I firmly believe in eating local, shopping local, and doing everything I can to support my local community.
By local I mean within a 35 mile radius of where I reside. I will happily pay more for almost anything if I know that in the end, my money is going to a local business person or farmer. It is one of my hard and fast rules because it closely aligns with my world view.
But not for dating. When I date, and I date almost exclusively to have sex, I try to keep it as non-local as possible. I have no want or need to support the local community sexually because I live in a small town, adjacent to other small towns, and while I am not opposed to, and have in fact grown used to, walking into a crowded restaurant and recognizing the faces of at least two men I have dated, at a certain point, there is a level of saturation that even I cannot tolerate.
While I am dating to have sex, I am hoping that the sex will have sprung from some type of connection. Not necessarily a love connection, but maybe a mutual understanding about music, art or some other lovely piece of the world that we both appreciate. Sex is quite empty if I don’t at least have some small point of reference which we can share. I don’t have to agree with my sexual playmate on all topics, I don’t even have to agree with my playmate on 50 percent of the possible topics we might talk about, (arguing can be hot!), but, if I don’t get some type of intellectual stimulation, generally speaking, the sex really isn’t going to be that good either.
Mixing business and pleasure is something I will not do. I don’t have sex with people with whom I work for so many reasons; professional, personal and societal, but I will just stick with the personal, and leave the feminist argument out of this post.
When I go to work, that is where I want to be. I need my head in the game. I need to be focused. I will not be those things if I am distracted by someone who I have had or want to have sex with. Additionally, I will want a break from that person, and if I can’t get away by going to work, then I start to feel a bit trapped. Feeling trapped is only sexy in role play, and only with the proper safe word. There is no safe word for having to work with the person you rode like a cowgirl the night before.
I rarely give second chances. This rule applies in all types of scenarios. If a person, after having sex with me, decides that sex with me in the future is a no-go, I will be cordial, wish them well and send them on their way. I might be disappointed, but I am always respectful. If a person, after a few dates with me, (without sex) decides they don’t want to have sex, again, I am cordial and respectful of their decision. But, if a person, after having rejected me for whatever reason, has second thoughts, I do not reconsider.
The biggest reason is that this scenario will inevitably play out again, and I will again have to be the bigger person. The other reason is that if someone is not psyched out of their mind to have sex with me, I have no desire to be there. Sex is something that can be great, and believe me when I tell you that if I am there, I am going to give it my all. If I am with a person who is only luke-warm about the endeavor, then we are both sending pretty destructive messages to me which I cannot tolerate or afford to believe.
I don’t have sex with friends of friends, nor do I have sex with friends who I cannot afford to lose. This should go without saying and really shouldn’t need much of an explanation, but if anything goes wrong in the interaction at any point, (and my goodness, what in the world could ever go wrong?!), my friend and I will then be in an intolerably uncomfortable situation which could end atrociously for everyone.
I view sex with friends much like I view lending money; it is not a loan, it is a gift that might never return.
The sex you have with a friend might just be the last experience you ever share, so give it only if you are comfortable with the notion that you might just lose the friendship entirely if things go south.
I don’t have sex with people who are lying about it to a significant other. I love sex. I want everything about the sex I have to be guilt and shame free. I can’t really do that if I know that somewhere, there is a person who is being lied to, or whose heart might be broken because I am having sex with a person who is lying to them.
I try, as much as I can, to be thoughtful about the things I do, (the buying local thing being just one example), and I cannot call myself a thoughtful person if a person I am having sex with is lying to the person they are supposed to love about having sex with me. Additionally, it stands to reason that if the person would lie to the person they love, then they could also very easily be lying to me. About anything.
I do not judge people for their sexual preferences. The world is full of wonderful and interesting people, and when I get to know people sexually, it is because they have chosen to be vulnerable with me, which is the highest compliment you can give a person. I repay this compliment by being completely accepting of their preferences, unless it is non-consensual or abusive in nature.
The world, generally, does not treat people who are different very kindly, and in a society which treats sex in such a fearful way, it is understandable that we keep our sexual preference to ourselves. I try to create a judge-free zone when it comes to most things, but I regard people’s sexual personas as sacred, and a gift. If we could all be more open about our sexuality, the world would be a more wonderful place.
I understand that rules are made to be broken, and that you can’t live your life in such a restrictive manner, but all of these rules, without exception, came about because I learned the grueling way that when it comes to sex, there is always more to the equation than you would ever guess there could be, and that you cannot control how people react to the way you choose to live your sexual life.
Sex is such a strange and wonderful thing, and a central part of many people’s lives, but one which we don’t talk about much. I have found that getting to know a person sexually can be an inspiring and invigorating experience, and just like any verbal conversation, a sexual conversation can go places I have never even heard of. This is why I treat it so seriously and with so much care and intention. I want the sex I have to be good, even great, and chances are better that it will be if I follow my rules.
Much like buying local, my rules of sexual engagement are all about expressing my world view in a way that is clear, compassionate, and sustainable. It is also my hope that in some small way, the world wil be improved because I was kind, generous, and loving toward another human being.
I would like to be able to say, someday, that I helped to normalize sex in the US. It sounds crazy, but it’s the good kind of crazy; the kind of crazy that brings a smile to your face and a dance to your step. The kind of crazy that you never thought you would live to see. The kind of crazy that might just enable us all to be a little bit more ourselves one day.
Author: Sara Young
Editor: Catherine Monkman