Sex-Positive Does Not Mean Anything Goes

plus sign on keyboard

Content note: sexually invasive behavior, sexual harassment and assault, denial and gaslighting of same

There’s a talk I give on atheism and sexuality, and in the part where I start to talk about secular sexual ethics, I often make a joke. I talk about religious sexual ethics, and I jokingly ask, “Without God, are we looking at a sybaritic free-for-all, uninhibited by any constraints?” I joke about how some people might be hoping the answer is Yes — and then I say that the obvious answer is No. Of course we have sexual ethics, and of course we want to have them. A sybaritic free-for-all can be an entertaining fantasy, but we wouldn’t want a sexual world with no ethics, where nobody cared who got hurt.

It seems that to some people, this obvious answer is not so obvious. So I’m going to spell it out here:

Sex-positivity does not mean treating the entire world as a sexual buffet. Continue reading “Sex-Positive Does Not Mean Anything Goes”

Sex-Positive Does Not Mean Anything Goes
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Sharing tables with strangers: Guest post by Donna Jay

This is a guest post by Donna Jay. Her opinions do not necessarily reflect mine, although they’re obviously sympatico enough for me to post this piece. Content note: sexism, sexualization of women. -GC

internet cafe shared table

A strange thing happened today. I asked to share a table with a man at a coffee shop. He agreed. I sat down. We arranged our items on the table. Our interaction stopped there.

Okay, maybe this requires a little explanation. You see, recently I started pushing myself to go out more rather than staying home alone, feeling sorry for myself. I had an injury that consumed my life. So I would go to the coffee shop to write or sometimes take up a stool at the local bar and grab a beer or head to the park to lie on the grass and read. While interacting with another human was a possibility, it wasn’t necessarily my goal. I was becoming homebound. The longer I stayed in the harder it would be to go out, so I pushed myself to go out.

In the course of my simple outings, something strange kept happening – men assumed I was trying to pick them up. The interaction above was remarkable for what it did not include. After I sat down I did not hear any of the following:

• I have a girlfriend
• I am married
• I am not looking to meet anyone
• You’re really not my type
• I prefer (insert size, age or ethnicity here) women

Yes, the simple act of asking to share a table in a crowded coffee shop was seen as an invitation. I was looking for the sex. Except, of course, I was not. I only asked to share if no tables were available. I was looking for room for my ass in a chair and my laptop or book and a pot of tea on a table. My desires were very simple.

Similar things happened at bars and restaurants. When I would take the only open seat that happened to be near a man I would again get informed of their relationship status. If unattached, I might get to hear how I, a fiftyish, large, white-appearing woman did not meet their fuckability standards. After all, I was neither petite nor exotic nor young nor . . . . I was once informed that I might want to try the back of the bar; there were guys there who might be more interested. Clearly back bar guys like to watch women drink a beer and read from their kindle or watch TV. The back bar guys are all kinds of kinky that way.

This happened so often I started to question how I was presenting myself to the world. Continue reading “Sharing tables with strangers: Guest post by Donna Jay”

Sharing tables with strangers: Guest post by Donna Jay

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, May 19! Discussion topic: The Orbit — Atheism and Social Justice

Social Club May 19 The Orbit for website
Godless Perverts is having a Godless Perverts Social Club in our wonderful new Oakland location, Thursday, May 19! 7-9 pm. We have a new location for the Oakland Godless Perverts Social Clubs — we’re now meeting at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, 1805 Telegraph Avenue, next to the Fox Theater (and right near the 19th St. Oakland BART station).

Our discussion topic for this evening: The Orbit: Atheism and Social Justice. The Orbit was launched in March: an atheist media collective dedicated to working on social justice, both in and out of organized atheism. How and why was this site founded? Why does the atheist community need sites and organizations that explicitly endorse social justice? What are some of the challenges and rewards of doing intersectional work within atheism? Godless Perverts co-founders Greta Christina and Chris Hall are both founding members of The Orbit, and will be introducing the site and answering questions about it.

Rudy’s Can’t Fail is a fun, friendly space that serves meals, small bites, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, and desserts. We’re meeting in the back room/ dining car, which is ridiculously cute: the dining car has somewhat limited space, probably enough for all of us, but it’s a good idea to arrive on time if you want to be sure to get a seat. The Oakland Social Clubs are on the third Thursday of the month (First Tuesdays are still in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds.) Continue reading “Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, May 19! Discussion topic: The Orbit — Atheism and Social Justice”

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, May 19! Discussion topic: The Orbit — Atheism and Social Justice

Godless Perverts Social Club — Game Night! Tuesday May 3

game pieces on game board

Godless Perverts is having another game night! These are big fun, and they’re becoming some of our most well-attended events — so we’re making it a regular event, and our next one is on Tuesday, May 3. Wicked Grounds has a huge stash of games including chess and checkers, Cards Against Humanity*, Scrabble, Fluxx, Slash, Gloom, and much, much more. Feel free to bring your own games if you’re not sure Wicked Grounds has a copy of your favorite.

We’re meeting at Wicked Grounds, the kink cafe and boutique, at 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, but we ask that you buy food and/or drink at the cafe if you can: Wicked Grounds has beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce. We meet at Wicked Grounds on the first Tuesday of every month: we also meet in Oakland, on the third Thursday. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us. We meet at Wicked Grounds on the first Tuesday of every month: we also meet in Oakland, on the third Thursday. Hope to see you there!

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion. Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this.

*(If you decide to play CAH, please be cautious; it can be a really hard game between people who don’t know each other and aren’t familiar with each others’ limits and triggers.)

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPG
Coming Out Atheist
Bending
why are you atheists so angry
Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

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Godless Perverts Social Club — Game Night! Tuesday May 3

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, April 21!

Godless Perverts Social Club banner for april 21

We’re having a Godless Perverts Social Club in our wonderful new Oakland location, Thursday, April 21! 7-9 pm. We have a new location for the Oakland Godless Perverts Social Clubs — we’re now meeting at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, 1805 Telegraph Avenue, next to the Fox Theater (and right near the 19th St. Oakland BART station). Rudy’s Can’t Fail is a fun, friendly space that serves meals, small bites, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, and desserts. We’re meeting in the back room/ dining car, which is ridiculously cute: the dining car has somewhat limited space, probably enough for all of us, but it’s a good idea to arrive on time if you want to be sure to get a seat. The Oakland Social Clubs are on the third Thursday of the month (First Tuesdays are still in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds.)

Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers.

So please join us! Hang out with other nonbelievers and chat about sex, sexuality, gender, atheism, religion, science, social justice, pop culture, and more. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. We meet on the third Thursday of every month at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (we also meet on the first Tuesday of every month at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco, near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, although we do ask that you buy food and/or drink at the venue.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion.

Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this. Please let the moderators or other people in charge of any event know if you encounter harassment, racism, misogyny, transphobia, or other problems at our events.

If you want to be notified about all our Godless Perverts events, sign up for our email mailing list, follow us on Twitter at @GodlessPerverts, or follow us on Facebook. You can also sign up for the Bay Area Atheists/ Agnostics/ Humanists/ Freethinkers/ Skeptics Meetup page, and be notified of all sorts of godless Bay Area events — including many Godless Perverts events. And of course, you can always visit our Website to find out what we’re up to, godlessperverts.com. Hope to see you soon!

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, April 21!

Women Are Not Consumer Goods: Lessons on Modesty and Chastity

store photo

Content note: sexism, objectification of women, rape and sexual assault, victim blaming for rape and sexual assault.

Women are not consumer goods.

When women are given advice about sex and clothing, when we’re advised to be chaste and modest, a striking amount of that advice compares us to consumer goods. We’re told that we’re chewing gum, and nobody wants gum other people have chewed. We’re told that we’re candy, and nobody wants candy without the wrapper. We’re told that we’re iPads, so our manufacturer recommends using covers which protect us and make us more beautiful. We’re told that we’re diamonds or pearls, buried deep in the ground or the ocean, valuable because we’re hard to reach. We’re told that we’re shoes, and nobody wants used, smelly, second-hand shoes. We’re told that we’re apples: the best are the hard-to-reach ones at the top of the tree, the worst are the rotten ones that fall off the tree and can be picked up by anyone, and only the best of men will go to the trouble of climbing the tree for the apples that are hard to get. We’re told that we’re cars or expensive watches or wads of cash, and if we’re left unlocked, or are flashed in dangerous neighborhoods, we should expect to be stolen. We’re told that we’re meat, and if we’re dangled in front of hungry dogs we should expect to get eaten. We’re told that we’re cows and that sex with us is milk, and we’re asked why anyone would buy the cow if they could get the milk for free.

And somehow, all of this is supposed to make us feel valued, and is supposed to teach us to value ourselves. Continue reading “Women Are Not Consumer Goods: Lessons on Modesty and Chastity”

Women Are Not Consumer Goods: Lessons on Modesty and Chastity

Frivolous Friday: The Dungeons & Dragons Sex Scene from “Community”

community-annie-dungeons-and-dragons-hector-the-well-endowed

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy!

This may be the hottest, kinkiest, funniest sex scene I’ve seen on prime-time broadcast TV.

I’ve been re-watching Community, a smart, well-written, mostly good-natured comedy show that plays like TV Tropes in sitcom form, with episodes riffing on Westerns, Star Wars, Ken Burns documentaries, M*A*S*H, The Breakfast Club, and more, more, more. The other day I watched the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode (S2 E14) — and this scene jumped out at me, for reasons that will become obvious when you watch it. (Brief setup: The group is playing Dungeons & Dragons, Abed is the Dungeonmaster who at the moment is playing the role of an elf maiden, Annie is playing Hector the Well-Endowed.) I love the gender-switching in the role-play; I love Troy taking notes; I love, love, LOVE the moment when Annie holds up two fingers, then three, then four, then folds her thumb under. It’s amazing what TV writers manage to get away with, using just a little inventiveness.

(Content note: There’s a bit of not-great consent at the beginning, in a fantasy play-acting context.)

BTW, if anyone knows how to lip-read, I’d love to know what the characters are saying.

Frivolous Friday: The Dungeons & Dragons Sex Scene from “Community”

Godless Perverts Social Club Tuesday April 5: What Do We Mean By Sex? Sex, Language, and Inclusivity

Godless Perverts Social Club Banner What is Sex

Godless Perverts are having a Social Club in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 5, 7-9 pm! We have a specific discussion topic this time: “What Do We Mean By Sex? Sex, Language, and Inclusivity.” Overly narrow definitions of sex can leave queers and kinky people out in the cold. Overly broad ones can do the same for asexual people. Religion and science have both tried to define and control sexual language, to the detriment of pretty much everyone. How can we support people’s right to self-definition, and still communicate coherently? How do we accept the ways that language evolves naturally, without letting it be controlled by the majority? Is there a difference between language and labels? Come to the Godless Perverts Social Club for a friendly and vigorous discussion of how we talk about sex.

Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us! Hang out with other nonbelievers and chat about sex, sexuality, gender, atheism, religion, science, social justice, pop culture, and more. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome.

We meet on the first Tuesday of every month at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). (We also meet on the third Thursday of every month at Rudy’s Can’t Fail in downtown Oakland.) 7-9 pm. Admission is free, although we do ask that you buy food and/or drink at the venue if you can: Wicked Grounds has beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion.

Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this. Please let the moderators or other people in charge of any event know if you encounter harassment, racism, misogyny, transphobia, or other problems at our events.

If you want to be notified about all our Godless Perverts events, sign up for our email mailing list, follow us on Twitter at @GodlessPerverts, or follow us on Facebook. You can also sign up for the Bay Area Atheists/ Agnostics/ Humanists/ Freethinkers/ Skeptics Meetup page, and be notified of all sorts of godless Bay Area events — including many Godless Perverts events. And of course, you can always visit our Website to find out what we’re up to, godlessperverts.com. Hope to see you soon!

Godless Perverts Social Club Tuesday April 5: What Do We Mean By Sex? Sex, Language, and Inclusivity

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland, Thursday March 17!

Godless Perverts Social Club Oakland March 2016
Godless Perverts is having a Social Club in our wonderful new Oakland location, Thursday, March 17! 7-9 pm. We have a new location for the Oakland Godless Perverts Social Clubs — we’re now meeting at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, 1805 Telegraph Avenue, next to the Fox Theater (and right near the 19th St. Oakland BART station). Rudy’s Can’t Fail is a fun, friendly space that serves meals, small bites, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, and desserts. We’re meeting in the back room/ dining car, which is ridiculously cute: the dining car has somewhat limited space, probably enough for all of us, but it’s a good idea to arrive on time if you want to be sure to get a seat. The Oakland Social Clubs are on the third Thursday of the month (First Tuesdays are still in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds.)

So please join us! Hang out with other nonbelievers and chat about sex, sexuality, gender, atheism, religion, science, social justice, pop culture, and more. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers.All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. We meet on the third Thursday of every month at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (we also meet on the first Tuesday of every month at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco, near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, although we do ask that you buy food and/or drink at the venue. Continue reading “Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland, Thursday March 17!”

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland, Thursday March 17!

My Erotic Novel Crowdfunder Has Passed $2,000! Thanks, All!

laptop-user 200
Hi, all! I’m writing an erotic fiction novel, I’m crowdfunding for it — and the campaign just passed the $2,000 mark! Big thanks to the 73 backers so far who have kicked in. This support is going to give me the time I need to complete this book, and your confidence in my work means a lot. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy your perks (detailed below) — and mostly, I think you’re going to enjoy the hell out of this book.

For those who haven’t contributed but are interested: My novel is currently titled Coming. It tells the story of one woman’s sex life, starting in 1970 when she’s 18, and ending in roughly the present day. Each chapter describes a different sexual encounter, at a different point in her life: essentially, the book is a series of intense sex scenes, with several years between them. I’m looking at this woman’s life — her name is Sheila — through the lens of sex. I’m exploring Sheila’s sex life, the rest of her life, and how they intertwine. In particular, I’m looking at how she makes choices about sex: Sheila is often adventurous, even reckless, and she makes decisions impulsively, but she’s also cautious, a careful planner, and likes to be in control. I’m interested in how being both impulsive and a control freak plays out out in her sex life.

Yes, I’m writing the novel with lots of fun, hot, sexy sex. Women with women, women with men, probably some men with men, probably some gender fluidity, some of it kinky and SM-y, some of it not. It is an erotic novel, and I’m making it erotic. It’s also a novel — a story about people’s lives. As you know if you’ve read my erotic fiction, I hate erotica that’s, “plot, sex scene, plot, sex scene.” I don’t see these as separate. Erotica is much hotter when you feel what the sex feels like — not just what’s happening physically, but the emotions, the sensations, how this sex is going to change the characters’ lives.

Bending cover
I’m not going to be falsely modest — as an erotic fiction writer, I am very good at this, it’s one of the things I do best. People who have read my short erotic fiction collection, Bending, can attest to this. Don’t take my word for it — the reviews, both professional and from customers, are glowing.

So. Hopefully you’re intrigued, and want to read this novel. Why am I doing an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign?

There are expenses with writing and publishing a book. I generally self-publish my ebooks, which means paying a formatter. I’m a control freak about cover design, which means I get wonderful covers — but also means I have to pay a designer.

But the Number One expense of writing a book is time. Books do not spring fully formed from an author. It takes time — and I’ll need to pay the bills and the mortgage while I’m writing it. I’ll keep doing my other paid writing — blogging, magazine articles, etc. — but I won’t able to do as much of it. Writing a book is immensely fun, deeply rewarding — erotic fiction especially — and it produces something of substance that people want to read. But it takes time. Whenever you buy a book, or support an author’s crowdfunding campaign, that’s most of what you’re paying for. The more money I raise, the more time I’ll be able to put into this book, and the better it will be.

I’m offering a number of perks for donators. They’re listed on the Indiegogo page. Perks include: advance ebook copies; signed print copies; exclusive progress reports; invitation to a private launch party; a PDF copy of my “Kill Your Darlings” file for the book (a rare glimpse into the creative process!); a one-on-one Skype conversation discussing the book (no, it will not be Skype sex!); or copies in all formats of every book I’ve ever published, and every book I ever publish from now on, with all print copies signed with a personalized Thank you. But mostly, I hope you want to read this novel. Please kick in what you can, and please help spread the word. Thanks!

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPG
Coming Out Atheist
Bending
why are you atheists so angry
Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

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My Erotic Novel Crowdfunder Has Passed $2,000! Thanks, All!