Dorothy

A new book by sex and re­la­tion­ships colum­nist The Dot Spot, un­cov­ers ev­ery­thing you’ve wanted to know about dat­ing and re­la­tion­ships, from kink to sex­ual self-em­pow­er­ment, writ­ten in an up­front, en­ter­tain­ing and sassy style. Here’s an edited ex­tract abou

CityPress - - Voices -

The Dot Spot: Ad­ven­tures in Love and Sex by Dorothy Black

MF Books 220 pages; R200 at takealot.com

When do you get naked? This should be a very sim­ple an­swer: ‘When­ever you want to.’ But if it were that sim­ple we wouldn’t still be tack­ling ev­ery­day sex­ism and misog­yny from bed­rooms to board­rooms. This no­tion of when it’s ‘the right time’ for women to ‘put out’ for the ben­e­fit of a male part­ner is so em­bed­ded in our cul­ture we con­tinue to think of it as fact. The idea goes some­thing like: ‘If you put out too soon you’re a slut and he’s not go­ing to be in­ter­ested. Rather with­hold and if he’s a good boy he’ll give you a re­la­tion­ship / re­spect / a ring and you can re­ward him by giv­ing him your cookie.’

Even in sit­u­a­tions where we might have pro­gressed to a po­si­tion of ‘yes, by all means, you’re a mod­ern woman and are free to do what you like’, it’s al­ways pre­sented with its costar, ‘but just re­mem­ber’: ‘Just re­mem­ber that guys only want sex’; ‘Just re­mem­ber that he won’t re­spect you as much’; ‘Just re­mem­ber that you should prob­a­bly build an emo­tional con­nec­tion with him first’ ... I re­ally would like to say that this sort of think­ing is still only rife among the very tra­di­tional and the very religious, but I’ve seen it touted in trendy women’s mag­a­zines and nod­ded over gravely among ‘lib­eral’ stu­dents. So here we are, in the 21st cen­tury, dis­cussing why you should feel okay to have sex with some­one when­ever you damn well want to. Viva sex­ual lib­er­a­tion!

Look, I’ll ad­mit that I have never, ever, ever ex­pe­ri­enced some­one judg­ing me for how quickly I’ve gone to bed with them. I have never, ever, ever felt that sex with some­one ‘too soon’ has neg­a­tively af­fected the out­come of our re­la­tion­ship. It might be pos­si­ble that this is be­cause I’ve only ever slept with men who have man­aged to haul their sex­ist as­sump­tions out of the Dark Ages. But I be­lieve the an­swer is a lot sim­pler: I’ve sim­ply not paid at­ten­tion to it. I’ve sim­ply never, ever, ever both­ered to care about other peo­ple’s opin­ions about my sex life and choices. I’ve placed a pri­or­ity on my own sex­ual sat­is­fac­tion and cu­rios­ity over the (pos­si­ble) judgey opin­ion of the peo­ple around me. I don’t see sex as the fi­nal fron­tier of a per­sonal jour­ney cou­ples take to ‘to­geth­er­ness’. To me, sex is a kind of lan­guage. It’s a form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that’s nat­u­ral, nec­es­sary and non-ne­go­tiable on the road to a real un­der­stand­ing of the per­son we’re get­ting emo­tion­ally in­volved with. If dat­ing is about col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion, shouldn’t you be col­lect­ing info about your part­ner’s sex­ual self as well? Is he go­ing to be a good, car­ing and un­selfish lover? Are your ap­petites and kinks matched? Is he some­one you can feel both safe and sexy with? This is not just about what he needs to get off and bait­ing him with the cherry be­tween your legs.

If you’re in­ter­ested in get­ting to know some­one in­ti­mately, the emo­tional and in­tel­lec­tual con­nec­tion is as im­por­tant as the sex­ual con­nec­tion. And yet, we’re very of­ten told that you should first build an emo­tional con­nec­tion with a po­ten­tial part­ner. But why? Why is that any more im­por­tant than a sex­ual or even in­tel­lec­tual con­nec­tion? What does ‘wait­ing’, in spite of your de­sire, save you from? A guy who would think you’re a slut for lik­ing sex? Well, good rid­dance. Be­sides, if some­one’s go­ing to leave you and treat you like rub­bish, they’re quite ca­pa­ble of do­ing that af­ter they’ve had sex with you – how­ever long they’ve had to wait for it. If a guy doesn’t con­sider you ‘girl­friend ma­te­rial’ be­cause you sleep with him ‘too quickly’, does your hold­ing out make him any less of an un­e­d­u­cated, sex­ist jerk?

I’m not say­ing that there aren’t peo­ple who will make a pre­tence of be­ing in­ter­ested in your per­son­al­ity just so that they can get into your pants. But the one sure-fire way to side­step the emo­tional dam­age th­ese ar­se­holes do is to do ex­actly what you want to do, on your terms and with­out ma­nip­u­la­tion or ex­pec­ta­tion. You’re not ‘giv­ing your­self away’ and get­ting a raw deal in re­turn, you’re claim­ing your own sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ence, what­ever it is. You get naked be­cause you want to, not be­cause it’s ex­pected and def­i­nitely not be­cause you think it’ll keep him in­ter­ested. Let your de­sire, not some dick, lead you. And by ‘dick’, I mean any­one or any­thing who tries to in­flu­ence your mind about how you choose to en­joy your body with other peo­ple.

Which brings me to the mat­ter of your slut num­ber. I de­cided on that term when I wrote a col­umn about what so­ci­ety would like your ‘num­ber’ to say about you (I’ll give you a hint, if your num­ber is more than two you’re a slut, so…). Here is what I know: If some­one is ask­ing you the ‘how many’ ques­tion, it’s al­most guar­an­teed that what­ever num­ber you give, it’s too many. If your new part­ner is ask­ing you how many peo­ple you’ve slept with, the cor­rect re­sponse is: ‘Why do you want to know?’ Be­cause that’s where the real con­ver­sa­tion is. It opens up di­a­logue about trust and in­ti­macy and per­ceived own­er­ship. And if it’s you ask­ing the ‘how many’ ques­tion, you can start by look­ing at the most im­por­tant ques­tion for you, which is: ‘Why do I want to know?’ No one needs to know who you’ve slept with and you don’t need to know if your part­ner’s bonked one per­son or 30. What does mat­ter is if you’ve both prac­tised re­spon­si­ble sex and whether you can trust your part­ner with your sex­ual self. What mat­ters is whether you are com­pat­i­ble and open to ex­plor­ing with each other. Be­sides, if he can kiss and tell all the juicy bits just to sat­isfy your cu­rios­ity or jeal­ousy, what makes you think he’ll re­spect your in­for­ma­tion should you guys move on to other lovers?

The only value I get from th­ese ‘putting out’ and slut num­ber talks is that they al­low you to sort the crazy from the cool very quickly. For ex­am­ple, if a guy is judg­ing and sham­ing you for your sex life, what does that say about him? Is he some­one you should trust with any other per­sonal in­for­ma­tion? If you feel the need to lie or hide in­for­ma­tion from him, what does that say for your trust in him or your po­ten­tial to trust him?

Dorothy Black

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