“I’m just a normal person who wants normal things and a normal girlfriend who doesn’t ask me to choke her out while five guys watch us having sex.”
I’m sitting in some house in Berkeley with my friend who is discussing all the woes of being a normal person in the Bay Area, aka the land of freaks. He’s starting to make me feel bad, mostly because I thoroughly enjoy living in the heart of a city whose sexual culture is so avant garde as to be outre and perhaps entirely out of touch with human desire and emotion. I grew up here, so I’m well versed in the language of love and all it’s translations into the language of polyamory, BDSM, homosexuality, sex positivity, pro sex worker feminism and general, every day, run of the mill scum fuckery. It’s a culture that I’ve come to appreciate and one that I am clearly fully steeped in. This is the Wild Wild West of sexual expression, a no holds barred land of do whatever you want, fuck whoever you want, and be as nasty as you so fucking choose. I really like it here.
But I’ve started to hear the same complaint over and over again: it seems that more than a few citizens of our sexual utopia are getting fed up this wantonly permissive sexual culture that has somehow morphed from an expression of freedom into a hunting grounds for sexual predators. Ideally, our sex positive culture is supposed to embrace all expressions of sexuality, but instead we’re forcing our orgies and kink on otherwise contentedly vanilla people. In our war to win the right to fuck whoever we choose, however we choose, we have forgotten that there are still some people out there who are perfectly happy with their missionary sex, monogamous long term relationships. We have mistaken the presence and support of these so called vanilla fuckers for an interest in our promiscuous lifestyle. I guess that’s understandable, but part of being open minded is remembering that people have the right to say no, the right to not be fetishized, and the right to stand on the sidelines and clap without having to participate in our rampant debauchery. Yeah, we’re happy to have them here, but what’s the opposite of slut shaming? Square shaming? We’re not supposed to ostracize anyone because they aren’t engaging in polyamory or cosigning our kinky lifestyles. We can’t force people to choke us during sex if they don’t want to.
This is all part of the conversation that we are constantly having, and while it’s still thrilling to know that we have all these wonderful sexual freedoms as members of the Bay Area, we can’t lose sight of the humanity of the people participating in this culture of sexual freedom. It’s okay to want whatever you want, even if you want nothing at all. We can appreciate these freedoms without exercising every single one, so rather than pressuring people to participate in activities that do not bring them pleasure, we need to celebrate our options and our right to say yes or no as we see fit. And the fact that saying yes or no will be respected as an expression of our sexual autonomy and individual humanity. We’re all here because we’re seeking love, but that love doesn’t manifest the same way for everybody. Personally, I’m not a fan of monogamy, but I respect my friends who find satisfaction in monogamous love. We all want pleasure, but not everyone finds pleasure in getting choked out by a stranger during anal sex. I respect that. And I celebrate my friends who know what they want and know what will make them happy and have the courage to pursue their happiness even when it doesn’t look like anyone else’s happiness. So long as that respect and admiration is mutual, you do you girlfriend. No one can be mad at you for it.