CVIndependent

Sun11172019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I’m a 30-year-old, Asian-American, hetero-flexible, cis woman. I’m also newly diagnosed with bipolar II. I’m on medication—the doctor is trying to figure that out—but no talk therapy for right now, as my last therapist wasn’t great, and I haven’t managed to find a new one.

My question for you is regarding the relationship between bipolar and kink. One of the common symptoms of the manic stage of bipolar is “risky sex.” I equate risk with “likely to blow up one’s personal or professional life” and have always answered “no” to that question when asked by doctors. I’ve had the occasional hookup, but otherwise I’ve consistently had sex in the context of closed, monogamous relationships, i.e., the opposite of risky sex. However, it recently occurred to me that I’m fairly kinky (BDSM, role play). Nothing I’d consider a varsity-level kink, but what do I know? I have out-there fantasies that are varsity level, but I’ve never done them.

Am I just bipolar and kinky? Are the two related somehow? Should I be concerned that I’ll go into a manic state and start enacting (or trying to enact) some of the varsity-level fantasies in my head?

By the way: I asked my doctor this via e-mail, but I haven’t heard back yet and have no idea how sex-positive he is. So I thought I’d get a second opinion. Also: I’m currently manic enough that it’s hard for me to edit, so there may be weird/confusing shit in my letter. Sorry for that!

Kinky And Bipolar

“I’d like to congratulate KAB for seeking help and for the work she’s doing to get stable,” said Ellen Forney, author of Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life, an award-winning self-help guide to maintaining stability, and the best-selling graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. “I’d also like to welcome KAB to BIPOLAR! Toot! Toot! Confetti!”

The specific manic-stage symptom you’re concerned about—engaging in super-risky sex—is called “hypersexuality,” and it’s what happens when the extremely poor judgment match meets the supercharged libido gas.

“But it’s only ‘hypersexuality’ when it gets in the way of a reasonably well-functioning life,” said Forney. “Picture masturbating all day instead of going to work, or having relationship-wrecking affairs or unprotected sex with strangers.”

If your diagnosis is correct, and you have bipolar II and not bipolar I, KAB, you may be less susceptible to out-of-control hypersexuality.

“Strictly speaking, a bipolar II diagnosis means she cycles between ‘hypomania’ (mild mania) and depression,” said Forney, “so her highs aren’t going to be as acute as they would be for someone diagnosed with bipolar I, where hypersexuality can really get dangerous.”

Forney warns that misdiagnoses are not uncommon where bipolar is concerned, so you might want to get your diagnosis confirmed. But your long-standing kinks all by themselves—varsity and otherwise—aren’t necessarily related to your condition, KAB, and as long as they’re safely expressed and explored, you aren’t doing anything unreasonably risky or wrong.

“Kinky sex in itself doesn’t count as symptom-worthy risky sex—no matter what her doctor e-mails back,” said Forney. “Like for anyone else, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with feeling uninhibited enough to pursue varsity-level kinks, so long as they’re not putting her or anyone else in danger. Ultimately, KAB’s goal is to be stable enough to trust her judgment. For now, she might weigh the risks while she’s feeling stable, so she can make some levelheaded decisions about what might or might not be too risky.”

Forney also recommends having a discussion with your partners and friends about what your limits are—a discussion you’ll want to have when you’re not horny nor manic nor both.

“That way, her partners and friends can help her recognize if she’s crossing her own lines,” said Forney. “And realizing that she’s suddenly tempted to cross her own lines could be a signal to her that she’s getting hypomanic and needs to take steps to stabilize—steps like getting better sleep, adjusting her meds and others I explore in Rock Steady!”

Also: If your doctor won’t answer your sex questions—or only gives you unhelpful, sex-negative, kink-shaming answers—find yourself a new doctor. And there are letters I have to read three times before I can figure out what the fuck is going on. Your letter was as lucid as it was charming.

Therapists across the country are recommending Rock Steady to their patients with mood disorders, and Forney won a Media Partner Award from the National Alliance for Mental Illness for her work on Rock Steady and Marbles. If you haven’t already, KAB, please pick up Forney’s books. You’ll benefit from her insights, her advice and her coping strategies. And thanks to Forney’s art and sense of humor, both books are a delight to read.


I am 36 and female, and I’ve been with my current boyfriend for seven years. We were friends for four years before we started dating. He is very slow at making decisions and not a risk-taker, and I am somewhat opposite of that. I think there are times when you need to take a leap of faith, and if it turns out it was a mistake, you learn and grow from it.

We lived together on his family’s property the first six years after I moved to his hometown. He’s waiting in hopes that the property gets handed down to him. I don’t live my life in hopes that something will happen that’s out of my control, so I purchased my own home. He moved in. We have not split all costs in half, because he said he needs to take care of the other home. It’s been six months, and I’m growing impatient for him to commit. We’ve had several conversations, and I’ve given him until the end of the year to decide if we should go our separate ways. I said if we are going to be together, we need to be a team and support each other. He was actually taken aback because he thought we were doing fine. One thing he said made me question it all. He said, “I feel that you’re supposed to know and have this feeling when you’re ready to move forward to be with a person forever.” I was so confused by that comment.

My friends say it can’t only be me who wants this; he has to want it, too. Is it time for me to just move on?

Mulling Over Very Emotional Options Now

Move on, MOVEON, but keep an open mind. Seeing you move on may help your boyfriend realize he does want to be with you forever—it’ll help him “know”—and if you haven’t realized in the interim that you don’t want to be with him, you can move back in (and move on) together down the road. But unless inheriting the family property is a sure thing—a sure thing you’ll both benefit from in the long run—he needs to pay his fair share. No more freeloading.


Why should I, a feminist, be OK with drag? How is it any different than blackface?

Tough Question

Drag can be sexist, TQ, but it doesn’t have to be. And when done right, it isn’t. Blackface is always racist. Drag celebrates the craft of hyper-feminine presentation. Drag demonstrates that so much of what we think of as “naturally” feminine is not just a social construct, but quite literally a construction. Drag has the power to explode sexism, to expose it, by complicating people’s preconceptions and misconceptions about what it means to be a woman. Blackface can only reinforce and amplify racism.

In the Lovecast studios … Stormy Daniels!: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.

Published in Savage Love

Cakes, aka Monica Morones, is “a bad bitch.”

Those are her words—told to me during a recent phone interview. The local visual artist and musician is holding an art show, Bipolar, at Flat Back Art Supplies in Palm Desert on Saturday, Dec. 16.

I asked Morones to explain what makes her a “bad bitch.”

“I’m independent; I think for myself; I stick to my beliefs; and I feel like I’m a beast,” Morones said. “I feel like I can handle myself in any situation, and I feel like it’s not a defense mechanism, but that I’ve hardened myself into a bitch. I could tackle anything. I could do video; I could do photography; I could do painting; I could do modeling; and I could get up onstage and be a singer. I can do all of those things because I said so. That’s what being a bad bitch to me is.”

She explained what inspires her artistically, both as an artist and as a musician.

“My art is very raw, and I can’t even give myself a specific style because I don’t really have one,” she said. “The show ranges from abstract to fine art to super-detailed to random stuff I did on wood. I added in some photography pieces of mine that I really like. My art is kind of all over the place, but when people see my work, I know that they know it’s mine, because I stick with bubblegum pink, and I have a certain aesthetic.

“The inspiration definitely comes from being a bad bitch. I’m a bad girl, and I like in-your-face stuff. I like to shock people, and I like to make people think and make them think about me after that. I’m not narcissistic, but I like making people feel shocked. That’s an inspiration—and music is an inspiration. Anytime I make anything—I make the video; I make the song; and anything I put out—I try to do it entirely myself.”

I asked Morones why being provocative is her modus operandi.

“I can’t speak for other artists, but that’s the only way I know,” she said. “If you ever met my mother, you’d know why: Her favorite word is ‘motherfucker.’ It’s just who I am. I’m abrasive, but I’m also kind. Most of the time, I’m too honest for most people, and that reflects in everything that I do. I try to keep it in check, but most of the time, I’m an artist.”

Fashion is another outlet Morones has found for her art.

“I started sewing a long time ago and started making purses and wallets,” she said. “I learned how to put art on clothes and painted directly onto clothes. When I made a little bit of money off of it, I’d spend whatever extra money on screen printing and putting my art onto shirts, because I was tired of people not buying my purses and wallets. They weren’t too expensive, but they weren’t $20. Back in 2002, I had screen printers put my art onto a shirt, and I said, ‘OK, I’m going to make money this way.’ In the beginning, it was about money; now it’s about art. That’s the difference between being a younger artist and an older artist. But this has been 18 years for me, doing art.”

Morones said it is not easy to be a young artist in the Coachella Valley.

“I think that’s been my biggest struggle as an artist—being validated by others,” she said. “I think it’s horrible, but let’s be honest: That’s what happens when you’re an artist. You make art, and you want to be validated by people, and you want people to like it. … I can’t specifically say if it’s in the Coachella Valley, but I do know that in order to get any type of publication writing or any kind of thing like that, you can’t piss off people. It doesn’t matter what your talent is; you have to know the right people.”

Morones hinted that there might be a Cakes performance at the Bipolar art show, but she made no promises. She described her art and her music as “two very segregated things.”

“When I make art, it’s personal,” she explained. “… I don’t paint live, and I’m not a lab monkey, but kudos to whoever does that. I like to sit in my cage, watch my favorite show, smoke some weed get in a mind-space where I can freely let go. For me, painting is painting. To perform music—that’s a show. When I do shows, I try to touch all the bases of visuals and sound. What can I do to make it different? ‘Let’s put big pink cornrows in my hair; let’s get two big homosexual dancers with their shirts off wearing bunny masks to make people feel a little weird about themselves. Let’s do some weird stuff to make people feel entertained.’ When I perform music, that’s for entertainment, but when I’m an artist, that’s just for me.”

Bipolar, an art show by Cakes, takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, at Flat Black Art Supplies, 74275 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. An all-female slate of DJs will perform. Admission to the 18-and-over event is free. For more information, call 760-340-4307, or visit the event’s Facebook page.

Published in Visual Arts

After five years together, Latin/rock band Elektric Lucie is branching out well beyond the group’s devout Coachella Valley audiences. In fact, the band recently signed with a record label in Mexico.

Elektric Lucie’s ever-evolving lineup currently includes Viktor Estrada (guitar, vocals), Jorge Carrillo (bass), Jose Lopez (guitar, keyboards) and Hernan Hernandez (drums).

“We’ve played as a three-piece; we’ve played as a four-piece; and we’ve played as a five-piece,” Estrada said during a recent interview at the band’s practice space at Estrada’s house in Indio. “It’s been like a coalition of musicians. … We’ve been working, working and working, and that’s how we landed a record deal.”

Lopez is the band’s newest member.

“I’ve been in bands since high school,” Lopez said. “I’ve known Viktor for years. I used to play in metal and punk bands, and I was also in a ska band, which is where I met Viktor 15 years ago. We never played together until recently—like months ago. The style they were doing was entirely different from what I was doing, but it was awesome, and I loved it. I put my two cents into it, and this is what we’re doing now.”

The addition of Hernan Hernandez on drums was also a big part of the band’s evolution. While he lives and breathes heavy metal, he’s adjusted to the Latin-rock style. He has technical skills from being in the marching band during high school.

“I’ve been adjusting to how they play, and they’re master musicians,” Hernandez said. “I’ve honed it down. … On my part, I’ve learned all their songs, and we’ve started to record. I’m catching up to these guys, and the sound is getting there and is really tight. It’s only up from here.”

While Elektric Lucie’s new album, Bipolar, has lyrics mostly in Spanish, Estrada said the band has songs in both English and Spanish. When I asked about song themes, they all laughed, and Estrada quickly said: “Love!” Much of the band’s music does have serenade elements—with a bit of a kick. Even with heavy guitars in some of the songs, the rhythm is just right, and you can feel the emotion.

“It’s sexual, sensual—and sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, with everything in between. Sex sells,” Carrillo said. “We’re not showing our things out in public or anything like that, but it’s all about the timing of the song being not too fast, and not too slow. It’s right there in the middle, where you can just groove to it.”

The band at the moment is focusing more on audiences that embrace Elektric Lucie’s Latin elements.

“We’re focusing a lot on the Spanish market,” Estrada said. “We tried a little bit of the English thing, and I’ve heard some good compliments. We have listeners in England and Eastern Europe, but we got signed by a record label in Mexico City, so we’re focusing a little more on the Spanish side.

“Some people will see it here in the valley. … They’ll see you at a local show, and later on, if you do something great, you won’t be playing those local shows anymore. Your record label won’t want you to play those shows anymore. Stuff like that happens.”

After signing to Casete Mexico and playing shows both regionally and in Mexico, Estrada said he has learned one important thing.

“If you want to succeed as a band, you have to put money into it,” Estrada said. “If you don’t put any money into promoting or into your band having decency in live shows, there’s no point. You want to look good, and you want to play good. … If you really want to do something with your band, you have to put money into promotion. You’re wrong if you think you’re going to get into a record label, and they’re going to give you everything—no! … Where the real promotion is when you start paying for the promo team that’s going to get you interviews and music on radio, which we really need. Some people don’t understand that.”

While Elektric Lucie is doing a lot of shows and promotion outside of the Coachella Valley these days, the members said the desert is always a part of what they do.

“We have some influence from the desert rock, definitely,” Carrillo said. “This is the valley that we know, and there are some new wave and metal sounds. We incorporate all of that stuff.”

Lopez agreed.

“We’ve all been playing music individually since Kyuss started,” Lopez said. “We do things from pop to metal. We incorporate everything and blend everything. I was all into metal and punk when I started playing in high school. When I play with these guys, it feels amazing, and I love the music. We love what we do, and we’re excited about what we’ll be doing in the future.”

Estrada said new material is in the works.

“We’ll probably start recording our next album in a couple of months,” he said. “We’re not sure if we’ll still be at the label, given they only signed us for a year, but it depends. It’s open season for us right now: 2016 to me, I feel it’s going to be our best year.”

For more information on Elektric Lucie, including a show scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22, at The Date Shed, visit elektriclucie.com.