The title of this post comes from my receiving an un-solicited picture in my DMs on Twitter. I will come back to that by the end but I want to lay some background first.
Some people may have read earlier posts and already know some of this but I want it in the reader’s mind when I get to the events that inspired the post. A few years ago I retired from teaching high school mathematics and computer science courses for 32 years. A also spent a little over a decade of that teaching evening classes at a local university. I am prevented by the state pension system I’m getting my main income through from working in certain state jobs, like public school teaching or public college level instruction. I was wanting something to do as I transitioned into retirement life.
I was finding it difficult to get good information on how aging is affecting my body, especially as to my sexual functions. As I looked for information I happened across a report that STI rates in retirement homes was increasing. I’m not ready for a retirement home yet but it seems there must be some that are living there still able to have sex. I decided to look into what information is out there and to help me process it, I would write a blog about what I learn and what I find works for me. I have found “The Sex Bible for People Over 50” by Dr. Laurie Betito. I have found the writings by Joan Price, who now has also collaborated on some video programming. The main thing I found was that many, like me, didn’t get good information as they transitioned through puberty and by the time they are senior citizens have many poorly informed attitudes. I’m not sure anyone asked if those seniors in the homes were thinking the pills that were helping at least some of the men were also helping prevent the spread of disease. Those pills do not stop the spread of infections, just as the pills that help prevent unwanted pregnancy do not prevent the spread of infection.
I understand better than many people the way statistics are a useful tool, but not a way to an absolute answer for every person with every problem. I decided try some hormone replacement as it was becoming more and more difficult to maintain muscle mass. I was also really lacking energy to exercise. I was having trouble sleeping. It turns out that my lifestyle, or my genes, or some combination of things, puts me into the statistical group that doesn’t respond well to that particular therapy. Yes I was more energetic, I was adding some muscle, and I was sleeping better, but there were other side effects that I didn’t like. I have since stopped that therapy, I maintain my energy in other ways, I do have to push myself to exercise at times, but that small mental push is all it is taking. I have arranged my daily routine in ways that I sleep well. I also don’t expect to have sex as often as when I was first married but still often enough to help me stay well bonded to my wife.
The thing I came across early in this process that was really new to me was the term “sex positive.” There are a number of people using that expression but for me it means I accept that everyone will have their own approach to that part of their life. Some will want to just have experiences with their own body and no one else. Some will want to have experiences with others of their own sex. Some will want to have experiences with others of the opposite sex. Some will want experiences with others with no concern of what their sex is. There are many more possibilities, basically I mean I accept each person freely choosing who they have these wonderful experiences with as long as it is what I call ethical. Ethical means there is full consent and safety is a primary concern.
If some one is choosing to express their love through physical contact, that contact should not produce unwanted pain. It should not produce unwanted emotional pain through an unwanted pregnancy. It should not produce unwanted physical pain through transmission of disease. Even if you just want to enjoy the strong feelings of sex with a no strings attached type of relationship, you should love any partner enough to be safe.
Then comes the consent part of being ethical. BDSM isn’t always sexual, though sometimes it is, but it seems from what I’ve learned it is always concerned with safety and consent. Some like scenes where one of the participants may be saying no but things continue as “no” isn’t the safe word. Some see the attitude that all is fair game until no, or the safe word, is said. I think a more positive form of consent must be given. In fact, in BDSM scenes, the boundaries are agreed to before the scene and positive consent should be given at that time. The safe word is for two reasons, some boundary has been crossed or a boundary needs to be stricter as the person using the safe word is feeling some sort of distress. Ignoring a safe word is a boundary that should never be crossed.
Here is where I want to come back the picture I received. As a mathematician, and in designing programs, I had to make certain assumptions. It seems many people assume if you are sex positive, you are giving consent for all sorts of other things. Many are not willing to go through the negotiation process to receive consent until the safe word is spoken. They think they are free to do as they please without concern for other parties. It seems the person sending the picture assumed since I have written about sex positive topics I’m gay, or bi, and he therefor had permission to intrude into my DMs. No matter what I identify as, without first receiving consent to enter my DMs with something like that, he was beyond the boundaries a sex positive society. Before you step up to sending dick pics, or a female equivalent here but I’m not sure that there are unsolicited pictures of female anatomy being sent, you need to treat the person you want to see that part of you as a person. You need to get to know them enough to know what they are interested in. You need to give them a chance to grant consent.
Since I’ve never had an experience where someone has approached me with something sexual without first getting to know me I didn’t have a trigger to activate to the extent someone like my daughter who was raped at work about a decade ago may have. I do have some triggers from some other experiences, and the lack of consent here did trigger a couple of nightmares about those other experiences. My sleep had been so restful for a few months until that picture came through. The problem here isn’t the dick pic, it’s the lack of consent before sending the picture. This is not a marketing process where you play the statistics of sending out a thousand of these in hopes of finding one or two people who respond well to it. This is a matter of taking my freedom to choose whether or not I want to look at dick pics.
There is something some people don’t realize. There are web sites and mobile apps that will be better marketing platforms than Twitter. A few years ago I may have even responded with a comment telling the person to go there and do their marketing. For now, hoping they may see the tweet linking to this post, I’ll wait for a few days to block them to give them a chance to make their own choice of whether or not to read my thoughts on their actions.