I’ve been reading up a lot on queer culture and sexuality lately. My curiosity was originally sparked by a conversation I had with a friend about the “guidelines” for gay sex. From our very ignorant cis-gender perspective we were attempting to posit about the sexual role of each partner, and whether or not some people would have the same consistent role, as most often happens in heterosexual relationships, or whether both partners would alternate and the experience would be more flexible and versatile.
The first obvious answer to this question is that really it’s none of our business and who cares. However I’ve always been a firm believer in the importance of open, non-judgmental communication as a way of breaking barriers. By informing yourself and actively overcoming ignorance you make ever progressing steps towards acceptance, compassion, and equality. And isn’t that really the ultimate goal?
In any case I went off to do some of my own research after this discussion and came across the second obvious answer. Each person is so unique in their personalities and personal preference, and every relationship is so unique in its emotional and sexual interactions that of course there is no “standard practice” or “rule”.
I came to realize that the discussion my friend and I were having was much like the
conversations kids have in high school before their first real sexual experience. When you still imagine there’s some sort of magical trick, or rule, or key to making you good in bed. That there is some sort of secret to sex that everyone knows about but you.
The truth is there really are no rules when it comes to your intimate relationship with another person, whether sexual or not. The rules of interaction are much like those in every day life; they are established as part of a fluid process of experimentation and communication, on the basis of mutual respect, and enjoyment.
That is why I find, more in more, that I tend to reject terms like transgender, cis-gender, homosexual, poly-amorous, and so on. Not because I think they are insignificant imaginary constructs. Quite the contrary, I believe they are extremely important to the process of research, and education on sexuality. However I do think the terms should be read and understood both for their uses as well as they’re inadequacies. At the end of the day, any term used to define sexual orientation is a rigid, concrete expression for a very fluid and abstract concept. One that will ultimately signify something different to each
individual it relates to.
For this same reason I don’t believe in the adage that any single person can be “amazing in bed.” Sexual enjoyment requires a level of comfort, consent, and intimacy that no single person is able to have in every sexual encounter they experience, whether with the same person or even different partners. This is also why the idea of rape is so vile and horrid. Because it’s ultimately a corruption of such a pure, beautiful, and intimate moment between two (or more) people. A moment that is such a pure expression and exposure of your self in both beauty and ugliness.
That’s not to say that sex defines you in any way. Again, this is why I so heavily reject a rigid use of sexual labeling. Your sexuality isn’t a definition of who you are, it’s merely an instance of self-expression. Just like your preference of sport or cuisine don’t define you, rather it is a collection of these things, and your relationship to them, that does.
So why am I saying all this? Why does it matter? Because it matters that we have these discussions. It matters that we speak openly about these subjects whether they relate to sexuality, race, culture, ethnicity, or any other taboo topic you can come up with. It matters that we speak about the elements that make us more complete, diverse, and unique human beings. It matters that we analyze these things. Because it is in this analysis and discussion that we generate acceptance. That we are able to co-exist without the repression of hate and political correctness. Because it is only by understanding our own selves, as well as the world around us, that we are able to truly embrace each other and celebrate our differences.
But of course this is all just my own opinion, with recognition of my privilege and my bias. You’re more than welcome to disagree. And in our disagreement I hope we can find our own acceptance, and friendship.