Posts Tagged ‘communicate’
Dear Mr. Sexsmith,
My butch lover refers to me as gorgeous, luscious, beautiful… [but] I just don’t think those kind of descriptive words work for her. What would you suggest? Thanks!
My personal favorites?
Some more ideas?
Striking. Charming. Dazzling. Gentleman. Stud(ly). Rough. Tough. Hero(ic). Attractive. Big.
And, do delve a little deeper:
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling someone masculine gorgeous or beautiful or any of those words. (I don’t know if I’d use “luscious” … not sure what it is exactly, maybe it implies curviness to me, and it wouldn’t resonate if someone used that for me. But I can think of some very luscious butches who would probably like that word used to describe them, so don’t take my preference as the norm.) I think we separate complimentary words by gender, and while many people have certain resonances with certain words regardless of their gender identity—and I think those should be respected, and it doesn’t really matter if the words someone likes happen to all fall in one generally gendered category or not—I think it’s good to take a look at why some of them resonate over others, and whether that’s personal preference or cultural habit.
I remember reading somewhere that “men want to be powerful, women want to be beautiful,” and while I think there’s some heteronormative/patriarchal/misogynistic deconstruction that should probably happen around that idea, I also think it is largely true and reproduced in this culture. And, I think we tend to compliment along those lines when we’re talking about complimenting someone feminine verses complimenting someone masculine. So first of all, women are powerful and beautiful, men are beautiful and powerful, genderqueer and trans and butch and femme folks are powerful and beautiful, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being both. In fact, I think it’s a radical act a) to recognize that our gender roles operate by trying to keep men striving for power and women striving for beauty, which reinforces the kyriarchy, and b) to intentionally break those gender roles by complimenting people for the incredible, sparkly, dazzling things that we notice them doing, by which we are touched and changed.
I think this topic of complimentary words warrants a fascinating conversation between partners. E.g., “Hey, when I use words like attractive and sexy and beautiful when I describe you, do you like that? What kinds of words do you like to be called? Are there words that I call you that sometimes bug you? Isn’t it interesting that certain words are reserved for femininity and others for masculinity? Would it feel strange if I called you pretty/strong/luscious/my hero?”
Brainstorm. Make a list. Do some google searches. Ask around to your friends next time you’re out and about and see what kind of lists they make of compliments for their girlfriends/boifriends/partners. Go back to your partner and try out some of those words, see what the response is. Maybe they just don’t like their body to be talked about or commented upon, even if you are in awe of their gorgeousness and want to tell them so every day. Maybe they like certain words to be used and they just don’t know why, but it makes more sense and resonates deeper. That’s okay. Listen to each other.
I like to use words that have the intended effect, and if I intend one thing and they take it another way, it isn’t actually effective, even if I intend it to be so. And regardless of gender identity, I like to call people what they want to be called.
Would y’all like to weigh in on other complimentary words for butches (or for anyone, for that matter)? What words do you call your butch lover? What words have you found that butches like to be called? What compliments stick?
Jack Stratton, writingdirty.com
1. What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?
Ask for what you want and help your partner understand your attraction.
One of the main of causes of the negative aspects of jealousy is your partner(s) filling in what they don’t know about your desires/partners with their own worries, fears, and self-consciousness. Be upfront about what you want and why you want others. I find it a lot easier to get into that lovely compersion zone when I understand my partner’s attraction. I don’t have to share in it, but often I do, since my primary and I are somewhat similar.
Know that people want different amounts of information and different types of information and sometimes they are not going to know exactly what they want right away. You have to communicate a lot. You have to communicate about how you want to communicate.
Keep discussion and negotiation as fun as possible. Remember that you are not brokering a business transaction, you are figuring out how to get your desires and your partners desires met (and exceeded) while keeping everyone happy.
Reinforce each partners’ specific special place in your life and in your heart. Keep certain things sacred to certain partners.
It’s okay to to give your primary veto power.
2. What has been the hardest thing about navigating multiple relationships, and how have you overcome that?
Learning when to talk about what. I tend to worry about talking and negotiating if my partner is in a bad mood or busy. Sometimes that has bitten me in the ass because I end up talking to them too late or too close to a date or something. Timing is the toughest for me.
Asking for what I want. It means knowing what I want and understanding what I want.
3. What has been the best thing about being open/poly?
The rush of meeting new people mixed with the joy of stable long term relationships. Swooning over people and watching my partner swoon over someone. Getting all tangled up in mutual attraction and three way attraction and so on. Having crushes all the time and being able to follow them through as much or as little as I like.
Ridiculously hot kink and sex.
No guilt ever.
4. Anything else you’d like to add?
Google Calendar. Google Calendar. Google Calendar. It is the most useful thing in the world for poly people. Knowing who is doing what, when, and where but me and my partners at ease. Also, you can look and if you see something you’re not sure about you just drop a little note. “Who is Lisa again?” I love it.