Friday, November 30, 2012

Falling in love with a tantrika

I think that most people who decide to receive a professional tantric massage might end up being rather surprised by some of its effects.

The thing has a tendency to stir up strong emotions.

I mean, really REALLY big feelings. As in, while I'm laying there, there's always a point where I'm completely overwhelmed with love. Where I want to tell her how much I'm in love with her, how beautiful she is, and so on.

Of course, I know that the feeling goes away after the session, and I know that it is not "real", in the sense that I'm not really in love with my tantrika. We respect each other, I rather like her (though I often disagree and have a hard time not rolling my eyes when she starts about energetic esoteric teachings), and we have lots of fun, before and after and during the session. (Though that last one's a totally different kind of fun.)


I can totally see how this may overwhelm and even overtrain some clients. Especially if they're lonely. Especially if they're somewhat socially awkward. Even more so if they really have no idea what tantra is all about. So I guess... quite a lot of the clients of such an establishment, actually.

So I guess that the practitioners often receive all kinds of fantastic offers. Some of which may be tempting. (Quoth my tantrika: "You never start a relationship with a client. It can't work out." Intelligent woman, she is!)

Basically, there's a guy who receives heaven from your touch, and who is probably prepared to give a lot for having this all for himself... in terms of money, but also of affection, devotion, time... I imagine that it must be extremely tempting to go on a power trip on one of those offers.

So I've started to write a story where that's exactly what happens. Where a woman is given the opportunity to work as a tantric masseuse, and that woman is way too young and naive (and, at that point, disappointed by men) to resist this sort of temptation, so she does go on this power trip, and it does not end well.

I think that this is highly realistic, and I'm pretty certain it has happened before. Not even necessarily with tantrikas...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Grave Encounters"

I have a morbid fascination with horror movies. It used to be a lot worse, actually. But I'm still quite interested in a very simple fact that seems to me to disclose a lot about how humans work: The fact that horror movies may be completely trivial, chop full with clichés, ripe with sexism and racism and stupidity (if you're a character in a horror film, don't ever have sex - especially not if you're a girl...). Scream and Scary Movie thrive on this formalism of horror. Horror, possibly along with porn, must be the most conservative genre there is.

And they still work. I mean, from a purely, umm, functional perspective - you don't have to have complex characters or backstories or interactions... all you need is a motivation for the group to stay in the haunted house, some tensions among the group itself, a few jump scares, and then let them die one by one without any explanation whatsoever. And voilà, there you have it: a perfectly effective horror movie. [REC] works that way. Blair Witch Project works that way. A lot of others do the same.

Of course, some people require some more quality. But I feel assured in my belief that even for those folks, the requirements for horror films are below those to which they would hold movies in other genres. It's got to have something to do with fear being such a primitive, old, deeply rooted emotion.

Ironically, in a way, bad equipment (or rather, the simulation of "bad equipment" in a movie) can help a horror movie. Dark shadows and places you can't see and weird camera angles help a lot. But how to get those if you have perfect lighting and equipment? "Found footage" to the rescue! Once the camera light is off, there's nothing left but darkness.

Anyway, "Grave Encounters" is a good example of what I'm talking about. The thing is not sophisticated. It's a group of people locked in a house at night, with malicious spirits around.


There are major spoilers ahead. If you plan on watching the movie, don't read any further. You have been warned.


I didn't even watch the whole movie. I only watched maybe half an hour of it, jumping through the DVD. And still I had a hard time turning off the light afterwards. Call me a wussy.

One strong point of the movie is the sheer brutality and malicousness of the spirits. There is no way to communicate with them, no arguing, no pleading, nothing. Those folks are playthings the moment they enter the house, and the film makes this very clear as things progress. I mean, the scene where the one guy tries to find his way out through total darkness, helplessly screaming the names of his fellows, only to then... argh. I would die from a heart attack, long before they.... Argh, again. If you know the film, you know which scene I'm talking about. If not, you'd better not know.

The second one is the "found footage" style. I'm a sucker for that. I loved Blair Witch Project, the natural limitation of light and focus that this style brings makes me imagine all sorts of evil in the dark. It's just delicious. It keeps me on the edge of the seat all the time.

Interestingly, the two parts that totally sold the deal to me were none of the jump scares or the gruesome deaths. One was when they discover that it's 3pm, the following day, and the night just won't end. The other one was when they break through the main entrance, and instead of the outside world, all they find there is just another corridor.

Those two items, in combination with the way they died, told me that there was no hope. They were doomed, period. They would die in there. And die they did. And how.

And again, this is so... simple. Limit the audience's perception, make it final and hopeless, make it dark and gruesome. Simple recipe. But oh how effective!

An important distinction

When you want to find out how things really are, you need to apply logic, reason, evidence, and counter-evidence.

When you want to find out how to live your life, it may pay out to develop compassion and empathy, and follow your heart.

However, it is probably not very useful to try and solve questions about objective reality by looking into your intuition; and it might prove a little difficult to base your life's dreams, who to fall in love with, what job is best suited for you, only on hard evidence.

Hard evidence certainly plays a part in that, but it's not the whole deal. Interestingly, this does not work the other way around: Your feelings can never tell you the speed of light, the date of your mother's birthday, or whether god exists.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Homemade fries + ketchup


  • Slice potatoes as small as you want them
  • Put baking paper on tray and potatoes on paper
  • Add salt, pepper, rosemary or whatever spice floats your boat
  • Bake in oven for maybe 10 minutes (check up on them, I totally suck with precise numbers, 10 mins just worked for me that's all)


  • Put peeled and sliced tomatoes in a dish (the pre-packaged kind you can get in boxes that are already cooked, I'm not sure about their proper english name actually)
  • Add salt, fresh lemon juice and agave sirup (or sugar) to your taste
  • Add whatever spice floats your boat - I often use pepper and chili

And that's it. Total effort: 5 minutes. Total waiting time: 10 minutes. If I'd known this before, I'd never have bought the packaged stuff. Much more room for creativity this way, basically no fat, and it just tastes delicious.

Healthy food

After a month or so of eating almost only vegetarian, and mostly vegan food, here are my first few insights:

  1. Yes it does make me feel better indeed.
  2. I will never go "100%". My aim is to live better, not to be a fanatic. And besides, I don't want to miss out on my mother's extremely delicious dinners.
  3. Weight loss might be a welcome side-effect, but it shouldn't be the primary goal.
  4. Learn to cook for yourself. There are utterly delicious recipes out there, and you'll never get anything even close to that in a restaurant. The video that finally convinced me of this and made me start this thing, was one for vegan bolognese. I swear I have never eaten a pasta bolognese this tasty ever before! (If you want to look it up, the guy's name is Attila Hildmann, but it's in german, so I won't link it here.)
  5. It doesn't have to be salad.
  6. I had always thought that healthy cooking takes a lot of time. Turns out, the opposite is the case. It's a matter of 10-20 minutes for most things I try.
  7. Healthy food is largely a matter of organisation. There are companies that deliver weekly boxes with greens and fruits. Just have to place an order.
  8. Tofu has no taste. Instead, it takes on any taste you add.
  9. The craving for meat, fat and sugar does indeed vanish after a while.
  10. There's a vegan burger recipe (involving tofu, onions, mustard, tomatoes, chillies, agave sirup, avocados, cashews, ...) that I desperately need to try next week.
  11. Popped Amaranth + Yoghurt + Syrup!
  12. Popped Amaranth + Yoghurt + Syrup!
  13. Popped Amaranth + Yoghurt + Syrup!!!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Tantra SSC FAQ

As a tantrika and a person with some experience in bdsm, I'm shocked by the fact that, among tantrikas, there seems to be virtually no public debate about safety, how to decide whether a specific course or seminar is good for you, whether a tantric teacher is worth their money, etc. People attend tantric massage with astounding naiveté. (Yes, I know, "it has little to with real tantra", yadda yadda, but that doesn't make it less risky, regardless of whether it's true or not.)

I think that there should be some guidelines as to what constitutes a good tantra institute, what is or is not to be expected in a tantric massage, etc.

On a more generic level, I think that we should take the highly bdsm-specific idea of SSC, adapt it for tantra - and for sexuality in general - and advocate that amongst the general "vanilla" public.

I have since decided to move the FAQ to seperate location where other related documents might reside in the future.

The document you're reading right now might become outdated at some point. I only update the version which you can reach at the following location: Sorry for the inconvenience.

That said, without further ado, here's the first draft:

The Tantra SSC FAQ

Please be aware that I, betlamed, the original author if this FAQ, am in no way a medical or legal expert. Any proposition about legal and medical facts is purely my personal opinion based on my limited knowledge of the legal code and practice in my own country (NOT the U.S.!), and whatever life experience I have. Before you act on the information given, please make sure to take counsel from a trained professional in the respective area!

Also, this FAQ is written purely from a customer's / client's perspective. I'm sure that there are lots of issues that the providers / tantrikas / instructors should be aware of, too. This is not about bashing tantra or tantrikas in general, nor any specific school, tradition, institute, or religion - this is about ensuring the best, healthiest and most beneficial experience for all of us. I wholeheartedly believe that tantra can enrich your life, that everyone can benefit from it, and that almost all practitioners adhere to the highest moral and professional standards. I want to encourage this positive state and contribute to its continuing existence.

Most of what you read below is really just common-sense. The reason it is still useful to spell them out is that in the heat of excitement of receiving your first tantric initiation, it is surprisingly easy to forget the most basic precautions.

1. Tantra in General

1.1. Who is fit for tantric massage?

  • Every person who participates in tantric practices needs to be adult and physically as well as mentally fit. Every participant needs to agree to the practices out of their own free will and without any coercion or pressure. Children, people with mental disabilities, and - to some degree - people with deep emotional issues should not take part in tantric practices.
  • Animals have no place in human sexuality.
  • If you point out a perceived issue with the above, and the practitioner or instructor brushes the issue aside or refuses to acknowledge that there might be a problem, this is a huge red flag that you should never ignore. Alarm the authorities; at the very least remove yourself from the place as fast as possible.

2. Massages

2.1. What is or is not a legitimate part of a tantric massage?

  • In a professional tantric massage (meaning, one that costs money), there is no sexual intercourse, kissing, oral sex, or other sexual act besides the following:
    • A manual whole-body massage
    • Manual genital massage
    • Genital massage to the point of orgasm
      • For males: to the point of ejaculation
      • For males: Manual prostate massage
    • (I'm not sure about manual vaginal penetration - I will look it up)
  • All of the elements above HAVE to be explicitly negotiated before the act
  • In a non-professional/private context, it is of course up to the participants whether hey want penetrative sex or not, but if you plan on doing so, do yourself a favour and negotiate it beforehand. Everything else might be seen as a breach of trust, and there is nothing less erotic than that.
  • Before the start of the first massage with a new client, there HAS to be a comprehensive introductory talk that explicitly covers and clarifies all of the above.

2.2. What are the customary organizational conditions of a tantric encounter?

  • It is customary for the client to take a shower before the massage. Facilities should be provided on the premise, and the client should take up the offer. It is rude and gross to present a dirty body to a person whose job it is to treat you like a god for one and a half hours.
  • A preparatory or introductory talk is not part of the massage and can not be counted in the massage time. Usual offers are for 90-120 minutes. That is the time of the actual massage itself, not the introductory talk, the shower, etc.
  • In a tantric massage, the focus lies solely and completely on the receiver. The giver may or may not be aroused, their arousal is simply not the point, and it is their responsibility to deal with that. If a male practitioner is visibly aroused by the massage, that does not imply any obligation on part of the receiver to "take care of that".
  • Be aware that a masseur/masseuse will sometimes urge you not to produce too much noise. This is contrary to what tantra is really about, but it is a sad reality that in today's western culture, tantrikas can get in trouble if the neighbours find out what they do for a living. So please indulge them.
  • Do not try and explore/reveal the true identity of the giver. They treated you with respect and gave you a form of love, or at the very least provided their part of a fair business transaction amongst adults - you should not actively try to get them into trouble.
  • Do not try to fondle or touch the giver. Your role in a massage is to be passive. There is usually nothing to be said against some light touching in a socially acceptable manner, and it's probably a good idea to talk about its limits beforehand. A skilled professional will know how to deal with an unwanted touch gently but firmly if you try, but it is better to avoid the issue in the first place.

2.3. What emotional issues may arise?

  • The very basis of a tantric massage is trust. If you don't think that the giver is absolutely and completely trustworthy, move out there immediately!
  • The above goes for men as much as for women. Contrary to popular misconceptions, men can be raped, abused and otherwise mistreated. I'm not aware of any cases like that, but what can happen does happen, so it figures that they do exist.
  • During the session, unexpectedly intense feelings may arise. Those feelings may or may not constitute a form of love, but rest assured that they will subside shortly after the session. Don't confuse lust for everlasting love.
  • Okay, this is strictly my personal subjective opinion, but I know at least one professional masseuse who strongly agrees with me, and I just think it bears mention: You never ever EVER try and start a romantic relationship with your tantrika. Chances are that you're just overwhelmed with your hormones, and the risk of ending up in some abusive entanglement of power are extremely high - that goes for both parties! If your tantrika is prepared to engage in romantic encounters with you, s/he will probably do the same for the next client - is that something you'd want?

3. Courses and Seminars

3.1. How can I decide whether a given course is for me?

  • Ask lots of questions beforehand! A good instructor will be very open about what they do, with the possible exception of a few elements of surprise where it would take away from the experience if you knew them beforehand.
  • As far as I'm aware, there is a spectrum of tantric courses ranging from the therapeutic to the purely physical group sex. To further complicate matters, many of those offers deal in religious or esoteric language and ritual to varying degrees. All have their place, all are legitimate if that's what you're looking for. A legitimate instructor will be open and honest about what they're offering. If there is any hesitation on their part to explain exactly what they have in store, that is a very bad sign.
  • Do they think that chakras, chi, energy fields, devas, "higher beings", angels etc. are real, or just useful metaphors? Make sure that the instructors' ideas resonate with your personal worldview, and that they are reasonably tolerant of opposing views.
  • There are courses only for men, only for women, or for both. Also, some courses are only for singles, only for couples, or both. Be sure to ask the instructor beforehand.
  • Money is an issue of course. As a rule of thumb, a weekend course may cost just about what other kinds of self-awareness courses might cost.

3.2. What are some criteria to separate the wheat from the chaff?

  • Do you recognize any signs of guru worship? While guru worship is an intrinsic part of hindu religion and has its firm place in hindu culture, it is not normally part of the more western forms of neo-tantra. It is up to you whether you want to participate in religious practices like that.
  • More often than not, guru worship can be a sign of a cult. If you have any suspicion that you might have gotten into a cult, run as fast and far as you can.
  • If the instructors claim any therapeutic knowledge, are they prepared to show their credentials?
  • Can they explain their therapeutic method to you in terms that you actually understand?
  • Does their method resonate with you? Do the ideological foundations on said method sit well with you?
  • Tantra is never a replacement for actual psychotherapy. Nor does it heal cancer or bestow you with supernatural powers. A legitimate instructor will be aware of the fact and make sure that all participants understand this, too - they will not simply let you sign off some disclaimer just to cover their backs, but actively call the participants' attention to that fact.
  • Good instructors will refuse to accept participants who seem to have mental or emotional issues. Of course, depending on the therapeutic knowledge and experience of the instructor, there is some leeway here.
  • In a good mixed-gender course, there are at least two instructors, one male and one female. Some institutes even employ assistants for the organizational tasks, but also for any issues that the students might have.

3.2. Will I be expected to be nude?

  • Absolutely and positively NO. There might be some practices in advanced courses where it makes sense that people strip off their clothes, and an instructor might then suggest so, or it will just naturally happen this way. In a beginners' course, it most definitely will not happen. Despite what many people think, nudity is neither the point of nor a prerequisite of tantra.
  • The general basic rule which applies under any and all circumstances is that nobody is ever to be forced into any one particular practice. No means no, and it is to be respected. You have to decide what is good for you, or where your limits are.
  • Having boundaries is not a sign of weakness, or that someone is "not advanced enough", or anything of the sort. Every human being has boundaries and limits, and is perfectly entitled to enforce them under any and all circumstances. This is an integral and immutable part of any legitimate tantric activity.
  • You never have to stand by your "no" against opposition. This is not an assessment center or a management coaching, this is a recreational activity that should serve your fun and help you be more self-accepting, and you have to feel absolutely comfortable at any time.
  • If you witness or are the victim of any coercion into nudity or any other practices that you feel are inappropriate, then it is time to get out of there, and probably inform the authorities. Your own safety should be your top concern. Any attempt at breaking or bypassing your personal judgment is amoral at least and criminal at worst.

3.3. What about this odd non-disclosure agreement they want me to sign?

  • The instructors will often have the participants approve some kind of non-disclosure agreement. The laudable intention is to ensure confidentiality for all participants. However, sometimes a malignant instructor will use this legitimate practice to keep people from talking about illegitimate or outright criminal activities.
    • In some countries, such a non-disclosure agreement is implicit in participation anyway. If the instructor possesses a therapist's certificate, they may well declare the course a form of group therapy, in which case the participants implicitly become co-therapists and are thus bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. It is a good idea to remind people of the fact that they are supposed to be discreet about what and whom they hear and see, but it is not strictly necessary.
    • Such a non-disclosure agreement is limited by customer protection laws. Of course the customers have a right to compare notes on different offers, as long as they do not commit slander or libel.
    • A non-disclosure agreement of any sorts can never cover any criminal activities. If a client becomes a witness to psychological or physical abuse or coercion, they have every right to report this to the authorities. Discussing this in public chats or forums, or otherwise talking or writing about it in public, may constitute slander or libel, but this is not related to the non-disclosure agreement.

3.4. What's with the weird "left-hand/right hand path" stuff?

  • Both terms stem from the western occultist tradition, and are sadly ill-defined (as probably is to be expected in this context). Both may or may not refer specifically to sexual magic, or to magic in general. The left-hand path mostly refers to black, i.e. malicious magic, the right-hand path to white, i.e. benevolent magic. At any rate, both terms have absolutely no place in western secular therapeutic tantra.

3.5. Is tantra a form of therapy?

  • The simple answer: No, in and of itself, tantra is not a therapeutic method. If an instructor claims that it is, then they are either misinformed to a degree that renders them unfit for their job, or something is distinctly fishy.
  • Some instructors claim therapeutic knowledge. This may or may not be legitimate. In any case, it implies that they are bound by the laws regarding psychotherapy in your country, and they can be held responsible to those standards.
  • As soon as they are trained therapists claiming to perform therapy, the instructors are bound by doctor-patient confidentiality.
  • If they claim to perform therapy, but are not trained therapists, that is a criminal offense which should be reported.

3.6. Miscellaneous

  • Please be aware that peer pressure is an astoundingly strong force. It is scientifically proven that everyone of us tends to underestimate its influence. At the first sign of peer pressure, leave the place immediately, or at the very least take a long walk all on your own to clear your mind.
  • If the course takes place in some remote rural part, make sure to take provisions that allow you to leave the place at any time you choose to do so. Nothing is worse than being stuck with an abusive religious guru and their faithful followers for a whole week, just because you didn't come with your own car.
  • If you attend a course as a couple, do not assume that the course will magically heal your relationship issues. Chances are, if your relationship is somewhat broken already, the course will accelerate the process of breaking up.
  • If you attend a course as a couple, talk with your partner about what you can imagine them doing with other people, and what you would rather not see them do.
  • If you can't stand someone looking at your partner with obvious sexual arousal and intentions, do not attend a tantra course, period. The same goes the other way, too. Your partner will be aroused, and you will not always be the direct cause of that arousal.
  • If you attend a course as a single, do not assume that you will find a partner, or will effortlessly get tremendous amounts of sex. The basic rules of attraction that hold in everyday life will also hold on a tantra course.

This FAQ is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Feel free to share and modify, as long as you grant the same freedom to others and mention the original source.

Feedback is, of course, welcome.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Job, interpretations, and jobs

Seth Andrews posted the following image on his facebook page today:

Christians will love to inform you that this is not the point of the story.

The point of the story is that god will reward you for keeping your obedience and faith in face of severe obstacles.

Personally, I think that one point of the story is that being good is not a ticket to a good life, and that life is simply unfair - I can well imagine that the reconciliation part was added later on. (Most theologians agree that the wager part was a later addition - there seems to have been some uneasiness about the whole oeuvre even in biblical times.) Or that it was not even meant to have a message, and was just an attempt at reflecting the relationship between the law, god, and human freedom.

After all, Job seems to have been written around the same time as such ominous books as Kohelet, Ruth, and Song of Songs. Those books don't seem to quite fit in with the rest of the Old Testament - to me, they always seemed to portray a somewhat deviant, reflective, almost rebellious attitude toward the law, the society of Israel, and all too self-assured righteousness.

But stories like that simply do not have one, and only one, correct interpretation. You do not write a story to make a point, and when someone then points out that there are other points to it that you didn't intend, you steadfastly deny it. I'm sorry, but that's just not how storytelling works.

Homer probably didn't intend us to read Odysseus as an opportunistic prick who had his fun outside of marriage for a while and was not all too unhappy about all the obstacles the gods threw at him (he did actively choose to listen to the Sirens, remember?). But heck, that interpretation is valid, and how!

Much the same way, the prodigal son can be read as a failed coming-of-age story. This one has always bugged me - it seems the superhuman grace of god can only ever be expressed in terms of unfinished or thwarted emancipation. Superdaddy will never let you go. He won't let you fly but he might let you sing. It doesn't sit right with me, sorry. It reeks of old wives' tales designed to instill fear and beat children back into obedience.

That multitude of meanings is there in every story. Of course, that's what makes a good story fascinating and captivating - but there is a price to pay: The author doesn't get to deny one interpretation just because it doesn't fit her original intention. Sorry, you should have written a different story then, or just plain told us what you wanted to say instead. Can't have your cake and eat it, too.

"God is an immoral monster" is part of the message of Job, regardless of whether the author wanted to say that or not. (And that message of obedience is, at the very least, morally dubious.) On a deeper level, of course, that's just what you get when you're an omnipotent being who created the world. It's unavoidable that bad shit happens, and god's outrageous and arrogant speech is nothing but the classic denial of a person in power who refuses to take up the responsibility for the mess they've made. Job shows us precisely what happens when people in power act like that: The subordinates suffer. We see that happening in offices and workplaces around the globe on a daily basis, and Job does a terribly good job (npi) of presenting god as the ultimate uncaring, antisocial villain.

And who knows - maybe that WAS the original intention, after all?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Rape Fantasy Gone Horribly Wrong

Please do not read any further if you're offended by discussions of rape, or if they trigger extreme negative memories.

Yesterday, I happened upon this article by way of the following youtube video.

Summing it up: Girl discloses her rape fantasies to her loving boyfriend; boyfriend goes through with it; she says it was real rape.

Now, I will not participate in the blaming process, which I feel to be rather unproductive, especially since the article was posted over 3 years ago and enough people have done an excellent job of it already (though I admit that it is very tempting). Instead, I would like to point out that virtually all the comments to that article are about assigning 100% of the blame to one side. Mostly, they blame the girl. Regardless of whether the commenter be male or female - almost everyone seems to agree that she is to blame. I don't know what to make of that, it just strikes me as odd.

The more important question is, how can healing occur after an incident like this? Putting aside, just for a moment, the blame issue and the obvious legal implications - what needs to be done for both parties to be healed?

One problem with talking about rape is that it almost seems a crime of metaphysical proportions. So the moment you suggest that the victim should do something (apart from informing the authorities), there is an almost instinctual gut-reaction to call victim-blaming!, and stop listening.

How terribly hard it is to phrase things unambiguously here. It's like a fight against language itself. Isn't this idiotic? Talking about who is to blame, and who is guilty, and who has to be punished, is so much easier than trying to actually be productive and have a positive influence. It seems next to impossible not to come off as a self-righteous prick when talking to/about a rape victim. Sure, I have not suffered through a rape. But on the other hand, we were all victims at some points in our lives, I've known several rape victims, believe-you-me I've had my own share of suffering, and on that level I hope that we can empathize and share our experiences.

So, here are my conclusions from my own experiences with being a victim of whatever life threw at me:

I think that there is a distinct difference between being the victim of a wrongful deed on the one hand, and letting that experience dominate the rest of your life on the other. The first you can't influence - the latter you can. I believe that "taking responsibility" has nothing to do with "taking the blame". In fact, I believe that one is almost the opposite of the other. Or rather, the two are distinctly different and unrelated issues. No, you can not take responsibility for the deed that was done to you; nor is it useful or necessary to blame yourself. But you can take responsibility for how you deal with it, now, and for the rest of your life.

You can take responsibility for making sure that this will never, ever, happen again to you. You can take responsibility for helping others who were in the same situation, or for helping them avoid being victimized in the same way. You can take responsibility for turning this into something positive - like a lotus

And most importantly, you can take responsibility for developing self-empathy. At some level, I guess, we all feel that we're to blame for everything that happened to us. And putting the blame on the actual offender - as much as this may be necessary - doesn't seem to really help much. It may sound counterintuitive, but I believe that it makes sense to forgive yourself for letting yourself be victimized. In overcoming my own victimhood, regardless of the actual circumstance, there always comes a certain point at which I am able to say, yes, I let this bad thing happen to me, yes, I let this person wrong me, and I can understand how I could have let that happen because I'm not perfect and neither do I have to be, I don't have to be strong all the time.

Sometimes, this was an issue of a few days. Sometimes, it took me years. And with some issues, I have been working on that for basically all of my life.

So, this is definitely not an easy thing to do. It might be a lengthy process, it might take years, it might never be completely finished. It has to be done step by step, day by day. If you're just a wee little bit better tomorrow than you are today, that is a big achievement.

Sound like not-so-much-fun? Well, yeah. I agree. I simply do not know any other way that actually works.

I also believe that the same steps are necessary for both the victim and the offender. The offender has to go through exactly the same process of self-forgiveness, self-empathy and, perhaps, finding some way to turn this into something positive.

The other thing is that, from a male perspective, there is a very simple lesson to be taken here: Never ever EVER engage in simulated rape play, unless you are fully prepared to go to jail and be labeled a rapist for the rest of your life. Not even if there was a safeword set, not even if you think you are 100% sure that she really wants it. The fun is not worth the risk, and you can not predict whether she will change her mind afterwards - and I'm not saying this in a "you can't trust a girl" way. I guess one part of the problem is that, while they're indulging in their fantasies and getting hot and steamy, people can seriously misjudge the impact the real deal has on their emotions and their mental health. Not to mention the physical impact that rape has.

In other words, she might be completely and honestly convinced that non-consensual rape is absolutely what she wants, but when it actually happens, things might turn out to be completely different. Or to phrase it even more succinctly: Rape can never be consensual. You are essentially committing a crime on your girlfriend, even if it seems that she consented to it beforehand.

I don't ever want to be in a position where I have to own up to the fact that I raped someone, regardless of not being aware of it at the time. I can't start to imagine what impact that might have on me, even if it doesn't end up in court.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Obama's re-election will bring on Armageddon!

So, a christian guy posted a link to the following gem on facebook  (yeah I know people like that!):

To spare you the necessity of reading this... fine piece of poetry, here's the executive summary: A fundamentalist christian complains about Obama's re-election, because to this guy (I suppose; could be a girl of course), Obama stands for infanticide and perversion and, well, everything evil and anti-christian on the planet.

Amazingly, this is not an isolated case. There seems to be a whole pot of christian anti-Obama soup boiling over right now. Obama got re-elected, therefore the end-times are near.

Yeah sure.

I won't even go into the tiny detail that the other guy, what-was-his-name-again, probably wouldn't have lived up to the high hopes that some christians seem to have placed on him. Not in a world that is only ruled by politicians to a small degree, and mostly governed by business interests. (Shouldn't we actually be TOGETHER in despising this? Us liberal-minded folks and the christians, I mean?) I won't bitch about how ridiculous it is to see gay marriage as the epitome of "perversion". (Hey, I used to be into bdsm, remember? I can teach you a lesson or two about anal, if you like.)

Instead, let me focus on only one interesting fact: People like that seem to think that it is the function of a state, and by extension its representatives, to cater to the morals of one specific group. I contend that those folks simply haven't understood the role of the state.

See, the role of the state is not to decide, for example, whom I am allowed to love, or what we do with each other in the bedroom. That is a moral problem that different groups can and will and should solve according to their specific beliefs. The state's role is to provide the bare minimum of boundaries for our social behaviour. And the guideline for those boundaries cannot be taken from the morals of one specific group - even if that group be the large majority - but only from the plain and simple question of how to keep people from hurting each other.

If the state rules that abortions can be performed until the n'th week of pregnancy, then this is not a statement to the effect that abortion is a-ok or morally justified. All it means is that the governing body is of the opinion that this is the best way to reduce suffering as much as possible.

This is, of course, debatable. And we should indeed debate it, again and again. And the debate will never be over. But the basis for the debate is not christian mores; nor buddhist mores or "tantric mores" (whatever that might entail), or satanist or hindu or ancient greek or communist mores... but simply the reduction of suffering.

That is because, as far as I can see, the reduction of suffering is the one formula that all religions, and every worldview that is at least somewhat sane, can agree on. So it is guaranteed to be valid for practically all citizens of any given state.

Anything else would really just be favoritism.

Oh, and, since we're at it, Romans 13:1 clearly states that "everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Folks, your own bible tells you that Obama's re-election was god's will. So what's the fuss about?