So, How Good Is Your Balance?: A Few Thoughts About Sexual Language, Sexism, and the Importance of Presence


Please Note: If you have issues with sexual language, frank explorations of human sexuality, or you just don’t want to think about me in that way, don’t read this.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.


As I move firmly into my thirties, there are a few things that have occurred to me.  Sure, I’m a bit slow on the uptake when it comes down to certain aspects of popular culture.  But there are a few things I’d like to explore.  Conversations with friends and observations I’ve made while watching people have led me to a few conclusions.

Ogling Versus Appreciation

Let’s define the difference between guys (and some ladies) who blatantly objectify us, based on features of our appearance, and those who offer observation along with genuine appreciation.  It’s the difference between the jerk who slobbers all over himself and makes lewd commentary at you on the street and the individual who holds the door for you and perhaps gets an eyeful.  Is the latter sexist?  It does denote sexual notice, but at what point do we allow ourselves to be sexual creatures as well as feminist, modern, individual?

Is there ever going to be a time when it’s alright for someone to indicate that they are interested?  Can we differentiate between sex roles designed to further the species–some of which may or may not be hardwired into our biology, depending on the source you consult–and sexist mechanisms designed to disempower individuals based on sex or gender?  I would submit that there is, although it’s really up to the individual to dictate what they find acceptable.  I personally don’t respond well to catcalling or ogling.  I do however truly appreciate being appreciated.  It feels very nice when someone indicates that they find me attractive in a way that is neither overt, nor lewd.


Sexual Language, “Dirty” Words, and Pillow Talk

I’m one of those strange individuals who’s chosen not to bed casually.  I see nothing wrong with it for others who choose to do so, and therefor, I cannot rightfully claim Prude status.  What I don’t like are people telling me that I should be comfortable sharing my body with someone who is essentially a total stranger, simply because it’s what everyone else does.  I prefer to know my bedmates, to have a significant interaction with them–even if it only happens once.  If I don’t know someone well, and if they do not know me–the chances for disaster are exponentially increased.

I turn off very easily, especially if my desire isn’t a habitual mode of thought where another person is concerned.  If the person doesn’t know me, dirty language can often be carried too far, too quickly. Lust is a delicate state of being for me, and must be nurtured gently.  Using sexual epithets, talking about personal aspects of my body that aren’t the business of strangers, and other common features of verbal foreplay for the rest of western culture, strikes an unpleasant chord in me.  Once I do reach a safe place of consistent desire, I’m fine with what we might term “dirty” words.  They cease to be dirty or inappropriate.  I’ve had conversations with friends who found the words “pussy” or “cunt” in the midst of coitus to be unsettling.

I find these terms inappropriate until I’m ready to actually be with someone. I think many women may object to the former because it’s also a common term for someone who is weak.  I don’t use it in that sense, so I am free to think of it in the softer sense, a risque but adoring epithet for the vulva and or the vaginal orifice. The latter, I know, people use to describe exceptionally unsavory individuals, jerks, people who are socially undesirable, childish, etc.  I don’t use it like that, though to be fair, I do call people “dick” and such to fulfill a similar function.  I’m not trying to excuse myself, rather to exemplify the dual role of many sexual use-words.  For me, cunt is the feminine version of cock.  It packs the same punch, linguistically–two hard consonant sounds with a soft, open vowel sound sandwiched between.


Why Talk About This?

I sometimes write fiction that is centered almost entirely around the sex act.  But while I have written my fair share of sex-with-a-hot-stranger scenarios, I can’t claim to be a part of the PWP (Plot, What Plot?) Club.  Because of that, to one degree or another, my erotic fiction reflects my attitudes about sex, both those which are public and the ones I share less freely.  My use of language, such as the terms discussed above, is usually contextualized within emotionally intimate and secure scenarios, even those detailing the bondage world.  You might say that, especially with BDSM, it’s important to know your partner, and the boundaries each of you bring to the table.

Whether you enjoy “talking dirty” or you like to keep your language tidy; whether you want your partner to see you as an equal human being, using the language of the postmodern, third-wave feminist, even in the heat of passion, or you like your sex served on the half shell of your lunch break with an appealing stranger, replete with all the gritty utterances that have come to be unfortunately associated with the objectification of the feminine sex, I think that what matters most is respect for yourself and your partner.  That’s not always delivered in the post-modern lexicon, but something that is consonant with this idea is being present in the moment, and bringing your full self to the party.


Even in scenarios where the appearance of disrespect or dominance is part and parcel of the erotic charge the encounter boasts, being absolutely there makes it oddly difficult to dismiss your partner as an object.  I think what is often lacking for many people is sex with mentally present partners–whether they are thinking about their technique,or worried about how their tummy looks, they are not devoting their attention to what really matters, the mutual pleasure of the moment.  I think, so long as this is tended to, you could use whatever strange or typically foul language you wanted to, and I’d still have a great time.  Because there would be a bond, a connection, and two human consciousnesses would have shared one of the oldest ways to access the spiritual aspect of themselves–a really excellent orgasm.




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