Better Times is a compilation of women’s stories about empowering intimate experiences. We see this project as a response to, and complementary narrative for, the many stories that have recently been shared about experiences of coercion, assault, and rape in the context of #TimesUp and #MeToo.
Certainly, these stories are important and contribute to public awareness of the day-to-day violence faced by women. Stories like that of Aziz Ansari and the reactions following it show us that many men lack understanding of how to flirt and engage sexually in non-coercive ways. Yet, while it is critical to speak about bad experiences, it is also crucial to outline what a path forward might look like – a path that is fashioned by women themselves who feel empowered to express how they want to be treated.
Our intention is to help both young women and men understand what a respectful and caring intimate encounter might look like. Shitty behaviour is not always men’s default, nor should women be expected to tolerate it. Many men and women every day manage to successfully traverse the fraught realm of sex with tenderness and consideration. We hope that for all of us these stories can be a glimpse into how to create better sexual encounters.
Better Times is not a one–size–fits–all set of dating instructions. The stories shared here are rather a celebration of unique human engagements and interactions with love, sex, and flirtation. We hope that as you read these stories, you will share some of the joy expressed in them.
We’d also like to acknowledge from the get–go that Better Times skews towards the straight, binary experience. This is because the male–female relationship is damaged in some unique ways that need to be recognised and addressed to envision a better world. This does not mean, however, that we only want to gather stories about heterosexual experiences. We are eager to hear from contributors of all backgrounds! We strongly believe that we can learn much from stories outside the heteronormative box and we hope to make this project one of inclusion.
We’re just two people who think this collection should exist. These are the kinds of stories that we would like to read, reflect on, and discuss. Sadly, we couldn't find such a collection. So we’re setting about to make it. We hope you can help us!
ps. Better Times is a strictly non-commercial project!