to travel to Shikoku, so I decided to come now. I also came here because I wanted to meet a certain woman. I had been in contact with her for awhile and she looked really cute and interesting. I will call her Ellen. Ellen and I met on Tuesday for lunch and ended up wandering around a park called Ritsurin. I found out from her that Ritsurin is rated as one of the top 5 gardens in Japan. It is quite beautiful and we had a nice time wandering around it. Ellen is a very relaxed person and is also from Canada. She was in a poly relationship for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. On Tuesday, I didn’t find myself that attracted to Ellen, which disappointed me. It often happens to me that I’m in contact with someone for awhile online and then when we meet in person, I’m not that interested in them. However, that would change on Wednesday when we went to a hot spring together and I got to see Ellen’s body. We continued to have good conversation and I was thinking that I at least wanted to cuddle with her.

We left the hot spring and came back into the centre of Takamatsu. Ellen told me that she knew about some second hand stores, which is really the only kind of shopping I like, so we wanted to go to them. Unfortunately, we found that they were closed. We got a little snack and then tried to decide what to do. I told Ellen she could come with me back to my hotel room and she declined. I had thought that she probably wasn’t that interested in me and I guess her feelings didn’t change when she saw me naked. I haven’t been in the greatest mood this week and of course, this didn’t help. I feel like I shouldn’t complain because I’m getting a free hotel room courtesy of a couchsurfer here whose family owns a hotel, but mainly, I do couchsurfing so I can meet people, not so I can stay in a hotel. The only contact I’ve had with the hosts is in the evening when I go to their home for dinner, eat with them, and then wash and dry dishes in silence in the presence of the woman. I was invited on Monday to have lunch with the man and he didn’t talk to me at the restaurant; there was a TV to our left and he wouldn’t stop watching it. Thankfully, on Wednesday evening, 2 more couchsurfers from Switzerland arrived and I got to hang out with them yesterday. We had a really good time on the island of Naoshima, where there is a lot of interesting art.

One of the reasons why I called this post, A Streetcar Named Desire, is because I told Ben on Wednesday that I haven’t felt desired by a person other than him for quite awhile. It’s nice that in China, we can spend time with Amy and have threesomes, but I don’t feel that she really desires me, nor I her. I have often felt that there are so few women I’m very attracted to and I wish there were more. It’s also difficult when I see Ben being so successful with women and I feel envious. It’s so easy to get a guy; as the old saying goes, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. I just wish that I could find a woman who desired me and who I desire. On this trip, I really wanted to make an effort to meet more women. 2 years ago, I took trains across the US for a month and didn’t have many experiences with women. This time, I wanted that to be different. I will be meeting more – we’ll see how it all goes…

Thank you as always for reading! Next week I go to Kobe and Tokyo and I hope for some sexy adventures there. I will update when something happens. If you have a question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

On a More Personal Post: My Relationship with Women

After hanging out with a woman from OkCupid last night, I thought to put together a blog about the evolution of my relationship with women. I grew up predominantly with my mother and my sister. I have always been close with my mom, but my sister and I are pretty different. We fought sometimes when I was younger, but as we grew into adults, we got along much better. I think that was partly because we no longer lived together and drove each other crazy. From Kindergarten to Grade 8, I attended a Jewish private school. I barely had any friends and I think a lot of the girls there didn’t know what to make of me. I have always been a bit unusual plus our school mainly had rich kids and I grew up middle class. A lot of my classmates wore expensive clothes that we never could afford. I did have a few friends who were girls and looking back, I feel like I might have been attracted to one of them, but I don’t think I realized it at the time. In high school, I started dating, but I never dated any girls. However, toward the end of high school, I did have some kind of inkling that I might be attracted to women. I was in my serious relationship, which would last 1.5 years, but one night I saw an attractive woman on TV and I remember feeling very turned on. I didn’t really know what to do about that, though. Shortly after that, my boyfriend and I broke up and I started university.

I didn’t start dating anyone seriously until my second year of university. For the purposes of this blog, I will call him David. David and I ended up being together for a very long time. In my 3rd year of university, I went to Vermont for a conference with a female friend of mine. I didn’t have a driver’s license so my friend did all the driving and it’s quite a long drive from Toronto. My grandparents, who live in Montreal, told us we could stay the night at their house if we wanted to. On our way home from the conference, we took them up on their offer. They were away at the time. On the drive to Montreal, my friend told me she had never kissed a girl. She was also involved seriously with a man at the time. When we arrived in Montreal, I called David and asked him if it would be okay if I kissed my friend. He later told me he thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. My friend and I made out and fell asleep with our clothes on. It was overall a very pleasant experience, though not extremely passionate. I didn’t really think anything of it, but I did enjoy it.

Fast forward to 2008 when David and I were living in Japan.  We sometimes went to hot springs together and I sometimes went alone because I really liked them. The hot springs are normally separated by gender and everyone walks around naked. I remember seeing the women and thinking they were very attractive. Fast forward again to the summer of 2011. I was doing my Master’s and went to Germany, because I was studying the German anti-nuclear movement. My supervisor in Germany went to a conference in Istanbul and I went as well. I met a guy in an open relationship and fell head over heels for him. David visited me in Germany and I told him about the guy; he wasn’t happy about that. He did tell me he was fine with me dating women, which I felt was a double standard but for the moment, I accepted it. When we returned to Toronto, I did have a few dates with women, but nothing went anywhere. The following year, David and I broke up. 2 months after, I had my first relationship with a woman. Overall it was good, but I wasn’t ready to date, so I decided to end things. In the spring of last year, I dated a woman for a very short period of time; she and I are close friends and she introduced Ben and I, so I’m very grateful to her.

Going forward, I’d really like to date a woman. I don’t like putting labels on my sexuality, though. When people ask me if I’m bisexual, I usually say, I guess so. There’s a great book about the fluidity of sexual desire in women by Lisa Diamond. She interviewed 100 women over 10 years about their experiences and she has different categories for sexual orientation. One of those categories is, attracted to the person, not the gender. I very much resonate with that. At the end of the day, people are just people. There is a certain amount of conditioning based on gender that all genders have to deal with, however, we all have our own experiences and emotions. One of the great things about being polyamorous is we can experience it all and we can appreciate people for who they truly are.

If you have a question, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca  Have a great Tuesday!

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