Today started as one of those days when I thought I should just be a hooker and save the world one blow-job at a time rather than this tiresome “heal your inner child and unleash your inner goddess and find harmony through loving integrity” crap that I spout all the time like an ancient copper fountain of a mermaid with pith pouring out of my perky tits. (They’re still perky ‘cuz I’m a statue, not a frustrated MILF in this vision.)
From the bottom of my fuzzy (as in moldy from age) little heart, I believe that being sexually liberated and comfortable with who we are will save the world. I just do. I think we can eliminate fear and shame from the core of our beings by being true to ourselves and letting others do the same.
But sometimes, I just get bitch-slapped by reality and realize that people are so fucking scared of fucking, and all things fucking-related, that fighting this battle is going to be like using a battering ram as a butt plug with no lube and none of the relaxation necessary to make it work.
I’m gonna do this, damn it, whether you want it or not. Consent is not a necessary component of social change. Fuck you. Please.
Progress Bar by Exey Panteleev
So I posted some stuff for Not So Secret on our Facebook page, and got ready to go to the gym. The link was to a really cool collection of “erotic” photographs that superimposed HTML and CSS commands on women’s bodies. They aren’t sexual, really, but I like the juxtaposition of commands with clear outcomes superimposed on women’s bodies.
Many of my friends “like” our Facebook page, so the tiny thumbnail turns up in their Facebook feeds. And within 5 minutes, a very close friend of mine, who is extremely open-minded, commented “Plz don’t post nudity in my feed. Sorry to be a prude, but I look at stuff at work, and would rather neither (a) hide you from my feed, nor (b) give up Fb at work.”
Look, I know this guy. He is awesome in every way. Brilliant, progressive, open-minded, playful, creative. He’s awesome. And if HE is saying that, then what is the rest of the world thinking? It’s not that he’s “wrong” per se. Although the thumbnail was tiny and made clear that clicking on it would take you to naked pictures, we’re talking about a post, by someone else, turning up in someone’s Facebook feed. And he’s worried that OTHER people will react badly to it. Ironically, or not, this is precisely the problem that we are trying to address with Not So Secret. People hiding their real self for fear of how others will react to it. Because if others are afraid or offended by it, something “bad” could happen. Job loss? Friend loss? Embarrassment?
The photo, which is thumbnail sized in the feed, has nipples. This is the bad thing. Nipples.
You have nipples. I have nipples. Everyone you know has nipples. They were not being touched, or even used in any sexual manner, in this photo. But they were nipples.
Now, we can post pictures of Anthony Weiner’s erection, which MILLIONS of people looked at everywhere including network TV, but since the whole country is laughing about that, that’s okay. (BTW, nice, you can send me that thing any time!)
We can post about gay-marriage, which is actually illegal, but that’s okay. Because letting people know we have political opinions is not looked-down upon. (If it were, you have to believe the Tea Party wouldn’t even exist.) And acknowledging that “those” people have rights is different than acknowledging that WE have desires or curiosities or….
We can post about legalizing marijuana, because even though that is also illegal, being seen as progressive in that way is edgy and cool.
But admitting that we can look at naked bodies as art? That’s bad. Posting anything having to do with sex – something that is legal and natural and pretty much everyone does – is bad.
I’ve written before about the fact that sex is one of three things that is absolutely necessary, on a biological level, for the perpetuation of the species. Shelter, sustenance and sex, we need all three.
But we only demonize one of them. Even those of us who are politically progressive and not shackled by organized religion and have great sex lives do not want others to know that we think about, read about and actually have sex.
Fuck that. We need to talk about it. And look at bodies both sexually and not-sexually. They are amazing things, let’s get to know them!
We need to get as comfortable in our bodies, sexuality and the improvement of both as we are in the fact that we have houses and are constantly improving them. Or that we eat and are constantly looking for new ways to do that too.
But here’s the thing…. SOMEONE has to be willing to, as a sane, normal and accepted colleague – calmly say “I like this.” Or “I think about this.” Or, “Oh, I actually do that thing that you are saying only ‘bad’ people do, and I’m not bad.” That’s how we soften the edges and create social change. Change comes when we accept “differences” from a place of comfortable familiarity and realize that nothing bad happens when we do.
I’m not going to beat anyone over the head with shocking and freaky kinky stuff and suggest that in order to be open-minded you have to accept it as hot yourself. (I’m not even into that kind of thing, I’m pretty damned ordinary, really.) But at some point, it’s the subtle acknowledgments of sexuality coming from our colleagues that will get us comfortable with it. It’s not like Rosa Parks was all in your face with “Black and proud ethno activism.” She just sat her black ass on a bus and said, “here I am, and it’s not hurting you any.” That simple.
I’m no Rosa Parks, that woman had sweet strength that I can only dream of having. But dude, I’m here. And I have nipples. And they’re not hurting you any.
For what it’s worth, I know there is a huge cost to my talking about sex and sexuality, and putting it in my feeds. There is a huge cost to stripping at SlutWalk and giving a speech before thousands. This journey has cost me, tangibly.
Just the other day, a friend congratulated me on the SlutWalk speech. He said all sorts of wonderful things, and then paused and said, “you’re a powerhouse there, it’s kind of scary.” He was joking, but only sort of. It was a compliment, but only sort of. It was also a very hard truth that I struggle with.
I scare the crap out of people, even though I am shy, sweet, mellow, generous and compassionate. I speak a truth that scares people, and I lose all sorts of things as a result. I have lost friends and lovers. And yes, I have lost job opportunities. Very recently I was offered a dream job, which was then lost because of “all that sex stuff.”
But it’s who I am, and I believe in it so strongly that I’m willing to lay it on the line. I’m not getting laid, maybe because of it. I am apparently not employable, maybe because of it. But that just makes it even more important.
As long as this world demonizes sex and sexuality, then people will continue to live in closets for risk of losing things if they choose to be personally fulfilled. Even straight people. Straight people who are afraid to tell their partners that they want something they’re not getting. Or that they don’t want something they are getting. Fear of speaking up risks more than just jobs, it puts our very happiness at risk.
My friend and I had a perfectly lovely chat about it, and I get it, I know where he’s coming from and he’s not wrong. But the world we live in is wrong, if he would ask me to change my behavior and not use Facebook to discuss these things for fear that he’d be punished at work for my behavior.
And maybe that he – and anyone else – wouldn’t be able to stand proud and just say, “it’s a friends work.” Or even, “It’s a friend’s work and I find it interesting.” Or even, “Cool, huh. I wish more people could be this vocal and open about something as natural, and wrongly demonized as sex.” Which is what I know he thinks.
I’m not asking anyone to have, or even understand and be turned on by, something sexual that they’re not into. But for all of our sake, we have to get good and comfortable with the fact that we are ALL sexual beings. We all do it differently, and that’s our right.
More than that, it’s a biological imperative. So stop judging everyone, so we can all stop living in fear. Or the other way around, stop living in fear and start living outside of the closet that others are trying to keep you in. That way, we’ll all just get used to it.
Until then, I’m driving this bus. Slowly, and I’ll be careful around the curves, but my super-hot and scantily clad ass is going to stay right here, out front, until everyone is used to it. Or until I get tired, give up, and just start giving blow-jobs for a living. Because god knows I’m no longer dateable or employable, but I still think I can prove that being sexually fulfilled is a very important key to happiness.