I guess the title of this post could be offensive to some. It just happens to be the start of a book title. The full title being “The bi-ble – an anthology of personal narratives and essays about bisexuality“.

One thing becomes apparent through the book. Something known as bi-erasure, where the existence of bi-sexual people is discounted. You are either lesbian, gay or straight. No one is thought to actually be bi-sexual.

The idea of bi-sexuality seems to confuse some people. It is often thought that a person will identify as bi-sexual while on the way to discovering whether they are lesbian or gay. There is a scene depicted in Bohemian Rapsody that unfortunately implies this. I was reluctant to post about the film, until I discovered much of it is not historical accurate. So the conversation between Freddie and Mary may be not be factual. So spoiler alert.

Freddie and Mary had a wonderful relationship. Then, in the film, after Freddie returns from being on tour, they have an awkward conversation. Freddie says he thinks he’s bi-sexual, Mary responds, no Freddie, you’re gay. The idea of being bi-sexual is completely shut down. No disrespect meant to Mary, as then bi-erasure seemed the norm. The strange thing is all these years later attitudes don’t seem to have changed much!

Bi-sexuals are incorrectly seen as promiscious, incapable of commitment, a threat to relationships. Out of all LGBTQ+ people, bi-sexuals have mental health problems most frequently. The Bisexuality Report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity found bi-sexual people are prone to higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide, all of which are embedded in bi-phobia and bi-erasure.

I’m left wondering what needs to happen for their to be full acceptance of bi-sexuality. Accusations of being greedy, confused and such, seem inappropriate. Of the bi-sexual people I know, I wouldn’t describe any in that way. A case for more acceptance, by all, for all?

This book is wonderful!

Are you a young person wondering about your gender and / or sexuality? Read this book 😊

Do you have a child, niece, nephew, grandchild, or other young relative or friend wondering about their gender or sexual? Read this book 😊 and then either give it to whoever you are thinking about or buy them a copy!

I mention young people as that is the main audience Juno is writing for. Though, of course, the information within is relevant for everyone, whether LGBTQ+ or otherwise.

The chapters

  • Welcome to the members club
  • The name game
  • You can’t mistake our biology
  • Stereotypes are poo
  • The fear
  • Haterz gon’ hate
  • Coming out
  • Where to meet people like you
  • The ins and outs of gay sex
  • Nesting
  • Hats
  • A guide to recognising your gay saints
  • Build a bridge
  • The cheat sheet

I’d say all the chapters are relevant and important reading. Though, if you’re a parent, guardian, relative or friend of someone who is gay (or wondering or questioning) “Build a bridge” is vital reading.

When you buy the book, make sure you get the second edition. Has a few important updates.

I love having a bath. Usually, once a week I take a bath. Generally I soak for at least an hour. During which I may read, meditate, ponder, dream, imagine, pray, visualise, compose poetry. Being secluded brings more ideas and feelings, than come at other times. Which is where a large part of this entry comes from. I first read “The Art of Asking” several years ago. It still resonates with me, that I recently reread it.

Being a person-centred counsellor I try to embrace all I am. Being more open about everything, is consistent with the concept of congruence, one of the three primary qualities of a person-centred counsellor – unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence – ideals I aspire to each day. Aspire to, yet no doubt never completely reach. A line from Amanda Palmer’s book “The Art of Asking”, my bath reading, fits here, about the purpose of life being for:

Trying…..

A lot of thoughts have risen from the book. Recommend it.

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Can the essence of the book be summed up in a word? Perhaps, connection is one word I’d choose. Another, vulnerability. Trust and faith are others. And of course, asking:

Some days it’s your turn to ask
“Some days it’s your turn to be asked

“Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability. Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing:

I deserve to ask
     and
You are welcome to say no. 

Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.”

Some other words or phrases that stand out for me:

“Conditional love is:
     I will only love you if you love me. 

Unconditional love is:
     I will love you even if you do not love me. 

It’s really easy to love passing strangers unconditionally. They demand nothing of you. It is really hard to love people unconditionally when they can hurt you.”

“You can never give people what they want, Anthony said.
What do you mean?

We were lying by the side of Walden Pond in Concord, two towns from Lexington, where we’d crested a ritual of ambling around the circumference of the water, then lazing under the trees with a picnic for a nice long grok.

People always want something from you, he said. Your time. Your love. Your money. For you to agree with them and their politics, their point of view. And you can’t ever give them what they want. But you —–

That’s a dreary worldview. 

Let me finish clown. You can’t ever give people what they want. But you can give them something else. You can give them empathy. You can give them understanding. And that’s a lot, and enough to give.

On their own the words quoted above may not mean much. Read the book and hopefully they will. You will no doubt take different things from it than I did. And that is okay. And perhaps that’s another principle, idea, concept, of the book – difference is okay.

Not everyone will like Amanda’s writing style. If you have read and valued Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”, then the ideas in “The Art of Asking” should resonate with you.

Recently I finished watching the Netflix series “Sex Education”.

If you haven’t seen the series yet and don’t want any spoilers, best not read any further. Though I don’t really discuss any plot angles. I will say I was surprised to see one story line from 10 Things I Hate About You. Just go and watch it and come back here after 😊. Be aware it’s been given an 18 rating in the UK. Nudity from the opening scene. Strong language throughout. The story revolves around Otis giving sex therapy to various of his school peers, having picked up things from his Mum, who is a qualified and practicing sex therapist.

Made in South Wales, the location for the filming was the University of South Wales’ old Caerleon campus, which was closed in 2016. Despite this and the actors being from the UK, the setting is made to appear as if in a US high school. Bit confusing initially. Doesn’t distract too much.

Is it a comedy? Well, yes and no. There are many scenes that had me laughing out loud. There are many scenes that show the pain of being a teenager – bullying, not being part of the “in crowd”, coming to accept your gender and sexuality, not feeling adequate enough, clever enough, cool enough, affection not being returned by someone you fancy.

There are so many aspects of gender, sex and sexuality portrayed. With sex being biopsychosocial (biology, psychology and social) the series demonstrates this complexity. The following is a list (not in any particular order) of things I noticed that were touched on. Some in more detail than others. If I’ve missed any please comment so I can update here, listed alphabetically, rather than to try another kind of order.

  • Abortion
  • Asexuality
  • Bullying
  • Condom use
  • Complexity of family and friends relationships
  • Consent
  • Cross dressing
  • Divorce
  • Ejaculation difficulty
  • Faking orgasm
  • Homophobia
  • Internalised homophobia
  • LGBTQ+
  • Masturbation
  • Owning your sexuality and gender
  • Sex and relationship therapy
  • Vaginismus

The title of the series being sex education, wouldn’t it be wonderful if sex education in our UK schools covered the subjects listed above in depth. Perhaps then the difficult experiences of many teenagers regarding sex and relationships could be avoided.

Would I recommend watching it? Yes. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I would recommend it.

Following recently reading two of Meg-John Barker’s books (Rewriting the Rules and Enjoy Sex) where they mention self-care a great deal, I was going to write a lengthy post regarding self-care. In the end I thought why remake (or in this case – rewrite 😇) the wheel. The link here hellyeahselfcare will load a pdf of Meg-John’s on the topic. Whether client or counsellor, well worth reading and following the advice therein.

After much thought decided to add a blog about different aspects of counselling. Obviously, this will not be for discussing clients or things that they bring to sessions. I have a supervisor for that. It will be about myself. Things I’ve read or am learning – I see learning as a lifelong endeavour. Yes, I have a psychology degree, plus a diploma in counselling, yet there is ever more to be learnt about myself and how to be a more engaged congruent, empathic, loving person and counsellor. As such, I’ll share continued further development of myself as an individual and as a counsellor.

Having this past September (2018) started a new diploma in Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy there will probably be much concerning that. There will also be reviews of books, magazines and web articles, experiences on courses, sharing of others blogs.

If there is a theme, it will likely be connected to Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversities (GSRD).

How often will this page be updated? Weekly I don’t see as an option. Maybe monthly, maybe fortnightly. we’ll see 🙂