Why you have to make your own rules for sex



Do we have to?


How else will you know I’ve been naughty if I don’t have rules to break?


The safe word is ‘more’.


Rule one: oh god keep it together, don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry

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This article was good and this book sounds interesting - I’m definitely considering picking it up and I have some friends who would probably like to read it as well.

But then in the last paragraph it says something about how we deserve to be happy. Come on with that, you know that no one deserves anything, let alone happiness. You know.

Depends on your orientation to the word. Many people believe they don’t deserve happiness — that sadness is all that they are worth. Stating that, as Sarah does, “You deserve to happy,” doesn’t mean the universe, god, other people owe it to you. It’s an affirmation that happiness is a state towards which we are allowed to aspire.


I guess I just don’t buy that. To me “deserve” is an ugly word unless it is in reference to a specific action that has a specific result. I see how “You deserve happiness” is meant as a counter to “You deserve unhappiness” but the unhappiness isn’t the hurtful part of deserving unhappiness, it is the deserving bit. If I deserve my salary because I went to work then that’s something I did. If you can tell me that I deserve happiness without knowing any action I’ve taken to have or to not have happiness then I have no control over what I deserve and I could deserve something else tomorrow.

“If happiness is something you want then you can work towards having it, and if you aren’t working towards having it then you might want to think about what you are clinging to that is preventing you from seeking happiness because some people find that upon reflection such things aren’t really worth clinging to.” is a statement that happiness is something which are are allowed to aspire to. I don’t think any notion of deserve I have ever encountered fits in there.

I accept your critique completely, but I would twist the perspective slightly. Many people denigrate themselves to the extent that they believe they are “undeserving.” In that context, “You deserve happiness” is an attempt to negate the inner fear that one does not deserve it. Deserve here doesn’t mean “entitled to as a result of,” but “worthy of.”

I do see that you’re approaching this from the standpoint of whether or not the world/people/etc. owe us something. That plays into the men’s right worldview that “I deserve a hot girlfriend/sex,” which is toxic and awful, and I wouldn’t want to support anything in that direction.

But I think as a self-affirmation, because happiness is a concept rather than an object or another person, telling yourself you deserve to be happy isn’t terrible. And in any case, it’s Sarah’s words I was quoting, so supporting, but not my phraseology. Perhaps a way to phrase it that we’d both agree on is, “Everyone is worthy of happiness.” How people achieve that varies, but recognizing that we aren’t constrained by behavior that we don’t actually believe, but simply engage in, could be part of it.

I recognized that it was a quote (didn’t recognize you were the author of the piece, apparently, but I’ve never been terribly perceptive). But it’s actually the idea of worthiness that I have a problem with. I’m sure there is some reasonable way to apply that concept that isn’t a bad thing. I’ll give you, “When a person has the idea that they are undeserving of happiness that is the result of distorted thinking.” Anyway, yours goes better on a T-shirt (or maybe mine does - maybe I should get that T-shirt).

Really, who in their right minds doesn’t make their own rules for sex? The ruleset that our society provides is unimaginative, overly restrictive, and deeply fucked up in too many ways to count.

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I see the chapter headings, is there as detailed an investigation into long term monogamous relationships that work?

I have some skepticism that a well-rounded book on the subject can be made by couch surfing, skyping, and interviewing 100 people. I’m sure it’s a survey of what skyping, Air BnB types would enjoy, I am not sure it would speak to me. And that’s not a bad thing. Just what I see in it for me. Not much.

From what i read here, this sounds like the Hipsters Guide to Non-Traditional Intimacy - and that’s fine, but it doesn’t seem like it hits about 75% of the rest of the nation. Is there an investigation course - a choose your own adventure, if you will - to ‘oh, you should be in a traditional mono relationship’ as there is to the other alternatives? Or much investigation into the long term results for all users of these non-traditional arragements?

Or an investigation into compromising, and determining the differences between what you want, and what you NEED, in a relationship. I’ve found Hipsters not talented at this point, generally. Maybe it’s just youth, but it does seem to be a particularly coastal urban affectation, the cluelessness that relationships aren’t just about YOU.

And that is every bit as true outside of the bedroom.

Anyone who is constrained by behavior that they don’t actually believe in is going to be miserable.

So those people need to stop lying and being so passive about their needs, and be willing to face the consequences… which usually they aren’t willing to.

And thus begins the drama of people acting out what they will not talk out.

I don’t know what would satisfy your skepticism.

Please refer to “the rest of culture.”

Based on research, self-help books, and dominant culture: probably most people.


Then I would contend that they are not in their right minds.

(But then again, I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

So there’s a difference between a book review and a book. Reacting to the book review is one thing, and things stated in it; making assumptions about a book from a review is stretching it.

There’s zero hipsterism in this book. The notion of hipsters is bandied about as a way to label a category of people and ridicule them, so I prima facie believe it comes from a place in which people need to shame and bully. If you want to take it literally as a fact, that hipsters exist in your definition, then it’s people who do what they do by fashion rather than belief, and blow in the wind as things change.

Sarah, in the book, talks to people with relationships that last a few days and several decades. As I call out, one of the best standalone interviews is with an octogenarian. The notion of consensual non-monogamy, for one, pervades human history, and has been talked about and engaged in more and more openly since the 1970s.

The book is actually mostly about making intentional choices, and most of the relationships discussed in the book involve two people at a time (and sometimes only two people).

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