I’ve been catching up on the current season of Elementary (Hulu only adds it to the queue once the season is done). I just finished watching “Ready or Not”, which ends with a discussion between Holmes (while it is never truly said out loud, seems to me to be somewhere along the autism spectrum himself) and Fiona (who is on the autism spectrum, but prefers to be called “neuro-atypical” — which I personally think is a much better way to discuss neurological differences than the supposed mainstream “norm” that is only a theoretical construct).
In the last 45 seconds of that episode, Fiona says the quoted phrase above to Sherlock. Supposedly, for the last 47 days, Sherlock has been abstaining from sex, because he’s exclusive with Fiona, and believes their relationship deserves his extra work. Because she is neuro-atypical, he has been very careful with her emotions since it is a challenge to make sure the relationship does not harm either him or her.
Sex can be a difficult part of any romantic relationship. We all, even those of us who seem confident, have our own issues and hang-ups about the act. For example, while I would happily walk naked down the main street of Cumberland if it were not illegal, but it still scares me for someone to see me naked for the first time in a romantic setting. No matter how much work I do on my self-esteem or sexual positivity, it’s always going to be there — it is simply a matter of how much I allow that fear to rule me. Once that first hurdle is past, I no longer have the issue.
But, I do wonder. Why is it that we can’t be as honest as Fiona is in that episode? Why do we have to dance around the subject? Personally, I prefer to have the boundaries of a relationship spelled out early. If someone likes me, but not in any romantic or sexual way, I want to know that because I react differently with someone who is only a friend than with someone I may have as a lover (it doesn’t have to be boyfriend, it could simply be friends-with-benefits). The boundaries are clear, and I can respect the other person’s choice. I may screw up once in a while, if my own emotions aren’t clear in respect to the other person, but I am a human being…human beings screw up all the time.
Knowing at an early point means I can choose different responses, based upon whether someone wants to be a lover or not. It doesn’t mean I’m going to jump up and tear his clothes off right then and there. What it means is that I can relax and let the moment come naturally, instead of pushing for it. Yes, I have a rather well-developed libido — the exact opposite of the asexual being I had turned myself into in order to fit in my ex’s limited definition of who I should be. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be crawling all over someone simply because I have a heightened libido, any more than a man with a high libido is likely to rape someone (frankly, I know quite a few men with a high libido who would NEVER, EVER commit rape. They prefer lovers who are enthusiastically consensual! A high libido is NOT a symptom that a man is a rapist any more than it is a symptom that I am likely to rape anyone.).
We here in America have such a sick and twisted view of sexuality. We would rather our children either learn from trial and error or from peers who may or may not know any more than that child does. We rarely bother to teach our children about their own bodies, let alone anyone else’s body. We teach our boys that they are entitled to a woman’s body, and our girls that any man can “OWN” her body, regardless of what she thinks. We teach our girls that their body is a commodity, and then destroy those women who have decided to “cash in” on that body. I’m not saying just strippers, porn stars or prostitutes, but also those women who are gold diggers, manipulators or use their bodies to get what they want.
I know who I am. I know that when I want sex, I don’t want anything as a transaction for having sex. All I want — regardless of the permanence or long-term relationship involved — is to share with someone a certain amount of intimacy. But, for that, I am labeled a slut, a whore, because I don’t have a hang-up about having sex. It is assumed I will spread my legs for just anyone, without a care or any form of standards involved. That I am incapable of discriminating between a good person or a bad person when I decide to have sex.
I probably have higher standards than many of those who are not so-called “promiscuous.” At the convention I recently attended, I added two items to my costume for Thursday night. They were two labels: a) Sapiosexuals only; and b) You must be <- this -> skilled to ride this ride.
They were primarily necessary for strangers. If they walked up to me drunkenly, peered at my labels and asked what a sapiosexual is — and didn’t bother to look it up on their ubiquitous phone — then frankly, they were too stupid (or drunk or both) to be of interest to me. As for the skill one, it was an opening for flirting. Most often, when a guy boasts about his skill, he is doing exactly that, boasting. In my experience, most guys who are actually quite skilled can prove it to me before we even leave any public space.
So, no. I don’t sleep with anything or anybody. They have to pass my criteria. Yet, I still have more sex than most of America. The average women sleeps with four men in her lifetime. While the first half of the men I have been with were not as much quality as the rest of them, I learned from those mistakes. And I continue to learn from my mistakes in regards to potential lovers, because I do make mistakes sometimes.
I’m not telling anyone, particularly kids, to go out and have sex indiscriminately. I am telling people to start looking at their own needs, and their own ideas about sex. I don’t care if you are monogamous or not – knowing your own worth, and recognizing the people who are worthy of your attention is a huge step towards being more sexually healthy.
And being honest about it is the first step.