Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Everybody is weird

Dan Savage's latest column included a letter that made me laugh.

Q:  Where can straight women find men that won't made odd sexual requests? -Dumped One Again

A:  Graveyards.

There are two things that are at work here.  First off is the implicit assumption that lots of men out there are 'normal' and only want 'normal' things and there is some place to find such people.  There is no normal.  Your realistic options include people who ask for things and people who don't ask for things.  They all want things and you can't get around that.  That's it:  Repression or expression.  If you did end up finding someone who claimed to want exactly what you expect then by far the odds on bet is that they are refusing to tell you about the things their needs.  Eventually those unfulfilled desires are going to boil over and cause both of your some serious grief.

Now imagine for a moment you did find Mr. Kiss, Undress, Mutual Oral, Missionary for Five Minutes, Twice a Week.  Great, you have him.  Twenty years from now when you desperately need someone to dress up as a conquistador and gently smear guacamole all over your with a crowbar while singing Skinamarinky Dink Dink by Sharon, Lois, and Bram you are *screwed*.  That guy is not going to do that for you and he isn't going to sign off on you doing that with somebody else.  You know who is going to be fine with that?  The dude who desperately wanted to worship your feet, have you spank him, or wear your underwear.  And while you might say now that you don't want that conquistador / crowbar scene everybody gets there eventually.

Part of relationships is your partner wanting weird stuff.  Maybe they desperately need the coffee table to be spotless, collect back issues of Comsopolitan, write spreadsheets to play games more efficiently, or they want you to smear peanut butter on the small of their back.  Who knows?  The key thing is that *everyone* has their bizarre desires that you didn't expect.  The only choice you get to make is whether or not you accept each other's little insanities and live happily or repress your little insanities to appear normal and be miserable together.  Scoring a partner without those quirks isn't on the list of choices and pathologizing quirks that happen to involve sexual desire just makes people sad and bitter.

There is nothing wrong with wanting five minute missionary sex twice a week and nothing else.  Go for it! The trouble is that assigning a random sexual behaviour set normal status and then assuming everyone outside that is an unacceptable deviant is likely to lead to two possible outcomes:  Loneliness or unhappiness.  You can do better than that and it starts with accepting people as they are.

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