With the closing of the Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles this past weekend, we received more than a couple letters from people asking advice about the topic of kink, BDSM, safe spaces, and what they should do now. Any one of those letters would have been fit to print and answer, but instead we have chosen to write an open letter to the members of that community, with the help of some of the phenomenal presenters and educators that were up for the Northern Exposure X weekend.
First, a couple people asked what the community would do without a space. The answer is, the same thing it has always done. Every town and city around the country does not have a BDSM and sex club. They still find ways to make it work. You create community in so many ways. You can go to munches (food and drink gatherings for people that are like minded), you can have house parties, you can find people that have large portions of private property, and you can take over entire campgrounds. The important thing to remember with all of these suggestions is that you observe the same rules about consent and appropriate behavior. Once you have let people know that you are kinky, all of your behavior from that point forward is representing the entire community.
Next, we got a few questions about the sadness and loss that people were feeling, and how to feel better. Don’t try and feel better just yet. Allow yourself this time to mourn your loss. Give yourself a moment to breathe, and to grieve. We, as humans, rarely take the time to grieve our losses. Our “pop a pill, have a shot” culture of instant gratification does not teach us to take the time to feel the sadness, anger, disbelief, and finally acceptance that we have to go through. This applies not only to deaths we may experience, but also the end of relationships, jobs, housing, and yes, even kinky community centers.
When we do not take the appropriate amount of time to check in with ourselves and our feelings, we tend to get stuck in one of the stages of grief. Usually anger or depression. These are similar emotions, because often, depression is merely anger that has been turned on ourselves. Don’t get stuck in these spaces. It’s really hard to get out once that anger starts to feel comfortable. This leads to becoming bitter, and hateful, and generally unlikeable. We are sure you have met a couple people like this in your lifetimes.
In the end, remember that a community is never contained in a building. This applies to churches, groups of friends, and sex clubs. There are websites like Fetlife.com that are perfect for organizing events, and finding new ones. Stay in contact with the folks that you connected with in your time at ACAL. Those of us that participated in activities there have already been invited to a couple of events that they plan to hold.
You had to be really brave to walk into the doors of the Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles the first time and sign your name onto a piece of paper. You can be just as bold when you set out to plan an event of your very own.
Now, on to this week’s question.
I feel like I may have done something wrong with my friend and that I might hurt his feelings. I am a straight guy and one of my best friends is gay. A couple of weeks ago I broke my rib and it has been hell sleeping on it. My friend told me about when he had done something similar that his ex-boyfriend would sleep with him on recliners and couches to make sure that he didn’t roll over on his broken side.
At the time I was desperate and would have tries anything to get more than an hour of sleep. It has now become the way I fall asleep every night. He comes over before bedtime and we cuddle while he makes sure that I don’t roll over.
One of my work buddies mentioned that he is probably going to fall in love with me, or think that we are more than friends because of this, and I don’t want to break his heart. I also want to continue to be able to sleep through the night. What should I do?
Okay. We are hoping you are still on painkillers. Your work friend is an idiot who is probably a tad homophobic. History tells us that those with a touch of homophobia probably wish that they were kissing a guy right now. So, yeah, tell your closet case coworker to shut the fuck up.
The way we see it is that you are experiencing platonic affection with a friend. He is helping you out. He literally has your back, and yes, that was the correct use of the word literally! You need to be grateful for that friend. How much sleep do you think he is actually getting every night while he makes sure that you are knocked out for 8 hours? He is probably so worried about your rib that a light breeze wakes him up!
Contrary to popular belief all kinds of friends can be physically affectionate without it being about romance or sex. For real. It’s a thing. Here is the kicker though. This isn’t even affection. HE IS BEING A HUMAN BODY PILLOW FOR YOU! Sometimes friends do favors for each other, it happens. Sometimes those favors that we do for friends aren’t the most comfortable. Whether it is people helping their friend’s fish stuck tampons out of a vagina, or peeing on someone after they have been stung by a jellyfish, it’s such a common occurrence that it is a running joke in sitcoms and movies.
Your gay friend is helping you out. Your work friend is an idiot. Get over it.
The Alaskans are in a mood! If you want to correct us on the proper way to cure a jellyfish sting or have questions about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, hit us up at email@example.com