Can we stop labelling ‘X’ behaviour as cheating?
Flirting with other people is not inherently cheating.
Kissing other people is not inherently cheating.
Fucking other people is not inherently cheating.

No behaviour is inherently cheating. Some people consider watching porn cheating; others let their partners fuck other people.

Cheating involves crossing a pre-negotiated boundary and/or some type of deceit.

I am in an ethically non-monogamous relationship that is getting dangerously close to becoming a non-hierarchical polyamorous relationship. Years ago, there was an incident where my partner had sex with another woman, but did not use protection. I felt like he cheated on me. One could argue that he did cheat on me; having sex with others was well within our boundaries, but not using protection was not. He crossed a line and I felt betrayed.

He never lied to me. He admitted his mistake. And we moved on.
So, personally, I believe that cheating always involves some level of deceit. Lying is bad! Lying creates a break in trust and that is hard, (but not impossible to repair).

I am so fucking sick of reading articles about “micro-cheating” and if he/she is doing “this thing” you are likely being cheated on. Fuck that. I hope my partner is out flirting with other people; I hope they have friendships with people of the opposite sex!
Which gets me on the topic of “emotional affairs.” What the fuck is that? I mean, I can maybe buy it if there is some level of sexual energy, but for the most part it kinda seems like an emotional affair is the same as being besties. Again, it comes down to deciet… if my partner was hiding the emotional connection from me I would feel betrayed.

Well, that is enough of a rant. I got a bit worked up and apologise that this may not be the most coherent post.

I am not in America, nor am I American, but as the owner of a vagina I can’t help but pay attention to the fact that abortion rights may soon not be protected. Which is fucking insane! It’s 2020… I don’t understand how or why this is a fucking issue still. But, I digress….

Let’s talk about the reproductive responsibility of men.

I am well aware that it takes two to tango. An accidental pregnancy has life changing effects for at least two people, yet the woman is the only one who gets to have a choice about parenthood. I am not suggesting that a woman needs to have the father’s permission to get an abortion, that is fucking absurd. If a woman doesn’t want to go through pregnancy and/or birth, she has every right to make that choice. If the man wants the baby, that is unfortunate for him, but until men can create a tiny human that right belongs solely to women.

However, I do think men should be able to opt out of parenthood as well. Some of the logistics get a bit gray because I haven’t thought everything through yet.
Theoretically, I think men should have until the woman is 12 weeks pregnant to opt out of any parental responsibility – financial or otherwise.
Why 12 weeks? Because generally that is the point to where a woman can easily access an abortion.
I’d love to say up to 20 weeks, but late-term abortions can be difficult to acquire. So that being said, there may be cases in which a man is able to opt out up to this point.

What about the cases where the man isn’t aware of the pregnancy until after the birth of the child?
Honestly, I don’t know. I told you…. I haven’t thought everything through.

I have presented this argument to people before who seem to brush it off with, “well, you would think differently if it happened to you.”
No. I wouldn’t. Do you know why I know this? Because it happened to me.

My kid was an accident. Her father wanted me to get an abortion, I couldn’t do it for my own reasons (although I am 100% pro-choice, and have gone with friends to have the procedure done). He didn’t want the baby, but I could force it on him and at the very least he would be partially financially responsible for this child for 18 years.
That didn’t sit right with me.
So, I told him that he had until I was 12 weeks pregnant to decide. If he chose to leave me, then I would raise the child by myself and not ask anything of him. Although I did say that if/when the child asked about their father I would provide his information to the child.

I won’t lie, it was a stressful week or two, but I had made my choice and it was only fair that I gave him time to make his.

Let’s continue the conversation on labeling, shall we?

Before we start, let me be very clear that I am a proponent of transgender rights! But this non-sense of transgendered children and toddlers needs to stop. That is not to say that these kids shouldn’t be able to express themselves but labeling them transgendered seems preposterous.

For simplicity, I am going to call myself a cis-gendered, bisexual female.
As a child, I was a tom-boy. Like ate dirt, played rough-and-tumble, climbed trees, got muddy, all my friends were boys and I hated dolls and anything pink. In fact, I thought that dolls should be dismembered and anything pink should be set on fire. I vividly recall having some epic temper tantrums about having to wear dresses to Christmas or Easter dinners.

That’s what I was, a girl that was a tom-boy. But a girl.
If I was that child today, I am not sure I would identify as a girl. At the time, I always felt like “one of the boys.” I wanted to be a boy, so I didn’t feel other than them.

Today, I am still a bit of a tom-boy; I don’t wear makeup often, I still like sports, I still hate pink. The difference now, I love wearing dresses, I love jewelry. I love being feminine, sometimes.
But undoubtedly, I am female. My self-identity evolved over my teenage years and into my twenties, and I am sure it is still evolving.

This is where my concern lies. I believe that children should be able to express themselves however they want, but labeling them transgendered seems so permanent, I worry that “transgendered” will become so ingrained into their self-identity that they won’t be able to shake it if their feelings change.

If my son wants to start wearing dresses, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Actually, at one point he went through a phase where he always wanted pink nail polish. Hell, if he wanted to (at this point, informally) change his name to something ‘girly’, I’ll call him whatever he wants.
I will always support him. It would start as him being a boy who liked girl things; then maybe a boy who felt like a girl; before finally, evolving into being transgendered.

I guess my point is, I think we should be supportive of kids (really, of everyone), but not be so quick to jump on labels. Humans grow, self-identity evolves and we need to let people decide for themselves. Stop shoving people into these neatly labelled boxes, at the very least, lets leave the lid off so people are free to choose a different box.

Recently, I watched this TED Talk by Tarana Burke. I watched it at a volunteer gig of mine with some at-risk youth at a workshop on consent.
I was the first person to put up my hand upon completion of the video, and it was to say that I had a HUGE problem with Ms. Burke’s message about ending sexual violence. Cue awkward pause, and one of the presenters finally managing to stammer out, “Really? Why…?
(Yes, I may have been going for the dramatic entrance here… it’s just what I do)

I responded that I absolutely did not want an end to sexual violence. No one wanted an end to sexual violence (pause for dramatic effect). People, including myself, want an end to non-consensual sexual violence.
Lots of people like rough sex.
Lots of people enjoy BDSM, from the mildest to the most hardcore and taboo activities.
These are forms of sexual violence. I know people who use BDSM and consensual non-consent as a way to work through past sexual trauma.

A brief moment after my monologue (which was much longer and contained many more thoughts), one of the presenters suggested that Ms. Burke meant non-consensual sexual violence and that the watcher was to infer that from her talk.

I agree. Wholeheartedly.
Perhaps it is because I am a bit pedantic, but I think it is important to specify that one means non-consensual sexual violence and not just sexual violence. I can see well-meaning groups working towards a world without sexual violence and in the process criminalizing consensual activities between adults and further traumatizing some people.

Just my thoughts. I do think we need to work towards a world without sexual assault. I think we need to empower people, men and women, to be able to say and respect the word no. But eradicating sexual violence is not the way.

How do I identify?
To be honest I am not really sure, especially now with ten million labels an choices. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the existence of these labels is a bad thing, but people getting so worked up about being accidentally mislabeled is out of control.

I can only imagine that I present to the world as straight/heterosexual woman. Every long-term, romantic relationship I have been in has been with a man; I am married to a man, and my lover is a man. But I am not really comfortable with that label, because women are gorgeous, sexy, sensual, and I love fucking them.

So I am bisexual then?
Maybe? I am not really comfortable with that label either because I cannot see myself being in a romantic relationship with a woman (not saying that it couldn’t happen, because you never know…). I enjoy sex with women, but that is it. It is casual without romantic feelings involved.
Personally, I feel as if a bisexual person is equally as attracted to men and women, and that just isn’t the case for me. Other people may define this differently, and that is not wrong either.
To be honest, this is the label that most people assign to me once they find out I am attracted to women. It doesn’t offend me…. it is just the easiest way to define me.

I haven’t put a lot of thought into this. I could see myself being attracted to someone that isn’t cis-gendered. Actually, if I was going to be in a relationship with a woman I have always assumed that it would be with a transwoman.
But honestly, this doesn’t sit right with me either. Largely, because I don’t want to have to explain what the fuck this is every time I say it.

The Result
I have accepted the bisexual label, but feel the need to qualify it with hetero-romantic.
This doesn’t help the problem of excess labeling, but it feels like home to me.

What do they mean to you?
Are they empowering? Demeaning? Irrelevant?
Does it matter who they come from?

Honestly, I had an idea for this topic but when I started thinking about it, my thoughts have snowballed into a million different tangents, so I am not sure where we will end up. Let’s just start with some word vomit and see what happens.

Lets start from the beginning….
Like many teenagers, I used to work in retail, at an establishment that was frequented mostly by blue-collar men. I had a great time, most of the customers were lovely, however, a lot of these guys – especially the older men – would refer to me as “honey”, or “love”, or “dear”. And I hated it. It felt so demeaning, like these men couldn’t respect me for being me; like all they saw was a little girl.
So when I started dating my husband and he had a habit of calling female servers “love” I couldn’t believe it. Broke him of that habit real quick! Telling him that women do not enjoy that shit. He disagreed, but stopped to appease me.

Now, looking back on it, who the fuck am I to speak for all women? Personally, I hate it when men I don’t know call me pet names in a casual way like that. Maybe some women like it, I mean I like getting catcalled.
I don’t like it, but the men that do it don’t mean any harm by it and it doesn’t cause me any harm to suck it up and let them call me “love”. On the other hand, maybe it makes another woman’s day. Makes her feel seen. Desired. Boosts her confidence. Who am I to take that away from someone?

On an entirely different note, what about the role of terms of endearment in relationships?
My lover will refer to me as “his girl” or “his whore”. I find one empowering and sexy, and the other mildly demeaning (which is the purpose, and which I have consented to).
He uses “my girl” when I am sad, depressed, or something is wrong. It is to show that he cares, that he loves me and that he will take care of me. On the other hand, I am only “his whore” when he wants me to feel powerful, confident, and sexual.

Well, this has been all over the place, but I am okay with that.

My period started overnight, early, so I wasn’t prepared. And who doesn’t love waking up covered in blood, and having the bed look like a murder scene?

This got me thinking about how little learned about my period in school. Sure, I learned the biology of why it happened and some side effects – ex. cramps – but not anything on how to manage my period. No explanation of products, or the levels within each type of product.
I was 15 when I got my period for the first time, I can’t even imagine girls as young as ten or twelve having to deal with periods – physically or psychologically. I was a high-level athlete, so my body fat percentage was relatively low, which meant that my period was terribly irregular until I was into my 20s and started on hormonal birth control (which is a whole separate nightmare).

I am a heavy bleeder, I always have been, so I just assumed it was normal. I always wore a tampon and a pad, I had to or else I would bleed through my clothes in under an hour. At eighteen, I remember a girlfriend talking about how her younger step-sister had just gotten her period for the first time and how she had to go buy pads for her. I was confused; I had to ask if she was getting her step-sister different pads than she used.
My friend looked at me incredulously and said that she hadn’t touched a pad in over two years. Then asked if I used pads. I said I did, my friend said she just assumed everyone used tampons. I said I used tampons too. It was then my friends turn to express surprise, she had never contemplated using both, especially at the same time. Even overnight.
WTF? How messed up was I?

Five years ago I broke down and purchased a DivaCup. The information on the website and in the literature provided in the DivaCup packaging said the cup held one ounce of liquid, and that most women bleed one to two ounces per cycle. Okay, I will be at the higher end of the that. I knew I was a heavy bleeder, but assumed I was being overly dramatic.

A little awkward maneuvering and I got the silicone cup in place. About two hours later I stood up and felt that familiar, terrible, gushing feeling that we all know. I made my way to the bathroom, I must have put it in wrong.
Nope, I pull the cup out and it is full to the brim! The leaking was because it overflowed. So much for one to two ounces per cycle.

Over the first 24 hours of my period I bled almost eight full ounces! Then about six more ounces during the rest of my cycle. That’s fourteen ounces total, significantly more than the one to two ounces that most women experience.
Cue some research and a trip to the doctor. Everything I could find said that menorrhagia was normal and affected approximately ten percent of women. My doctor confirmed this, although he did send me for multiple rounds of bloodwork over the next six weeks to ensure that I didn’t get anemic during my period (I don’t). The doctor suggested that I use hormonal birth control to control my periods, which I declined as it has a terrible effect on my mental health.

The DivaCup has been a game changer for me. I don’t get anywhere near 12 hours of protection, but even on my heaviest days I can go about three hours before needing to empty the cup. Three hours is blissful! Prior to the DivaCup, I would have to alter my daily activities so I could go to the bathroom every half hour to change my tampon and pad. And forget working out, physical activity makes me bleed more, so there was no way I could go for a run before the DivaCup.

Menorrhagia affects ten percent or more of women. It isn’t uncommon. Why are we not teaching young women about this in school? We are leaving so many young women to believe that something is wrong with them.

I went for a walk today and had a realization – I miss being catcalled.

The neighbourhood I live in is developing at an exponential speed. There are always multiple residential complexes under construction and even in the times of social distancing, dozens of men working at each site.
Yes, I noticed many of the men looking at me – checking me out. But not one whistle or comment!

Is this progress?
I suppose that many people would argue that it is. I see post after post on Reddit by women who boast about confronting, or standing up to, men who have catcalled them, or made a general sexual comment at/to/about them. Shaming these men for desiring them; shaming men for appreciating their beauty.

I am aware that this can be a slippery slope. What is an innocent comment about attractiveness and desirability of a woman, can become ridiculously inappropriate pretty quickly. And the way a woman perceives this type of behaviour can vary dramatically based on location – a busy street in the middle of a day, versus some guy hiding in the mouth of an alley in the middle of the night.

I can only imagine that the majority of men that catcall women do no intent to intimidate anyone. That they do not want to traumatize anyone. That they catcall in a (poor) attempt to compliment women.
And that is the way that I perceive catcalls. They make me feel good, it’s good for the ego.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need this type of attention and validation, I am confident and most definitely not lacking in the self-esteem department. But it always makes me feel good when someone thinks I am hot.

I am not suggesting that women should just revel in the attention and not stand up for themselves, but I don’t think that shaming men for innocent comments. I have done my fair share of flipping off catcallers or responding with a snarky comment if the original comment was inappropriate – “Hey baby, how would you like to taste my sausage?” gets a response along the lines of, “I do like dick in my mouth, but not yours, thanks anyway.
On the other hand, “Hey mama, looking fine!” gets a smile and wave, and maybe a “thank you”.

So yes, I miss being catcalled when I walk by a construction site.