November 27, 2014 / 5th of Kislev, 5775
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Mimi Arbeit

  • She began to touch it gently, like something really beautiful. “You know, you could make a woman feel real good with this thing. Maybe better than she ever felt in her life.” She stopped stroking the dildo. “Or you could really hurt her, and remind her of all the ways she’s ever been hurt in her life. You got to think about that every time you strap this on. Then you’ll be a good lover.”
    —From “Stone Butch Blues” by Leslie Feinberg


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  • Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that the current approach to healing from the physical trauma of a concussion echoes my process of healing from other, emotional traumas. But of course I only speak for myself. Here’s a little bit of what it’s looked like and felt like for me these past few months, and these past many years:

    Step 1: Hitting the limit

    After going through some pretty hard relationship stuff during the first two years of college, I found...

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  • Samantha Manewitz, LICSW, is a 32-year-old educator, sex nerd and therapist, currently in Somerville. In her capacity as a helping professional, she has seen a broad spectrum of clients: domestic violence victims, self-injuring teens, traumatized children, sexual assault survivors and clients of just about every sexuality and gender orientation. Outside of her therapy office, Samantha’s journey is one of perpetual learning, and being the nerd she is, she’s compelled to share the knowl...

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  • Adina Koch, 27, lives in Jamaica Plain and is the manager of community health programs at Martha Eliot Health Center (including Project Protection, their HIV/STD testing and counseling program and young adult resource center). She’s also an active member of Connect to Protect, working on efforts to reduce stigma surrounding sexual health and access to care for young LGBTQ people of color. You can also find her sitting by Jamaica Pond or at Shabbat dinner with a rowdy group of queer Jews.

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  • I had to drop eye contact before asking the question. Then I just had to name the uncomfortable degree of shyness I was experiencing. “I can’t believe I’m asking this, but it just seems to me like an orgasm is a direct shot of electricity to the brain, and probably a really bad idea?”

    He responded calmly: “A lot of people have questions about sex at this point in recovering from a concussion.”

    Phew. It’s not weird to ask questions abo...

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  • You’re hot. Your friend is hot. Maybe it’s the way your bodies move together on the dance floor. Maybe it’s the way your friend is laughing tonight. Maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a while now, or maybe you have a surprising sense that your friend is about to make a move and you’re not sure how to respond. As you consider your options, here are some questions you might ask yourself before you go home with a friend&hellip...

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  • Sammy Sass, 25, was born and bred in Cambridge and currently lives in Boston, sometimes. She’s got her hands on the earth whenever possible, in the garden or on the potter’s wheel. Her ceramics can be seen here, and around town at SOWA open studios and local craft fairs. She spent four months living in Italy this summer.

    On our first date, we sat in his little green car and made our way down the mountain to th...

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  • Marc Dones, 28, reflects on three years of dating men in Boston. During that time, he’s lived in Mattapan and Fort Hill. For more of his rambling, read his tumblr or follow him on Twitter. In his spare time, Marc plays with his roommate’s dog, rides his bike and is generally impractical. His favorite color is orange, but sometimes it’s chartreuse.

    Joe: “I’m not going to leave you, Harper.”
    Harper: “Well, maybe not. But I’m going to leave you.&rd...

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  • As my head pounded, I found myself starting to wish I had a partner. Someone who lived with me. Someone who would be in the apartment during the evenings and overnight. Someone who knew how to comfort me even when I didn’t have words.

    I didn’t have any words.

    Talking made my head hurt. My doctor was very clear that anything I did to “flare” the symptoms of the concussion would make the concussion worse and would lengthen my recovery. I had already made...

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  • Great news, Boston! Aida Manduley, 25, just moved to Roxbury to pursue a master’s degree in social work. Aida is a productivity geek, experienced sexuality educator and seasoned trainer who advocates for healthy relationships. We’re lucky to have her! She debriefs today about being ethically non-monogamous.

    Growing up, my dating opportunities were pretty limited. Not only did I attend a small K-12 school in Puerto Rico, but I was raised under the very conservative Jehova’s Wi...

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Mimi is a Ph.D. candidate in child study and human development at Tufts University, focusing on adolescent sexuality and sexual health. She is a freelance sexuality educator and also works locally to promote and strengthen sexuality education in public schools. Before starting The Debrief, she wrote her own blog, She loves dancing, taking walks around the city, and listening to people share their stories. Email or tweet @mimiarbeit.

Latest Comments

Such a loving tribute to Leslie. This captures my experience and my belief about the transformative power of intimacy and the attendant dangers. Pleasure and Danger? Thank you Mimi, so wonderful to see how you've evolved the work on consent, heath education and justice.
The Debrief: Better Than You Ever Felt in Your Life
MImi this is so, so beautiful. I just shared it on FB.
The Debrief: Better Than You Ever Felt in Your Life
That's a lovely piece. I really like the tango analogy.
The Debrief: Practicing Tango, Practicing Surrender
Congratulations. This piece is insightful, honest, and the work in progress that it should be. I often teach my students about what it means to bear witness and why it is important in a world where all of them are under-served, under-represented, and in some cases afraid. I think these questions and lessons are reflected here. It hits a personal note for me, as my partner just got over a concussion and eye injuries from a roll over car accident because we have been navigating the flip side to your waters. I think you have a vein to follow for your next pieces this fall. Pat yourself on the back and continue to heal in all the ways people need.
The Debrief: Concussion Confessions