Let’s Talk Sex Stigma

I want to talk about judgment.  I’ve been writing a post about sensation play and was recalling an overheard conversation in which one person was denouncing folks who are into play with BDSM toys that are all bark and no bite- like nipple clamps that don’t squeeze tightly or handcuffs that come undone easily when pulled.  The person laughed haughtily.  I got mad.

This is my across-the-board belief, not just for sensation play:  No one way of playing is inherently better than any other.  People who are into really intense pain play do not have access to some higher level of sexual pleasure or empowerment or maturity than those who do not.  Sex and sexual play are many things, including physical, emotional, and psychological.  One person may experience absolute ecstasy and connection with another person through a caress of the thigh.  Another might find it from being tied down and tickled.  Another may find it through verbal degradation and humiliation.  Assuming that all of these things are happening in the context of consensual and caring adults, they are all good.  There is no hierarchy of good.  They are simply all good.

There is a lot of cross-judgment with kinds of play.  I’m sure we’re all well aware that some folks think that anything beyondpleasureless sex for procreation is amoral.  I’m not really talking about those folks.  I’ve been side-eyed by folks who think that using a blindfold or a vibrator in the bedroom is an indication that the relationship isn’t enough to sustain itself, or that sexual chemistry is absent.  I’ve had glances of disapproval from folks who think that I haven’t proven myself as a true sexual submissive if I haven’t wanted a collar.There’s one way to succeed at sex: to recognize and do what makes you happy.  Sometimes that means play that’s heavy into sensation.  Sometimes it means play that makes you feel certain emotions like helplessness or trust.  Sometimes it’s working out things in the bedroom that are hard to address, ask for, or access elsewhere.  Sometimes it’s trying new things with a partner and delighting in the novelty together.  Sometimes it’s expressing love by focusing entirely on making another person happy, or being the object of another person’s heartfelt efforts.

It is lame to look down on someone else for how they get off.  In fact, I think it’s very often a signifier of one’s own sexual insecurity or discomfort with one’s own internal desires.  You don’t have to be heavy into kink to have your mind blown.  Using sex toys does not indicate a lack of skill or creativity.

Let’s all be nice to each other and celebrate the delicious diversity that is sexuality!  I firmly believe that our sexualities have the capacity to keep evolving our entire lives.  Sex can be an amazing way to explore yourself and embrace the parts of yourself that have been painful or dark.  Sex can be a way to take on roles we can’t or don’t take on elsewhere.  Sex can be healing and wonderful.  We’re all coming into it with completely different histories and experiences.  One moment is rarely the final point in one’s journey.

So go forth and have amazing sex!  I would love to hear about moments in your sexual histories that were significant.  Tell me your stories, dear readers!