Thoughts

I don’t post here very frequently, it seems — certainly less than I write in my journal (which I do just about daily, and at great length) or spend time talking to my friends. Lately, this could be because I’m making a conscious effort to tone down my “sex talk” in real life, and I’m not very good at creating multiple facets of myself: if I’m not talking about something, I’m not talking about it, and it’s hard for me to say “I’m not going to talk about this with my friends, but I will talk about it on a blog.”

I decided that I really need to tone it down the other day, when I was at a bookstore with a friend. Now granted, we did spend time in the gay and lesbian section and the sexuality section; we’re also close friends who have encountered similar issues about things like sexual orientation, and talked them over together. But I think I’m a little unnecessary at times, still, with my constant innuendo, especially my kinky innuendo. My jokes are bad and constant, I can’t resist the opportunity to make comments about everything from rope to cunnilingus, and when I found that the bookstore has now started stocking Venus in Furs, Leopold Sacher-Masoch’s novel (he’s where the word “masochism” comes from), I enthused to my friend more than was strictly necessary, and insisted on sitting and reading the introduction to the book. When I reviewed the evening (which was, don’t get me wrong, a great evening), I was struck by the unnecessary nature of many of my remarks, and possibly even the inappropriate nature.

Now the thing is, I do see sex differently from many, and perhaps most, people, particularly people my age. I do not, generally speaking, watch pornography or masturbate, for example; I have never had a sexual relationship. For me sex is really completely theoretical, and I don’t have a problem approaching it from an academic angle. Sometimes this is with a view to what I personally find arousing, but I’m likely as not inclined to comment on cultural trends, or history of particular sexual movements, or the medical, sociological and biological factors associated with sex. This is very easy to do in the gay and lesbian section, the sexuality section, or in the fiction section reading Venus in Furs (I find it hugely entertaining that, coincidentally, Sacher-Masoch and de Sade (who, of course, gives us the word “sadism”) happen to be shelved next to each other.) The things I enthuse about are, for the most part, topics of intellectual gratification and general interest, and so I don’t see them as belonging in the bedroom or on the computer or in one’s head the way someone else might.

Of course, my bad jokes don’t fit into that category. Neither do my giggling about a book with “penetration” in the title, comments about my own preferences, or more outright “practical” notions of sex. A lot of this is about less mainstream expression of sexuality, and I think one of the reasons I go on about my less mainstream preferences (my queerness, and my kinkiness) is that I count myself incredibly lucky when I come across someone who knows what I’m talking about, or at least doesn’t condemn me or tell me to keep it to myself. I’m lucky because I have some friends who will listen, and I have issues that are important to me that I can’t talk about with my parents or teachers or in most public arenas. Naturally, I’m going to avail myself of my opportunities.

The day after I went to the bookstore with that friend, though, I found myself telling another friend how excited I was that Venus in Furs was being stocked now. He asked me what the significance of this news was, and I immediately thought to myself, “Why did I bring this up?” I mumbled something about “Sacher-Masoch… masochism… says it all, really…” (which it doesn’t, actually, which is an interesting point, and I can’t wait to buy and read Venus in Furs because I’m sure it’s more complicated than that), and even though I knew he wasn’t judging me on my reading matter, I felt like it was stupid. I wasn’t sure if I’d said it just because it was an opportunity to proclaim, “Look, I’m weird, I’m kinky, I love to research the history of S&M!”, and if maybe it was totally unnecessary. I’m speculating, but to him, this might not have been history, academic interest, enthusiasm about a topic. This could have sounded like I was talking about porn — which, I suppose, is not what gentlemen, while sober, discuss face-to-face out in the open. More frank discussions about sexuality generally take place in the middle of the night on instant-messaging, because that’s just how it is.

So I don’t know. I don’t want to repress myself any more than I already do, and there’s a lot of me that wants to assert the legitimacy of my interests. Yes, the subject matter that is arousing to me is arousing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be interested in its history. Plenty of folks study mainstream sex in an open arena, and maybe it’s just cause my stuff isn’t mainstream that I feel nervous about discussing it in public. Maybe I can tone down the giggling and bad jokes, cause they’re just juvenile, but I’m still inclined to think that my intentions are perfectly respectable, so I shouldn’t worry if my subject matter is odd. In the end, though, perhaps I should reserve judgement because I don’t know what my friends think. They tolerate my enthusiasms and they don’t reject me for being me; perhaps they don’t mind me taking advantage of their willingness to listen.

I still need to learn some lessons about compartmentalizing my thoughts, and deciding what’s appropriate for public sharing and what’s appropriate for anonymous sex-blogging. Maybe that’s just part of the maturation process, and maybe that’s what this blog is best for.

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