by: David Chastity
My boyfriend’s first wife got married this weekend. It was the first time our little poly clan was together and consciously trying not to be too obvious. I mean, the big ol’ marriage shuffle is obvious: the four of them who live in a house together and raise kids together and just signed a lot of paperwork to change who gets to file taxes with whom. But I showed up (at the last minute thanks to a delayed train), promptly inspired the cat who loves me to leave wherever he was hiding and wind his way through the assembled guests in the backyard, and got mauled by the kids the moment the ceremony was over. So all those poor friends and relatives were surely left to wonder who I was through the rest of the reception. We simply left them in the dark.
I open with this story because it’s unusual for me, these days. Sure, I still keep the fig leaf of a pen name while writing about the gory details of my sexual life, but, like I said way back when, that’s mostly so potential employers don’t google me and get “slut.” (According to Google alerts, I share a real name with some lady who’s doing some good writing for Time these days. I’m okay with being confused for her.) Otherwise, my sex life is an open book. I talk about in bars, on the train, in quiet suburban restaurants while my boyfriend and I have lunch. I talk about it in seminary classes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I one day peppered a Bible study with my own sexual anecdotes.
So why the overshare? I’m glad you asked! It comes down to a few basic reasons:
I’m an iconoclastic libertine who likes to think I can shock people. I’m not proud of this reason. But somewhere in me, under the critical reflection and feminist values and other stuff I learned in college, is a snotty teen who wants to be So Alternative It Hurts. So if I can sit at Taco Happy Hour talking about orgies, maybe someone in another part of the bar will overhear me and envy my sexy, confident life. And that will reflect well on my hipster karma. This reason is also why I don’t worry too much about closing the blinds before walking around my apartment naked.
Being honest is so much easier. I’m not a bad liar. I’m a really good liar, actually, and sometimes I just lie for fun. But ever since I started coming out to people I care about, I wanted to come out completely. Not just say “I love a man who loves other people and we’re all okay with it, and don’t worry, I’ve got other irons in the fire,” but go ahead and also say “and sometimes I just fuck random people because it’s fun.” I don’t have to come up with other excuses about what I did on my Tuesday night. I don’t have to keep track of who knows what pieces.
My honesty lets other people be honest. I can’t even remember how many friends have brought their sexual confessions to me. I can say that I love gossip and I want to hear what all they’re getting up to, and if spilling my own beans make them feel comfortable, I’ll happily knock bean-cans all over the place. I’m bad at jealousy but great at compersion and the more people I can make tell me about their sexual joys, the more second-degree joy I get.
It’s a great way to learn. If we never talk about sex, how are we ever going to find anything out? Now I’ve done most of my sex ed by reading things on the internet, like a good introvert, but sometimes word of mouth works! At the very least, I can hear about the books and blogs other people like, and go privately read up on new ideas. My Ministry & Humans Sexuality class was a great place for learning from other people’s sexual experiences- the more open we were, the more we got to see all the glittering beauty of human sexual diversity.
It’s fun! Sex is one of the most fun things I do, and I talk about the other fun stuff I do, right? If it would kill your party for people to get into a long conversation about fisting, you’re at a really lame party. I’m not going to keep a whole interesting and enjoyable topic of conversation only for closed-door back-room smoky gatherings, although you know it’s gonna get talked about there, too.
So quit bein’ such a prude and get out there and talk about how you’re doin’ the nasty! Even if it’s mostly just “in the shower by myself thinking about Paul McCartney.” Own that, too! Unless it’s Mustache Phase McCartney, no one wants that image in their head.
David Chastity is some girl who lives in a city on the East Coast and likes kissing. She also really enjoys doing the Onion A.V. Club crossword puzzle, drinking good beer and finding the secret sexual meanings in popular music. She’s working on her MDiv and convincing Jesus to marry her.