Happy 3rd birthday, Feminists with FSD

09/07/2011 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Today marks the 3rd anniversary of this blog. Three years on the internet, blogging about first-person perspectives of sexual dysfunction and feminism – that’s a long time to blog!

I think this calls for some small celebration and a few more pictures on this mostly-text operation. (We especially need some filler right now because I am still working on part 4 Ina blog post series about doctor’s views of sexual pain.) We already have pictures of cupcakes and unicorns here, but there is one very special type of unicorn I neglected to include during my little April Fool’s prank:

[Description: Unicorn pony Rarity leaning into also-unicorn pony Twilight Sparkle. From the MLP:FIM wiki. You can’t actually see Rarity’s horn in this picture, but it’s there.]

Yes that’s right: It’s a Pony post! Deal with it. This blog needs about 20% more Ponies in order to be cool. (Don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming.) Now let’s get this pony stuff out of our systems pronto.

See more on Know Your Meme

[Description: Animated .gif of Twilight Sparkle jumping mid-air and black glasses landing on her face. She talks and text appears saying, “Deal with it.”]

As is tradition, let’s take a break from usual serious posting to do some retrospective navel-gazing. (See the first-year anniversary here and last year’s post here.)

2011 has been a quieter year for Feminists with FSD than in previous years, because I didn’t write anything during the summer. We lost some time we could have spent blogging. On the other hand, taking time off gave me a chance to recharge and shed some burnout. I may have to do that again next year.

But even with that break, things are likely to remain quieter around here than they have been in the past – you may have noticed the lack of weekly blog link roundups. My excuse for this is that I still work full-time in a completely unrelated field and receive zero compensation for putting anything up on this blog. I cannot offer compensation to guest posters, because I have nothing to give. And since my commute got a lot worse this year than it has been in the past, I don’t have as much time to blog as I used to. But I keep trying to chug along and plug along as much as I can.

There’s still a lot of stuff left to talk about with regards to the intersection of feminism & female sexual dysfunction. I’ve addressed only a few of the outstanding issues I brought up in last year’s anniversary post. Your undying patience with my snail’s pace at getting new content posted is appreciated.

On the other hand, there are new topics posted now that I hadn’t thought of last year – such as our still-continuing series on how doctors think sexual pain should be addressed – as a pain problem, or as a sex problem? Hmm. So much work left to do… and it needs to be done.

I am 100% confident that there is still a need to present these first-person perspectives on feminism & sexual dysfunction. I’m still finding posts online and in articles written by people who present themselves as experts on sexuality – yet articles about sexual dysfunction still fail to speak for me, or even, to me. So many articles by folks who have never experienced sexual dysfunction firsthand, yet claim to know more about it than I and my friends do. The authors don’t talk to me as an equal deserving of respect and with a mind of my own, capable of making thoughtful decisions on what to do about my health and sex life. Instead, what I’m seeing as someone who actually has sexual dysfunction, is condescension and stereotypes presented as helpful “Advice.”

I don’t know about the rest of you, but most of the advice offered in these contemporary articles about and critical of sexual dysfunction do not address my problems. Instead, the advice presented just adds bullshit onto my growing pile of crap I gotta deal with – and makes it harder for me to slog along way to a satisfactory resolution. I’m thinking to myself right now, Oh look, another so-called “Sexpert” just implied that anyone who even considers using medication to manage a sex problem must be a pill-popping shill incapable of critical thought re: the pharmaceutical industry and potential side effects. What do these journalists think we do? I think they think we all go to a big city with fistfulls of cash and bang on the door of the first corporation we can find, saying, “BIG PHARMA TAKE MY MONEEEEY!!!”

[Description: Stylized unicorn with a gold tiara and rainbow wavy hair Princess Celestia shrugging with this look on her face: >:/]

I think to myself, And look over there, another journalist just explicitly stated that women who don’t have orgasms are holding themselves back because of peer pressure brainwashing by the patriarchy. I can’t believe this is still a thing.

Remember, I am not an Agony Aunt. Most of the time I hate giving out advice, because I can never have a complete story of what’s going on in your life, what you’ve already tried, where you want to be in the future, etc. I don’t want to be the one to give you the wrong advice that winds up causing more problems in the end.
And please, for the love of god, no one ever refer to me as a “Sexpert.”

I will proceed to make one exception to my general guideline about not giving advice though. Here’s something that the sexual dysfunction writers to which I am referring need to know:

Protip: if you yourself do not know what daily life with sexual dysfunction is like, yet you still want to write about female sexual dysfunction, maybe find some women who actually have sexual dysfunction ask for their opinions and experiences first. Having trouble finding women who identify as having sexual dysfunction and who are willing to open up to you about it? Then maybe you should read the archives on this blog for examples of why it’s risky to come out as having a sexual dysfunction in the first place. There is still tremendous stigma attached to it as a diagnosis, whether you’ve got a low libido, pain, or any other seriously distressing sexual problem. Is your blog post or magazine excerpt going to be yet another one of these problematic articles?

So instead of copying the way I see most articles about sexual dysfunction, here’s what I prefer to think when I write stuff for this blog. I start off from these general points of view to serve as guidelines:

People with sexual dysfunction are smart.
People with sexual dysfunctions are capable of making rational decisions about what to do about their health and sex lives.
People with sexual dysfunction have probably already sought advice, are currently seeking advice, or will seek advice in the future. That means that whatever advice you as an individual have for someone with a sex problem, it probably isn’t that new or revolutionary. Whoever you’re writing for has probably seen some iteration of your advice, or will see it again in the future. So that’s why I like to take things in a different direction here – I like to show off stuff that I haven’t seen before, or stuff that I’ve only rarely seen.

It’s a different starting point from how I usually see sexual dysfunction patients handled. Most articles and essays about sexual dysfunction start off from a position where the patients are ignorant, gullible and easily manipulated.

Hmm… No, sir, I don’t like it.

What th— wait a minute! This was supposed to be a pony post! Who let Mr. Horse in here?! Get out of here, Mr. Horse. You’re from a different show.

[Description: Mr. Horse from the Ren & Stimpy show standing on two legs and wearing a gentlemen’s coat and tie. Standing in front of an abstract yellow & gray background with a sour look on his expressive face.]

A problem holding me back is that since I am not an Agony Aunt, Sexpert, Ph.D., M.D., M.S.W., or anything other than an ordinary lady with an extraordinary crotch, I still lack something critically important: Credibility. Who is going to listen to a young lady’s views of sex and feminism when she herself has not actually even had any penis-in-vagina activity in over two years, despite being in a long-term heterosexual relationship? Who is going to take seriously a critique of peer-reviewed journal articles, as written by someone with no relevant academic credentials? What publisher would ever take an essay about sex by someone like me seriously? There’s no two-or-three letter acronym before or after my real name, other than the generic “MS.” So although This blog has a decent number of readers – as many as some college classes – I remain painfully insecure about my own perceived illegitimacy. I feel like it doesn’t matter how much research I do or if I do a good job of pointing out flaws in the way people present sexual dysfunction; without something to make me look like I’m important, no one will ever listen.

And that makes me sad.

[Description: Light purple winged unicorn Princess Luna crouching on the ground. She is looking up at something off-screen.]

I suppose the solution to this dilemma is to go back to school to get a two-or-three letter acronym to put in front of or behind my name. Except I already have a Bachelor’s degree in another field, and school costs money. Money and time, which I am also short on. It is a conundrum… Plus, in principle, you shouldn’t need to have professionally recognized credentials in order to talk about what’s going on in your life.

So for some reason I keep on blogging anyway. It’s one of those things where you do it because you have to do it. Not that I’m being compelled by any outside force; just something inside pushing for more. So more comes out – and hopefully, will continue to pour out for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading, we shall return to our regularly scheduled non-pony blogging shortly.


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  1. Congrats on 3 years!

  2. Mr. Horse! Oh, man, the nostalgia! I haven’t thought about that show in years. (Maybe it’s because it was one of the first shows I noticed jumping the shark before the term “jumping the shark” even existed, and I just tried to pretend that a lot of the later episodes didn’t exist. But when it was great, it was great.)

    Anyway… I know you worry about not having credentials, but I still feel like I can’t thank you enough for having this blog. I had just resigned myself in silence to having far less of a sex life than I wanted, until I found this blog. It’s helped me put a lot of things into place in my own life, and I still come back here to read the posts periodically when I’m just feeling too cruddy about the total erasure of people like myself from communities and movements that are supposed to be all-inclusive and sex-celebrating.

    I’m sorry I haven’t been so good with the comments lately, or working on my guest essays. I still have them in progress, just… neurological disabilities keeping me from finishing stuff, mostly.

    Also, for what it’s worth, don’t worry about the lack of link roundup posts lately. TBH, I can get really stressed out by thinking that in order to be a “good” feminist, or “good” activist, or whatever, I have to constantly be reading blogs all the time. It’s just too much for me, my brain can’t handle it all, and I really need to be using it for other things these days. So I wouldn’t ever think less of anyone for not being able to keep up with all the latest blog action.

    • Whew, thanks for the reassurance. I have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that some day, someone with academic & paper credentials is going to find this blog… and instead of seriously considering everything on it, they will just be all like, “I recommend that every professional disregard the blog in question, because it was written by a lay person instead of one of us.” To which a valid response is, there are sex bloggers & sex education bloggers who likewise have no official credentials, but are recognized as valid educators nonetheless, by virtue of their willingness to do the research and make excellent points.

      Don’t feel like you have to crank out content, too. We’re not obligated to do this.
      And yeah I got overwhelmed with keeping up with so many feminist sites that lately I actually took a few off my own RSS feeder. One of them was a big one… not having to stress myself out though, totally worth it.

      When you said the later episodes of Ren & Stimpy were sub-par did you mean the Adult Party Cartoon era or when it was still on Nickoledon, but John K. was no longer involved? I remember he got removed from the show at one point and most of the original animators left, that’s probably why the quality dropped during the initial run. I recently watched the first season on Netflix and I never realized as a kid how satirical the show is of earlier (like 1950s-1970s I’d estimate) television & marketing.

      • and instead of seriously considering everything on it, they will just be all like, “I recommend that every professional disregard the blog in question, because it was written by a lay person instead of one of us.”

        That’s really what a lot of people with “invisible” disibilities face in trying to be taken seriously by the media and medical establishment in general, though, isn’t it? I mean, a person can give an exhaustively detailed rundown and timeline of their symptoms, and all of it can just be waved off by a more privileged person with a degree behind their name, telling everyone that this person clearly has no idea what they’re talking about and is maybe just hysterical/delusional/etc, especially if the condition is one that affects women disproportionately. (…I’m still boggling from Leonore Tiefer’s assertion that patient advocacy groups are fronts for pharmaceutical companies. I have seen some cases of sham advocacy groups that do turn out to actually be sponsored by drug companies, and I wonder if maybe she’s run into a few of those– but from the perspective of a patient with multiple disabilities, at least, one big huge red flag for me is when the group is mostly run by doctors or rich non-disabled people and has few or no people who live with the condition or disability in question on the board of directors, or whoever’s running it. There’s a difference between self-advocacy and “advocacy” supposedly done in your name but not actually asking you, the person who lives with this, what you want and need. I don’t know if Leonore Tiefer understands the concept of self-advocacy at all.)

        Oh, about Ren and Stimpy, I thought it kind of jumped the shark when John Kricfalusi left the show during its original run. The writers who took over didn’t really seem to understand what had made it funny before, and it turned into mostly gross-out humor, without the surreal zaniness that made the early episodes so great. And the satire, which I missed a lot of as a preteen, too. (I heard bad enough things about the Adult Swim reboot that I never watched any of those episodes at all. Though Kricfalusi was directly involved with those, but… sometimes writers can forget what made their own show funny too.)

        Did you ever watch “2 Stupid Dogs”? It ran on Cartoon Network from around 1994 to 1997 or so, and John Kricfalusi was involved in a couple of the episodes, though he wasn’t credited as a producer or writer in any of them. But it had a lot of the same surreal humor and vintage-advertising-parody that the early Ren and Stimpy episodes had, so I always thought of it as kind of a spiritual successor in a way.

        • That’s really what a lot of people with “invisible” disibilities face in trying to be taken seriously by the media and medical establishment in general, though, isn’t it?

          That’s what I’ve seen. I recall hearing criticism of the Jerry’s Kids program for example, from folks with neuromuscular diseases. But how do you go up against such a big, famous organization that, especially when it’s supposed to be doing good?
          Likewise with breast cancer charities. Some of them are fairly good… others provide little or no actual services towards developing cures & treatments. Occasionally, with the bad ones, fundraising activities go mostly to the payrolls of those employed by the charities & advocacy groups. This is kind of going off on a tangent, but I want to say it anyway – the funny thing about non-profit organizations – I didn’t actually know this until about 10 years ago, but non-profits aren’t necessarily run by volunteers. You can have a big staff, big budget, and big salaries. Heck, just looking at various non-profit tax returns could easily constitute a post in and of itself – you can find data about salaries & revenues in the returns, which are usually publicly available.

          Now the cynic in me impulsively says – Dr. Tiefer probably knows what self-advocacy is, in the sense that, when she’s advocating against medical interventions for FSD (exclusive of pain, apparently) – well, who is she really advocating for… people (women) without FSD. Being that FSD is an artificial construct, that likely includes her. So, self advocacy. Advocating, for herself, and women like her, which does not include me.

          As far as the other thing goes, I actually did not like 2 Stupid Dogs when I was a little kid! It came on in the early mornings and now I can’t remember if I watched it just because there wasn’t anything else on, or if I was watching it waiting for something better… I definitely watched it anyway, but I hated it! I wouldn’t remember any of John K’s work with the show.

  3. […] Happy 3rd birthday, Feminists with FSD: I can’t believe I blogged that much… also, […]

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