Thursday, March 25, 2021

How Pregnancy and Childbirth Changed My Asexuality (or, actually, A Post About Vaginismus)

 

A diagram showing the baby inside the pregnant person's body, at about 9 months pregnant. Image source.

[content note: it's about my genitals, sex, and giving birth]

I recently announced the birth of my perfect son, Square Root. I want to write about how, umm, my sex life has changed due to pregnancy/ giving birth/ taking care of a baby.

Basically, it is WAY EASIER to have vaginal sex now than it used to be, and also I want sex more than before.

And why is that? Well I think there are several factors, and the most important one is vaginismus-related, so I mainly want to talk about that. But there are a few other smaller factors I'll just touch on real quick here:

  1. Hormones. Wowww oh my goodness, pregnancy hormones. There were times during the pregnancy when I really wanted to have sex- in a way that I hadn't felt before. Pregnancy hormones, breastfeeding hormones, all the hormones.
    As an aside: I did my research and the experts say it's fine to have sex during pregnancy unless you have a high-risk pregnancy- BUT if it's painful, that's a sign that maybe something's wrong and you should stop. And ... well isn't it effed-up that I never thought my own pain was a valid reason to completely refuse sex, but now that we add a vague "but what if it hurts the baby", suddenly I feel like I'm allowed to say no. (And no, fortunately it's not my husband who's treating me that way- it's what I learned in church.)
  2. Due to the fact that we have a baby, we barely ever have time to have sex. So let's say before I got pregnant, I felt like "I have a responsibility to have sex with my husband at frequency x" (because I very much internalized this teaching from purity culture/ complementarianism- "men need it" blah blah blah) but perhaps I actually would have preferred frequency y, where y is less frequent than x. And now that we have a baby who always needs something, we only have time to have sex at frequency z, and z is less than y, so I feel like it's not enough. 

So I'm mentioning those things real quick, but they are not the point. Really I want to talk about vaginismus.

Healthline.com defines vaginismus thusly:

For some women, the vaginal muscles involuntarily or persistently contract when they attempt vaginal penetration. This is called vaginismus. The contractions can prevent sexual intercourse or make it very painful.

In the past, when I happened to come across blog posts about vaginismus, I was very excited because finally someone was talking about sex in a way that felt realistic to me. 

Still, I thought to myself, no, I don't have vaginismus. Because some of the details in other people's accounts didn't match my experience. Yes, it was the most relatable thing I had ever read about sex, a hundred times more relatable than any sex ed material or erotica or anything else I had ever encountered (with one exception- I once found an asexual sex ed guide which was very helpful and relatable for me)- but I still thought "no, I don't have vaginismus."

However, my thinking is different now- instead of getting stuck on the details that didn't match, I think it's more useful to say that yes, I have some kind of something that is like vaginismus, but maybe not vaginismus exactly, who knows, I'm not a doctor. See, that is a way more helpful description than just ... like... always being confused about why sex doesn't work.

Or basically, I probably have vaginismus but I don't feel like I can really diagnose myself? Something along those lines.

Anyway, let's switch gears now and I'll give you a basic overview of the story:

Gynecologist appointments: Always hurt like hell, and now I'm mad at how purity culture didn't allow me to know my own body and understand what was going on. I'm mad about how I just trusted doctors, and they hurt me and didn't really seem to realize there was a problem, that there was something very very unusual in how I was reacting and how painful it was, and I needed help. I'm mad about how I believed all of that was normal- surely it was normal, surely my body was perfect because I had never had sex and that meant I was pure and would have absolutely no sex-related problems. I'm mad because it was ... let me see ... I think maybe 8 years after my first gynecologist appointment, I read on Planned Parenthood's website that the pelvic exam is not supposed to hurt- and I cried. I had no idea.

My sex life: So I've only ever had sex with 1 person- Hendrix, who is now my husband (but I am VERY PROUD to tell you we had sex BEFORE MARRIAGE). The first time we tried to have PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex, we tried and tried and couldn't figure out how to get the penis to go in, so we gave up. Had to try again a different day; we were successful the second time. At that time, I was very happy that we had finally had sex, because it disproved all those warnings from purity culture about how sex was totally going to ruin my life and turn me into a completely different person, worthless and unable to ever have a happy marriage. Hooray, I had lived in fear of sex for so long, but all of that wasn't true! Sex was way less of a big deal than I thought. It's just, like, doing stuff with your genitals. Not completely changing your whole identity.

So yes, happy about that, but physically it was painful. There was a lot that felt good- the cuddling, kissing, being with him, making him feel good- but the actual penetration part was physically painful. Nothing but pain. PIV sex was like a whole huge task that I needed to steel myself to endure. And I'd been taught in church that that was normal. I had read the Christian marriage books about how if sex is painful for women, well that's not an excuse, you need to have sex with your husband anyway. I knew I didn't 100% believe that- in recent years I had started reading feminist stuff about how sex should feel good for women too and it shouldn't be all about the man. (Also, OBVIOUSLY queer people exist- you can have sex without any men at all actually.) But mostly, the "you have a duty to your husband" stuff is how I conceptualized it in my mind.

And when I went to my gynecologist appointments, I told them sex was painful and asked what I should do. And they were totally useless. I talked to at least 2 different gynecologists about this (and also mentioned it to the psychologist I was seeing back then) and they were all totally useless. They all said "just relax" and gave other bits of advice which I now see had absolutely nothing to do with my situation. I now see that they didn't understand the problem at all. I now see that my experience is very much NOT normal, but I didn't know that back then, and so I wasn't able to communicate it to the doctors. I assumed they would know what I was talking about. And also they were awkward and seemed to not want to talk explicitly about sex- the most direct and explicit it ever got was "is the pain on the outside, or deep inside?" We completely failed at communicating. Useless.

And then I found the asexual community.

Finally, finally, finally people are talking about "sex doesn't make any sense, why would you want to do that?" Finally! 

I researched and wondered for a while, and eventually concluded, yes, I am asexual.

And that was so good, because it was my starting point for learning about my body, learning about masturbating, learning about how to have sex with my husband. Before, I had always been so confused and disoriented by the idea that this is supposed to be natural, this is supposed to be easy, but when I accepted that no it's not natural or easy for me because I just don't have sexual attraction, then I could actually start doing the work of learning it. I accepted that it was something I would need to learn. (Maybe "need" isn't the right word here- certainly if you're asexual then it's totally fine to just not have sex; you do NOT "need to learn" it. But for me personally, I was very interested in learning about how to have sex in a way that feels good, and learning about my body.)

So I did the work. Bought sex toys. Lube. Masturbated. Communicated with my husband about what feels good and what doesn't. Tried different positions. All of that. I made FANTASTIC progress. I figured out ways to get my vagina to open, and I always always always put my fingers in to check the openness before attempting PIV. And every time we had sex, it took time, it was a process, but yes, I was able to do it in a way that physically felt good for me, despite the PIV. Most of the time. A difficult and delicate dance that was (most of the time) successful in avoiding (most of) the pain.

And then I got pregnant.

Fast forward 9 months, and I pushed a whole entire human out of my vagina.

And then gradually in the months after, we started having sex again. Not very often, because with a newborn baby, nobody has time for that. 

Gradually.

And then, months later, I realized, wait, this isn't hard any more.

It's NOT hard to do PIV any more. I don't have to go through a whole multi-step process to get my vagina to open. It just ... works.

Wait. 

Wait. Is this what sex is like for other people normally?

Wait. Wait. 

Like, if you want to put your consenting partner's penis in your vagina, you can just GO AHEAD and put your consenting partner's penis in your vagina? WHATTTTTT? That easy?

And- get this- sometimes the consenting partner can even be the one to put it in. 

WHATTTTTTTTTT

BUT LITERALLY THAT'S HOW IT IS NOW FOR ME. It's easy! It just goes in! Like sometimes we need a little lube, but like, there is a known solution to the "we need lube" issue, which is "buy lube." Not like how it was before, when I had a whole bag of tricks for trying to get PIV to work without pain, and could never be sure if I would be successful.

And- get this- now PIV can actually physically feel good for me. Before, I felt good in sort of a symbolic way, related to the society-defined meaning of sex in the context of a long-term relationship, etc. Feeling like, I'm good enough, I'm able to do what I'm supposed to do for my husband. But there was nothing inherently good in the physical act itself- it was either painful or not painful and that was it. (Oh hmm, actually there were a *few* rare occasions PIV did feel good physically.)

So I convinced myself it felt good, but now I see that was kind of a "if you really squint you can sort of make yourself believe it feels good." But now it REALLY DOES feel good, no question. Now it's like "wow that was nice, do it again" and I actually look forward to having sex. Look forward to it because it feels good physically, not like before when I looked forward to it because I wanted to get away from the guilt because the church told me I'm a bad wife if I don't have sex with my husband often enough.

Well this is just WILD. This is ... WOWWWW. Is this how sex is for y'all?

This is just mind-blowing. Like all along, when I've tried to talk to people about sex, we've actually been talking about ENTIRELY DIFFERNT THINGS. And in writing this blog post, I have emphasized the pain part, whereas before I wouldn't really focus so much on that when describing my perspective on sex, because I thought that was obvious and didn't need to be said. 

Like, of course it's very important to do penetration at EXACTLY the right angle, because if you get it wrong then it hurts so bad that you're better off just giving up on sex and trying again another day.

Right?

Is that ... not normal?

I really thought that it was this way for everyone with a vagina- that as you go about your normal life, you are not physically aroused, and therefore your vagina is shut like a steel trap and penetration is basically impossible. But then when you want to have sex, you do foreplay or whatever, and that gets your body aroused and your vagina open. And I concluded that my issue was I'm asexual and therefore my being attracted to my partner has no intrinsic connection to my body getting physically aroused. So I have to very deliberately stimulate the outer parts (clit, etc) physically in order to get my vagina to open, whereas for other people it would naturally open just because they are sexually attracted to their partner.

But, uh, turns out not. Turns out the "shut like a steel trap" thing just ... is not at all what most people experience.

And I'm sure I wasn't even consciously aware that I wasn't properly communicating how painful it was. That's all I had known. That was my entire experience of PIV sex- of course I didn't have any kind of reference point to show me that my pain was not normal. That's why it's so important to me to write this blog post now- having experienced this from both sides, so to say.

And wow. Wow. I just CANNOT BELIEVE how easy it is to have PIV sex now. (I guess after you push a whole big-headed baby out of your vagina, you no longer have any problems with some small thing like a penis.)

And we can do missionary position now! [TMI?] Before, we very very very rarely tried it, because the pain made it basically impossible. But now missionary position feels good. This is so different, it's unbelievable.

All right. Now we need to talk about my asexuality. Because this kind of calls my asexuality into question, doesn't it?

One interpretation is that I wasn't "really" asexual, that it was "actually" vaginismus. That I was wrong to claim to be asexual. It wasn't an issue about sexual attraction and sexual orientation; it was an actual physical problem with my body. And I should have gone to more doctors until I found one who could give me the correct treatment for vaginismus.

I don't believe that.

That would mean I shouldn't have had access to all the benefits that asexuality has brought me. I should have just continued to "try to be normal", paying money to more and more doctors and letting them hurt my vagina, in hopes of finding an authority figure who can tell me what I need to do to "be normal."

Let's be real, the only place a "you weren't actually asexual" argument can come from is the idea that asexual just isn't a valid thing to be at all. So no. I don't buy that.

Also, let's say, hypothetically, that I'm heterosexual, but vaginismus makes sex with men nearly impossible, and there is no practical way for me to even figure out what the problem is or get treatment- isn't that functionally the same thing as being asexual?

So... maybe it's like this: One possible explanation is that I do have that feeling that people call "sexual attraction." And yes, it's true that before I had ever attempted anything sexual at all, I was sure I would find sex really great. But then, I tried PIV and it wasn't anything like I'd expected. It felt all wrong and painful. So I concluded, "oh, if this is what sex is, then no I don't have a desire for that, so that means I'm asexual."

Then the issue would be the definition of "sex." "Asexual" means I don't have sexual attraction, and "sexual attraction" means I am attracted to someone in such a way that I have a desire for sex with them. And no, I am not attracted to anyone in such a way that I want to painfully stab my vagina with them. So have we been talking about different things all along? There is some other experience that people call "sex", which I had never had before I gave birth, and it is pleasurable for me and I do have an attraction for it?

Like... yes, I know PIV is not the be-all-end-all of sex. There is sex that is not PIV. I have been aware of that for a long time, for years, but maybe subconsciously I do still think "sex" means "penis in vagina." And when I decided to identify as asexual, I know I did consider if I have attraction for other sex that's not PIV, and I still concluded that I don't. But it's hard to untangle all of this... coming from that patriarchal purity-culture you-have-a-duty-to-your-husband background, was there even a possibility that I could have said "yes I enjoy sex, just not PIV, I hate PIV, but yes sex is great!" And knowing what I know now about how IT REALLY IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THAT PAINFUL, it makes me think I need to untangle it differently than I did in the past. 

So maybe. Maybe now that PIV is going so well, I will discover that I do have sexual attraction, and then I will conclude I'm not asexual. But even if that happens, I still believe I was right to identify as asexual up til now, and I am very grateful for my time as an asexual. It allowed me the freedom to explore and know myself, and accept that whatever desires I did or did not have were all okay and normal.

At the same time, though, I think about how even before I ever attempted anything sexual at all, I just ... didn't really have sexual desire at all? I never masturbated, never even considered if I might be interested in masturbating. The boys I dated before Hendrix, I never ever EVER considered the question "would it feel good to have sex with him?" The idea that one would have sex with one's boyfriend was just nowhere on my radar at all, except in the warnings I got from purity-culture Christians about "CAN YOU BELIEVE how gross and sinful THE WORLD is- some people think it's normal to *GASP* have sex with your boyfriend OH NO THE HORROR." (I've blogged before about times I was completely clueless about the reality that other people actually do experience sexual attraction- and that was all before I had attempted PIV, so vaginismus was not a factor.)

But maybe I was just repressed, and if my first PIV experience had gone better, then things would have gone way differently. Maybe. Who knows.

Imagine that, though, imagine how different that would be. What if I had tried PIV and it worked? Or at least, I was able to do it in a way that's satisfactory to my male partner. Then I would have had no reason to learn about my body the way I did. I would have just continued having mediocre sex, and thinking it was good because a man liked it. Also, I would have felt like it was normal if the man has an orgasm and the woman doesn't. 

And I would have just gone on like that and felt like it was fine. Hey... it just occurred to me that maybe a lot of women do that, and that explains the baffling advice I read recently in a book about how having a baby changes the relationship between the husband and wife. In this book, it was talking about how sex is all different and confusing since the baby was born, and so you have to communicate and do this and that, etc... And I'm like, so confused, because for me sex was confusing FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, and I worked hard to figure it out, and what I read in this book was just incomprehensible- like some couples are having sex and it's going along fine but they haven't done the work of knowing their bodies and communicating and all that, and then having the baby forces them to do that work in order to have any kind of sex life at all. Hmm.

(Yeah does anyone's sex life get better right after having a baby? Just me? Okay then.)

So yeah, in a way I'm grateful for vaginismus, because without it, I would never have taken control of my own sex life. I would still have thought everything I do sexually has to be focused on my husband. I would still have thought masturbating was basically cheating. I would still have thought there was something a little wrong about looking at and being familiar with my own body. And I would still not be having orgasms.

Because I was taught that a wife has sex as a duty to her husband. And I found I couldn't fulfill that duty. I needed to masturbate and learn about my body in order to be able to fulfill that duty, so that's what I did. I still think it's a little messed-up that this whole thing begins and ends with a man, but at least in the middle I learned that my body is mine, I am in charge, I belong to me.

The idea that I "wasn't really" asexual, and it was "actually just" vaginismus... I think about what would have happened if it had gone that way. What if I did find a doctor who knew what vaginismus was, instead of finding the asexual community? Then no, I wouldn't have been able to take charge of my own body and sex life. I would have viewed the doctor as an authority figure telling me what standards I am supposed to meet, and what I had to do to be good enough to meet those standards. I still wouldn't be able to actually learn about my body.

I wouldn't have asked myself, what do I want? It would have been only about getting my body good enough for a man to enjoy.

Yes, certainly it is possible for a doctor to help with vaginismus in a way that keeps the patient informed about what their situation is and allows them to set the goals. Yes. But I wouldn't have been able to do that, because I always viewed doctors as if they know everything and get to tell me what I'm supposed to be. Now I see it differently- now I see doctors as a very good resource I should use to further my own personal health/body-related goals. I'm responsible for my own health. I rely on the doctors for their knowledge and advice, but I belong to me.

But back then, when I was letting gynecologists hurt me because I had no idea what my own anatomy was? Nope, no way a doctor could have helped me.

(I guess I should throw a disclaimer in here: doctors are great, there are totally good gynecologists out there. I am very thankful to all the doctors and midwives and nurses who helped with the birth of my son. Especially the anesthesiologist who did the epidural. He listened to all my concerns about it, answered my questions, let me make my own decision about if I wanted to do it or not. And also then all the pain from the contractions went away.)

Asexuals, though. Asexuals said whatever desires I have or don't have are fine. Whatever amount of sex I want to have or don't want to have is fine. Asexuals told me I can know myself, and that nobody else can override that.

So none of this nonsense about "I wasn't really asexual." I firmly believe that if identifying as asexual helps you personally, then it's right for you to identify as asexual. I still don't know what sexual attraction is- now that I've found out I can just go ahead and do PIV and it's easy, I might have to completely rewrite my understanding of what sexual attraction is. Maybe it will turn out that I actually do have sexual attraction. But yes, it was right for me to identify as asexual. It has helped me so much.

And I don't want someone to read this and think "we need to have more awareness about vaginismus, so that people don't mis-identify as asexual and then get themselves all messed up." Yes, I definitely wish I had known about vaginismus earlier, but at the same time maybe it's good that wasn't the lens I viewed my "I don't understand sex" problem through. Instead of "I have vaginismus and I need a cure so I can be normal," I believed "I am asexual, and I accept myself as I am, and I set my own goals about what kind of sex I want to have." Which turned out way better.

So where am I now, then? Sure, it was right to identify as asexual in the past, and I keep saying that maybe in the future I won't be, but what about right now?

Well I'm definitely straight, so, am I heterosexual? Lolllll lol can you imagine being heterosexual? Like, that would mean that sex actually makes sense to me. Like, I would have to understand what people are talking about when they mention sex. Ha, no.

Well how about demisexual? Because I only want to have sex with my husband- that sounds sort of demisexual, right? Well, no I don't think I'm demisexual. The reason I only want to have sex with my husband isn't because I'm not attracted to other people, it's because sex is just SO WEIRD that I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that like, any random man on the street could theoretically do it. Like it feels like a weird inside joke that's just between me and him.

How about graysexual? No... I kind of always felt like "graysexual" was for asexuals who thought "but how can I be sure I've never experienced sexual attraction, if I don't even know what it is? I don't think I'm allowed to ID as asexual, I'd better say graysexual just to be safe." And, hey, no, there is no asexual police, you are allowed to ID as asexual even if you can't prove that you have never experienced sexual attraction. Yes, I bet that for some people it is very good and helpful to identify as graysexual. But not me.

So what's left then? Asexual? Well, yeah that fits, that feels right. Okay then.

So. In conclusion. Big changes. Ever since I pushed an entire baby out of my vagina, PIV sex is no longer the whole ordeal it used to be, where I needed to use all sorts of techniques to get my vagina to open or else the whole thing was unbearably painful. Like wow, it's night and day; it's just astonishing how easy it is now, and it made me realize that all that pain I had before was not normal and most likely was vaginismus (even though I don't feel I can actually diagnose myself). So I am having more sex now and it's very exciting. And all of this has me reconsidering my asexuality. Yes, I firmly believe I was right to identify as asexual, though maybe the context of it was sort of different than what I thought back then. Maybe in the future I won't be asexual any more. But I am grateful for all the benefits asexuality brought me. It allowed me to accept myself and be in charge of my own sexuality, instead of trying to fit society's / some man's / a doctor's idea of what "normal" is.

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Appendix:

So it turns out that every time I've blogged about sex in explicit terms, it was coming from a perspective where PIV is very painful for me and I had NO IDEA that that wasn't the case for everyone with a vagina.

I wrote the advice I wish I had had. But now I feel like... for most people, this has nothing to do with their situation at all. And for the people that do need this advice, how do I even find them to tell them? What keywords to use- I guess "vaginismus" is the only one? And how do I write it in a way that they would be able to tell their unusual situation is the same as mine?

Anyway, here's an example, an old post with my maybe-actually-not-useful advice on how to have sex:

3 Reasons I Need To Identify As Ace

Anyway, I ended up talking to 3 different doctors about this problem. (Why does it hurt? Why do I basically just like it because I'm in love with Hendrix and any activity I do with him makes me happy, but I don't feel pleasure specifically from the act of sex itself?) None of them were that helpful. They all told me "just relax" and other equally vague and useless bits of advice.

But when I found information about asexuality online, it all made sense. That's the answer, that's why sex is so difficult for me. It's because most people have this thing called sexual attraction, and I don't. And I love Hendrix and I want to have sex with him- if I didn't know these facts about my own orientation, it would be so much more confusing and difficult.

And this paragraph is going to be explicit [NSFW], but I'm going to write it because this is the secret I've discovered that has improved our sex life SO MUCH. Like, I'm just going to go ahead and say this explicitly because NOBODY EVER SAID IT TO ME EXPLICITLY AND THAT'S WHY I'VE HAD SO MUCH TROUBLE: So if you want to do penis-in-vagina sex, the important thing is that first the vagina has to open. Like, in regular life, it's not very open and so it would be incredibly painful to try to push something in. As it turns out, when people use the term "arousal", they are referring to when the vagina becomes more wet and open (or, if you have a penis, "arousal" means getting an erection). (I think? Correct me if I'm wrong on the vocabulary. As I said, I'm kind of clueless.) Furthermore, when people talk about "foreplay", what they mean is doing things to get the body aroused. See, before, I assumed "foreplay" meant "kissing and touching each other in pleasurable ways before you have sex." But it turns out it's more than that- if you're going to do penis-in-vagina sex, the foreplay NEEDS TO accomplish the task of getting the vagina to open. I had NO IDEA. Really. I thought foreplay was just about feeling good and maybe making yourself *want* sex (in an emotional sense)- I had absolutely no idea it was also supposed to include tangible genital-related bodily reactions. And that if it doesn't, then penis-in-vagina sex will be painful or maybe even impossible. LIKE THIS IS A BIG HUGE DEAL, NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN JUST SKIP or be like "eh I guess we've done enough of that, what comes next?" Like seriously, before you try to put a penis in, use your fingers and check if the vagina is open or not. Because usually it's NOT. It's only open if you're aroused enough. Sooooo anyway I figured out that if I use a sexy toy and stimulate the clit before we start actually having sex, and get an orgasm that way, it will make the vagina open and wet. And then we can put a penis in way easier. I don't know if that falls under the category of "foreplay" or not, because it's pretty much just me doing it, not my partner, but WOWWWWW that has helped our sex life SO MUCH. (Also: Use lots of lube.)

And currently my advice on PIV sex is this: Don't let anyone put their penis in if you've never put 2 of your own fingers in. Ugh, even as I write that, I question myself, like people are going to say "eww no", people are going to say it's normal to have ANOTHER PERSON put their penis in your vagina, but it's dirty and shameful to put YOUR OWN fingers in. WHY? WHY? 

Yeah I know in church they said my husband owns my sexuality and I do not, but that's wrong, that's so wrong.

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Related:

My Husband Is Not The Entire Focus Of My Sex Life 

Doctors (part 3 of Autism & Teaching Kids to Protect Themselves)

They said it was about "valuing our bodies." That was a lie.

I Wanna Preach the Good News of Masturbation

When the Teacher Says, "Don't Look at Your Report Card"

And also a big thank-you to all the bloggers who came before me and wrote about vaginismus. Here are a few of the posts that had a big impact on me:

TMI: Vaginismus, Me, and Why We Need to Talk Abut Female Sexual Dysfunction

The Kind of Sex I Thought I Wanted

The Other Side

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Top 15 posts from 2020

A computer with the word "BLOG" displayed on the screen. Image source.

Hi readers! Here's a roundup of my most read/ favorite posts from 2020. This year 2 of the big themes on the blog were COVID-19 and the birth of my little son. 

I am in China (have been in China for the entire pandemic), so I experienced all the lockdowns and panicking about a month earlier than most of my readers. Then after 2-3 months we were more or less "back to normal", except we have to wear masks, and can't travel. (It's been a very different story in the US...) 

And I announced the birth of my son! He is amazing and perfect. So I've had a lot to say on the blog about pregnancy and babies and being a mom.

Anyway here are the top 6 posts with the most page views:

1. The Babylon Bee Completely Misunderstands Boundaries. I Am Shocked. (note: not actually shocked) "The Babylon Bee is trash."

2. An Invisible Virus and an Omniscient God "In particular, why aren't Christians in the United States using 'discernment' to make up for the lack of COVID-19 testing? Surely in the US there exist some Christians who are close enough to God that they're that good at 'discernment'... right?"

3. What Pregnancy Taught Me About Being Pro-Choice "Now I know how hard pregnancy is, and I understand the importance of 'my body, my choice' in a way I never did before."

4. Bathsheba's Son "Bathsheba spent 9 months nurturing and loving the child that grew inside her body. David spent 9 months covering up a rape and a murder."

5. Dance, Those Who Dance Upon Injustice "Someday we will tell our children about how people danced in the streets after the 2020 election."

6. Welcome Baby Square Root! 

And here are some other good posts I wrote:

1. What I Wish I'd Known About Breastfeeding "Because I now see that there are lots of good reasons [to give formula]. But 'the mom is right here and wants to breastfeed the baby, but her husband's family is telling her 'no, you can't, you don't have enough milk'' is NOT one of them. That's effed-up."

2. I'm SO HAPPY I Won't Be Praying During Childbirth "What if something went wrong, and I thought it was my fault because I didn't pray the right way?"

3. Yes, I Want Justice (A post about white evangelicals and #BlackLivesMatter) "In this ideology, the idea of 'helping the victims' makes no sense- the so-called victims are sinners too and deserve to go to hell just as much as those who hurt them."

4. Breastfeeding: Take and Eat; This is My Body "It's interesting to me that, from a cis man's perspective, language about eating another person's body and shedding blood is about violence and murder and death. Not the case for me. I have a uterus; I use my body to create a new life. I bled for him. I nurse him from my own breasts."

5. An Update on Whether or Not "Marriage is Hard" Now That We Have a Child "Having a newborn child (and my mother-in-law living with us) brought a lot of stress and conflict into our relationship for about 3 months, but that's a completely different thing than saying 'marriage is hard.'"

6. China Bans Foreigners (Like Me) From Entering the Country "This isn't like the travel bans in other countries, affecting tourists and business travelers. This affects long-term residents who uprooted their whole lives a month ago because of the virus, and were prepared to spend 14 days in quarantine in order to come back."

7. When the Teacher Says, "Don't Look at Your Report Card" "I thought there were things about myself that I shouldn't know, but that other people- people more qualified than me- should know. That's bullshit."

8. Homesick "The short version is, I'm ready to be done living in China, right when the US is ... how shall I put this ... not livable."

9. Taking My Kid To Church (Blog Series) "In other words, I don't want to approach this from the negative side, 'warning' him about religion. I want to teach him positive things about morality."

Thanks again to all my readers! I really love writing the blog and I love when people write to me to say they can relate to it and my posts are helpful for them. <3

Also I have a Patreon! A big thank-you to my Patreon supporters- it really does make a big difference. If you enjoy the blog, maybe consider supporting me on Patreon sometime in the next year.

So, what are my plans for the blog in 2021? Well, in general I have been posting way less than I want to, because of my high-maintenance child (okay, I guess all toddlers are high-maintenance) and my mother-in-law who is always here judging me. There are so many things I want to blog about. Lots of draft posts and partial ideas. It will all get posted eventually.

There will be a big post on asexuality sometime in the next few weeks. :) I've got it almost 100% finished, so I feel confident about promising it to you all. Stay tuned.

Anyway, thanks so much, and looking forward to lots more blogging in the future~

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Blogaround

1. And the world will be a better place (posted February 17) "Ebenezer Scrooge eventually chose one path. Rush Limbaugh consistently chose the other."

2. Ministry leaders’ rush to empathize with Ravi Zacharias is beyond alarming (posted February 19) "Connecting the refrain 'it could’ve been me' with the abuser rather than with the victim is a massive red flag to the vulnerable and is a profoundly unhealthy outlook on the part of those with power." PREACH. This is what happens when you teach that "we are all sinners" and that the reason sin is a problem is it "separates you from God", not that it hurts people. 

3. I’m All For Letting the Free Market Decide Things Unless It Decides to Stop Publishing Racist Children's Books (posted March 3) "I’ll go full-on socialist if it means protecting what really matters — that my six-year-old can still find illustrations mocking Chinese people in their local Barnes & Noble."

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Blogaround

1. Britney Spears Was Never in Control (posted February 23) "I have spoken with an affirming and disheartening number of people who described experiences of predators who, to borrow phrasing from my friend Suzy Exposito, 'weaponized sex positivity.'"

2. A Blogger's Farewell (posted February 28) From Libby Anne.

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