The inside of my bottom lip is still swollen and a bit tender where she bit hard. And I’m bursting to write about it. Instead, perhaps I’ll write about something else: kissing & telling.
I’ve been thinking about it: I don’t really know what the rules are. I only know that, on occasion, the chivalrous guys in films or in literature say things like, “I don’t kiss and tell.” This seems to be one of those straight social dating conventions that I have somehow never really understood, like the waiting-to-call after a date, the I’m-not-interested games, etc. (Living with my straight sister has brought all sorts of new social dating conventions into my life. Actually, I’ve never lived with a straight girl before, and the only straight boy I lived with, I was dating at the time. Since then I’ve only ever had queer roommates. Interesting …)
This kiss-and-tell thing seems to be for straight men more than anything else. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen straight women (I’m racking through the Sex and the City archive in my brain – surely, if straight women do that, it was depicted in that show) talk about kissing and telling, and there’s little hesitation to talk about how the kissing was, or even how the sex was, between women. And, do we see this as rude, when women talk about sex? No – at least I don’t – I see it as HOT.
When men talk about the sex they had, though, I do sometimes see it as rude, because of the way it is depicted. It’s different to see a guy sit down with his friends and say, “Wow, I had a fabulous date on Friday, and we ended up going home together – gosh, she was so great in bed,” than, if he said, for example, “Dude I totally hit that, she was beggin’ for more,” (which is not the best example, but you get the point).
So that means, for me, it’s actually about the respect given to the people these folks are sleeping with. I imagine I could hear women – straight or gay or queer or whatever – talking about a sexual escapade and be totally offended by the rude, lewd, lack of respect, more than who is actually doing the talking.
Even so: it is so much more common to hear (straight) men speaking inappropriately about their sexual conquests, probably (ya think?) because of the sexism in this culture, not only the treating-women-poorly thing but also the notion that women aren’t inherently sexual creatures, that we are either/or mothers or whores. There’s also that machismo guise within masculinity that says that you’re a “real man” if you conquer women.
Well so, it would make sense, then, for “I don’t kiss and tell” to evolve out of that type of culture, as a social convention to keep the lewd sexual misogyny in check.
So how does it apply to women, if at all? And how does it apply to lesbians?
I mean, to a certain extent it is incredibly tacky to talk about your sexcapades with your friends. For example, if you start sleeping with your best friend’s ex, you probably shouldn’t go into details about how you fucked her up the ass with a strap-on last night. And if you happen to be dating your buddy’s sister, he probably won’t want to know how she likes to be roughed up a bit.
But aside from disclosing the sexual details of people your friends actually know (which, it seems, shouldn’t be disclosed primarily because it’s private information. Which is interesting, that some things are more private because a friendship exists, rather than keeping a stranger’s details private, which isn’t as important), how much is it okay to talk about sex?
I like sex. Not that I expect that to be a surprise to you, but I love talking about it. I love hearing about what other people think and do, because hey, I just may learn something – not only about my friend, and what they like (and that can sometimes be incredibly deep held beliefs, psychological complications relating to other aspects of their personality, which can be fascating) but I also might discover more about what I like. Or I might understand something in a new way, I might “get” a fetish or sex act in a way I never understood before.
Also? It is oh so important to be open and honest about what’s going on in our sex lives, I think, because a lot of strange damage can be done there. A lot of healing can be done, too – but it’s similar to the reason why I believe we should talk about our relationships, in depth and often, with our close friends. Our friends (one would hope & assume) watch out for our best interest, and if something strange is happening, if red flags are going up and up and up, hopefully our friends will be able to tell us those things. Our relationships should be socially monitored. And, perhaps, so should our sex lives, to a certain degree.
So. Back to kissing & telling. I think that means, for me, I believe in talking about my sex life.
Not that you’re surprised, I know. I’ve been writing about it here – explicitly – for more than a year. But I’ve never quite gone all the way into the kiss & tell argument, so I’m glad to now know where I stand, and why.
But I’m still not going to tell you what happened Saturday night.
(At least, not until she gives me permission.)
3 thoughts on “kiss & tell”
“The inside of my bottom lip is still swollen and a bit tender where she bit hard" took me back to a morning standing in the nurses’ station. It was 7 am, morning report, when I turned around to see my friend J…with that lip. And the story was incredible. I worked with 100 women, all of whom kissed and told. I now go to school with 150 people who almost never talk about sex (and when they do, I feel sorry for them). I miss sharing the stories. Not just the who, what, when, and where; but also the how–how it tasted, and smelled, and felt. You know…the good parts.I certainly felt closer to those women than I ever have with any group of friends. We were all different ages and were having sex in different relationships—some happily married, some having affairs (some of those just down the hall in the call room), some mostly having sex with themselves, some with lots of others. Often times, we did socially monitor each other’s sex lives, just as you suggested. We kept each other safe, shared delicious tips, and encouraged one another not to settle. Mostly, though, we just loved and accepted each other. We carved out a safe space to share the intimate details of our lives and grew very close to each other in the process.I really miss it.
how do we write about sex and not about the partner? how do we express our experience and not talk about how that experience is built on the interplay between? how do we share our sexuality in art (writing, painting, balloon animals) w/o the partner becoming a mirror of our experience? how do we honor our partner, our experiences, our impulse to express our passion-inspired creativity? how would i feel if i found my partner writing publicly, abet seemingly anonymously, about my most intimate moments, my most fragile places? how can sharing sexual experiences with love and honestly not be a service?
you asking for permission? oh my, beers and a bit of smug laughter to that one just for good measure. ;)