Category Archives: Sexuality

Sex and Consent Needs to Be a Regular Conversation Topic

At a time when my provincial government is attempting to dial back progress in the Sex Ed classrooms, reality is proving that this is a horrific idea.

In Ottawa, which is our nation’s capital:

In Toronto, my provincial capital:

We have many, many victims–some of whom are adults and have lived with this for 30 years or more, some of whom committed suicide.

We have people who clearly don’t know where to go to get help, when they feel like they might do something non-consensual.

We have administrators, teachers and parents who clearly don’t know it’s not okay to sweep things under the rug.

We need to do something about this. Something needs to change.

Let’s start by talking about it–to everyone and anyone of any age, at all times, in all places. End the secrets.


I’m Not Doomed, and I Won’t Doom Others

The only thing worse than one gender telling another gender what they are is–seriously, must I finish this sentence? In this day and age, yes, apparently I must object to a woman telling me what it’s like to be a woman.

I’m not “second-class”. I’m not “doomed”. Hilla Kerner of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter tells us women are both these things. I reject her definition; I’ve always rejected it and will always reject it. We have to get over the idea that women are weak and unequipped to live in society. Our lack of Y chromosome does not define who we can be, where we can go or what we can do.

We have human rights. One of those rights is to be something other than a victim.

Because I’m not second-class, I would like to suggest that allowing someone else the same rights I have will not take away any of my rights. I can share. I can be compassionate and attempt to empathise with someone who might have had a slightly different experience from mine. To me, the basic shared experience is more important than the gender of the person who experienced it. (Actually, I can’t think of any social situation where the other person’s gender would be relevant at all.)

If we’re ever going to do something about sexual violence, we have to get over this ridiculous head-in-the-sand, hetero-normative approach to it.

Women rape women.

Women rape men.

Transgendered people are raped.

Non-binary people are raped.

By asserting that only men rape women, the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is offering to kiss the boo-boo better while ignoring the blood surging from the artery. Though I haven’t been there, this shelter does not seem like a very safe place at all.

Passing Bill C-16 is a good start to sexual safety for everyone.




Women’s Rights and Exclusion, As A Man Tells Us

You’ve Brought It on Yourselves

Activity Being Avoided: nothing, really: I’m just waiting for Windows to update on my other computer.
Music In My Head: Tin Man – The Avett Brothers (Hey, at least it’s a different song.)
Tea Being Drunk: none. I’m trying to not float away.
Book Being Read: A Man for All Seasons – Robert Bolt

In an effort to avoid branding, I decided (upon finishing Homology and then again upon finishing To Be Human Again) that I would write about something other than sex. It’s an awesome topic–and I use the adjective literally, not colloquially–but fitting into a box just isn’t my thing.

You monsters, though, you just won’t let it alone. Every time someone proposes an excellent idea, some eejit takes everything back a couple of light-years. For chrissake, I just finished a book for you monsters, demonstrating that there’s reason for everything deemed “deviant”, and you ignore me.

Well. That means I just have to write more.

A recent issue of The Walrus had an article that is good, in that it offers reason and a possible solution to a problem that has not been solved in the history of humankind. It’s aptly entitled Why Would Someone Choose to Be a Monster? Indeed. No one chooses such a life–and no one is asking that pedophiles be allowed to go on their merry way; the point is that we come to understand their perspective so that we can find a way to accommodate their needs without people getting hurt.

And then CBC–written and edited by people who, by virtue of residency and calling, are obliged to be unswerving readers of The Walrussensationalises the idiocy of our justice system with the ever-so-useful term “dangerous offender” in the headline.

Mr. Lund, the “dangerous offender”, has been sentenced to indefinite incarceration; the article notes that he spent more than half his pre-trial incarceration in segregation.

This is a human being. What makes his life any less-important than the lives of the people he’s hurt?

Currently, I’m working on a nice, often-pleasant love story. You monsters, however, have left me in a position where the books beside my bed are starting to display a disturbing tone (again) and the characters are starting to find a place in my head. You monsters have boxed me in, so I’ll have to find a way to use it to an advantage–anyone’s advantage.

I leave you with a video that is a socially-acceptable step in the right direction. Apply it to sexual mental illness. Don’t take us backwards, please.


Change of Heart

Activity Being Avoided: laundry
Music In My HeadThe New Saint Jude — Andrew Bird
Tea Being Drunk: just water
Book Being ReadWe Need to Talk about Kevin — Lionel Shriver

On Saturday, I went to an event that had the potential to be many things: gladiator sport, tent revival, snooze fest.  Michael Coren, former opponent of same-sex marriage, was reading from his new book Epiphany, and he was doing so at Glad Day Bookshop.

I didn’t know much about Michael Coren.  People like him are the sorts who ignite a particularly brief flame of irritation in my consciousness and then fizzle into oblivion.  Not being an activist or powerful or charismatic or persuasive or good-looking, I know I’m not going to be able to make these people see reason so they’re not worth the rise in blood pressure.  It’s easier on me to leave these eejits to others with more self-possession.

“Eejits”?  Yes, eejits.  You know my thoughts on this exclusion business.  I do occasionally allow people I like to disagree with me; however, if you’re not worth my effort to dislike, you are, therefore, an eejit.  Eejit is the most dismissive of snubs.

So, what made the eejit become worthy of my Saturday afternoon?  I was interested in why he changed his mind.  I wanted to see whether this was, as various people have suggested, a publicity stunt.  I wanted to see what it was like to be someone who could–on the face of it, at least–change their mind about something so contentious.  I wanted to see, as it’s something I’ve been worried about since I was a teenager, if a Christian who was all het up about Christianity could come off their pedestal and make some connection with the teachings of Christ.

Michael Coren read a little from the book, took an extraordinarily long time and some round-about ways to answer the questions people asked him (the man does like the sound of his own voice), and did not balk when confronted with two-dozen people who could have skinned him alive.  He did fairly well when questioned by Michael Erickson, whom he had attacked ad hominem a couple of years ago.  People used words like hateful and vituperative, and also words like forgiveness; only forgiveness tripped him up a little.

In general, Michael Coren is worth a few minutes of your time to listen to.  (He has some hopeful but not unrealistic ideas as to how the Christian churches are going to wrap their minds around sexuality in the nearish future.)  The book… well, he’s a journalist, and the book is written like a column and it makes for a very, very long column: if you don’t mind such a writing style in such quantities, go for it.

What I got out of the afternoon was confirmation of Timshel, pure and simple. You may choose a way of thinking and a collection of rules from which you pick and choose.  You may grandstand, insist your ideas are superior to others; you may exclude others because they do not think your ideas are useful.  You may voice your opinions, and you may change your mind, and you may put yourself in a situation where you are sitting beside someone on whom you’ve spewed vitriol–and you might get out of this whole thing alive.

It was good to see a bunch of humans being kind to each other.  It was good to see that people are allowed to learn, to change their mind.  It was good to see that the passionate people I generally agree with did not exclude or bully someone who could have been (still) an eejit.


P.S.  I did not buy Coren’s book.  I bought this and this, instead; see updated list of Good Female Writers for gushing on the former.

Make Yourselves Useful

Activity Being Avoided: figuring out what to do with that difficult student
Music In My HeadHopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons
Tea Being Drunk: peppermint.  The cheap kind that tastes (almost) like real mint tea.
Book Being ReadCrime and Punishment (emphasis on the “punishment”)

A lot of people have started following this blog: some are likely to be real followers; others seem to be new bloggers who are fiddling around with stuff; others are total spammers.  (To the health nut who thought he could use my comments section to discourage people from eating chocolate: git offa mah blog, please.)  Anyway, my brain has been tied up with reality and hasn’t been creating any readable blogs for you.  To tide you over, have a look as some of these items and see if they do anything for you:

For those of you who are here for the sex stuff (yes, the Psychopathia Sexualis stories are coming but one cannot rush genius), Mike Miksche will give you something to think about.  Or perhaps something to look at.  Or both.



For those of you who are here for the writing stuff, R.M. Ridley‘s new anthology is out.  As it’s short stories, the best form of writing, I have to recommend it even over the novels.


For those of you who are into education, my latest project is compiling a list of modern songs (though I can sometimes pull off classic rock) that will actually help high school students wrap their minds around a literary work.  There are lists here, here and here, but they’re not all songs that fly with my students.  If you have any tried-and-true pairings, let me know.

Apparently, Brad Roberts’ hair is unacceptable to the modern student.  They couldn’t explain why.  I could tell they were thinking things that couldn’t be expressed in public.

For those of you who are here for religion, that’s been put on the side-burner (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) in favour of a history book.  More on that when the important people decide what to do about said book.

The Drawback of Feminism

Though I’m generally not all that impressed by the Liberal Party, I do like Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.  I think she’s on the right track with several things.  The new changes to the sex-ed curriculum are a good start (but just a start) to dealing the issues of sexuality in our society.  I was pleased to see there was a video to go with it.

And then I watched the video.

Well.  I guess we’re still back in the 60s, and the last 50 years have all been a dream.

Even if you still (still?) subscribe to the theory that there are only two genders, you should be annoyed by this video.


  •  It is estimated that one in ten adult men have been sexually assaulted, the majority of perpetrators being heterosexual men. (Isely & Hehrenbech-Shim, 1997; Scarce, 1997.)
  • One in four women and one in ten men have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. (Saskatchewan Women’s Secretariat.)

From The Department of Justice:

  • 32% of men with developmental disabilities… had been sexually assaulted.
  • in 2001, 3% of spousal sexual violence cases were against men; “This amounts to an estimated… 14,000 men who were sexually assaulted by a spousal partner over the 5 year period preceding the study.”

Should you understand that there are actually more than two genders, you might be interested in this: AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre at UBC says, “Statistics for trans* folks and men are almost non-existent due the barriers when reporting assaults or attempting to seek help.”  (I couldn’t find any relevant information from Ontario, either–a fact that didn’t really surprise me.)

And then we come to the part that society cannot wrap its mind around: all the abusers in this video are male, but that’s not the case in reality.  The gentle female of the species, viewed as innocent and constantly victimised, does fling off the pink apron and assault other humans–both male and female.  Again, the statistics on this are warped because of the reporting barriers.

Kathleen Wynne’s bio on the Premier’s website says, “We are working to bring people together to find common ground, because that’s what we do in Ontario.”  I would think that the first “common ground” we might look at is the fact that we’re all human, and that no human enjoys being sexually assaulted.