Today is Tuesday, the 18th day of October in the year 2016. In three weeks time, the general election for the next President of the United States of America will culminate in us learning which version of historical precedence will be set.
Possibility 1: Hillary Clinton, the candidate for the Democratic Party, will become the first woman and the first spouse of a previous President to be elected President of the United States.
Possibility 2: Donal Trump, the candidate for the Republican Party, will become the first multiple divorcee, multiple civil trial defendant, multiple fraud charge defendant, first candidate allegedly indebted to the Russian government, and first person to have children with multiple previous wives, to be elected President of the United States.
If you are reading this entry, I can assume you love either politics or sex (or both).
If you love politics, please do not vote for Trump. He is destroying every standard and ethical approach to politics this country has ever seen.
If you love sex, please do not vote for Trump. He routinely disparages (and admits to assaulting) women, he regularly insults everybody who is not straight, and he is actively seeking to undo all of the progressive gains this country has made over the last 8 years in regards to civil and equal rights for every non-hetero-normative individual in this country.
Please, if you are a U.S. Citizen, and especially so if you live in one of the states regularly contested, such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa, cast your vote for Clinton. Your LGBTQ+ friends and families, and their families, have their very lives at stake in this election. Stand with us. Stand for progress. Stand for hope. Stand for being stronger together.
Stay SINful, friends.
For those keeping track at home — or not but think these things are cool anyway — in the past week the United States saw
* Oregon have it’s gay marriage ban deemed unconstitutional
* Utah be ordered to recognize the 1300 marriage certificates issued to gay couples
* Pennsylvania have it’s gay marriage ban deemed unconstitutional
*Maryland passed a law banning unequal treatment of trans* people
This makes 16 consecutive rulings since the DOMA ruling that have been in favor of equality. Slowly yet surely that section of the listing ship that is inequality in the United States is being repaired. As Maryland has demonstrated, full inclusiveness requires more then granting two people in love the ability to seek equal recognition under the law.
We’ll get there. Someday soon, I hope.
Stay SINful, friends.
Hello again, SINful Friends. It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything of substance, hasn’t it? My dearest apologies. Many happenings have intruded upon my writing schedule (what schedule? Hah!), so today shall be a combination of recounting all we’ve missed over the last year and some musings over the future of things. So grab a snack, pour a glass, and get comfy. Potential exists for this to take some time.
The past few weeks have been the most interesting — and by interesting I mean alternating between frustrating and exhilarating — time for Mrs. AP and I. When last we spoke, Mrs. AP and I were both feeling rather rejuvenated following a wonderful time out at a live electronic dance music show. This warm uplifting afterglow continued only a few more days before we both started coming down sick. First Mrs. AP, followed by myself a few days later, fell brutal victim to something that resulted in sinuses wanting to erupt like Krakatoa before the whole attacking system move south into the chest. As a former asthmatic, I have not felt pressure like that in my chest, nor coughed that long as hard, since my pre-teen days. This felt like every sports team in New York had decided to permanently squat upon my lungs for days. Whatever it is that assaulted me, I do not recommend it.
In the midst of this descending corruption of our immune systems, Mrs. AP and I managed to get in another Friday night with our friends from the dance floor. SCS has some business plan in mind and wanted Mrs. AP, who has a keen financial acumen, to review her plans. The venue of the meeting wasn’t the most conducive to discussing business plans, and all of us where in some portion of not feeling our best, so the discussion was more generalized than specific. It may end up being a worthwhile endeavor with which Mrs. AP and I may be involved, but right now a great many of the details still have to be flushed out. We’ll have to see how well further discussions along that vein run. Besides, one of the fastest ways to kill a friendship is to mix it with business ventures, and we’d rather keep friends than lose them if we can.
Speaking of keeping and losing friends, things appear to have gone rather sideways with Our Crush. We had a lovely time with him later in the night after our night out at the live show, and thought we’d made progress toward establishing a good on between us all. Mrs. AP and I may have been mistaken in that regard; in the two weeks since our last time together, Our Crush has initiated a conversation with one of us fewer than 5 combined times. As a result, Mrs. AP and I are feeling rather disheartened.
This past Friday was good for Mrs. AP and I in ways neither of us foresaw! We both feel alive in ways we’d forgotten. I’ve re-fallen in love with her, awakened anew to how amazing and beautiful a woman she is. Music I once adored and then let drift away from my consciousness has slammed back into me with the force of a lightning strike. Even work, which I had grown to dread, is now just a slight annoyance. My step has bounce. For that matter, so does my sit; I have danced in my chair nearly endlessly the past few nights.
Furthermore, our social calendar has metamorphosed from dusty and barren to teaming with life! Old friendships are being rekindled, new friendships are budding, and our relationship with Our Crush is steadily blossoming. For the first time that I can recall we are coordinating schedules with multiple people outside the home. Events, gatherings, and perhaps even potential dates are being discussed more than one week in advance. These changes are wholeheartedly welcome and embraced! We surely have needed them!
I wish just such happiness on all of you as well.
Stay SINful, friends.
As has been widely reported, in the near future there is a strong likelihood that the National Council for the Boy Scouts of America may convene, and that during this convention they would vote on a change to the national by-laws for the organization that would allow Area Councils or individual Troops to choose to lift the current ban on accepting openly gay, bisexual, and other non-heterosexual oriented men and boys. For an organization as old and as publicly homophobic as the BSA, even the potential for such a vote to swing in favor of progressive, albeit moderated, acceptance is a large step. As a former Scout, I do not think the current proposal goes far enough.
I grew up as an active member of the BSA. My parents enrolled me during my first year of grade school, and I remained a member until a combination of school requirements, poor area Troops, and an increasingly full event calendar essentially forced me to drop out. Nevertheless, I gave 10 years of my life to the BSA. I attended the weekly meetings, in uniform. I joined every monthly hike, camping trip, or canoeing trip that I could. Every summer from the time I was first eligible, I attended a week of camp. Courtesy of the High Adventure program, I spent a week in a replica schooner in the Florida Keys. Because of the efficient organization of the BSA, I have hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail, I have attended regional Camporees, I have learned First Aid, how to properly care for a rifle, how to tie elaborate knots, how to whip and fuse rope, and how to be both a good leader and a good follower. The lessons I learned as a member were invaluable, and carry with me still.
Some of the core tenets of Scouting that I learned and embraced are contained with the Boy Scout Oath. While I will not recite the entire Oath here, I will focus on the key tenets that apply to the current debate over proper acceptance of members who do not fit the hetero-normative mold. “On my honor… I will do my duty… to help other people at all times … to keep myself … mentally awake and morally straight.” Those tenets apply strongly to this fight. Allow me to break them down.
Goodness, has the past week been brutal for the LGTBQ and Polyamorous communitie.
Really, why can’t we all just take heed of the wisdom of Depeche Mode?
If you’ve been following the news at all — and I don’t blame you if you don’t anymore, it’s downright depressing how inhumane people can be toward one another — then you’ve likely seen coverage relating to the Hacktivist group Anonymous releasing information regarding a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio. During this case, a group of teenagers known as The Rape Crew documented two high school football players raping an unconscous 16-year old girl. Things have not been pretty since. Outrage has been growing concerning the handling of the investigation by local law enforcement, and has again sparked a discussion about the seeming culture of rape in the United States, wherein victims are often ridiculed or challenged to “not entice attack” by refusing to “dress like a slut.” Incomprehensibly, the accused often faces less ridicule than the accuser, and it seems the more athletic the accused or the higher the accused’s profile, the less chance any type of charge will stick.
As has been documented ad nauseum, victims of sexual and domestic abuse almost always know their attackers. Many often live with those same attackers. It is for that reason that the National Domestic Abuse Hotline immediately notifies anybody visiting the website that connections and internet traffic can be monitored and offers an immediate escape option for somebody who absolutely cannot be caught visiting. While it is a sad fact that some people live in constant, debilitating fear of physical harm by somebody with whom they live, that fact persists nonetheless. Victims of assault come in every sex, gender, age, race, color, and creed. This is a sad, cruel fact from which we often shy but should never forget.
But what about other forms of abuse; forms that cannot easily be quantified or substantiated? Forms that do not leave bruises or abrasions or scrapes or cuts? Forms that cannot be documented easily and presented to law enforcement for the use of building a criminal case? What happens — what does one do — when that abuse is invisible, but nonetheless deadly? It wasn’t three years ago I was asking myself those very questions.
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve in most of the United States right now (Hawaii has some time yet to join the party) and it’s that time of the year where everybody gets contemplative. This calendar year has been a big one in many ways, not the least of which personally. After all, one year ago this little corner of the internet I call AbSINthe Passion was only a flickering glimmer of a dream in the recesses of my mind, and now here we all are together, SINful friends, looking back on the year that was. It’s been a fun ride so far, hasn’t it? We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve gotten aroused to the point of no return, and we’ve grown through it all. Thankfully, it seems the country (for those of us in the United States) as a whole decided to grow with us.
Of course, the biggest story of the year in the USA was the Presidential Election. I labored hard in this space to bring forth the issues of equality and progress as they pertained to the election process, and I was incredibly proud of the results not only when President Obama was re-elected but also when four U.S. States voted in favor of equal marriage rights. I believe I cried more over the progress shown by those four states than I did when the election was called for President Obama. The fact that this much advancement has been made a mere 4 years after Florida Amendment 2 and California Proposition 8 is extraordinary, and gives me hope for a more accepting humanity in the future.
The year 2012 also so a prominent sports figure come to the public defense of Equal Marriage in not one but two scathing public letters that completely demolish the arguments presented by people who should be, by virtue of their respective positions, rather intelligent people. Prior to that, however, way back in the early days of Summer, retail chain JC Penney first signed Ellen DeGeneres on as a spokeperson — which deeply upset the conservative group One Million Moms — and then upped the ante by featuring a Father’s Day ad showing family with two dads (an actual gay couple, gasp shock!) playing with their kids. If that’s not an awesome way to ignore dissenters and protest groups, I don’t know what is.
Last, but certainly not least, 2012 was a big year for Mrs. AP and me. When I started this blog we were sharing a house with her soon-to-be ex-husband and our roommate. That changes a few months later when we moved into a place of our own, separate and removed from other adult entanglements and free to grow our relationship as we see fit. At times the relocation into a significantly smaller place has been challenging and frustrating, but we stick together and will get through it smashingly. We always do.
Thank you Mrs. AP for supporting me on this journey, and thank you SINful friends for joining me along the path.
Stay SINful, friends.
To all who suffered and continue to suffer from Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, our thoughts are with you. May you find comfort and relief quickly, and your recovery leave you stronger than before.
Stay SINful, friends
As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is within 24 hours of making landfall on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Reuters reports that it may be the largest storm to ever make landfall in the United States. Let that sink in a minute. By size, larger than Katrina, or Andrew, or Irene last year. Already there are reports of flooding in NYC. In Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York the storm surge is literally pushing toxic sewage into the street. Even of NYC does not take a direct hit, the immense size of this storm could be disastrous for the city. A storm surge correlating with landfall near high tide during the current full moon could flood the subway system and affect service for a month. While I admit my combined 13 years of living in Florida and riding out dozens of storms has made me cynical when it comes to heeding the hype, we saw with Katrina that sometimes not even the predictions account for the amount of damage potential.
As Mrs. AP pointed out while we were discussing the problems Sandy poses, what happens when all the rooftop furniture starts taking flight? We have seen lawn chairs split palm trees in half during storms in Florida. What is a handrail from a rooftop deck going to do when it hits the glass facade of one of the buildings in Midtown? What happens when the loose equipment from the various towers under construction gets an unobstructed flight across town? What happens when debris from Roosevelt Island splits a cable on one of the bridges over the East River? Okay, maybe that last example is an exaggeration. Nevertheless, we know in Florida that flooding and debris caught by the wind cause the most damage, and NYC is fraught with potential for both.
We deal with “what ifs” — the hypothetical situations we all must face when uncertain as to what might happen but for which we want to prepare nonetheless — on a regular basis in our daily lives. Some are minor things, like not knowing what we might want to cook for dinner during the week when grocery shopping, and others are major, such as not knowing where we might land a job after graduating from college/university. Trying to run logistics for long-term planning when the results are still hidden from us becomes an interesting game that is part conjecture, part divination. With some clever planning, attention to detail, and some careful navigation one can usually have a solid plan in place. What happens, though, when the possibilities and variables involved can lead to multiple solution sets that are all equally valid? If you’re like Mrs. AP and I, you start planning for them all! Here’s our load ahead:
Mrs. AP and I have had many an interesting, sometimes frustrating conversation over the past few years regarding politics in the United States. When she first met me — and indeed for some time thereafter — I as very staunchly holding to the views I developed from being raised in a Southern, Military, Lutheran household. While not entirely on the right of the political spectrum, and in fact testing as a conservative-leaning Libertarian, I found myself more often identifying with the Republican Party than the Democratic Party on matters of spending, defense, and social programs. Where I vehemently disagreed was in matters regarding sexual and identity freedom, but thought that by tending to the GOP priorities first the road would more easily open for the social changes required for sex, gender, and orientation equality. I realize now that this view was misguided, a product of a misinformed youth and an ignorant, naive approach to life. Like many others, I find I can no longer balance the iniquities of the Republican Party against the good I assumed they could do. What changed in me that I can no longer, in good conscience, align myself with the ideologies of my yesteryears? In short, I finally matured.
If one lives in or meanders through or even just sometime dabbles in one of the multitude of fringe subcultures in society, be it Swinger or Kinkster or Gay or Bi or Poly, then one has encountered some form of intolerance. The degree of this intolerance varies, surely, but ask the average person how well s/he would react to learning that a school teacher is gay, or a swinger, or engages in BDSM practices outside of the confines of the professional environment and the overwhelming response will be one of negativity. Disgust, perhaps, or vitriolic speech will be the common denominator. Very often, the people reacting from a negative place espouse to live lives of public positivity; they claim hold of beliefs that teach of love and kindness not simply as ways of live but furthermore as embedded attitudes of being. Turn around yet afterward and ask these people on their thoughts on tolerance, and the refrain is automatic; love everybody, tolerate everybody, but teach and preach in hopes of homogenizing everybody to better align with the responder’s beliefs.
This is not tolerance. This is a guise, an imagery put forth from which platitudes may be issued and rote answers may be spewed. Underneath this facade is a dislike, a distrust, in fact a disavowal of any thought, philosophy, or practice that is not conformist to the established teachings of the hallowed institution. That institution may be religious, political, educational, ect. but they share commonalities in inspiring loyalty and conferring world views that are either blind to or ignorant of baseline facts about life outside the shelter of the group. There is safety in numbers; behold the flock of sheep.
Thank you, SINful friends. It is with great pleasure I pass the word that Mr. No Name came out of his surgery Friday safely. He was in good enough spirits to insist the nurse calling his wife to refer to his wife as sexy. He also seems to have recovered some missing range of motion in his feet. I am certain all the well wishes, prayers, etc. helped skew the good karma in his direction. Job well done, everyone.
And Mr. No Name, be ye ever so humble, you deserve the attention my friend. Good on ya for pulling through.
Stay SINful, friends.
SINful friends, I have a request.
Today Mr. No Name is having back surgery. As he once put it:
I know the infection rate at the hospital I am having itdone at is nearly zero and my doctor’s infection rate is zero. I know the doctor has never lost or paralyzeda patient. I know the worst outcome willbe a lack of improvement, but the likely outcome is , increased stability andmobility and absence of pain.But Iremain concerned.
Keep Mr. No Name in your thoughts today, please. Send him good energy, pray for him, wish him well, etc. The man is a staunch supporter of us here at abSINthePassion, and we want do all we can to return the favor.
And you, Mr. No Name, I expect to be reading this post the weekend or week after your surgery as you recover safely and successfully. I want to be seeing more of you, my friend.
Stay SINful, friends.
It’s been awhile since I’ve touched on the Polyamorous aspect of the relationship between Mrs. AP and I, and with good reason; we have been without any additional romantic partners for nearly a year now. For those of you keeping score at home, yes, that stretches back to before I began this blog. We did, as documented, visit an on-premise swingers club and play a bit. We also had a date with a friend that resulted in quite a fun time for all. Those two experiences very much trended toward the Swinger end of the Poly/Swing spectrum, however, and didn’t involve most of the more complex emotional aspects I associate with being Poly. One of those aspects is finding compersion.
Compersion, as defined on Wikipedia — because it’s not a recognized word in any dictionary I can yet find — “is a state of empathetic happiness and joy experienced when an individual’s current or former romantic partner experiences happiness and joy through an outside source, including, but not limited to, another romantic interest. This can be experienced as any form of erotic or emotional empathy, depending on the person experiencing the emotion.” Summarized in briefest form, it is experiencing happiness at a partner’s happiness. It is one of the most basic tenets of the emotional maturity landscape encompassing being Poly. it is also the aspect with which, I found, I had the most difficulty.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. As one who has literally stood on the brink and looked over the edge, I feel compelled to mark this day and share my story. Below is an exact re-posting of a post from 29 May, 2012, titled It Gets Better and STOP Teenage Suicide.
Well, here we are, first day of August. August is a special month here in the Tampa Bay area; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL team begins preseason games. The Tampa Bay Rays do their best to imitate a professional baseball team. School resumes classes for grade school and college students alike. Temperatures stay scorching, however, and the area’s top-rated beaches — some of the best in the country, even the world — remain a top draw for tourists and locals. August ushers in many changes, and hopefully several good ones for me, but before we get there, let’s take a look back at what July brought:
I don’t often talk politics in this space, but the announcement that hit the wire yesterday was too big for me to ignore. As sources told Politico, a drafting session by members of the party responsible for drafting the official party platform have included language in support of Equal Marriage Rights. Openly gay, married, retiring Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts reportedly said the vote was unanimous. This is a tremendously big deal for me, and not only because I identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, but also because I grew up in the Southeastern United States and have seen the lingering effects of willful discrimination all my life.
As I’ve mentioned in my last few posts, I’ve gone from being in a bit of slump to realizing that I was losing focus on my core self while also gaining a better understanding of one of my kinks. As weeks go, that’s a broad spectrum to cover, and no journey so diverse would be complete without some introspection and self-discovery. Enlightenment isn’t quite the correct term, as I still feel very much the philosophical and introspective novice, but some of my realizations have been enlightening. My goal now is to take some of these new understandings and put them into proper practice.
My last 2 entries in the 30 Days of Truth series got me thinking quite a good deal about the struggles I’ve faced throughout my life, and in particular about how I often felt incredibly lonely, alone, and misunderstood as a teenager. While I am absolutely certain this is true of nearly every teenager on the planet — after all, shifting hormonal levels combined with re-appropriations of neural pathways as the brain circuitry is re-wired is enough to cause frustration in anybody — it is no small secret that teenagers who identify anywhere within the LGBTQ spectrum face more isolation and persecution than any other demographic subset, especially in conservative or fundamentalist countries (or sections of countries, such as the Southeastern United States). A great deal of evidence supports this, but even without the evidence, I know how that struggle feels. As trite and cliche and overused as the phrase may be, I have been there and yes, it does get better.
I am living proof that it gets better. Nor am I alone in this proof. Dan Savage started the It Gets Better Project. At the time of this writing there are 520,703 people who have pledged to support and spread the word about the IGB Project, myself included. This is an absolutely invaluable resource for ANY person within the LGBTQ community who feels lost, alone, isolated, depressed, or in despair. Featured front and center on the site are videos from people who have face the same struggles and found a way through to the other side (no, I am not among that number [yet?]) to find something bigger and brighter. These people were shunned, beaten, persecuted, isolated, excommunicated, and whatnot, but they got through it. They found love and support and happiness. If the videos are not inspirational enough, however, at the top of the page is the link to Get Help, wherein is the number to the Trevor Project along with a drop-down box to select each U.S. State, which results in displaying every available help group and center in the state. Within my current state of Florida there are 49 entries listed!
In an effort to catch up, here’s another 30 Days of Truth entry hot on the heels of the previous entry! Madness! Insanity! Mayhem! Sounds like fun, right?
Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Here we are, back and better than ever with another entry into the 30 Days of Truth series. Shall we?
The reason you believe you’re still alive today.