TV Interview things unseen: my apology to the community

Here is a little insight into what happens when you are talked into being a SkyNews swinger.  Vlearly, things did not turn out as planned.

Links to SkyNews Documentary sections I’m featured in:

Well firstly, I did point out that introducing a woman by age and marital status just screams patriarchy. I said, would you start that way if I was a man?’

Secondly, I get the strong impression that they don’t know the difference between kink and fetish: I’m not actually a fetishist. Much love to those who are, though. And though I’m a kink scene writer, for me this is much more about community and friendship than seeking out specific kinks.

The bit about ‘them and us?’ I was answering a question about what I’d say to a very conventional, disapproving couple. ‘Don’t come then. Each to their own.’ And saying it was a shame that there could be a sense of ‘them and us’.

I never double book my dates- how rude! Although I do tend to over-optimistically book my social life when I have the rare free day, and occasionally end up late for everything.

As for ‘unicorn’ being a badge of honour? I can’t even remember what context that might have been drawn from. Perhaps it was ironic. I’d never ‘honour’ or ‘dishonour’ someone for choosing to explore and live their sexual identity and preferences (obvious limits of law and consent implicit in that statement). They are what they are. To ask for reasons is to pathologize the unconventional.,

This clip shows a small section of a very long interview, in which they asked me to tell them about some online apps that I was aware of, and then asked me what kind of people use dating apps, and what I thought they were hoping to achieve on them.

This is the link to the full-length documentary, where I appear in a small section near the end.

Please note: I was not able to see or approve the edits in advance, and I am not happy with the way some of the content is portrayed or explained.

Despite the dark sultry lighting, with porn music added after the fact, this was what the set actually was like:

Misrepresentations implied therein:

I poured champagne once, at the request of the crew, as a visual. I did not get them all drunk, nor seduce them, despite my joking around about it by implication in the run-up to release on my own social media.  I’ve never had the need or inclination to get people drunk for these purposes, nor do I endorse the behaviour of people who do.  Considering this was tacked on right after a news update about Weinstein, I’d just like to make that clear.

I identify as a writer- a swing and kink blogger, and an author. I’ve not really been much of a swinger in years and identify more as a solo RA poly now.

Despite the concluding statement, nothing discussed in the interview was ‘extreme’ and the assumption that everything was deliberately short-term or temporary was the opposite of what I wanted to express: that it was about friendship and community and finding your place where you feel loved and accepted.  Worse yet, it seems to be implied that I use all these apps with the intention of obtaining easy sexual gratification for myself.  I generally use them to talk to people, obtain stories and perspectives about topics I’m covering, and to network and keep abreast of events, issues and things going on within the swing and kink worlds.  I consider everything I write to be very much a community effort, of which I have the honour of being the compiler.

Notice I posted immediately on Fetlife:

Additional footage that was recorded at the production team request, that was unused:

YouTube video initially shot at SkyNews request (apologies for the sound quality) discussing some dating apps, things I’ve noticed, problems with them, issues with dating under non-conventional amorous arrangements and the commercial drive for amatonormativity, all of which contradicts statements made by the narrator on the documentary.

I attended this interview as a writer- or so I believed, and representative of the alt and ethically non-monogamous community. None of this has come through in the way it has been edited. It has been used in a way that is both judgemental and alienating, none of which was apparent when dealing with the team in production.

I am truly sorry that the material has been used in the way it has, in what I feel is social ammunition against the very community I was hoping to promote understanding of and acceptance for.

Although I did agree to the terms and labels used, I was not aware that they were going to be used in a pejorative tone.  I was under the impression that the production crew were curious about the alternative sex scene and wanted to gain understanding and present insight to the wider masses.

Although I use all these terms myself, they are never meant as a chastisement.  Take the term ‘whore,’ for example.  It is an old word.  While I could say ‘escort’ or ‘sex worker’, I feel this is not just sanitization of a term but is a form of alienating oneself from it.  The wonderful men and women I know who actually are, and have been, escorts use the term themselves, and in a sense, it actually IS a badge of honour.  What is a whore?  It is someone who will, for financial compensation, enact your fantasies and provide you with an experience of much-needed love and affection, in what can be a very cold, hard world.  It is a tough job at times and requires skill, understanding, and empathy.  They take to a level of professionalism that which most people struggle to obtain for free.  They have my greatest respect and admiration.  I would never use the word as a slut-shaming term, nor, I hope, seek to slut-shame anybody. 

My use of the word whore in the video context was to clarify that women, in particular, tend to be stereotyped by what they are ‘useful’ for – and that I am only seeking deeper interaction with people who are savvy enough to comprehend that this is an artificial social construction.  The Madonna-Whore complex. I find that it is off-putting to be bombarded by messages from people wanting hookups, but that it is also difficult to find anyone open-minded enough from the vanilla apps to not be intimidated by what I do; to not want to shoehorn me into a role they have invented, and to have genuine, rather than surface, respect for women and people in general, rather than use them as a resource for their own ambitions.

Sex is a part of life, as humans and animals.  It is part of our biology, our health, and our happiness.  To completely overlook this and use sex only as a tool to obtain emotional validation and socially approved conventional relationships is, in my opinion, a very cold and dead way to treat another human being.

Whereas many categories of identity and sexuality (gay, transgender, etc) now have protection by law from discrimination (not that it doesn’t still happen- but I hope to have someone much better qualified to discuss this in future posts), the alternative sex community still does not.  To be a swinger, a libertine, a polyamorist, a kinkster – still faces huge problems if one is to be out and open.  You can lose your job, your license as a professional, even be removed from your home.

Why is it a problem to be presenting things in such a way as to make us seem a freak show?  Because here’s the thing:  There is no them and us.  We are you.  We are your doctor.  Your accountant.  Your solicitor, even the judge.  We are your politician.  We are your grandson, quietly exploring his bisexuality without feeling he can tell you.  We are your grandmother.  We are everyone who can’t be ‘out’ about our identities and passions, because we fear that you won’t understand.

I actually invited a member of the crew to come to see a shibari rope day that I was co-hosting recently, to get a better understanding of the kink community, and what it really meant.  The response was ‘be careful’.  Be careful?  The kink community (and I suggest that ALL people interested in kink at all should be part of the community- which is difficult for those who still feel too ashamed and afraid) is a place where you learn to be not just skilled, but safe.  You learn about explicit, informed, enthusiastic and continuous consent, to a level that you never will elsewhere.  You learn about trust and responsibility, so very much more so than in any other sphere of life.  I have found no place safer.

I apologize again for any unwitting damage I have done for the understanding and acceptance of people with alternative sexualities within society.  The welfare of the community, and my wonderful tribe of people therein, not only means a great deal to me but is a huge part of who I am.  It was never my intention to present us as a greedy freakshow of licentious deviants (deviant being another term of affection, and reclaimed word) or hold us up as a way of life to be mocked or gawked at before people snugly settle back into their self-satisfied self-narrative.

Lessons learned: I will be more wary of mainstream media in future. And never give up the rights to see the final edit to approve it, whatever the cost.

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