Monday, November 22, 2010

Stircrazy: Sex, intimacy & the G20

Much has been said about the corporate window smashy smashy that went down during the G20. Particular attention has been paid to the so-called 'ringleaders' alleged to have master-minded the little riot that took place in this city, with their lives maligned and characters defamed.

Scant little has been said been said about a much more important part of their (our) lives – the amount of sex or lack thereof that we are having.

I'm one of the people still facing ridiculous charges due to my involvement, in among other things, the G20 and personally am quite frustrated about trying to get off while constantly worried about a cop peeping through my window. Considering that anything we do could be constituted a breach (Alex Hundert was charged for speaking at a demonstration when he spoke at a University panel), it is hard to let loose the real hot and sweaty kinna loving when armed cops could burst through the door any minute.

So - this is a little attempt to think through the hows/whys/whats of (non)sex while on house arrest or under restrictive bail conditions.

First, there are the simple logistical considerations. Unless one already has an understanding and politicized partner, meeting new people while on house arrest is a little complicated.

Imagine this conversation:

Arrestee, on the phone: “Hey, so I was thinking we could go have dinner, what do you think?”

Other person (suitably bedazzled by arrestees's charms): “Sure. Where do you wanna go?”

Arrestee: “My dad, who is my surety gets off work at 6, and he can drive me to the diner nearby. He will of course have to sit at our table and he turns in by 10pm, so we will have to leave before then.”

Other person: long pause. “Umm, okey... Why don't you text me that day so we can confirm?”

Arrestee: “Well I am not allowed to use a cell or email for that matter, so maybe we can talk on the phone?”

Other person: “Hello? Hello? Sorry, I can't hear you. There seems to be a steady ticking sound on the line.”

Arrestee: “Oh, don't worry about that - that's just the cops listening in”.

Sexy, right?

Now of course, the defendants have different bail conditions. Some of us are allowed by the great justice system to use internet and email. I know what you're thinking, online dating! Well, that's what I thought too. So off I went to okcupid, plentyoffish, craigslist, mysugarmomma/daddy (after all someone has to pay these legal bills).

Little known fact: Some people (including myself) that do political organizing 24/7 don't quite have the best people skills. 

Thus, my average interaction rate on online dating sites has been about three messages. I write, they (maybe) write back, I respond – radio silence.

After finding that not everyone wants to talk about the eventual demise of capitalism and colonization - I tried to switch it up by talk about something, you know, normal. Like music.

First person I talk to, sends me this lovely composition:

My measured (and musical) response: “I have to say I despise the blatant aggressive nationalism of 'Oh Canada'. I won't even try and count the ratio of white people and the people of color in that track. The head nod to the Underground railroad aside, this track is infuriating. To quote the Coup, 'I’d like to take a moment to say, 'fuck columbus!'”

For some reason they haven't written back.

The next person, when asked what their favorite musical genre was, replied 'world'.

I will spare you my rant.

But don't lose heart, my friends and comrades – not everyone is like that. Some people are rad and one might want to actually see them in the flesh.

Getting that to happen of course falls in to pretty much the same problems as above. Except I (and a few others) can be out without sureties as long as we are supervised by an adult, so its like 'Hey, wanna pick me up from my house and take me home before curfew?' Which really just sounds like a trick to get them home and is met with some quiet hemming and hawing and promises to call later.

Other minor concerns include the person one meets online turning out to be a cop. This is not just paranoia. Recently a cop was outed in the UK after having been part of activist organizations for nearly a decade, with an lover in the movement for 7 of those years, all the while having a wife and a kid in his other life (look up snitchwire for more). With multiple branches of the state already all up in one's grill – the idea of literally fucking the state is violence too gross to imagine.

Then there is that possibility of the person one is meeting deciding to walk out mid-date leaving our poor defendant stranded in the city without 'supervision'. Imagine trying to explain that breach to your lawyer or support committee. 'Your honour, I made a slightly off-color joke about the sexual habits of dogs and rabbits and my supervisor, a PETA exec and veterinarian in training stomped out'.

Of course, some might wonder, 'why don't you just stick to dating people that you already know?' I can think of a few reasons, but my defendants (and others on house arrest) might have a different opinion on this.

For one, there is the danger of being at the receiving end of sympathy (or 'activist-celebrity', eew) sex. For another, most of the people one sees while under house arrest are close friends and allies and if you didn't wanna fuck 'em pre-arrest, you probably don't wanna do that post. [Side note: If you already had the hot and heavies for someone who is now on house arrest, and feel like you two/three/four/etc could have some serious consensual play, by all means show up with a bottle of brandy on their door step. Just call in advance.]

Also though 'do your part for the revolution - fuck a political prisoner' has a certain facebook status ring to it, I think many of my defendants would probably think it churlish at best.

Talking about intimate friends, some people actually have partners (!). But imagine trying to phone chat 'em up with your dad/mom/prof/local MP in the room. Or having 'sleepovers' while your surety snores on the couch. Yep, nothing like the thought of mom listening to get your groove on.

I, for one, live with some lovely people including a few minors, and would be loath to have them hear me calling out to the lord, allah, jesus, what-have-you in my strained high pitch voice. And doing it in the backyard under the moonlight on a bed of crackling fall leaves does not quite float my boat. Of course, some of my other defendants are the rugged outdoorsy types and might get off on this type of thing.

Where does that leave us? I wonder if my co-defendants masturbate a lot. They must. But you know, when you're getting yourself off simply coz you're bored, it gets a little dreary. Toy-play is also not all fun and games – imagine using your one phone call in jail to ask your friends to go hide the vibes before the sureties come home. On this subject, one of the official rules in the slammer, posted on the wall and all, (at least in maplehurst) is not to jerk off. Coz y'know, its 'self-harm' or some such shit. And really with someone else in the cell and a guard peering in through the windows every thirty minutes – it's not something one does too often (sorry celly, i slipped a few times).

I have also heard that less actual sex equals more wet dreams. Is that true? Waking up with wet/crispy pants is definitely not a great start to a bright new day of a whole lotta nothing.

[Time to share a(nother) embarrassing tid-bit: I got snatched on Saturday, June 26. Wet, frustrated, cold and hungry, I only slept for a few hours that night – and had a wet dream – about a co-organizer who I wasn't interested in the slightest – we were actually disagreeing often. Wonder what Freud would say about that.]

Anyways – back to the present. Outside of the logistical considerations, there is that whole thing about emotional capacity. Being despondent/depressed and all does not a happy lay make.

The thing about house arrest is that the obvious signs of imprisonment are absent. To the outsider, I/we, dressed in every day clothes, sometimes out and about, or appearing in writing or in print seem 'free'. But we are not.

There is a chronic anxiety that comes from worrying about being watched; from the looming fear of violence, re-incarceration, deportation. This anxiety takes an incredibly high toll on one's friendships, particularly intimate ones - and this can really kill the 'mood'. 

When one's own family and friends are one's supervisors, sureties and 'jailers in the community' - negotiating one's wants and needs is difficult. When one's prison outfit is one's usual threads, the breadth of the house one lives in, also the place of one's confinement - being imprisoned acquires a whole new meaning. Freedom is not just the ability to bring home some warm loving to a bed. It is more then just the absence of a dungeon (not the sexy kind). Freedom is essential, natural, material and physical - like sex. And like sex, its abstract, emotional, and under threat of constant state interference. And like sex, freedom, everyone's freedom needs to be desperately defended.

Sex can be a great stress-reliever. Particularly when one feels constantly impotent in the face of state attacks and uprooted without employment, school, or the ability to make really simple decisions – it can be powerful and grounding. And when one's not getting a lot of exercise and all, probably a healthy choice. And you know, sometimes when one is experiencing so much aggression and frustration, actually enacting the whole ropes, chains, whips, leather, buckles and hot wax gig might be .. cathartic. 

So yeah, just some thoughts. One last thing: be gentle.

SUPPORT the G20 Defendants, even the innocent ones:

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