by The Reverend
Who am I? I am The Reverend. The Skepdick. I am married to a wonderful woman, we are polyamorous, we have kids and jobs and a wonderful life together and with our paramours.
I am sex positive.
I view respect and consideration to be at the core of all intimate interactions. Coercion is never acceptable. I err on the side of caution, often to my detriment but am ultimately the happier for it. I am accepting of the proclivities of others to the extent that they are restricted to adult humans who are capable of giving and do give full informed consent. Sex, relationships, lifestyles, are all open to contextual definition.
We live in a culture that is decidedly not sex positive. Violence is considered perfectly appropriate for all forms of media and in all venues. Sex? HOW DARE YOU! PERVERT! Why does sex trigger such vehement responses? Because it’s such a core part of who we are? I can’t speak to how women feel about it, or even all men, I can only speak for myself and assume that others feel similarly.
If I were to sit down at lunch with the guys from work and say “Wow, I had such an amazing orgasm last night.” They would all get very uncomfortable and quiet. Now if I said “Check out the tits on that chick over there!” that would be perfectly acceptable to them. I would find that an incredibly offensive thing to say or to hear someone else say, but because it’s crude and objectifying rather than because it’s sexual. I’ve long pondered over ‘typical guy’ behavior and how it contrasts with that of my own and that of the vast majority of my male friends.
Why is it that some of us grew up to treat sex, sexuality, and women in particular with respect while others didn’t? For me it certainly wasn’t because I grew up in an environment that intentionally cultivated such a view. I was raised in a Catholic household and we were very involved with our church. Being a fairly liberal Jesuit parish certainly there was at least some degree of respect for women as human beings which I’m sure laid a foundation.
As a boy I experimented with a girl my age in the neighborhood. She was a ‘bad girl’, before we were 10 she was smoking, in my early teens she was the one to introduce me to drink and drugs and also a lot of great music. She studied porn magazines and choreographed reenactments of the stories she read. She was curious and figured that was the best way to learn. I was a sometimes reluctant other times eager pawn in her little dramas. We engaged in a variety of full on sex acts before we hit our teens.
As a preteen I had access to my older brothers’ collection of Playboy and Penthouse, and I devoured them. I lingered over the photos, and I also read the articles, interviews, letters, etc. While patriarchal and chauvinistic they were still positive about sex and sexuality (provided it was all straight males. Females could be bi, but not lesbian.). Certainly far from perfect, but nevertheless a far better attitude than the mainstream.
I began to date and was perfectly comfortable with restricting my activities to ‘heavy petting’ with no real interest in going further. By my early teens I understood the consequences both physical and emotional of sex and was well aware I wasn’t ready to deal with them. I also suspected that my partners weren’t either. I read a lot of science fiction, particularly of the Heinlein strain where polyamory and alternative lifestyles are aggressively promoted and there is even tacit acceptance of homosexuality, a relative rarity in a field dominated by men at the time.
As I started having the opportunity to actually experience many things I’d only fantasized about I was already well aware of how my attitudes on sex differed wildly from most of my peers. I was clueless about girls, as were most of the other guys, but I at least understood the importance of respect and I adopted an approach of always erring on the side of caution. If I wasn’t sure a girl wanted me to do something, I’d hold back until I had a clear sign. I preferred to miss out on an opportunity than to take advantage of it only to realize that the girl wasn’t really sure she wanted to do it in the first place.
Yes, I should have just asked rather than waiting, but I was young and inexperienced and insecure. I lacked the confidence to communicate clearly. I feared rejection, I feared pressuring her into doing something she wasn’t ready for, I feared what would happen if she said yes as well. I had no idea what I was doing! What if she says yes? What the hell do I do then?!?!? I was recently told that my cluelessness about women is part of my charm.
As a young man I spent much of my free time in San Francisco, a mere 40 minute drive, as often as not in the strip clubs or porn shops. I met lots of dancers, and even the occasional porn star. Talking to these women as women served to solidify my views on sex, sexuality, and gender relations.
A lecture from Nina Hartley was eye opening and inspiring, as she stood naked on the stage at O’Farrell Theatre talking about living an open marriage and some of the challenges surrounding that. I sat with Trinity Loren in the audience in between sets while she complained about food poisoning and how much her back hurt. I read the COYOTE (“Call Off Your Tired Ethics”) newsletter and donated to sex workers’ rights. I was too young for the era of Plato’s West, the Lifestyles conventions, and the rest of the sexual revolution positivity of the 70’s and 80’s. By the 90’s they had dwindled or disappeared entirely. And now, finally, after searching for decades I’ve found a truly sex positive crowd to call my own.
This is how I became sex positive.