Damn Dirty Hippies

Labels are fascinating (though often annoying) things. I am a libertarian. But my path has been a strange one and I now identify as a hippie also. I was a veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan, I earned a degree in Economics from The College of Charleston, and I worked in the suit-and-tie non-profit world of Washington DC… but none of that felt 100% right to me, the fight against government was not all I wanted. In my experience hippies tend to be associated with “the left” (whatever the fuck that even means anymore) while libertarians have a history of aligning with “the right” (again… WTF does that mean), particularly over economic issues. The focus on economic freedom and aligning with the right has in many ways tainted the word “libertarian” in many people’s minds. Some of the tainting is justified, while some of it reflects a lack of understanding of what it means to be a libertarian.

As a libertarian I believe in the freedom to do what I wish with my body, my mind, and my labor, as long as I am not harming someone else. Being a libertarian DOES NOT mean that I have a slavish devotion to corporate hierarchy, consumerism, or crony capitalism. In fact, I hate all three of those things… though the last is the most offensive because it violates both my personal preferences and my libertarian philosophy. Crony capitalism is the use of government (read: guns) to prohibit others from competing (read: acting freely) in order to make money. That isn’t just un-libertarian, that is evil.

Being against government is the easy part of libertarianism, it is well defined and fits neatly into a black and white world view. Violence is wrong, government action is all violence, therefore government is wrong. While many conversations and debates can be had on issues of practicality or the utilitarian results of reducing government the ethics behind it easily stand. Many libertarians believe that libertarian philosophy stops with government, I am not one of those libertarians. Government is certainly a destructive force posing as the “will of the people” or communal action, our fight doesn’t end at anarchy… our fight continues until bigotry, sexism, and any power that treats one life as less than another or sees equality as the enemy is destroyed. It may be easy to see the government as the only true use of coercion against people but that is not reflective of reality.

Coercion, harm, oppression, and the other ills that libertarians strongly philosophically oppose do not exist solely in the realm of governments and criminals. Mental harm can come from harassment, bullying, and generations of institutional (government or otherwise) discrimination have very real harmful effects. We have learned enough about the human brain to know that it can be harmed, even if it is not touched physically. Libertarians would benefit from recognizing the legitimate claims that harm exist outside of the state and defeat of the state will not solve the destructive forces of racism or sexism.

So yes, I am a libertarian. I believe in markets, economic freedom, and personal freedom to do what you wish as long as you don’t harm others… but I believe that harm comes in many forms and is a more complex concept than “no physical force”. And yes, I am a hippie. I believe in loving people first and foremost, love is limitless, I enjoy expanding my views of the world, I find the body beautiful and enjoy being naked as often as possible, and I believe complete freedom cannot come until we cast of the shackles that we place on others and ourselves. In the end I feel most at home in where my libertarianism and hippyness combine, a place that is peaceful, anarchist, accepting, and loving (ie Burning Man). In the end, the labels are worthless.

I am me, part of we, and that is fucking awesome.

Advertisements

Leg 6: East Coast, Beast Coast

Leg 6 takes us from the wonderful city of Pittsburgh down the east coast and all the way to Florida. This will be quite the climate and environment change as we visit mountains, swamps, forests, and coastal cities. There will be tons of old friends and Facebook buddies along this leg so it should be a lot of fun, but 2000 miles over 40ish days will be physically challenging as well. Some of the great sites include:

Leg 6

  • Green Bank Telescope
  • CO Bike Trail
  • Washington DC
  • Charleston, SC… seriously, greatest. city. ever.
  • Savannah, GA
  • Six Flags America
  • Broadway at the Beach!
  • The Atlantic Ocean
  • New Years in Southern Florida!

I am an introvert… really!

When I define myself as an introvert it seems to really surprise people, particularly those people who know me primarily online via Facebook or this blog. I can understand this perception… I’m obviously comfortable naked (particularly in public), I share my intimate experiences, I very vocally advocate for non-traditional relationships, and I fully participate in communities like Burning Man. I’m not a shy person usually, particularly if I am even remotely comfortable, but I am still an introvert.

Introverts are not defined by how active they are in public, it is all about how they get energized. I get exhausted when interacting with strangers, particularly when there is small talk involved, so I hate “mixers”, networking, happy hours, and any other form of forced association with people I don’t know. I am not a fan of dancing or clubs, even bars tend to drain me unless I am with close friends. One night out a week is plenty for me and I would rather lounge at home watching Netflix or reading than go out… but I have also found a way to be an introvert but be social and lose the shyness when in public.

The most important thing for me is to have close friends I can retreat to even in social environments. Yes, I did a naked bike ride, but I did it with my partner and one of my best friends and the entire time I hung out with them. Yes, I share moments I have but these moments are with people I love and I share them on the internet but I can control what feedback I get in these venues. I need the people I am closest to around me, I would be lost and exhausted and anxious without them. My dearest open-minded friends are now geographically close to me which is part of the reason you don’t see many events like the ones above from my time in Washington DC.

Another tool in my “I’m introverted but want to get out there and have adventures” is a having a distraction. I don’t like dancing when people can see my face but if I have a firestaff, a mask on, or some sort of LED tool that distracts it helps me break out of my shell. While logically I realize on a logical level that on a dance floor or out on the Playa I am hardly the focus of attention for anyone it still helps me to have a distraction that is within my control… the whole experience drains me less when the focus isn’t on me. Actually, in retrospect this paragraph is more about shyness than introversion but I wrote it so I might as well leave it…. maybe someone will get some value out of it.

As an introvert I store energy by being alone, I stay energy “neutral” when with close trusted friends, and I exert a lot of energy when dealing with strangers. Now, it doesn’t take long for some people to move from stranger to close friend, but my close friend circle still stays small in numbers. That is just how I operate, I may not understand extroverts who love going out nightly to happy hours or want to talk when they get home from work, but the beauty of this world is the diversity and I don’t need to understand. Extroverts create beauty, just like introverts do, and if we can respect our different ways of processing energy I think we can all learn from each other.

American Savage

Yesterday I finished Dan Savage’s most recent book “American Savage” and as a fan of Dan’s I really enjoyed it. If you aren’t familiar with Dan Savage he is a sex and relationship advice columnist based out of Seattle. His column and podcast are absolutely fantastic and I have found them incredibly helpful in my personal life as well as inspiring me to look into sex therapy as a professional field. For all intents and purposes he is not your average advice columnist, he is much more realistic about relationships and is willing to tackle things like kinks, bdsm, LGBT issues (he is a happily married gay man with a 15-year old son), and infidelity with an open mind.

His book is really a summary and expansion on things that have been discussed in the other mediums and a regular like me did not find a lot of new material advice material, but I did learn a lot about his personal life and the moments that effected him most. His mother’s death, raising a straight son, bigot politicians, and marriage equality passing in Washington State are all addressed with his perfect blend of humor and logic. While I find his personal life fascinating (I gain a lot of inspiration from the biographies of amazing people) it is his relationship and sex advice that I really enjoy.

The majority of the book is about his life, but ome of the common themes that run through his podcast and column are being GGG and “it’s never okay to cheat, except when it is” are also addressed. The former is something that I strive to live by…. being “good in bed”, “giving pleasure without expectation of immediate reciprocation”, and “game for anything – within reason”. I think a sexual openness is absolutely necessary to maintaining a happy relationship and the science agrees (one of the best things about this book is allows Dan to give research examples to back his views).

While I think this is a great book I don’t agree with several of the chapters. When Dan dives into politics the libertarian in my shudders. I think he is partially wrong on his views of health care reform and really wrong on his gun ownership views, but that’s okay. His “It Gets Better” campaign has helped saved countless lives and he helped save this country from a political disaster by giving Santorum a “google problem”. Dan also admits throughout the book that he was wrong about certain things like bisexuality among men, which should be commended.

Overall Dan is helping move the country forward towards greater equality and freedom for more people, and that should be celebrated. Thanks to Dan the battle for equality in the minds of Americans is almost over, there are certainly still battles ahead but men like Dan Savage have brought us a long way towards a society that embraces, celebrates, and encourages love.

True Love is…

Dan Savage often says that “There are some things that mother’s have a right NOT to know, but mother’s also have a responsibility to not go searching for things they don’t want to know”. This is one of those posts, so if my mother is reading this it may be time to close the tab to my blog and look at something else, this post just may have too much info. I actually don’t know if my mother reads my posts but I think this disclaimer should actually be at the top of most personal things I talk about. Personal censorship is not one of my strong suits.

 

 

As my regular reader knows I got a genital piercing a little over a month ago. This particular piercing made erections extremely painful and sexual activity impossible. After the first couple nights I would wake up in extreme pain several times throughout the night. As any guy can testify it doesn’t take long without sexual release before the pressure builds up and needs release. So there reaches a point where I had to weigh the pain, pressure, and pleasure of having an orgasm.

This time was not easy for my partner either. I think she has a slightly higher sex drive than me and going this long without intercourse effected her. She was completely supportive and loving during this time period but we have a great sexual compatibility so taking that out of our lives has a realistic impact. Luckily we are also great friends, crazy in love, trust each other, and communicate fully so even the loss of sex for a while had no negative impact on our relationship.

Anyway, after about a week of no orgasm I finally was able to masturbate to completion. It was very painful still (but to be honest I kind of liked that… hmmm) but there was  sense of relief and accomplishment when it happened. Of course the first thing I did after my successful act of self-coitus was text my partner, and she was genuinely thrilled for me. That is when it occurred to us, true love is celebrating each other’s orgasms.

True love is genuine happiness and joy at the accomplishments and pleasure of another (this is also called compersion in poly circles). This happens between parents and their children, brothers and sisters, best friends, and for poly people this applies to their partners having intimate relationships with others. My poly journey is still in it’s infancy and I have not had the chance to explore multiple partner based compersion but if/when that day comes I hope I can celebrate the intimacy and orgasms my partner has when I am not the direct recipient of them.

Leg 5: Il est putain de froid

Leg 5 takes us back into Canada and into the US Northeast… land of woods, mountains, and some pretty awesome cities. We will also be going to a good chunk of the Six Flags theme parks. I’m really looking forward to exploring some of this area and these cities. I’ve been to Boston and Philly before but never just as a tourist. It will also be filled with lots of friends in New York and Pittsburgh. The 2300 miles and 60 days will end in one of my favorite cities, Pittsburgh. Some highlights are:

  • Six Flags La Ronde, Great Lodge, New England, Great Adventure
  • Niagara Falls
  • Lake Ontario
  • Museum of Sex
  • Halloween in New York City!!!!!!
  • Awesome cities that I know (Boston, Philly, DC, Pittsburgh)
  • Awesome cities that I don’t know (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, NYC)
  • Keene Freestaters

Leg 5

Expectations

With only a few weeks until I am bound for Black Rock City it is hard not to think about Home. This year (as is always the case) will be different from years past. I am a different person, I am going with different people, camping in a different place, and everyone that will be there is facing the same changes from the last time we united on the Playa. This year I will be going with my partner, it is her first time, and I find myself thinking a lot about what my expectations are for Burning Man… which is of course very dangerous.

When I committed to going my virgin year I was crazy excited and became pretty obsessed with researching and preparing. My best friend, who was the one who introduced me to it, gave me some great advice: “You need to go to Burning Man with an open mind and heart, it is okay to hope for certain things and to focus on certain aspects like art or intimacy or spirituality, but you can’t have expectations. If you expect certain things you will be disappointed”. When you really think about it an “expectation” is simply an assumption about the future, and when you make assumptions that involve factors out of your control and you give up your emotions, happiness, and your experiences to someone else.

I think some expectations are reasonable. I should buy food because I expect to be hungry tomorrow…. I should save money because I expect to go on my yearish long bike ride in April… but to expectations should be managed. Burning Man will have 65,000 or so people spread across the desert and each of these individual entities will be filled with their own passions, energy, hopes, ideas, and emotions. To expect certain experiences with that many moving parts is foolish, unwise, and immoral (it is viewing others as means to an end).

So, with a partner by my side there are more experiences available to me, particularly anything that involves intimate encounters, but I must tame expectations and instead leave the default world with openness. Expectations are blinders that cause us to focus prematurely, and when we are overly focused on something we often miss other opportunities that are right in front of our faces. I expect to go Home (which might be a dangerous assumption as well), but once I am there I will try to commit myself to the moment and know that if my heart and mind are open it will be as life changing as ever… and hopefully I can bring some of that magic to my everyday life again.