How do you know unless you’ve tried it?

26 Aug

A bound Bettie Page

“How do you know unless you’ve tried it?”

Ah words that haunt any argument wherein a preference is expressed where there’s an unwillingness to open oneself to new experiences. 

Words that haunted me from adolescence as I declared my ideals on all matter of subjects. We can all have a clear idea of what we think we will and won’t like, but it doesn’t really harm to be open to testing those preconceived notions on occasion. If I hadn’t done that I’d not know I like beetroot, or certain forms of hip-hop music. 

But does trying a new experience change who you are? 

Does attending a religious service suddenly make you a convert to that faith? Would a homoerotic encounter make you gay? 

The answer surely is no. One should be able to experience things without question. It can inform our world view. Reaffirm our own sense of identity. Stretch our ability to tolerate other lifestyles. But we live in a society that preaches democracy and tolerance and yet thrives on one-upmanship, a society that encourages public shaming, humiliation and oppression of ‘the other’.

The Pride festival isn’t that long past here in NI and it’s a good example of the polarising opinions that exist out there when it comes to diverse sexualities. Pride shouldn’t need to exist really – we shouldn’t need to set ourselves apart into divisions, all sexialities ought to be equally accepted without judgement. But it does because non-hetero people have struggled to be accepted and accorded the same rights and freedoms that heterosexuals have.

But then one doesn’t have to be out, or self-identity as LGBT/queer to be ostracised or oppressed. Relationships inevitably throw up kinks if they last long enough. And there’s as many types of those as there are people. I stand by the statement that as long as you aren’t into animals or children, anything else is fair game (providing there is consent). 

It doesn’t need to be sensationalist Channel 4 fodder either – I can near guarantee that those quiet respectable dinner companions of yours harbour their own deviances. And it’s OK. Maybe they dress up, have a dungeon, like it al fresco, or they swing once a month. Frankly, who cares?

Like everyone I have my own kinks. Quite a few to be fair. And I’m fairly open to possibilities. Part of that depends on who I’m with. I’ve had partners less interested and more interested in exploring with me and each of them had their own kinks too. For most of us, those realms of fantasy remain private, between us and whoever we are or aren’t doing them with. But should you let it slip that you’re really into midget porn for example (it’s a real thing) there will probably be some around you who judge you negatively, who because they don’t share the same kinks as you, deem you ‘perverted’.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with vanilla sex lives. One couple for life, engaging in heterosexual missionary position sex. Providing they are happy. It’s a problem if someone is breaking the trust of that relationship to explore – without keeping their significant other informed. 

I’ll try most things once. Providing I’m comfortable. That doesn’t make me a pervert. Doesn’t mean I should be humiliated. As I’ve got older I’ve grown bolder. I’m more willing to push my own limits. Given the right proposition.

Talk is key to a relationship, no matter how casual or new. Sometimes things are suggested and one is genuinely curious or interested, but says nothing for fear of being judged. I’m fascinated by the idea of polyamorous relationships for example, I can’t get my head around how friends of mine can survive in them. I’m pretty sure that’s not the lifestyle for me, but how do I know if I haven’t tried? Intuition and opportunity. 

One instinctively knows what one might or might not be able to do, what ticks the right boxes. But sometimes curiosity exists where instinct is vague and there one needs opportunity. Unless you have a serious opportunity to be spanked silly by a dominatrix, are you totally sure it’s not for you?

So here’s to exploration, inquisitiveness and open-mindedness. Now I just need some opportunities. 

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