Being Triggered

I recently had a couple of sources point out an interview with an expert about why the people on the extreme right of politics seem to be so angry. It was from a comedy program and things went down hill quickly but it started with a statement that many of the groups promote abstaining from masturbation. They are all male groups and think abstaining will increase their testosterone levels. The person being interviewed says there is a study that shows masturbation will actually raise testosterone levels. This caught my attention more than theorizing there is some mechanism at work here other than they have been programmed to be triggered to certain behaviors.

I thought I would check into this study. I did a search to find a number of studies with differing results. The most recent is probably the one mentioned in the comedy interview. From someone who’s T levels got pretty high artificially I can tell you it doesn’t make you angry like was shown in video clips for the show. I have to admit I don’t remember the name of the person being interviewed but I took it he is considered some sort of expert. I would run from any expert who bases an approach on a single study. That I could quickly find a number of studies and there are differing results shows the need for a meta-analysis where the results of numerous studies found to use valid techniques are combined. I think much needs to be done to study sexual activity, but only a few studies get funded.

I’m pretty sure these angry people are triggered by something else. I don’t want to try to speculate in this post what that something else is. I want to talk a bit about a trauma that was triggering me for a while and about how certain triggers can affect the sex positive community. I have somewhat dealt with my triggers and I want to suggest ways to improve the sex positive community by at least some people dealing with their triggers.

More than twenty years ago my wife and I left the faith community we had been raised in. At the time the international organization wasn’t letting members in the U.S. just leave by resigning their membership. They were in the process of loosing lawsuits for this policy so the simple threat of an attorney in our case got our memberships dissolved, or so they claimed. About five years or so later I switched to a new high school as my place of employment. It was taking part of the area my current school served as the population had grown. I looked at the politics of my situation, our current department chair had already been selected to chair the department at the new school. The next most senior teacher served in a lay religious capacity with the district superintendent so he wouldn’t be moved. Most of the other teachers had far less experience and I was feeling some hope I would go give the new school someone who knew the profession. I figured rather than be moved I would just try to go through the selection process. I interviewed for the job and eventually got it.

I didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. A new teacher at our school also wanted to go to the new school. District policy said she couldn’t move until she had more years with the district. The principal at the new school wanted her but he got me instead. What happened to me was in the opposite order from what I heard Ambassador Yovanovitch describe under oath this morning but in many ways similar. The principal wanted me gone. After he left I found out he had a list of teachers he was going to get rid of, and I was number two on the list. He got members of the community to bad mouth me to their friends and neighbors. I started being accused of things that really weren’t going on. It was never about my teaching methods or classroom management. It was things like I was holding a pagan religious ceremony in my classroom at lunch.

Not long after the new school had opened the Columbine High School attack in Colorado happened. Our school had many cameras installed inside and out as a result of the tragedy in Colorado. I was able to show I wasn’t in my classroom when this ceremony supposedly happened but was outside walking around the school a few times in order to get some exercise. In similar manners, every thing they came up with was not supported by facts. The district administration was aware it was the principal creating the problems in the community so he was retired. The damage had been done and the people in the community were going to continue the harassment so when another new school was built a bit later I ended up transferred there. On the last day I worked at the school a teacher that lived in the community sought me out to apologize for her neighbors treating me that way and basing it on my choice to leave their religion. From then on I had trouble dealing with certain types of comments. When ever I felt falsely accused, even by my wife for some small thing, I would not respond in a calm reasonable manner. Even though I had professionally survived, emotionally I had some real damage done to me.

Watching Ambassador Yovanovitch deal with the emotions of having false accusations being made, and even though they were shown to be false, she still was removed from a job brought back many memories. Though the way my experience unfolded turned out to be the head, the principal, that started it, where hers was others starting the false accusations, it was the head, in her case the President, that caused her fear and emotions at being removed. As I watched her face going through different feelings as she tried to answer questions I remembered my own changing emotions while trying to figure out what to do and find the patience to let the process work its way through. Anyone who doesn’t think the real time tweets against her weren’t a form of intimidation has been lucky enough to live a very sheltered life.

A few days ago Hugo, of the Hugo’s Posts Podcast, mentioned in a tweet that some in the sex positive community haven’t treated him in a very open manner. A while back on a different social media platform I commented in a community some things I’d learned from those who are sex positive. It was a community for swingers to share. I was called a few names for daring to suggest communication was important in swinging. When I was starting this path to do something in retirement to support sex positive attitudes I tried to learn as much as possible. I even found a place to get some additional training. When I asked for more information from them I got ghosted. I can only assume they felt I was too old to even rate a response to a professional inquiry.

I think some of the lack of positive response could come from the people involved having been in traumatic situations based on their sexual choices. Some of it is just plain bigotry. Those who have triggers holding them back from dealing with others outside their small community need to find ways to get past those triggers. Either help encourage those without the inhibitions to speak up or find ways to lose the inhibitions themselves. Being able to communicate with others isn’t just needed in sexual relationships, but in all relationships. If friendships, or even just mutual respect, can be formed then being able to protect our freedom to make these kinds of choices can occur. I would think if we can protect and increase the ability to make choices outside the current box of monogamous heterosexual relationships we will be protecting most, if not all, of our freedoms.

I understand the feelings keeping many trying to stay anonymous as they speak up on these topics. I am probably in a position where there would be little or no repercussions if my name were attached to my blog or twitter account. I still face those fears from the trauma caused all those years ago. I fear if that community that told so many lies about me found out about this side of me they would try to have my pension stopped, or would harass me in other ways, especially since they lost that previous attempt to harm me. They did harm me, but not to the extent they were trying to cause harm. Even anonymously, our voices might encourage those who truly feel free to be known to speak up as well. I think anyone who truly wants freedom for all would join even if they want to stay in that heterosexual monogamous box I mentioned earlier. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to freely choose that than to be forced into it by societal norms? The way to that freedom is to offer others the freedom to choose other ways of living their lives. Those who choose those other ways also have to give that freedom to those that choose a different way. Just as nations need to communicate with each other, the different communities of sexual choices need to communicate with each other.

©2018 Michael Yocom 

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