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Pure As the Driven Slush (Personal Journal)
August 27th, Two Thousand One: More Laps Than a Napkin

I've been in more laps than a napkin. And that's just hunky-dory with me.

I started a little work this morning on my regular essay to open each new theme of Scarlet Letters, and this issue we're focusing on history. In thinking about sexuality historically, I kept swinging back from the global and the general to the personal. For as much importance and relevance as history has, I'm inclined to think that our own histories are far more relevant, and certainly more tangible.

In thinking about my own sexual history, I was stricken by how many vast changes have taken place over the last few years, most notably that I have had but one lover for almost three years now, and very willingly.

It isn't as simple as the difference being one or more than one. Before the last few years, my entire sexual behavior was different. In the spirit of frankness, I'll be plain and tell you that I have had lovers nearing the triple digits. I don't have any shame in that: most of it was physically safe, and nearly all of it was very enriching, enjoyable and fun, and everyone had a good time without too many folks getting hurt in the process. I may have been a tart, but I was an honest tart. My lovers ran the gamut of age, gender, race, appearance, social strata, you name in. I took the phrase "celebrate diversity" to heart. And like I said, it was all good, as far as the law of averages goes.

It's so odd to even be saying "was," really. Like I said, it isn't just a matter of one or more than one. When you are a free agent, when you are sexually open to, basically, the entire world give or take some selectivity, you behave differently. You do sit on more laps than a napkin. I do/did, anyway. I still do when I can, actually. Thankfully, B. has no trouble understanding and accepting my physically affectionate nature. Too, every evening is like a story you don't know the end to: you may end up home alone, you may end up clear across town in someone's bed whose name you don't even know two hours before the entire episode occurs. I never thought twice about how I expressed myself physically towards strangers, save certain safety regulations on my part.

In some respect, I do miss that aspect of myself; that mode of being. I do have a pretty good idea of how my evenings are going to end these days, and I do give a good deal of thought to whose lap I sit on, and I try not to wiggle on it unless it belongs to B. (or a gay man or a heterosexual woman, or...). On the other hand, I am far, far happier this way. In fact, I am happy this way -- I know that while I may have been satisfied, and having a good time before, I was not happy. I used to have a very constant feeling of being alone -- not in the good way, but in the way you feel when you're in a large crowd and you still feel isolated. I used to feel so emotionally vulnerable at times, my heart felt a bit like a wound whose scab keeps getting picked off before it could heal. It was like anyone could walk in, and without warning, rip me to shreds or be a source of heartache, and everything would go topsy-turvy. Even with a pretty good deal of detachment, and as someone who doesn't equate sex with love, that was often the case. And in all honesty, that state of being made me really quite cocky and arrogant. Knowing I could basically have anyone I wanted at any time for my personal use just wasn't a good thing for me.

I have a feeling that I'll be in the place I am sexually, and in terms of our partnership model, for a good long time. Obviously, I can't know what the future brings more than the next lass, but I think that time in my life -- a time when I could literally walk down the street and run into someone I'd slept with and rack my brain to even remember their name, or what happened at all -- has come and gone. Given the choice, I'm really not sure if I'd go back to something like it, but I don't think so. But I'm glad to have had those years (and there were an awful lot of them, merde), and parts of them do make me smile, laugh and ponder when I think back. And, odd as it sounds, as a sex educator, those years were really invaluable. I'm not suggesting every sex educator go out and sleep with everyone who crosses their path, but it does give you a pretty excellent perspective that books cannot. I did very much enjoy my field work, as Carol would say, and it was enlightening.

But, doing field work in monogamy and long-term partnership is important, too. I like the place I'm in: brought here by my history, kept here by my joy and comfort. I like that my partner understands that my history is very much a part of who I am, doesn't judge me for it, and can laugh along with my sexual reminiscing just as heartily as I do.

I like that this is to be as much a part of my history years from now and everything was years before.


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