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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
The no-sex-at-Arisia post. 
8th-Feb-2011 02:53 pm
Hearth
Here is some background!

Last year, I got pissed off. Quite a bit. I'm not going to say that fending off advances from people who only want me because I'm currently in Patriarchal Beauty Standard range took up and took over the whole con experience for me, but I will say that, obviously, that was problematic enough that I felt the need to come rant about it.

It's not that I don't enjoy sex - baby, I do, and if any of my existing partners had had a room to themselves (or, in the case of sindrian, even been there), I'd've been on them like white on rice. And it's not that I don't enjoy being flirted with. It's not just that I have no time to savor a sexual encounter when I'm on ten panels. A big part of it is, like I said, I have a history of making stupid decisions about who to schtup when I'm in con headspace. Self-awareness is a good thing! So for that alone, I have made the absolute rule that I am not having any first times at conventions.

That was sort of a rule last year, but only in my own head. This year, I made it public. I made it explicit. I stated it firmly and politely and with humor, I hope.

And an amazing thing happened.

I did not get propositioned.

And it was AWESOME.

Because at every damn con ever, seriously, in so many conversations, I can feel the "so, you wanna?" coming. And I hate that so hard. I hate being in that situation where the person I'm talking to is clearly only talking to me at all because they've heard that you shouldn't just say "nice boots, wanna fuck," so they're throwing a few more sentences in there, but I know that they don't actually care about the answers to the questions they're asking, just the question they're gearing up to ask. There's no connection, just this dogged "must get laid at the con".

And like I said in the first post I linked to, honey, I am worth more than that.

So I took That Question completely off the table. No, I am absolutely not going to have sex with you, and it has absolutely nothing to do with you personally. There were two people at Arisia at the very least who I'd do any day of the week - but not at Arisia, because rules, they mean something. It being a straight across-the-board rule takes away the injured pride, the "well why not me?" Because it's not you, it's me.

Now, when you take that off the table - when, no matter what, the conversation is not going to lead to sex - the conversation changes.

It did not escape my notice that some people who've been after me at prior cons didn't chat me up at all, hmm. *amused grin*

But the people who did -

The pressure was off. Pressure that we don't even tend to register most of the time. Because there is so often an element of "where is this going?" With the establishment of "it's not going there," I had some conversations with some people that were way easier and more fun than ever before.

Awesome!

I met new people, too, with whom interest was clear. And when it looked like the conversation might Go There, I would casually mention that I have a no-first-times-at-cons rule, and got an "oh, okay!" and we just kept right on talking and had a marvelous time. (One of those has led to some deeply interesting post-con flirtation. Because "not now" doesn't mean "never".)

What I really saw in my at-con interactions was... pretty much exactly what I thought I'd see. If people are interested in me as a person, they have no problem with me not being sexually available. If they're not... well, I'm fine with them staying away!

It's a good way to weed out the people you shouldn't be schtupping anyway, is what I'm saying.

I am very gratified with the whole having-fun-at-a-con-without-being-relentlessly-propositioned thing. I'm pretty sure that's going to be a permanent rule. EDIT: That is no-first-times, the rule. See my comment below. Also, saying "Hey, I'd like to talk to you about that sometime else" is totally kosher, as long as it's acknowledged that no sex is happening then and as long as we don't talk about how we're going to talk about it for the entire conversation. I did have a few people express interest in discussing a first time sometime else, and that was just fine.
Comments 
8th-Feb-2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
Because "not now" doesn't mean "never".

Seriously, I have always been amazed that this is such a difficult concept for people.

I'm pretty sure that's going to be a permanent rule.

Which brings me to the only time I can see it being a difficult concept, that being where the con is the only place they are likely to see you.
8th-Feb-2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
Seriously, I have always been amazed that this is such a difficult concept for people.

I know, right?

Which brings me to the only time I can see it being a difficult concept, that being where the con is the only place they are likely to see you.

Well, if we really like each other, we'll find the time. If we don't find the time... the world is full of wonderful people that I haven't had sex with, and getting around to all of them just is not going to happen! :) There are already people with whom I'm like "Yeah, that would be delicious. But - when might our schedules coincide? Flirty friends, then!"

(And this rule is only for first times, because it's rooted in the "I get carried away in altered headspace and decide to have sex with people I shouldn't" thing. If I've already made that decision and had sex with you in normal non-convention headspace, we are good to go. If we have time.)
9th-Feb-2011 12:43 am (UTC)
While it's a pretty easy concept, it's also true that a lot of people use "not now" as a softer version of "I'm not interested", in which case it does mean "never". This is so very very common, that I find it safer to interpret "not now" as "probably not later either", while remaining open to being surprised (which has happened a few times).
8th-Feb-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)

Smart! ^_^
(Deleted comment)
9th-Feb-2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
Much as I regretted its lead-in, I rather enjoyed our "I don't have sex with--" - "I didn't think you were going to have sex with--" conversation opener.

Which reminds~ me~ that something needs to cut into my reading queue. Have you ever considered converting a collection of your works into .epub/.mobi formats?
13th-Feb-2011 03:45 am (UTC)
Stay tuned. :)
9th-Feb-2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Shazaam. Go go communication!
10th-Feb-2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
This was good to read.

Maybe I'm just even more cluelessly oblivious than I think I am, but it seems like we don't have this phenomenon much in the UK. (Or maybe filkers are less active than general con-goers?) Oh sure, there's *flirting* goes on in all sorts of directions, and at least one at-con hookup occurred a few years back that is now a marriage, but the "we're at a con together, lets have sex" idea? Completely alien to me.
11th-Feb-2011 12:14 am (UTC)
's OK--it's alien to me, too, and I've been to at least one of the same conventions as shadesong! I suspect a lot of the difference is what the norms are in one's particular group of friends.
12th-Feb-2011 03:20 am (UTC)
I know it's not quite the same, but I've felt this same sense of relief when I've told people up front that I'm not going to have sex with them. I flirt *a lot* and I know sometimes it gives people hope for something more. It's really great when I can just bluntly inform people of my boundaries, and then we can continue the flirtation for fun without any expectations.
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