Let me start by saying, it’s easy to be curious about what other people are doing sexually. Sex is interesting. Sex is fun.
But why we do some people get caught up in caring to the point where they will say things to hurt others for their choices or, even worse, take the position some people deserve fewer rights for their choices.
Yesterday it came up for me in a “conversation” through a dating app. I asked the guy what he was looking for, as I don’t like to lead people on. He said a serious relationship. Rather than delete his profile and end the conversation without a word, or make assumptions about what he was open to, I said that wasn’t something I was interested in and that I was only interested in FWBs. His response? “Have fun with those STIs!!!!” Now, I can handle that It’s not that big of a deal. I’ve read the actual statistical likelihood of becoming infected and I get tested (indeed, I have an at home test kit on its way – I figured I’d try that approach out and see how it goes) and use condoms. But he wasn’t interested in that, obviously. He just wanted to shame me for prioritizing sex over romance.
Fortunately, it’s fairly rare that people say things like that to me directly. But society sends this message all the time. It sends it when politicians threaten to defund government over Planned Parenthood funding (which, by the way, does NOT fund abortions due to federal law…so the only purpose of defunding is because needing women’s health services is seen as gross and slutty). It sends that message when women who have a lot of sexual partners are seen as being damaged or having daddy issues…and even though men don’t get the brunt of that, they’re still seen as needing to grow up. It sends that message when rom-coms have to “save” the player through love. It sends that message when we struggle talking about acquaintance rape because it is assumed that women regret casual sex and accuse men of rape out of regret.
And none of this is even getting into sexual identity, sexual fluidity, polyamory, and other “deviant” sexual behaviors between consenting adults.
This is a big reason I started this blog. I think we have to normalize the range of sexual behaviors and right now there isn’t much of a narrative out there in society that isn’t either serial monogamy or drunken, hook-up sex. I want to be one drop in the bucket that something else, defined and managed by me, is ok.