This is our truth, tell us yours
I wrote about how you don’t shag away privilege in the pejorative sense the phrase was used by a well known feminist blogger on Sunday.
As ever, a few more thoughts came to me after the event. Once again, I’m relating anecdotes, which may or may not be evidence, depending on how they’re used.
At three am this morning, insomnia being my friend, I thought about a young woman friend from my youth. She was in a relationship with a woman, and both were politically active members of the local lesbian community. She wanted to try sex with a man, and she and her partner agreed it needn’t be a problem for their relationship, but that it would be fatal to their friendships with some members of the lesbian community, who despised bi women as ‘part time dykes’. Do we even need to talk about the way bi men are regarded by some people? She accepted as a fact that she would be regarded less favourably by some of her friends if she started being bi.
Thinking back over that anecdote about having sex with a young man who fantasized that I was an undercover policeman fucking him as an alternative to arresting him made me think about privilege and rights within relationships and the sex act, as well as outside it. I have a lot of experience of sex where people give up some of their rights, or privileges, in order to get closer to the sexual experience they desire. If you’re going to have that kind of sex in a responsible and safe way you need to be aware of the risks involved, and of the boundaries at which the surrender of rights or privileges stops.
Does talking about this make me smug? I don’t know. I know some people use sex as a way of keeping score, of asserting themselves and of affirming their desirability as compared to others. That doesn’t mean everyone who talks about sex is doing it for that reason, but it’s something you have to be aware of. Women who swing, for instance, are well aware of the phenomenon of the pilllow princess, the woman who wants to be licked by another woman while the attendant men watch and admire how sexy and adventurous she is. The fact that some people are externally validated, and some are not, with a spectrum of complexity between the two, should be no surprise to anyone with a degree of self awareness or insight. If I know that someone is externally validated, I don’t have to regard them as showing off in a pejorative way; I just make a mental note about their focus and maybe ask myself a few questions about how self aware they are, and what that means I need to take into account when understanding or processing their behaviours. As a bi man, I’ve met a few of the male equivalents of the pillow princess, the guys who just want to be wanked or sucked off with as little reciprocation as possible. Some of them are so far in denial they can be dangerous when pressed; and all of them are lousy shags for a man like me who prefers to be more assertive and dominant.
So if I’m talking about my sex life, it may be because it gives me insights into all other aspects of my life. Want an example? Understanding how I behave as a dom male, and my self imposed duty to confine the restriction of other’s rights and privileges to the sex act and associated foreplay and aftercare is analogous, in my mind, to the way in which my power to give orders to others in the workplace is tightly limited to orders that are essential to work, when all other means of leading and explaining have failed. It probably does matter, if you’re that man who is going to let me bugger him while his wife watches, that I will treat you with respect afterwards, that you haven’t shagged away your rights and privileges. The fact that I have learned that lesson through experience, and that talking about those experiences helps me make sense of them, does not make me a smug sexual. In my mind, right now, the analogy is leaping out about work, about the way in which, as workers, we give up some of our rights, but should never lose our essential human rights, our humanity, because of how others judge our economic status.Realising that some of what I know about work comes from what I know about sex, and vice versa, and talking about it, is not a product of sugness, but a exploration of myself.
If you don’t like that, I respect your opinion, but don’t seek to silence me or police my tone, or worse still, dismiss my experience of discrimination and the loss of rights as self inflicted. Discrimination is always the responsibility of those who discriminate, not the objects of their anger.