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by Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone
I think a lot about the difference between practice and desire. Gender presentation versus gender identity, sexual practice versus orientation, stylistic tastes versus what you can afford. What you want to be versus what you have access to. Sometimes the difference and the reason for it is simple, and sometimes less so.
I identify as a Femme pansexual-Panromantic. Gender is fairly irrelevant to my sexual and romantic attractions. This is my orientation- but my preferences are for feminine presenting individuals. This is more of a “type” than a significant part of my orientation- I’m attracted to all sorts of people, I’m just more likely to find feminine people attractive the way that some people are more likely to find redheads more attractive.
And yet most of the people I’ve been with romantically or sexually identified as men- mostly not hyper masculine, but in the masculine area of the gender spectrum, specifically those assigned male at birth and who are okay with that assignment. This is greatly divergent from my preferences. It’s not that I was un-attracted to any of these people- I was, and in some cases continue to be attracted to them. But the representative sample of my partners is not representative of my attractions.
I sometimes ask myself why, and I can only come up with guesses. I believe a part of it has to do with how my being autistic interacts with societal expectations about gender and sexuality. (In addition, of course, to other factors like living in a rural area with fewer people.) I’m not someone who makes the first gesture- indeed, I’m very worried about overstepping boundaries that I can’t see, which has led me to only proceed if I’m relatively certain of interest. And unfortunately I’m not great at figuring out that other people are interested in that particular way.
I know for a fact that this has had an impact on things- I’ve learned multiple times after the fact that there was a mutual desire at play, but that since I didn’t pick up on things the other person did not pursue it further. I even had a girlfriend where we didn’t progress to sexual activity during the romantic relationship because of misread signs. (We later amended that oversight.)
I think part of it has to do with how we gender our expectations on a societal level. (As our society frames things in a binary manner, the roles and expectations are framed as such- but I’ll leave describing how that messes with gender-things to someone more directly effected.) In our (American/western) society, many women are taught that it’s unfeminine and unattractive to be the actively seeking party in sexual matters, whereas man men are taught that being an active seeker sexually is a proof of manliness and attractiveness. Obviously this backfires a lot- when men desire and seek out other men, they certainly aren’t seen as fulfilling that role. And by need at least one woman has to break these roles if two women desire each other. None of this touches on what happens when one or more partner doesn’t have a cis, binary gender identity.
As a result, most of the people I’ve been with have been culturally affirmed that being the active seeker is okay, or even desirable. Meanwhile many of the people who I might prefer have found the need, both because of cultural negativity around gender but also around sexuality, to be more subtle about interest. I… am not great at subtle in these contexts. I’ll get that we are friends, yes, but that the level of interest is more? Not so much.
Dattch, the app for lesbian, bisexual, curious and queer women, is finally available on Android from today! Download it now.
It’s our very first version on Android and we’re really excited to meet all of our new droid users. Our CEO Robyn Exton will be launching the Android version at the same time as we release the app in New York.
She’ll be speaking at the Lesbians Who Tech summit in NYC. “We’ve had thousands and thousands of requests for Android over the past couple of months alone and our early testers have been giving great feedback so we’re really excited to bring Dattch to the Android audience.”
DOWNLOADING AS I REBLOG!! IT’S HERE, GUYS!