I used to believe that almost no one adhered to the strict hush-hush-missionary-only-no-hanky-panky norm. Over the years, though, I’ve been presented with evidence to the contrary. Like many people, I surround myself with friends and acquaintances who share my interests. I have a wide variety of interests, however, and different groups of people who share them with me. They very rarely conflict with each other. But sometimes I forget what a wide rift there can be between those who live “alternative lifestyles” and those who…well, don’t. Many of the people I associate with are sexually open, but there are those who feel very uncomfortable when they’re confronted with anything of an intimate nature, or even talking about it. My sexuality is accepted, but not spoken of, almost like a dirty little secret that everyone unofficially knows about. No one would be so crass as to throw that knowledge in my face. My sexual freedom is a tasteless indiscretion that’s been forgiven.
I don’t give a damn that sexual repression is the norm. If nobody talks about it, northing is going to change. We’re amazingly lucky to live in this day and age where we have people like Sue Johansen, Susie Bright, Ducky Doolittle, Lou Paget, Tristan Taormino, and so many others who are willing to speak up about sex-positive issues. But without our voices, those of us who are sexually open, who choose to live so-called alternative lifestyles, who live on the fringe of society, the impetus towards changing ill-conceived sexual perceptions—and ultimately, achieving acceptance for everyone—is going to slow and perhaps stop. There are many “average joes” out there who will speak up against it, but so few of us who want to be outcast for speaking our minds. No one wants to be branded a freak or pervert. But someone has to be if a way is to be paved for the future. I am, every day. Word gets around fast when you’re a libertine. And you know, I just don’t care. As Ducky Doolittle said, the best way to live life is free from shame. No one can give it to you if you don’t take it.
What I do care about is this prevalent desire to subjugate other people’s life choices. I care about the pettiness and ignorance. I want others to feel free to be open and honest about themselves in any way they see fit. I want change. I want it within my lifetime. I don’t want to wait. I’m tired. Tired of exercising diplomacy when I deal with clients or acquaintances. Tired of proving my expertise in business to people who are trying to treat me as a kinky slut without a brain. Sick to death of condescending or lascivious attitudes towards me, personally, as a bisexual woman, and towards others who don’t meet socially acceptable criteria. I’m not asking anyone to out themselves or reveal private fantasies. I’m asking that we all work towards a shift in perception. You don’t have to wave a flag, you can change it in subtle ways. Stand by what you believe in. Don’t stay silent when someone denigrates a group with sweeping generalizations.
Audre Lorde summed it up best, “Your Silence Will Not Protect You.” Speak up. Change the world. The benefits are further reaching than you can imagine.