Business downturn for the weed-whacking project for former displaced St Catherine MSM

As promised here is another periodical update on an income generating/diligence building project now in effect for some now seven former homeless and displaced MSM in St Catherine, it originally had twelve persons but some have gotten jobs elsewhere, others have simply walked away and one has relocated to another parish, to date their weed whacking earning business capacity has been struggling as previous posts on the subject has brought to bear and although some LGBT persons residing in the parish have been approached by yours truly and others to increase client count for the men costs such as gas and maintenance of the four machines that are rotated between the enrolled men are rising weekly literally while the demand is instead decreasing due to various reasons.

When the initial idea was rolled out at the time in late 2012 via a mixed religion group to include myself and another gay individual there was some resistance to it as the activity was a carry over from a major well funded church project for unemployed youth one of whom still is in this dispensation, several leaders at the time left the revamped project idea claiming they were not supporting the gay lifestyle, the market for landscaping was already saturated with several other players including lawn cutters from Kingston and nearby parishes and Portmore, breaking into the domain was difficult and several attempts were made via flyers, repeated personal visits by myself and the men in walk-a-bouts various housing schemes and so on. The slow rainfall as well added more delays in shrubbery and vegetation growth hence the slow demand for services/repeat visits and cuttings and as costs for the actual weed whacking machines also come down more middle class households purchase their own machines and do their own manicuring of their lawns and fence-hedging. Expansion to other parishes to include Kingston is in the works and also major sites such as office grounds, schools and playgrounds are being considered but a proper marketing/introductory strategy is needed and is being prepared such as an introductory letter and so forth. Due to a spate of robberies generally as well in certain communities that are lonely with no major pedestrian activity during the work hours on weekdays a couple neighbourhood watches have taken a no tolerance approach to “strange faces” in their communities so they refuse to engage new persons seeking business such as cutting lawns, selling newspapers or such peddling and one community actually instituted a gated arrangement with a guard to control movement in and out of the scheme thus limiting potential business for the men, this community though not so new has several wide lawn area that will require tending to and a formal approach is being strategized. The rotation of the machines amongst the project participants has caused some challenges as well as one or more whackers may be out for repairs thus leaving the designated user out of a machine hence no income or shortened time for those who have machines than normal which has caused some riffs and in-fighting between the participants in the project of which I have had to intervene.

No profiling or homo-negative challenges thus far

Thankfully due to the masculine aesthetics of the participants no major profiling has occurred, a concern I had prior to the rollout of the project/machines. The project coordinators outside of myself are still at odds as to the more effeminate counterparts of the men who are presently enrolled and what to develop for them is still a concern, those persons have sought shelter elsewhere with friends for now; the group that were evicted from a house in Sydenham some time ago are also still struggling and some of those persons when contacted on this project in the early days declined the initiation I presume on a premise of mistrust as others have approached the men/transgender persons before with false promises I am told hence their scepticism. An Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica team member had suggested some sort of activity tailored to the female cisgender imperative such as make-up/beauty training and so on but the issue of stereotypical gender role boxing of the group has come up.

Rates as well have been affected due to some of the aforementioned challenges and competition, in order to stay in business average rates have fallen by some 20% average based on my calculations, for e.g. a typical front lawn (hedging not included as scissors are also needed, machetes alone won’t do) probably twenty five feet by thirty feet taking roughly fifteen to twenty minutes to whack could have fetched up to $1,800 now that has come down to $1,200 or less provided the cutter names his price at let’s say $1,500 then negotiates his way down to stay within the ball park. Gas prices have sky rocketed with rates from Petrojam going up weekly for the past eight weeks, a litre of gas now runs at $130/L and it takes 5 litres for the gallon which in turn serves one cutter one or two days depending on the frequency of jobs, the gas itself is also light as feather and burns off faster than normal despite the governing of the machines for maximum delivery per litre of gas. Unfair competition in my eyes as well is hurting business as weedsters from the government’s JEEP temporary employment program who weed-whack parks, medians and public spaces and who also are allowed to take home the govt owned machines are invading the private market as well thus diminishing business and with their more aggressive tactics some have gone as far as to use the local political and parish council representative as muscle to work their way into the market as they tell their people on the ground who in turn tell others. They while earning from their salaried contracts from JEEP are able to price down their services thus affecting market rates tremendously.

Such is the nature of business right now but the men have managed overall to eek out some small profits or break even in some instances. The psycho-social bit is also being examined and elements of the soon to be concluded Enterprise Training that I am apart of are being reviewed with modifications of course for this cohort; the men are also being encouraged to save as best as possible and consolidate on certain things such as food purchases and so on, two of the men are in fact in a long term relationship so their money management issues are a little better off than the others one of whom has a son from a previous opposite gender relationship. Encouragement has come from the mostly mixed Christian heterosexual group although the teething challenges were numerous they have settled and are now seemingly looking past sexual orientation although there is a push by at least one person for some type of reparative work and prayer for change. The Christmas treat held last year is still fresh in the men’s mind as there were new comers in the lot and the grocery packages though small are welcomed by them saving time and money to fetch such items on their own. My concern is to move them from just mere tokenism to more independent thinking and devising their own way to fend for themselves, the necessitated rotation of the machines has become a blessing in disguise as it has come to teach the men sharing and patience major tools in diligence building and the all important life-plan efficacious activity seems more eminent than before as the anger and resentment from being displaced slowly subsides. We are seeking a qualified professional with counselling expertise to do one on one work with them to move to the next step as the project becomes more formalised.

I had an idea to divert a few of them to a program on catering but it soon dawned on me that with independence it would have been difficult to ask them to make such a separation to non income status although the training would make them qualified and also the hours needed to seek business are also the same hours for classes so it would have been a catch 22 situation.

I am feeling a little better seeing some of the displaced and homeless MSM/Transgender persons are being addressed but it is in no way near the answers needed as others elsewhere on the island struggle with a myriad of issues. A community influential in Mandeville has recently taken on a few in his home for a short time while in St Ann an influential who was assisting some men there has given up due to the behavioural challenges and pilfering has caused him to discontinue any further assistance. I nearly got to that place as well after my own experience in July last year when I took in a youngster only to have to put him out three days after as he brought a sex buddy to my home without expressed permission or prior notification, such as the challenges with community based shelter assistance. That is precisely when several more privileged gay/bi persons do not assist separate and apart from the classism and snobbery that obtains in the our “community”

We are thinking of devising an aggressive fund raising activity incorporating various means, donations of cash and kind have been slowly kicking in from persons in the know of the project and I have sent over donations as well thanks to my donors via my blogs through Paypal online and a cheque recently delivered to me by a long time reader residing here of which we are grateful. Each one reach one as Babbie Mason would say in her song.

Peace and tolerance

H

also see:

Interfaith Group Pledges Continued Support for Homeless MSM in St Catherine

GLBTQ Jamaica in conjunction with several individuals and a church group hosted a treat and some words of encouragement for the brothers.

Homeless MSM populations treated over the Christmas season

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The Dance of Difference, The New Frontier of Sexual Orientation part II

In part one we looked at the book below on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch where a preview of the first chapter can be seen via Kindle, also see the Smile Jamaica interview HERE – See the TVJ interview HEREAuthor Shirley Anderson-Fletcher, is a consultant with more than 30 years’ experience as an applied behavioural scientist, organisation systems analyst, executive coach and group facilitator.

Shirley Anderson Fletcher continued her promotional tour of sorts of her book The Dance of Difference where it was launched in Kingston Jamaica at Bookophilia   Thursday November 17.  She pushed the need for heterosexuals to rethink their stance on homosexuals and the associated stereotypes while speaking to Profile host Ian Boyne on Sunday November 20, 2011. Among other things she commented many of the points already outlined by advocates and independent LGBT voices over these many years.

I have been concerned about the oppression of racism and sexism for most of my adult life. However, I turned a blind eye to the oppression of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals until my fourteen-year-old son confronted me. I was forty-one years old at the time. He had overheard his dad and me laughing at a so-called ‘gay joke.’ He looked us in the eye and asked, “Would you really be laughing if there was someone gay in this room? Do you really think this is funny?” He looked at us long and hard before striding out of the room. I was mortified.

That was twenty-nine years ago. We made a commitment then to monitor our own prejudices and biases regarding gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. We’ve been intentional about building our awareness. And the reality is we still have a long way to go.


Shirley then employs a model called “Dialogue with Difference” for exploring this prejudice by presenting a transcript of a discussion about sexual orientation with a gay African American colleague, the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington. That transcript comprises the middle section of the book, and it is revealing in many ways. This particular technique is based on the societal construct of dominance and subordination, but it turns that relationship on its head by permitting the subordinated group member in the dialogue to have the opportunity and authority to decide the focus of the discussion.

I was skeptical about this type of presentation but found myself drawn into the discussion and learning a lot about the issue and, like Shirley, my own preconceptions and prejudices.

This is the first of a series of books on prejudice by Shirley, collectively entitled The Dance of Difference. If you want a break from traditional fluffy summer beach reading, it is well worth your time.

Publication Date: April 15, 2011
It is rare for heterosexuals to acknowledge, much less write about, their own homophobia. This black grandmother who grew up in the homophobic culture of Jamaica in the 40’s and 50’s offers a moving look into the challenges faced daily by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) because of the learned biases, attitudes and behavior of heterosexuals. The author, a behavioral scientist, who migrated to the United States 30 years ago, shares examples from her early life experiences as well as examples from her long career as an organizational consultant in the United States and Europe. The centerpiece of the book is a spontaneous dialogue between the author and a gay pastor about the realities of life for members of the gay community.

On the matter of rights to gays such as marriage she commented that she does not see a reason why homosexuals shouldn’t have them just as heterosexuals. She asked “Would Christ be hostile towards a group of people created by the father?” when pressed on the Leviticusal arguments presented by mainly religious personalities, she continued that “…the Bible has been used to justify slavery, it has been used to justify racism and it has been used to justify the oppression of women so in a way I’m not surprised that the Bible is now being used to justify the oppression of people who are gay lesbian etc…….. I am also aware of the fact that Christ never said a word about homosexuality” 

” ……. I can certainly understand this can be a challenging issue for people who are religious for people who are Christian and I would just say I want to encourage my Christian brothers and sisters to go back to the teachings of Christ and ask yourself, Would Christ be hostile towards a group of people created by the father?”

She continued “There is no evidence that I can name that would um you know that would describe homosexuality as a lifestyle, I believe homosexuals are by nature who they are in the same way that heterosexuals are by nature, they didn’t make that choice, a moment for me, right, a lightbulb moment, a lightbulb went off in my head when I thought did I choose my sexual orientation? and I know I never did any such thing all of a sudden at about age 12/13 the same boys who I thought were horrible all of a sudden were looking very very cute there was no choice it just was my evolution and I believe that gays and lesbians evolve in similar ways.”

In an interview with the Gleaner’s Flair, Anderson-Fletcher pointed out that growing up in Jamaica, she learnt to be homophobic at an early age, something that most Jamaicans learn from their elders and parents. In contrast, Jamaicans are always described as the most loving set of people on the earth, and as told through music, Jamaica is synonymous with love, an irony, considering we are also one of the most homophobic people on the planet.

She hopes that after reading the book, parents will be able to use it to look at themselves and the negative behaviours they have learnt and taught. “It is a useful resource that organisations and others can use in the development of programmes geared at avoiding discrimination against gays at the workplace and elsewhere,” the author said. She noted that it can also be used by psychologists and psychiatrists with their patients who are grappling with the issue.

Discrimination against the lesbian and gay community is everywhere, particularly because homophobic people do not stop to ponder why someone would deliberately choose a lifestyle that sees them being constantly vilified, hated, stigmatised and shunned as outcasts.

Her wishes

Anderson-Fletcher would like Jamaicans to read the book and if they are interested in changing their behaviour, to look at themselves and the subtle ways in which they learnt to be homophobic, understanding that they were not born with prejudices. They should also reflect on those prejudices in relation to race and gender. Finally, look at what happens to the gay community in society, take the bold step to talk to them, find out what their life is about, who are they beyond the sexual orientation?

The author is happy with Jamaica’s progress to date, she is pleased that the organisation Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays is now affirming itself and speaking out about prejudice. “Unless the subordinated group rises up against its opponent, nothing will happen, it’s like the American civil rights movement, nothing was achieved until the brave stood up and said ‘no more’,” she noted. She further said she was fully aware of what it takes to live in a society that sees your behaviour as sinful and deviant, but if you are not speaking out, you are willingly giving up your freedom. “The question gays need to ask is: ‘am I going to hide or be self-actualised and speak out for justice and human rights?’

http://danceofdifference.com/index.html

She said she remains passionate about her work because she finds it gratifying. she hopes that Jamaicans will move out of their comfort zone and begin to accept all minority groups in the society.

her sister said:

“Anderson Fletcher’s voice is authentic as it is courageous. Her decades of work as an Applied Behavioral Scientist specializing in Diversity – facilitates the process whereby the reader experiences the trauma of homophobia and the way it seeps into our Being and impacts our world. More importantly, because of the methodology of the book, she shares powerfully not only her own experience with us, but invites us to share ours through reflection and enquiry. The methodology of the book is critical for discussing not only sexual orientation but is applicable to any area of discrimination. Anderson Fletcher points out all are inextricably linked.”

– Beverley Anderson Manley, Broadcaster, Political Scientist, former First Lady of Jamaica

Here is a piece of the audio from the Profile Interview as at post time the video was not uploaded to the Television Jamaica (TVJ) site:

 Shirley Fletcher’s Dance of Difference on Profile 20.11.11

Peace and tolerance

H

How to Turn Suffering into Joy

By Judy Kinney, Lesbian Life Coach

I have said it a zillion times- joy is our natural state of being. Still, I understand that joy can seem illusive or disrespectful at times. Recently, people have asked me,

How can I be happy when there is so much suffering happening in my own life and in the world?

How do I create my own life, be sensitive to those around me, AND help create this world of ours?

Central to this question is our ability to be sovereign beings in relationship with others. I believe that joy may be our conduit to developing this essential skill. Feeling good is a very personal experience, yet I believe it may be impossible to feel joy and feel isolated from life and all its glory.
 

Feel joy and be connected or be connected, and feel joy.

This idea may be easy enough to understand, but now, let’s reconnect to this issue of suffering and distress.

First, let me say that I believe that it is our reaction to the event, not the event itself that creates our suffering. I sometimes struggle with this belief, but it still guides me.

You may have seen this for yourself when two people experience the same event and have completely different reactions. I am seeing this a lot these days. Some people lose their job and are happy, others are miserable. I have read that some people in Japan are experiencing an increased sense of connection, community and power since the recent tsunami. I am sure that you have read of people facing incurable diseases who are happier than they have ever been in their life.

Still, while suffering is a part of our common human experience, it never feels good. You know as well as I do-feeling bad because someone else feels bad only creates more bad feelings. Within each of us there is the desire to connect and be apart of something bigger than our self AND a fundamental desire to feel good.

A lot of people are feeling lost in a chasm between joy and distress these days. Intellectually, joy may sound good, but how do any of us make a discernible difference?

I have developed a practice called iJoin, that helps people turn sorrow into joy. This practice helps heal the sorrow and the distress you are experiencing or perceiving in the world.

iJoin is an adaptation of the Buddhist idea of sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy, or mudita, is joy in the fundamental goodness of all beings, especially the pleasure that comes from delighting in rather than begrudging others’ well being

There are a couple ways to work with the practice of iJoin. You can use iJoin when you want relief from your own despair, frustration, or hopelessness. You can also use this practice as a form of prayer for others who are suffering.

How it works.

  1. Identify the related joy
  2. Join or align with the joy.

For example, rather than ranting, feeling powerless or ignoring the US entering into yet another war, I find the joy that I am seeking-peace. Rather than praying for others to change, I say this statement of prayer before going to bed or as I come across war-related news.

I join with ALL those who are committed to peace.
This statement aligns my energy with the millions of people who also value peace. Note that I am not engaging in a conversation about the right or wrong way to obtain peace. Instead, I am tapping into and feeding a common human desire for peace. As I express my iJoin statement, I feel connected to MILLIONS of people. I am directing my energy to expand peace in my life and in the world.

When I get nervous about my coaching business, I say,
I join with ALL those who are thriving while courageously creating their life.

And suddenly I feel a surge of confidence. As I think about other people’s suffering, I also imagine their joy.

For my friend who has a lot of job worry and despair, I say,
I join with Sara in her desire to have a vibrant, welcoming, and well-paying job this year.

For those living in Japan, I say,
I join with ALL those who are creating an ever more vibrant Japan.

For those who are afraid of change and take it out on others, I say,
I join with all those who find their powerful heart even in the midst of fear.

iJoin is a form of prayer, but instead of fixing something or feeling hopeless, you tap into the goodness, joy, and power that already exists in your heart and in each of us.

 

News you can use – To whom do I report the police?

John Doe said he was physically abused by a group of policemen after he refused to allow them to search his house without a warrant.
Mr. Doe says he is afraid to report the matter to the police and wants to know if there is any other agency or body to which he could report the incident.
What is the Police Public Complaints Authority?

The authority is an independent, non-police agency of the Ministry of Justice with the power to investigate allegations of misconduct filed by members of the public against members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and its auxiliaries. Investigations are conducted in an impartial and objective fashion by the authority’s investigative staff, which is made up solely of civilian employees.

Who comprises the authority?

The authority consists of three persons appointed by the governor general in his discretion by instrument under the broad seal (one of whom is appointed executive chairman).

What are the legal functions of the authority?

a) To monitor the investigation by the force of any complaint or other matter to which the act applies with a view to ensuring that such investigation is conducted impartially.

b) To supervise the investigation of complaints by the force.

c) To undertake direct investigation of complaints.

d) To evaluate and report to the minister of justice from time to time on the system of handling complaints.

Who may make a complaint?

Complaints may be made by a member of the public, whether or not that person is affected by the subject of the complaint, or by any person on behalf of a member of the public so affected, but with his written consent.

What happens to a complaint after it is filed?

The complaint is assigned to an investigator who will commence investigation immediately. The investigator will gather as much information as possible about the complaint through records of the police department, field visits, interviews of witnesses, police officers and other available sources. The authority will inform you by letter of the status of an ongoing investigation. At the close of the investigation, the case is thoroughly reviewed by the authority.

Where the authority considers that a criminal offence may have been committed, the matter is reported to the director of public prosecutions for her ruling. Otherwise, it is reported to the commissioner of police with the authority’s recommendation. The authority notifies the complainant by letter of the action taken.

If your complaint does not fall within the authority’s jurisdiction, the authority will forward it to the appropriate agency and will notify you of the referral.

What are the possible actions that the authority may take?

The authority may decide that the complaint is:

Substantiated: The subject officer has committed the alleged act of misconduct.

Unsubstantiated: There was insufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint.

Unfounded: The subject officer did not commit an act of misconduct. The incident did occur, but the officer’s actions were lawful.

How long does it take before a complaint is resolved?

The authority strives to resolve all complaints in a timely manner. The exact time depends on the complexity of the investigation and the cooperation of the parties. On average, the investigation of a complaint is completed within three months.

Is there any other way to resolve the complaint?

Where the parties voluntarily agree, a complaint which, if proven, would not attract sanctions may be resolved informally. In this case the assistance of a neutral party assigned by the authority is utilised.

How and where may a complaint be lodged to the authority?

How: In person or by mail.
Where: Ground and first floors
45-47 Barbados Avenue, Kingston 5, Jamaica.
Tel: 968-8875, 968-1932
Fax: 960-4767
Toll free: 1-888-FOR-HELP (367-4357)

Continuing Breast Cancer Month Posts

Frequently Asked Questions from the Jamaica Cancer Society, visit their website for more useful information.

Here you will find some answers to the most often asked questions relating to cancer and cancer treatment. Hopefully you will find an answer to your question below.
If you do not see your question here or on their website(click image), email JCS at: mail@jamaicacancersociety.org and they will post your question and the answer there. Your privacy will be maintained of course.

Q. What Is A Pap Smear ?

A. The Pap smear, or cervical smear, is an early warning test, which shows whether there are any changes in the cervix, which might develop
into cancer (precancerous changes), as well as detecting cancer of the cervix if it is already present.

Q. What Causes Cervical Cancer ?

A. It is now known that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is found in nearly all cases of cervical cancer and is therefore the primary risk factor.
There are over 100 types of HPV, most of which do not cause cancer, however some HPV are high risk and associated with cervical cancer.

Q. What Are The First Signs Of Cervical Cancer ?

A. The first identifiable symptoms are:
Watery or bloody vagina discharge
Post Coital Bleeding (bleeding after intercourse)
Bleeding between periods or after menopause

Causes of the cancer are linked to sexually transmitted viral infection, such as, genital herpes or human papilloma virus (HPV) that often causes genital warts. Women are likely to develop dysplasia or cervical cancer if they:
had sexual intercourse before 18
had multiple sex partners
had several multiple full term pregnancies
had sexually transmitted diseases
smoke
Most cases of cervical cancer are cured or controlled if caught at an early stage. That is why screening is so important. Every woman over 18 years should have an annual Pap smear.

Q. What Is Chemotherapy ?

A. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. The drugs are often called “anticancer” drugs.

Q. What Chemotherapy Achieves ?

A. Depending on the type of cancer and its stage of development, chemotherapy can be used to:

cure cancer
keep the cancer spreading;
slow the cancer’s growth;
relieve symptoms that may be caused by cancer.
Chemotherapy is a very effective cancer treatment. Even when chemotherapy cannot cure the disease, it can help people live longer and more comfortably.

Q. What Causes Side Effects?

A. Because cancer cells grow and divide rapidly, anticancer drugs are made to kill faster growing cells. But certain normal, healthy cells also multiply quickly, and chemotherapy can affect these cells, too. When it does, side effects may result. The fast-growing, normal cells most likely to be affected are blood cells forming in the bone marrow and cells in the digestive tract, reproductive system, and hair follicles. Anticancer drugs can also damage cells of the heart, kidney, bladder, lungs, and nervous system. The most common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue.
Most normal cells recover quickly when chemotherapy is over, so most side effects gradually disappear after treatment ends and the healthy cells have a chance to grow normally. The time it takes to get over some side effects and regain energy varies from person to person. How soon you will feel better depends on many factors, including your overall health and the kinds of drugs you have been taking.

While many side effects go away fairly rapidly, certain ones may take months or years to disappear completely. Sometimes, the side effects can last a lifetime, as when chemotherapy causes permanent damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or reproductive organs.
It is important to remember that many people have no long-term problems due to chemotherapy. It is also reassuring to know that doctors are making great progress in preventing some of chemotherapy’s more serious side effects.

Disclaimer
(image and parts of the information herein are owned by the JCS and is no way affilliated with GLBTQ Jamaica or my allies)

The Art of Erotic Biting

In modern American culture we are familiar with love bites characterized by the neck hickey, a red, discolored spot or bruise resulting from biting or pinching with the mouth. Among young teens the hickey is almost a rite of passage, a badge of honor symbolizing sexual maturity and success at winning a lover. They become a somewhat subtle way of saying “I got laid last night”. Among younger children the hickey is sometimes given without much sexual involvement as something of a love game from their earliest attempts at serious kissing. We have heard of cases of older boys pinching “virginal” girl’s necks (creating a false hickey) to embarrass them before their parents and other youth. Of course kids (especially boys) quickly discover they can fabricate their own false hickeys to win admiration or envy of their peers.

Some gay and bisexual men are aroused by slight bites on the buttocks, the crotch area, the spinchter opening of the anus and the balls (slight nibbling)

Erotic biting has long been a part of serious sexuality. The Kama Sutra devotes an entire chapter to it and like other chapters has a complete taxonomy of forms and styles. “Local customs should be consulted” since the practice varied widely. In some cities the practice was offensive (even dangerous) where in other places it was a honor to one’s lover and even expected. The women of Koshala for example loved violent biting and “dildos are much employed”. The author(s) warned “One should not be led by a state of excitation into performing acts that are considered unfitting”. These practices “if lightly performed, arouse desire and provoke sighs”. Biting and scratching is observed “in all species” and the main goal is excitation prior to copulation. In some women this can produce a true orgasm.

All parts of the body were considered suitable except the upper lip, tongue, and eyes. The forehead, lower lip, neck, cheeks, chest, breasts, sides, crotch, ear, feet, armpits and genitals were favored. Attention to specific erotic zones in the woman was essential. The writer advises that “kiss marks on the ear, as well as scratch marks on the cheeks are considered ornamental”. These ancient lovers of sex also left fingernail marks in conjunction with bites.

The major types of bites are as follows:

Discreet: gentle bite to the lower lip, leaving only short-term redness. Today we might call this a love nip.

Impressed: firm bite to the lower lip or cheeks, leaving lasting redness.

Pointed: a tiny piece of skin is bitten by the teeth and pulled.

Coral Jewel: a spot is squeezed several times between the top teeth and lower lip, leaving a dark rose mark in a jewel shape.

Necklace of Gems: coral jewel (larger) marks left in a line along some part of the body. They were favored along the neck in two lines, down both sides of the torso, or near the sexual organs.

Necklace of Dots: pointed (smaller) marks left in a line or two on the body.

Scattered Cloud: small teeth marks arranged in an irregular pattern (ie. cloud shapes) on the body. Leaving these marks below the breast is mentioned.

Chewing the Wild Boar: Closely spaced bites over a wide area “forming a red center” below the breasts. Due to the swine association this term is best avoided in modern times!

THE FOLLOWING ARE MODERN VARIATIONS NOT FOUND IN THE KAMA SUTRA:

Initialing: bites form the initials of the lover’s name. These variations serve as a type of short duration tattoo and denote a type of “ownership” of the lover’s body.
Symbology: bites form a symbol of a group, gang, or organization. Shape of a heart is also very common in symbol of general love. We have heard of one fraternity who bit females from a sister sorority with a Greek letter.
Circling: bites form a circle around an object such as the naval, nipple, tattoo, piercing, or male glans. The Necklace styles are generally a line rather than a circle and do not ring a specific landmark on the body.
Vampire: two small bites (perhaps Pointed type) on the neck to resemble the two punctures of vampire fangs. This was a Halloween pastime among a group of swinging friends.
The practices of erotic biting varied in their violence according to the type of lover, their tradition, and personality. In some cases the Indian man would bite the woman with a necklace. He/She would return the favor, giving him a necklace “as if she were in anger” or “like a madwoman”. In some cases the hair is grabbed and light bondage is involved. For instance “she bites wherever he had bitten her and rejoices in his efforts to free himself”.

Like scratches these bite marks were considered “a souvenir of sexual relations”. They were also marks of adultery and might serve as legal evidence. Necklaces were considered proof the woman have consented for an extended period of a time with her lover. Recent, visible bite marks also told others that a man or woman had a current lover and might be unavailable. It was also a sort of advertisement of the lover’s erotic skills. If the lover was known others could admire his or her skill in this important erotic artistry or lack thereof. This is why some bites were done on visible places (neck, arms) vs. hidden places (below breasts, pubic area) to be either public or private knowledge. But in our modern beach culture with skimpy outfits few such protections are possible.

H

Tribadism and safer sex

Tribadism (pronounced /ˈtrɪ bæd ɪzm/) or tribbing, also known by the slang term scissoring, is a form of non-penetrative sex in which a woman rubs her vulva against her partner’s body for sexual stimulation. This may involve female-to-female genital contact or a female rubbing her vulva against her partner’s thigh, arm or stomach; it can also refer to a masturbation technique in which a woman rubs her vulva against an inanimate object such as a bolster, in an effort to achieve orgasm.

The term is most often used in the context of lesbian sex, but is not exclusive to lesbians.

History
In the sexuality of the ancient Romans, a tribas was a woman who wanted to be an active partner or “top” in intercourse. The Romans did not classify according to homosexuality and heterosexuality. They instead had words for who was the active partner and who was the “bottom”.

Until the 20th century, the term was used to refer to lesbian sexual practices in general. Therefore, lesbians were occasionally called tribades.

This position is not exclusive to humans. Females of the bonobo species, found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also engage in female-female genital sex, usually known as GG rubbing (genito-genital).

Safe sex issues
As with any exchange of bodily fluids during sexual activities, tribadism has the potential to transfer sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if those are present in one or more of the partners. Participants have the option of safe sex practices.

Tribadism in popular culture
The glam pop band Scissor Sisters derived their name from the scissoring position.
Bands named after tribadism include Scissorfight and the lesbian punk band Tribe
Genital-genital tribadism was depicted three times during the “D-Yikes!” episode of the cartoon South Park, referred to in that episode as “scissoring”.
Australian band Rocksteady pay homage to tribadism with their song “Scissoring”.

SEE: Bonobo Sex and Society
The behavior of a close relative challenges assumptions about male supremacy in human evolution

Remember HIV OK:
It infects CD4 cells and uses them to make new copies of HIV, which go on to infect more cells. The lower a person’s CD4 count, the weaker their immune system will be.

Very low risk but NOT No risk
HIV is transmitted when blood, vaginal fluids (including menstrual blood), breast milk or semen from an HIV+ person enters your bloodstream.

It is true that instances of female-to-female HIV transmissions that have been documented are far less than the other modes of transmission mainly unprotected heterosexual and homosexual penetrative sex. The route possibly being sex toys, used vigorously enough to cause exchange of blood-tinged body fluids.

Lesbians are fortunate enough to be in the lowest risk and it’s very rare for women to transmit HIV to each other sexually.

Each woman must assess the risks for herself and decide how she’s going to conduct her sex life. Many of us consider monogamy to offer all the ‘safety’ we need sexually. Although it can’t protect against HIV if someone already carries the virus.

Sexual identity does not necessarily predict behaviour. Just stay aware and enjoy what and who you do!

Safety first
Safer sex for women who have sex with women is a personal choice. If you are concerned you may want to follow the following tips:

Use protection during oral sex. Dental dams, cut up condoms, or cling film can be used to minimise contact with fluids during oral sex
Don’t share sex toys, or if you chose to, make sure you use a new condom every time it enters a new hole!
Cuts on hands create risk during vaginal masturbation/ fisting so you may want to use latex gloves
Rough sex is safe if there is no blood involved
If you are piercing each other then disinfect the needle and body areas
If shaving the vaginal area, do not share razors.

Frottage (rubbing bodies together) is better and recommended by most experts in HIV as the risks as outlined briefly above can pass HIV and other STIs if the action is rigid and there is contact with blood and other bodily fluids to blood.

Peace and tolerance

H

Understanding Self Acceptance

In order to achieve effective results, through self-counselling, an individual will have to willingly explore a number of essential qualities. These include self-acceptance and the ability to work towards creating positive changes in the behaviour, thoughts and emotions that are considered to be unacceptable.


What is Self-Acceptance?
Being accepted for who you are, regardless of your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, values and behaviour is a liberating experience. It allows us to move through life with less concern about holding ourselves in check.

Acceptance usually comes after other people have taken the time to understand who we are, what we do and how we deal with issues and situations, as well as how we interact with other people. If we feel judgment is being passed on us however, it creates a barrier, which may stop an individual accepting him or herself.

Being able to accept ourselves fully can only happen if we accept that our psyche does not judge us in any way, and that it will therefore help us overcome our issue with acceptance of self.

Non-Acceptance
When we judge others, or ourselves, we are being non-accepting. Our psyche, or inner self however, accepts us without questioning, although we will often attempt to work against it by trying to be someone we are not or by acting in a way that does not feel natural to us. Putting ourselves down, being harshly self- critical or concentrating on our weaknesses are all actions of non-acceptance.

Bridging the Gap
Self-counselling provides an opportunity to explore all the areas of our personality or behaviour that we do not like or accept. Developing our skills and personal awareness of self-acceptance can only be possible if we recognise that changes need to be made, and are prepared to accept this. In order to make the changes we want to we need to bridge the gap between our current actual state of self-acceptance and the ideal.

Although perfect acceptance probably does not exist, we can work towards bridging the gap, between what we have and what we would ideally like to have, by being open to exploring feelings and emotions through self-counselling and personal development and growth.

Working With Your Psyche
By listening to yourself you will be able to identify the parts of you, and your behaviour, that you do not accept. This may include behaviours and reactions that you would like to change, habits that you would like to break and other things or thoughts that you have which are no longer useful to your personal progress and development. Reviewing this list, from time to time, is a useful exercise that will enable you to acknowledge your continued progress.

Understanding how your personal non-acceptance interferes and creates issues in your relationships with others will enable you to pay closer attention to behaviour. By accepting that you will have to make changes you can begin to identify the best solutions for the outcome that you want to achieve. Letting go of the feeling that everyone, and everything, has to be perfect will also help you deal with self-acceptance.

The Counselor’s Guide UK

How To Avoid Negative Thinking

Optimism:
by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2001.

“…in spite of everything I still believe that people
are really good at heart.”

~ Anne Frank, 1944

Have you ever wondered why some people feel down and defeated when faced with difficult situations, while others feel challenged and hopeful? Or why some people get all worked up and angry over small inconveniences and disagreements, while others respond more positively? These different reactions are due to how people interpret events – whether they view things from an optimistic or a pessimistic viewpoint.

While we can learn from both optimists and pessimists, most of us need help being optimistic. This article explores both ways of thinking, and gives some suggestions on how to become more optimistic.

The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, undermine everything that they do, and are their fault. Optimists, confronted with the same situations, believe that defeat is a temporary setback, its causes are confined to that one situation, and it’s not their fault. While a pessimist may give up, an optimist will try harder to change the situation.

Pros and Cons To Both Optimism and Pessimism

There are pros and cons to both optimism and pessimism. Extreme optimism can be off-putting and invalidating because it seems phony and can be a denial of reality and pain. Extreme pessimism can be depressing because it seems to only focus on the negative and catastrophizes events. A healthy dose of optimism can be uplifting and hopeful, while a healthy dose of pessimism can be realistic and wise. Achieving a balance of being realistic and hopeful can be a challenge.

Differences Between Optimists and Pessimists

There are many reasons why people become pessimistic, including child trauma, losses, or highly critical parents – yet many optimists have also experienced great hardships and traumas; Anne Frank is a good example.

The difference between optimists and pessimists isn’t a difference in life experiences, but rather in how people perceive and respond to adversity. For example, an optimist who is going through a hard time assumes that life will get better, while a pessimist believes life will always be difficult and painful.

These different approaches to life impact on health. People who are optimistic generally have better health, age well, and live more free of many physical problems associated with aging. Fortunately, optimism can be learned.

Ways To Be Optimistic

The first step to optimism is to identify the thoughts and beliefs running through your mind after something unpleasant happens. How did you interpret the event? Write out all of your beliefs and read them over. Then separate your feelings from your beliefs, because you won’t be challenging your feelings; what you feel is what you feel.

Next, write down all your feelings about the event and how you responded. Do this for a few unpleasant situations, such as an argument with your partner, a work conflict, and getting a parking ticket. You might begin to see a pattern in how you interpret and react to events, and this will help you to become aware of and to change patterns.

If you do have pessimistic thoughts, it can help just to be aware that you think that way. Next time your thoughts jump to something like “I never get my way,” “Nothing ever gets any better,” or “People are always mean to me,” try to notice that a pessimistic way of thinking is present for you.

The next step is to distract yourself from your pessimistic beliefs or dispute them. Disputing pessimistic beliefs will bring deeper, longer lasting results than distracting will, but distraction can also be effective, and sometimes easier.

Disputing pessimistic beliefs involves replacing them with alternative, kinder, and more realistic explanations. For example, if you have an argument with your partner, you might immediately think: “S/he never understands me! I’m always the one who ends up apologizing. This isn’t working out; we should split up.” In the heat of an argument, it’s hard to think rationally. But if you step back and think about the situation more realistically, you might find that your thoughts become more positive, and you may even be able to work things out faster. For instance, you might tell yourself, “We just had an argument, and while s/he wasn’t very understanding, neither was I. S/he’s understood me lots of other times, and will probably understand me again once we’ve both cooled off. We’ve always been able to work through our problems before. I know we can again.”

Maintaining a hopeful, positive, yet real perspective in the face of adversity can be a real challenge – one many are facing right now in the world – but it is essential to living peacefully and happily. Just as it is important to recognize what is unjust and unfair in our lives and the world, it is equally important to see the beauty, love, generosity, and goodness as well. Being gentle and loving with ourselves when we make mistakes, or when bad things happen is key to being hopeful and optimistic. And even if you’re not sure it’s possible, you can do it!

How to be a Great Lesbian Lover

By Felice Newman, Somantic Coach & Sex Educator

How do you cultivate a quality of touch that makes your partner feel like you’re really seeing them? No one wants to be thought of as merely going through the motions. Nor does anyone want to be seen as a “slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am” hit-and-run driver. Whether you are touching your partner with your hands, your mouth, or a sex toy, what are the qualities that will have your partner feel that they have been touched by your spirit as well?The first quality is presence. Presence is the physical embodiment of your you-ness.

It’s that quality that lets someone feel your aliveness in a room before they can see or hear you. Your presence can be felt by others as open, curious, listening, playful, sparkling, seductive, outpouring with love, or full-bodied with deep resonances. It can also be felt as laser-like in single-minded focus, scattered, shut down, collapsed, angry, untouchable, defensive or intractable. To some degree, you can shape your presence by your intention. You can pause before a first kiss, touch, or entry: Who do you want to be in this moment? What quality of your you-ness do you want your partner to be met with?

Next is the quality of extension. Extension is sending our presence outward. We are great energy transmitters, continuously beaming our selves into the world. Some of us have a quiet presence that’s felt as a gentle stirring in the air. Others of us are said to have a “big” presence that’s felt as a great gust of wind enlivening the atmosphere.Extension is how you transmit your intentions. You can extend your presence so that your partner “feels” your touch powerfully—regardless of how gently you may press, squeeze, caress, or thrust. Imagine your sexual energy as a force moving through you, one you can direct. Imagine your finger or your penis as a hose through which energy flows. Now imagine directing that energy, and specifically, directly the quality of that energy. Do you want to produce a gentle healing presence? Do you want your energy to hit hard? Are you wanting to create new sensations or intensify sensations that are already there? You can extend vigorously without overreaching or overwhelming your partner. You can cultivate extension by consciously observing how others respond to your presence.Next comes receptivity. Remember when popular sex guides referred to the “active partner” and the “passive partner”?
That tired notion was laid to rest by the Good Vibrations Guide to Sex more than a dozen years ago. Receptivity is anything but passive. Receptivity is an energetic quality—it isn’t necessarily about who’s doing what to whom.In fact, you even can be receptive while you are touching your partner. How? Well, you can open to your partner, listening for her responses, which will speak to you through pulsations, changes in temperature, muscular contractions, and release of bodily fluids.In receptivity, you practice being with yourself while being with another, which is the basis of intimacy.
When you are receiving touch, you can meet your partner’s presence with your own. Imagine locating your “self” just under your partner’s touch, in the soft folds of your labia and clitoris, in the cool expanse of skin on your buttocks. Energetically, you can reach out toward that touch, just as you physically reach out by moving toward the source of pleasure. There is an element of extension in receptivity. You can cultivate receptivity by being open and inviting of the pleasures of the senses.

As appearing on http://lesbiansanddating.blogspot.com/ visit for more interesting Lesbian articles