Now Accepting Compassion and Encouragement

So I just got news that my article has been rejected for publication because it’s not original enough.

On the positive side, this is a good journal that sent me three detailed reviews which said very good things about my knowledge of the subject matter and my writing style. They also gave useful suggestions for future revisions of the article. At least, this isn’t one of those cases where reviewers are either mean to you or just tell you “Not acceptable” with no explanation.

Of course, I’m still very sad about this. So now I’m accepting compassion and encouragement of the “Oh no, Clarissa, you are super brilliant and we adore you” variety.

In the meanwhile, I will be weeping quietly in the corner.

How can I develop a healthy, happy, exuberant sexuality?

A reader asks:

How can I develop a healthy, happy, exuberant sexuality?

Here is a very brief (because I’ve been working for 12 hours straight today and I’m exhausted) set of suggestions for people who have the same question:

The first step is look at the things that have prevented you from developing in the direction of sexual health. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did you learn about sexuality?
  • Were there any early traumatic experiences?
  • What words were used in your family to discuss sex?
  • When did you realize you were a boy / girl? How did it make you feel? What set of characteristics was associated with this gender in your family? With gender relations in general?
  • What early images do you associate with sexuality?
  • How comfortable are you with your body? How happy are you with your body?
  •  Looking at yourself in the mirror naked, does that give you pleasure or not?
  • Were there any traumatic sexual experiences in adulthood? Sexual rejection, sexual failure, etc.
  • Do you have religious conditioning that makes you see sex as dirty, etc.?
  • Health issues?

Obviously, I’m not suggesting you tell me all these things. This is for your own personal consideration. This is crucial process because without understanding the causes of the problem, one can’t hope to address it.

Then the next step is to learn to feel comfortable with your body. Here are some of the things you can start doing on a regular basis:

  • Walking around the house (if you live alone) naked for 1 hour each day does wonders for people. I’ve seen it happen: completely anorgasmic people turn into wildly sexual creatures.
  • Explore sensual experiences. Dedicate an entire night once a week to enjoying every sensual experience you can imagine on your own.
  • Make a list of bodily pleasures you can enjoy (alone is fine at this stage) and enjoy at least one of them once a day.
  • Spend some time each day caressing your face gently while looking in the mirror. If you feel weird doing all those things, you have found the root of the problem: it’s discomfort with your body. Start proceeding in smaller steps to reduce the feelings of weirdness. Five, ten minutes per day. Then, when the feelings of embarrassment diminish, it can be done for longer stretches of time.

A healthy self-esteem is crucial for sexual success. If you have low self-esteem:

  • Analyze when and how it originated. Who made you feel like you were not good enough since early childhood?
  • Remove as many sources as possible of low self-esteem from your life. If, say, you have a friend who likes to put your down or make little criticisms of your appearance, intelligence, etc., the best thing to do would be to stop seeing them, at least for a while. If you have many friends like this, ask yourself what makes you seek reinforcement of your low self-image.
  • Find activities that make you feel good about yourself and in which you excel. If there are people who criticize you for enjoying these activities, try to avoid these people, at least for now.
  • I know it will be difficult at first (believe me, I really, really know) but whenever somebody is critical of you and tries to put you down, you need to stop listening. It’s like medication that is bitter but you have to take it.

Of course, this is just a beginning but it’s a good beginning.

Maybe I’ll write more about this when I’m less tired.

California Protects Children from the Tanning Industry

An important law has been passed by a progressive governor in California:

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation prohibiting minors from using tanning beds, he announced this afternoon, making California the first state in the nation to adopt such a ban.

Senate Bill 746, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, was supported by doctors, nurses and the American Cancer Society. The tanning industry argued current law – requiring parental consent for children between age 14 and 18 – was sufficient.

It’s great to see a politician who dares to go against a powerful industry to protect children from grievous harm.

Of course, many conservatives who believe children should remain their parents’ toys in perpetuity are protesting. “I should have the exclusive right to decide if my kid gets cancer,” they screech. I’m glad to see that California isn’t listening.

Even More Wisdom From Z

Blogger Z keeps churning out those posts that are so good I want to kiss them:

What if those who say they are having such a hard time with research and writing and suffering so greatly, are faking it completely?

What if the ones who want me to use my blog space to discuss suffering even more than I already do, alleging that only in this way can I convince the legislature that what we do is work, are precisely those fat, entitled types the legislature is complaining about?

What if going on about how much we are suffering just makes us look silly to the legislature? I want to emphasize that research and writing, if work, are not onerous requirements but what we came for.

I seriously think that people who do not like to write, should not have gone to graduate school in the humanities, and people who are not interested in research, should not have gone to graduate school at all.

Academia can hope for a very bright future while we have academics like Z defending it. Z’s blog is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one, so I highly recommend. After one reads all those miserable academic blogs about research being “effectively gendered male“, it is such a relief to find a passionate, undefeated, powerful scholar like Z to serve as one’s role model.

A General Query

Do I really need to have discussions on my blog about why abortion rights are crucial to any civilized society? Can I honestly be expected to discuss anything with people who use the expression “unborn babies” in earnest? Seriously?

I know there are still those completely barbaric, terrified creatures whose Mommies hated the shit out of them wandering around us who still talk about “unborn babies” and “undead corpses.” But they are all consigned to the garbage heap of history and they know it. Can I really be expected to waste my time on them? All they are good for is laughing at their fear and hatred of human sexuality but even that gets boring very soon. It isn’t like they even know how to talk or reason. They are so stuck on the deeply traumatic (to them) fetal stage that they never manage to progress beyond that.

Dear woman-hating anti-choicers, please go away to those badly written websites with horrible spelling and ridiculously stupid arguments where creatures of your ilk graze, OK? This is a blog for people who have a fully developed adult brain. You are not going to like it here anyways.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

A very powerful post about a personal journey out of poverty and the legacy it leaves behind.

An extremely helpful and easy to understand post on how to read a poem.

Do you need to grow some balls? Where does this expression come from?

A great review of Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender. If I ever find the time, I’ll finally write my own review of this book.

Why Obama will be overwhelmingly re-elected in 2012. I don’t think Obama’s lead will be overwhelming but I do think he’ll win. The Republicans still don’t have a candidate that can win.

Fat men and feminism. How can we analyze fat hatred productively?

So rail all you want: I am still research oriented, bitchez, and I am still efficient, bitchez, even if you would rather I were all fluff.

This is very similar to how I feel about the Occupy Wall Street protests.

A great post on hierarchies.

Should people be able to copyright reality?

Another very interesting post on Occupy Wall Street protests.

A Nigerian blogger on the stigma attached to the “Nigerian Prince scam.”

Answering Searchers’ Questions

Many bloggers are kind enough to answer questions that bring readers to their blog. I decided to be nice, too, and provide some answers to frequent searches that bring people here.

american and eastern european women: differences and similarities – I don’t know about differences, but we all have one thing in common: we hate it when people generalize about us.

libertarianism is applied autism – Is a statement made by complete idiots. It’s a good idea not to be one of them.

who accepts guest posts? – Not me. I find that readers ignore even the most brilliant guest posts with daunting dedication.

what is poverty like – You really want to find out or are you just into slumming? Be careful what you wish for, buddy.

what people are invited to amazon vine? – Nobody really knows but it seems like being a very popular and prolific reviewer who resides in the US helps.

“spanish prof” blog – Is located right here.

is creative class dead – No. It’s growing thanks to the advances in technology.

“tenured radical” “profacero” – Are two completely different bloggers.

who googling me – Not me. I don’t even Google myself. Of course, if your name is Pilar Sinues de Marco, I might have Googled you today. In that case, I have bad news for you: you’ve been dead for a long time. But I also have good news: you used to be a bestselling writer in the XIXth-century Spain.

hard wiring, the brain – Anybody who speaks of “hard-wiring” in relation to the brain is a useless quack. E.g. Dr. Phil.

what do you like about san francisco – I like the food and the fog. Also, it’s a great place for walking and shopping. And, of course, the writer John Lescroart.

why can’t we be more like canada – Because “we” are probably a different country.

tall women dating short men – Happens just as often as short men dating tall women.

who’s clarissa of clarissa’s blog? – A brilliant blogger.

If there are any more questions, just ask.

What Ingredients Go Into a Perfect Relationship?

I want to warn everybody that here, as in all of my other posts and comments, I offer an opinion inspired by my worldview. People who find this worldview upsetting or disturbing should feel free to move on to other resources.

You know these annoying people who meet, click instantly, and become obnoxiously inseparable? Those two creatures who, years into a relationship, hide in a corner at a party or sit at a restaurant, chattering away like they haven’t had a chance to talk to each other for a decade?  Who – if they are very considerate – make efforts not to tell everybody about how they finish each other’s thoughts and have the same dreams? Who seem to be so completely different, yet somehow manage to remain together and have lots of fun over the years? And who behave like this charming couple from Chapter XII of Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat?

What is it that makes these couples work and preserve their feelings for each other for years?

Two things: a powerful sexual attraction plus a coincidence in what I will call family scenarios. A family scenario is a pattern of relationships between family members that exists within each family and is reproduced by each generation without even being consciously aware that such a pattern exists. When I started researching my own family scenario, I discovered, to my infinite surprise, that most of the things I was going through were not that unique. My mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother (and probably all those women who came before them) already dealt with these issues, felt these emotions, experienced these situations, and even said the same words.

So here is what I discovered about my family scenario:

  • it usually involves one gregarious, authoritative, slightly (yeah, right) domineering partner and one kind, gentle, patient partner.
  • one of the partners is usually involved with languages and writing while the other works with numbers (mathematics, statistics, accounting).
  • one partner is usually autistic and another mitigates his or her autism.
  • one is usually creative and messy while the other is meticulous and organized.
  • there is usually an ethnic or a class difference between the partners.
  • one has a very close relationship with their extended family while the other has none.
  • one is sarcastic while the other one is sincere and honest.
  • one attracts a huge social circle without even trying while the other one needs no social circle.

As you walk through life with your scenario, you look for a person who will want to play the role of the other partner in it. So when you meet a person who needs somebody precisely like you to play the starring role in their scenario and they are eager to play a role in yours, you click like two pieces of a Lego puzzle. The more points of coincidence there are in your scenarios, the stronger your relationship will be.

Of course, if you analyze your scenario and decide you are very happy with it and don’t want to change it, like I did, then things are easy. It becomes more difficult when you realize that your scenario sucks and decide you don’t want to perpetuate it. People usually try to address this situation by applying their willpower. Which is pretty much as silly as trying to stop overeating or cure depression with one’s force of will.

A guy I know grew up with an abusive alcoholic father who beat both him and his mother into a bloody pulp. When the guy grew up, he hated alcohol, abhorred alcoholics, and decided never to follow in his father’s footsteps. Twenty years have passed since then. He is now a violent alcoholic who is probably never sober enough to remember his youthful resolutions.

Pretending that the scenario isn’t there is pretty much like choosing not to believe in climate change. It isn’t going away no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s all a conspiracy by nasty people who want to keep you down.

The very first step on this journey is, of course, finding out as much as you can about your family history and analyzing it in terms of patterns you can spot. If you see, for example, that women in your family usually have a three-year-long first marriage, that’s a pattern that is worth noting. Such knowledge is central for understanding why one always keeps ending up in a certain type of relationship without trying to. This is why I always say that people who conceal their children’s true paternity from them are the vilest jerks imaginable. They effectively rob their children of a chance of engaging in this sort of analysis.

P.S. I really hope people will not start responding to this post with “I’m nothing like my mother!” This will be very boring.