Wednesday, January 14, 2015

XX vs. XY Presents @DirtyinPublic

Welcome to another installment of "XX vs XY" as I mix it up with a female guest blogger! This is a series that you will see every now and then that takes a view point from a woman's perspective and puts it against my viewpoint from a man's perspective. The guest and I won't necessarily be challenging each other on a topic, but instead will be discussing it from our points of view. It could be two totally different angles on the same subject which will display how the genders' minds work. 

Who is this female guest I'm speaking of? She's Marrie Lobel from the award-winning Dirty in Public website! She has a great blog and she's one half of an amazing podcast on relationships called Mr. n Mrs. Romance. So, without further ado... Take it away, Marrie...

People Who Pass Judgment on Sexual Behavior


Threesomes, BDSM, or public sex; when it comes to sexual fantasies, where’s the line between cool kink and scary freak? From my observations judgments lay between what an individual has done and what scares the shit out of them. Arbitrary verdicts about what is “normal” or “nauseating” are made based on feeling aroused or utterly disgusted. Meaning judgments aren’t passed out of reverence for a 3000 year old book or a respected family member's teaching but from personal experience and pleasure.

When discussing sexual fantasies and desires among consenting adults, more can be said about those passing judgment than those who respectfully explore their sexuality. In reality there is no “normal” and qualifying an erotic thought as deviant, atypical or abnormal depends on the person being asked and when a large sample were asked their answers revealed there is no typical. Of course there are pathological sexual behaviors; those that involve non-consent or pain to achieve sexual satisfaction, for example, but those are not what most typically encounter and rarely harbor sanctuary.

Frankly, when someone judges another’s sexual desire or behavior as “bad” or “abnormal” I feel it exposes their own insecurities about their own sexuality and their inability to open their mind to alternative ways of thinking. By saying this I’m not encouraging anyone to betray their own comfort levels but to accept others are different. Simply chalk it up to sexual compatibility…or lack thereof. 

It’s true the key to any relationship involving sexual intimacy, whether it’s a one night stand or long term commitment, requires both involved to feel chemistry, consent, respect, and pleasure; however, when it comes to pleasure, each of us experience it differently. One person’s naughty can be the others’ nice. So, next time rather than playing Santa (unless that’s the kink) by banishing them to the naughty list consider freeing your mind and letting go of judgments.

Now it's my turn. There are a lot of people in the world.  That means that there are a lot of different tastes and preferences.  Who am I to judge or say that someone's preference of something is wrong because it doesn't equal mine?  Especially when it comes to sex.

I'm from the Bible Belt state of Mississippi where sex is often taught to us as being a bad thing.  It's rarely taught as anything involving pleasure.  It's almost as if it's strictly for reproduction and never for recreation.  These same people who have made themselves authority figures over sex also preside over what's considered "acceptable" sex and what's not.

As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to sex: do you.  Whatever makes you happy that isn't illegal is quite alright with me.  If you want to tie someone up, use fruit, or even bring in an additional person or two then that's your business.  If you want to abstain from sex altogether until marriage then that's fine, too.  Yet some are even criticized for doing that which is absolutely ridiculous.

I'm sure most of the people who are judging are either participating in some of the same acts or have done even more kinkier stuff.  How many times have we seen a male politician bash gay people during a campaign only to get caught with his pants down (literally) with another man?  Or someone who has a strong stance on prostitution but gets caught in the back seat of a Cadillac with a hooker?  Or maybe they're just mad because they can't find someone to do freaky stuff with them.

What makes a person quick to say "what happens in your bedroom is your business" but then turn around and criticize people who "aren't the norm"?  The hypocrisy is overwhelming in this country if you ask me.  There is no "norm" when it comes to sex.  There are plenty of things that I would never do, but I won't hate on someone if that's their thing.  Criticizing someone for their sexual preferences is like criticizing someone who orders coffee off of Starbucks menu that you don't like.  Just because you don't drink it doesn't mean that it's wrong for someone else to try it.  If you don't like it then don't order it.

It's just that simple.

Next on "XX vs XY" will be Tasha Mac...

Friday, January 9, 2015

One Smile Can Change Your Day

I was at a Kroger grocery store last Sunday after church and I walked past a lady. Early-to-mid 40's, slim, very attractive features, wearing leopard printed heels with a knee-length skirt and matching animal print shawl/shoulder wrap over a white shirt.  We made eye contact as she moved her shopping cart out of my path.  By reflex, I said "good morning," but you couldn't honestly tell if I meant it or not.  It was just a greeting. I'd just found out a church member of only 49 years old had died of cancer just 30 minutes prior.  I'd also just heard that one of the ESPN personalities who I'd watch since the early 90's had passed away of cancer at 49 years old as well.  So, my mood was a bit somber being that I've lost loved ones to cancer as well.  To top it off, I was trying to make a mental list of what I needed from the grocery store.  I thought that all of that justified my dry "hello."  After all, the only requirement is to be cordial, right?

Well, she replied with a very enthusiastic "Good morning! How are you?" in return.

I never broke stride and dryly replied with an "I'm fine. Thanks."

I walked around the corner to the next aisle and I thought about it for a second. In a world where people only think "self," here was someone who was energetic in her greeting and I didn't reciprocate. How often does that happen in our lives when people ask you, "how are you?" and they truly don't care?  The last time you acknowledged someone with a "hello" or a "good morning," did you mean it?

This lady definitely meant "good morning" to me and I wasn't going to allow that to be in vain.  I turned my shopping cart around and went back around the corner. To my surprise, I was met with the same smile she'd given me before as if my dry response from earlier never happened. That says a lot about a person when they treat you respectfully despite how you may have treated them.  I said to her,"Hello, again.  I want to apologize for earlier. You were being very enthusiastic in speaking to me and I was in Lala Land. So, I needed to come back and apologize for that and give you a big smile and greeting. Good morning! How are you?"

She smiled and said, "I'm great and I'm relieved that there are still some good people in the world.  You didn't have to do that."

"Yes.  I did," I replied.

I told her to have a wonderful day and I walked off. Both of us left the conversation with smiles.

I ran into her two more times in the store and outside of the store as well.  Each time she would flash a big smile as she strolled by.  As I got outside and started loading my groceries in my car, I noticed that she was only two parking spots down from me loading her groceries.  By the time she finished I had walked over and offered to return her shopping cart to the store for her.  She smiled and said, "why, thank you!"

I actually felt like I should have been thanking her.  She re-opened my eyes on something I preach to others: a positive attitude is infectious.  It's amazing how we can take the little things for granted, but it's the little things, and only the little things, that determine what kind of people that we are.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Eve on Bourbon Street

Okay, so last night my cousin from Minnesota and I decided to roll down to New Orleans and spend NYE on Bourbon Street.  He wanted to experience something different and frankly so did I.  In 2013 I was asleep on my couch shortly after 11 PM.  I wanted to at least be awake and away from home this year.

Just to give you a bit of history, back in 1999 cuz and I decided to roll down to New Orleans that night to experience NYE during the Y2K hype.  I was 28 years old and unmarried at the time.  We arrived in NO shortly after midnight and walked up and down Bourbon Street a couple of times.  We were gone in three hours and back on the road to home.  To this day we don't know what prompted us to drive down in the first place, but we just did.  It was just something to do to say that we did it.

Fast forward 15 years later and we're at it again.  Much older, but just as determined to do something fun on NYE.  Now I'm 43 and unmarried.  So, since I'm not "boo'd up" why not get out of the house and do something fun?

Our trip on the way down was enjoyable because we listened to great music.  My cousin and I enjoy music differently than most people.  We both have a musical background and we listen to music instead of just hearing it.  Dissecting some of the intricacies of the music with someone who listens to music allows you to hear things you may have missed in a song.  We both enjoy isolating instruments and sounds that make up the song.  Each instrument plays a part in the total sound that we enjoy.  Time passed by quickly as we listened to everything from The Doobie Brothers to Maxwell during the three hour drive.

We arrived in NO at 11 PM and after walking six blocks we're on Bourbon Street by 1130 PM.  There were people everywhere!  Not just because it's NYE and Bourbon Street is a huge attraction, but also because the Sugar Bowl is being played on New Year's Day in the Superdome.  A lot of the people visiting the area are football fans of Ohio State and Alabama, the two competing colleges.

Despite the youth of the huge college crowd there were still plenty of people of all ages walking around with beads around their necks and adult beverages in their hands.  If you've never been on Bourbon Street on a holiday then I'll paint the picture for you: constant bumping and jostling from people who are sometimes shoulder-to-shoulder with you as you navigate through the crowd.  There's also the occasional jarring bump from drunk people who are having difficulty keeping their balance.  Sporadic nudity or extreme flirts from people who haven't a care in the world at the time.  The sounds of multiple genres of music emitting from each bar you pass every 20 feet.  There is so much to see and hear that it's really overwhelming to the senses.  The downside to all of the delightful distractions is that your safety can sometimes become secondary without you even knowing it.

It's so difficult to pay attention to every single thing going on around you that you sometimes forget that "people are people."  There are good ones and unfortunately, there are bad ones.  So, it's easy to accidentally be too close to a fight that breaks out, hit in the head with large beads being thrown from the balconies above, or stumbling over trash in the street and risking being trampled by the crowd.  If you decide to go for the first time then go with a group and make sure that you're watching out for one another.  My cousin and I are pretty big guys yet we still feel the need to watch over each other.  I can't imagine how some of the petite women that I saw last night made it from one bar to another.  Especially while drunk.

But, back to the NYE experience...  As the clock ticked down towards midnight you could hear the soundwave of people counting coming towards you.  By the time the clock was five seconds away the entire street was counting down in unison and Bourbon Street erupted (even more) as every person screamed "Happy New Year!"  I got a hug from an attractive, but too young for me, Alabama grad as we exchanged beads from each other's necks and made small talk.  But as quickly as the euphoria came, it left.  Everyone went back to doing the same things they always do on Bourbon Street.

Was that it?  Was NYE on Bourbon Street what I expected to be?

Actually, it was.  Hey, there's only so much you can do on a street filled with 5,000 drunks, right?  There wasn't an apple dropping from the sky or anything dramatic like that.  Just a bunch of people kissing and hugging in the street which is normal for Bourbon Street anyway.

What made the trip fun to me was hanging with my cousin and enjoying the sensory overload of Bourbon Street.  The eye candy, music, smell of good food, and more makes every trip to NO a memorable one.  Having someone special to share it with and a nearby hotel room would have made it even more memorable.  But, there's always next year, right?

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