Sunday, December 9, 2012

Desire and Consent






If you’re like me, every once in a while a desire comes over the heart that, while harmless and intriguing, doesn’t quite fit in with the dictates of society’s norms and standards. Maybe it’s something as little as wanting to wear white after Labor Day, which was a huge and largely inexcusable fashion blunder during my girlhood days in New York.

But then again, maybe it’s something more intimate and personal that pushes against the boundaries a little more strenuously, for example, the way cross-racial marriages used to do. I mean, back in the 70s in my neck of the Bronx, it was sort of okay to have sex across racial lines, but to marry the so-called “one of them?” I think not!

Similarly today, if the activities women desire to engage in happen to reside within the realm of nonconformist sexual expression, the fall-out can be fierce and overwhelming as religious and secular forces alike try their absolute best to reign us back obediently into line.

But the truth is, most of us know intuitively that sexual energies often find their outlet in ways that the society as a whole may find disconcerting. And rather than risk the condemnation of those around us, when playful or edgy or questionable desires steal into our thoughts, we clam up, freeze up, or run the other way, and leave the creative, playful boundary-pushing to others, while we try our hardest to ignore that soft, seductive inner voice that whispers, “I’d like to try that. Wouldn’t you?”

With the recent publishing of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, legions of women got a cursory look at the complex world of BDSM, or bondage and submission. Of course, bondage and submission as a mode of sexual expression is nothing new. A globally occurring aspect of human sexual behavior, there are BDSM groups and clubs, and monogamous partners, in every city and countless small towns all over the US.

As one might have expected, James’s work proved the catalyst for many very normal, ordinary, everyday women to publicly admit their interest in learning more about the BDSM lifestyle, including its rules and protocols, and ways to keep themselves safe should they choose to experiment in the flesh, so to speak. And interestingly enough, social backlash was pretty much silenced by the sheer numbers and the description of many of the women involved - white, middle and upper class, largely well educated women.

While BDSM is only one aspect of what social forces often consider  “taboo” sexual behavior, those of us with more progressive and creative minds often wonder how we decide what sexual desires we really want to act upon. Often it’s the ones that play havoc with our dreams, or that haunt the backs of our minds when we’re at work, or stopped at a red light. 

And who knows why such desires come upon us in the first place? Maybe it’s the playfulness alive in us all, or the smouldering urge to be creative and expressive with the most intimate parts of ourselves and others. Maybe it’s the harmless drive to exchange and manipulate roles. To experiment with trust and control. Or maybe just to satisfy our healthy, innate, Universe-driven curiosity about aspects of ourselves that are hidden or hard to reach.

But regardless of how we get to the brink of something new, how do we decide whether or not to act on our desire?

The answer is different for each of us, I think. But at the end of the day, it’s really about control and consent, now isn’t it? It’s about the control we have as free adults over what we do with our bodies. And it’s about retaining that control by learning what we need to know about keeping ourselves safe in whatever ways we choose to enjoy our sexuality; it’s about constructing our boundaries ahead of time with partners whom we’re sure will respect them, even in the heat of heavy-breathing and the blinding steamy blur of passion so intense that you can’t quite remember your own name. And ultimately it’s about consent between willing, thoughtful adult human beings, the consent that we must freely give to - and receive from - other willing, creative adult human beings with whom we want to play.

Beyond that, it’s nobody’s business. Enjoy.


How have you responded to your edgiest desires? Is there anything that you'd like to try that you haven't as yet? If so, do you think you will?

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fredarmitage/253087458/">Frederic Poirot</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

19 comments:

  1. I'm loving your blog! This reading has motivated me to think about my unfulfilled desires and discuss them with my boyfriend. He is open minded and pretty much game for what ever. I'm interested in seeing what our sexual future holds.

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  2. Responding to my edgiest desires today comes with the high cost of TRUST and without that payment, I don't think I'd be willing to discuss let alone act upon those desires. In my lustful, youthful, and playful days of uninhibited acts of sexual desires fueled by my many days/nights of drug induced boundary less escapades, I was willing to try almost anything (in the name of ONE MORE). Today, I sometimes view myself as a prude because of my need for more of an intimate, spiritual, monogamous, and trusting relationship with my wife as opposed to my freakishness being satisfied . Due to our backgrounds in unhealthy sexual limited pushing we both have to be very careful not to open the door to places that could cause us to lose control and find ourselves in a rendition of 'Eyes Wide Shut" that we may not be able to get out of unscathed. Choosing intimacy and love over desire and consent has led me to a greater fulfillment in all of my desires being met by my wife. In addition, with respect, willingness,connection and trust being just a few of the principles I look to provide her with, my level of fulfilling her needs/desires lay at priority number one.

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  3. I have not really thought about my edgiest desires but , I feel with these type of open blogs me and my husband will be evaluating our bedroom a little more

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  4. I do not have any hidden or edgy desires. I do not hold with those who bring the personal bedroom acts to the eyes of others. I believe that what happens there is sacred to those in the committment.

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  5. I have not yet responded to my edgiest desires, but I soon hope I will be able to conquer it soon. I have actually not thought about it so much, but I think I will now have a conversation with by boyfriend to try to reach this desire.

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  6. I have fulfilled my edgiest desire, which really wasn't that edgy to the average person.sgardner

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  7. ClarenceBryant, Jr.March 29, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    I have done almost every edgy desire I have ever wanted to do. I have had enough sex over my lifetime until if I never do it again, I won't miss out! I am always open to something new in the right person, right place and the right time. Life has been good to me and I am grateful. I really can't think of anything edgier than me have sex in a public place like on a airplane or on a bus, etc. I have always wanted to go to a sex party or orgy but never was bold enough to go to one. That's outa my system now. I wonder sometimes will I have any new desires. I also am always intrigued with other people's fantasies.

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  8. When it comes to edgy I have done some edgy things with my boyfriend and he loves it other than that I don't tell others what goes on in my bedroom.

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  9. WOW , I don't have any deep desire of any kind. Am single right now and am enjoying the time with me. I may try something but it would require that I totally trust this person. But right not am good.

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  10. During my most intimate times, I usually just go with the flow. It has to feel right. There is always something new to try in the bedroom and if I feel comfortable doing it I will.

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  11. Sexual enjoyment should be unlimited with two consenting adults. When I have role played with my partners we always have a safe word or phrase to use. Nothing more exciting than the smell of leather...

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  12. The way I see it, the edgier the better!

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  13. I don't know, I'm so not into trying new things that I don't think I will reach my edgiest desire anytime soon. To be continued...........

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  14. My fiancé have tried some things but not to to crazy! We are open minded to try things once just to see what we do and don't like.

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  15. I don't really have any sexual desires that have not been satisfied. I believe in making sure I am pleased first then I will please my partner... I know that's very selfish:(

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  16. I've tried a few things sexually because sex to me is a guilty pleasure everyone enjoys so why not try new things with someone you trust and can be free with. I do find it to be more pleasurable when it out of the norm.

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  17. I have had the desire to try some of these things but not as extreme as what I read in the fifty shades trilogy. I think that these things keep sex exciting and unpredictable.

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  18. I'm glad my desires have been met. I too don't take many things to the extreme but respect those that do!

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