speaking with authority
A friend recently sent me a link to this great YouTube clip. And while it’s not about sex, I think he has some interesting things to say that connect to sex.
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One of the things I’ve noticed in my time as a sex educator is that people often talk about their sexual experiences, desires and preferences as if they don’t really deserve them. I’ve been asked questions about pretty much every sort of sexual activity that one or more consenting adults can do, and while many people are quite clear about it, lots of people seem to be asking if their desires or activities are OK.
What really struck me about Taylor Mali’s performance is his phrase “the bandwagon of [our] own uncertainty.” I totally get that there are plenty of reasons to feel uncertain around sex. It’s a complex experience that taps into all sorts of issues, fears and concerns. But when it comes to owning our desires, to claiming them, and taking responsibility for them, uncertainty about sex really gets in our way.
Now, I don’t mean that we have to know everything about what we might like. After all, sex and desire change over time and there’s always something new to explore. But when you know something about what you like and you want to share that with a sexual partner, can you speak from a position of authority? Can you say, “This is something that I like to do” without doubting yourself or your right to claim your desire?
What would it be like if we could all tell our lovers what we like and don’t like about sex as easily as most people can tell a friend “I don’t really like thai food, but I’m totally up for pizza”? I think that would make the world an amazingly different place and there’d be a lot more good sex happening.
At the end of the clip, Mali points out that it’s not enough to (as the bumper sticker says) question authority. You have to speak with it, too. Nobody in the world can be an authority about your sexuality, except you. So I ask- can you speak as an authority when to comes to what you want or enjoy? Can you own your desire? And if not, can you imagine what it would be like, if you could?