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Sex, Birth Control and Diseases--Now 10 times more awkward!

 
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Sex, Birth Control and Diseases--Now 10 times more awkward!
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Selkie
Dirty Hippy


Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 225


Location: California :(

Post Sex, Birth Control and Diseases--Now 10 times more awkward!  Reply with quote
I know, you're groaning inwardly. So am I! I promise. But I think it's an important thing to think about ahead of time.

Sex is probably going to happen, especially once we get more female or gay/bi members. As LeReveur pointed out to me, a lot of anarchists aren't monogamous and seeing as our group is probably going to be more "free" sexually, this is an issue I think we need to figure out ahead of time for emotional and physical safety.

First off, relationships. I'm fine with people chosing to be in whatever kind of relationships they want, whether they be monogamous, polygamous, bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, whatever. I think, though, that non-monogamous people need to respect the commitment of monogamous couples (like my fiance and I), and we of course will in turn respect the choices and relationships of those who are either not in commited relationships or ones that are not as traditional. I think it's important for the "emotional safety" to make sure that there is that respect and to make sure that a polygamous person makes it clear to someone they are in a relationship with that they are polygamous, and same for monogamous people. I'm sure this is confusing...sorry. Razz

Meaning, let's say most of the members of the group are really free sexually and relationship-wise and just like to have fun, which is fine. But let's say one of them sleeps with someone who isn't that way and is monogamous, and assumes the same of the polygamous person. This presents a problem because if that person finds out the other is sleeping or kissing others or something, that could create some /serious/ drama and potentially tear the group apart. So, I propose we all be open about who we are committed to and make sure that if there is romance going on, both parties know if the other is poly or monogamous (if the two love eachother I'm sure they can work something out, but it would be a good idea to have it be a general POLICY, not a rule, ie its expected and normal but if you want to keep it private it is of course a personal choice). There's no shame in any of these lifestyle choices and as long as we are all open and honest and respectful about it I think we'll do fine. Especially since it looks like we may only have 20 people or so and one girl who isn't committed (oh my tuff you are going to be POP-U-LAR! Razz), but eventually something's gonna happen so it's good to at least think about it. I'm going to respect a relationship where like, there are three people commited to eachother or two committed to one or a few people with no committment, all is imo to be respected and considered just as legitimate and sacred as a monogamous relationship. From LeReveur's comment I'm guessing you'd all agree.

Continuing from that is the problem of birth control. If sex /does/ happen (and it will), we need to be prepared for needing birth control. Should we leave it up to the individual to decide? But they likely would have no personal money, so that presents a problem. Should we keep a supply of condoms? Of birth control pills (which I think are better since apparently condoms get old quick and suck anyways or something)? Should we try herbal/natural birth control (which we may not want to risk)? Should we just rely on cycles? Something to consider!

Now, even more awkward and serious, sexual diseases. I'm betting this has caused the more "hippy" communities a lot of trouble and I think we need a policy to protect ourselves. Let's say, someone in the group has HIV and doesn't know it. Or some other gross disease. We as a community being more tolerant of casual relations (I'm guessing), that person is probably going to infect several other members of the group, and potentially infect by association almost the entire group, thus single handedly whiping out our entire community! Ouch. So, I think it would be a /really/ good idea to require anyone who is going to be sleeping with anyone within the community to get tested for sexual diseases. Nothing shameful about it. In fact, if someone does end up HIV+ or something, we should all come together as a group and be as supportive and helpful as possible, and try our best to make sure they don't get sick and are emotionally supported. Same with any other diseases. We should remember that there's nothing shameful or bad about this, it's just safety. Those who are committed monogamously or chaste or something (like, my fiance and I won't be needing testing as we are strictly monogamous) shouldn't really have to worry about it, but if those who do need to get tested wanted I'm sure we would understand and agree to get tested as well, to make it fair. There's also the problem if someone in the community who sleeps with those in the community sleeps with someone /outside/ of the community and gets a disease from them, then spreads that disease to other members of the community because they were tested HIV- when they joined. So perhaps it should be a policy to just check whenever you go outside the group as well.

The thing I'm worried about with these suggestions and policies as they seem rather controlling and strict, when they should be more casual and loose. But I think making sure relationship drama, a surprise pregnancy, or the group suddenly coming down with a fatal disease would all be unwanted...

Wow, I thought that through a little too much. But tell me what you think.

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:53 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Zeerahks
Dirty Hippy


Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 311


Location: Minnesota

Post Reply with quote
Well, it's definitely something that needs to be discussed, so I'm glad you started talking about it!

Personally, I think we should have as many birth control options available as we can.  I know that some people will not be comfortable with birth control, others not comfortable with condoms.  Some may not like either and may want to rely on natural methods.  However, past offering all the choices, I think that it's up to the specific person.  If they want to try (or risk) natural methods, it is up to them and it is our duty as community members to support them in their decision.

On the note of STDs, I think that a test (at a hospital) should be required of all community members.  That way there is no confusion.

You make some very good points about poly/monogamy and I agree with (I believe) all of them.  One of the most important things we can stress in this community is openness, which we will definitely needs when it comes to this.

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"The words work...sometimes."


They say one shouldn't shit where one eats, but there are more types of shit than feces, and we consume much more than food.
-- Black Iron Prison


Fuck competition.  LOVE IS COOPERATION.  And I like being loved. Very Happy
Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:23 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
Selkie
Dirty Hippy


Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 225


Location: California :(

Post Reply with quote
Though, I'd feel bad excluding someone from joining just because they can't have an HIV test, it seems a little much.

Maybe instead, we can make it publicly known (there's nothing to be ashamed of, we're all open minded here though if someone wants to keep it private they can, and anyone who sleeps with them will know they are taking a risk), and if someone opts not to get tested, then we as a community should be more careful...ie anyone who sleeps with them knows they are risking a lot and willingly and knowingly takes that risk. However, the problem there is that if THAT person who took the risk sleeping with someone they don't know the disease status of sleeps with someone else...that brings us right back to the original problem.

I think a policy of openness might do wonders. I think we as individuals should have the right to know the disease status of all within the group, or whether there is a risk (they have opted out of the test or want it private), and if someone sleeps with one of those people they should be open about it to the rest of the community because then they, too, are an "unknown". But of course this brings us to a rather grey area of telling people what to do...

Glad you agree with me Smile I wonder, do birth control pills "wear out"? Or could we just obtain a good amount and store them? That's the problem with condoms...we'd have to figure out how sexually active people are going to be...won't that be fun!

"Now, how many times a month do you plan to have wild sex this week?"

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:36 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
dcopulsky



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 19



Post Reply with quote
I don't think tests should be required. I think it's too controlling. And I think it's too problematic with people who might be having sex with people outside the group. I don't think people should be required to be open.

But I think people should get tested. And I think people should be open. I think people should be careful and honest and safe. Though I also think you should take responsibility for the possibility that the person you're sleeping with might be dishonest or ignorant about their sexual health. I think trusting natural birth control is a dumb idea. I think using the pill AND condoms is a good idea. I think IUD's are a good idea too. I think people need to be knowledgable about birth control. But I think people need to make these decisions for themselves.

And I think people need to communicate. People should talk before they have sex. And they should know if the other person is in a relationship or has diseases.

Have people talked elsewhere about rules and how the commune will react if people break rules?

I think being dishonest in such a way that someone else is physically/emotionally endangered ("I have no diseases" "I'm on the pill" "I'm not in a relationship") is a serious thing. I think that should be a rule. I think the commune needs to plan to do something if someone does this.

Also, I think we ought to discuss what counts as consent. Can you consent when you are intoxicated? Can you consent nonverbally? What needs consent? Can minors consent? I think it's important we talk about this and agree to something so that if people feel like they've been coerced in a sexual situation we can respond appropriately instead of getting into an argument then about what's consensual.
Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:15 am View user's profile Send private message
Selkie
Dirty Hippy


Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 225


Location: California :(

Post Reply with quote
dcopulsky wrote:
Also, I think we ought to discuss what counts as consent. Can you consent when you are intoxicated? Can you consent nonverbally? What needs consent? Can minors consent? I think it's important we talk about this and agree to something so that if people feel like they've been coerced in a sexual situation we can respond appropriately instead of getting into an argument then about what's consensual.


You bring up some great questions...my opinions:

Consent when intoxicated is not consent imo because obviously the person is not in their own state of mind. That's like if someone is high and says "yes", obviously they are under an influence and not themselves. There's way too much room for someone to take advantage of someone else (to me it's nothing less than rape) and if we don't set a definite policy it can create a lot of tears and emotional problems. It's also not a matter of personal choice because it's not the person but the drugs/alchohol making that choise.

Nonverbal consent...I think it would have to be completely clear. Like, someone asking, then the nonverbal consent being a nod. But I think it's basically a rule of common sense...if someone didn't mean consent then obviously they'd be giving up a fight of some kind and it would be rape, so the point is moot.

IMO I think it's fine if minors give consent...as long as its not something like, a 55 year old asking a 5 year old for "consent" and them saying "yes". I think voting on an age limit would be a good idea, and lowering it a bit...but remembering that our rules are more informal and casual. IE, in "real life" it's illegal for a 17 year old to be in a relationship with a 18 year old, which is just silly but technically correct. I think overall it doesn't matter, it's personal choice and if the situation isn't real consent it will be obvious...a 7 year old just does not give sexual consent, while I've seen some slutty 14 year olds when I was a kid!

I think a good idea might be to have all of us, and if there's a kid, when they feel their ready, to declare or sign something saying they are their own person and can give their own consent and make their own decisions and are responsible for themselves (which would actually be cool, it'd be basically letting kids decide when they are grown up, not just attaching the number 18 to it and pretending that once you reach that age suddenly you're mature and you weren't before. This would make the person in the eyes of our community an adult.

The only problem with that is, what if a 5 year old goes and declares themselves an adult when obviously they aren't?

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Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:33 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
UnMeilleurReve
Dirt-Under-The-Nails Hippy


Joined: 29 Apr 2008
Posts: 542


Location: Las Vegas

Post Reply with quote
Oh, this is a fun issue.

I'm actually planning to go through "advocacy" training pretty soon through the Women's and Men's Center at my college. I'll thoroughly disseminate the information I receive during the course.

The first thing I want to tackle is the concept of rules. We are all human beings, meaning we have complicated emotions and desires, and nothing we do is simple. Therefor, I am of the opinion that we should have next-to no set-in-stone rules. The exceptions I would make are rules about rape, sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, intentional and open desire to dissolve the commune maliciously, and a few others (animal abuse is one for me, too). However, even those rules are subject to my next point: operation by values.

Instead of laws, rules, and setting things in stone, we should have values. As anarchists, we typically value freedom of association and liberty. Rape, abuse, etc., is a violation of our freedom of association (sex being included as a form of physical association). Therefor, we should outline values that we want to put forward as integral to our community.


The best example is openness. We should strongly encourage openness and hold it as a value, but if for some reason somebody chooses not to be open, that is their right and we should respect it. Applied in this case, we can promote getting tested and hold it to our value of openness, possibly also hold a value of safety, and hopefully most people will get tested. If, for some reason, they don't get tested, that should be something that people are informed of. This concept has also been called "transparency," but transparency is usually taken too far (such as the French Revolution!).

Birth control, as well as feminine hygiene, etc., is a personal choice, too, and should be left to individuals involved. However, finding out what people desire to use and trying to have it on-hand and available at the commune might be nice!

If anybody has any questions about birth control, I can answer them, for the most part. Human Sexuality and Intimacy (The Sex Class!) gave me lots and lots of information.



Also, when it comes to the issue of consent, here's some things we could take into consideration.

The official position of law and many therapists, etc., is that any level of intoxication is enough to negate consent. Consent should be physical and verbal. Everything needs consent: if the other person says no, the answer is no, for every level. Personally, I think minors can consent, but we should ensure informed consent. Sex isn't a bad thing, guys! STD's and unintentional pregnancy, however, can be!

Also, we can be wrong at times. We may be 100% certain that we have consent, only to find out the next morning the other person is horrified about what happened! So we should also embrace something along the lines of forgiveness, and work very hard to make sure issues of intent. There's a difference between a mistake, taking advantage, etc. Each situation is unique. However, having some sort of policy is a good idea. We just don't want to bind ourselves into severely punishing a sincere mistake.
Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:49 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Selkie
Dirty Hippy


Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 225


Location: California :(

Post Reply with quote
Great post LeReveur! Smile

I agree wholeheartedly. Perhaps we should officially decide on what values/rights we hold up.

I agree with the old "life, liberty and happiness" thing. But perhaps values instead of rights works better as our replacement for rules.

IE, we would hold up life (ie murder is a no no!), liberty, personal happiness, (and like you said) openness, safety, and perhaps something that would encompass that bit about trying to specifically bring the community down. Like, holding up unity or community as a value. That might work.

I really like the idea. That way the spirit of the "rule" is what matters and not the wording itself, which has always been the problem with laws and government. There is ALWAYS a loophole and always a wrongful technicality!

I think you're right, a policy but not concrete rule works best. While it would be safer as was said earlier to require testing before becoming part of the commune, that's rather constricting and some of us aren't planning on joining the, uhm..."sex pool"? XD Whatever you want to call it!  Embarassed

Encouraging and rewarding goes a long way, especially in parenting imo. In my personal experience, as a kid, strict rules and punishment never did any good, while encouragement and rewards won the day. I think if we make it known that most expect a test before risking anything, and that we are open and accepting of alternative relationships and sexual preferences, we shouldn't see a problem.

I *do* think though, if it's known that someone has been tested and come out negative, but has slept with someone not tested, they have a responsibility to make it known that the test may no longer be true. Which I guess, we should add responsibility or something to the list of honored values?

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Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:06 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
glorfon
Comrade


Joined: 23 Apr 2008
Posts: 469



Post Reply with quote
Selkie I tip my hat to you.  I had considered posting a similar thread but had decided I'd procrastinate as long as possible.

I'm a proponent of polyamory but my girlfriend isn't so that makes me monogamous.
Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:43 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
UnMeilleurReve
Dirt-Under-The-Nails Hippy


Joined: 29 Apr 2008
Posts: 542


Location: Las Vegas

Post Reply with quote
I still have yet to figure out my position. I think it depends on my partner, and if that means polyamorism, then the next several had better be okay with that! Otherwise, I've been consistently monogamous.

Though I feel a bit ashamed: as much of an idealist as I claim to be, Emma Goldman still far surpasses me.
Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:23 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
vov35
Dirt-Under-The-Nails Hippy


Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 553



Post Reply with quote
everything you said--nothing to argue with.
We are working with a policy of the freedom to personal privacy, so I really don't care what others do in private.



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...but it invovles black masks and gasoline
Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:06 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
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