In my (continuing) journey towards (and within) sex positivity, I’ve frequently run up against the wall in myself that says “But, Ms Syren, if you were really sex-positive, you’d be much more comfortable having casual sex,” or “But, Ms Syren, if you were really sex-positive, you’d be totally frubbly when your SO gets a new partner and wouldn’t feel anxious at all,” or “But, Ms Syren, if you were really sex-positive, you’d be more gender-non-conforming,” …  You get the drift, I’m sure.


What I mean is that I frequently run up against an old mental enemy – the one that says I’m not allowed/supposed to have boundaries or limits – using new language to shame or guilt or scare myself into putting myself at risk (emotionally, psychologically, physically… you name it) in the name of upholding an internalized worldview that I really am trying to dismantle and get rid of — one that says I’m only “safe” if I let other people hurt me.


It’s utterly stupid and, much as I’m onto them, the brain weasels still win on occasions.


Enter Charlie Glickman.


Many of you reading this already know that he’s a fabulous, thoughtful sex educator in SF.  He also has a blog, to-which I am about to link you.


Fierce Compassion


That’s not the name of the blog, that’s the name of the article that I found on said blog, this morning, through a series of links that started with Yes Means Yes.


The terms “idiot compassion” and “fierce compassion” are good ones.  I like the concepts.  I like that “idiot compassion”, while it effectively means the same things as “co-dependent”, doesn’t bring with it the baggage that says caring for other people (or acting like women are taught to act, for that matter) is a Bad Thing in and of itself.


I have spent and HUGE amount of time practicing Idiot Compassion because I thought that was the only option.


And now the concept of Fierce Compassion has gone and landed in my lap at a time (not the first time, to be sure, but A time) when I badly need it.


I’m a very word-based person (being a writer, I suppose this isn’t surprising).  The more ways I have to articulate something to myself, the more likely it is that it’ll stick.


Fierce compassion says that I can work on a case-by-case basis, that I’m allowed to change, that I can approach situations in ways that keep me safe and comfortable, even as they challenge me, without having to automatically smush whatever everyone else wants.


I know this is a massive no-brainer.  I know.  But it’s good to be reminded that caring for someone else doesn’t mean NOT caring for myself; that you can respect and support someone else’s desires without compromising your own limits.


It doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.



Anyway.  So there we go.



Ms Syren.