Interesting Article

Christian Kink: Why Traditional Religion and Non-Traditional Sex Are a Good Match

Not sure if I agree with the author entirely, but the parallels between religion and kink are interesting and apt. I agree that a religious history with an emphasis on service and ordeals for transcendence does resonate in my kink self. I disagree, however, in seeing kink as part of my spiritual practice. If anything, that perspective just reinforces that I may be using one as a substitute for the other. While my passion and faith in others isn’t negative, it isn’t a practice I’m using to exalt God, and thus it isn’t part of my spiritual practice.

Day 11, 30 Days of Kink

Day 11: What are your views on the ethics of kink?

This one was a bit harder for me. Honestly, any discussion of ethics just implies this level of deep philosophical thought that kind of overwhelms me a bit these days. That said, I want to move forward with this journaling exercise, so I can’t avoid this question anymore.

For me, the short and simple answers here are SSC and RACK – Safe, Sane, and Consensual and Risk-Aware Consensual Kink. Kinky folks should be honest and communicate with one another, be as safe as they can be and ensure that they are aware of risks involved, and only play when consent is given.

Personally, I take it a bit farther than this. I need to stay within the general letter of the law for professional purposes. Respect for others’ limits and privacy is paramount for me.

The truth is, beyond the above, I don’t know my views on the ethics of kink. They’re sort of ever-changing. While my parents are actually pretty liberal, I was raised in the Catholic church until I was 13. I then was nearly raised by my Mormon best friend’s family for the remainder of high school. I used to think sex should only occur in a relationship leading towards marriage, as in a very serious LTR. I used to think that nudity should only happen between lovers in the bedroom. I used to think that kink was ok, but only in the context of a loving relationship where two partners are exploring their sexuality as a means to connect more deeply to one another.

Those thoughts never fully left my mind. I struggle with whether or not my participation in kink is right or wrong. Logically, as long as the things at the beginning of this post are followed, I don’t see kink or my involvement in it as wrong. Spiritually, however, I’m not sure. Part of me feels that God wouldn’t condemn us so long as we are safe, consensual, and honest with ourselves and our partners. If what we are doing does no harm and makes us happy, than why would it be wrong? Other parts of me still debate whether or not sexual activity should be much more refined in order to maintain a level of purity and righteousness more in accordance with most religious groups.

That second part resurfaces whenever I think about attending services or spend too much time with some of my more religious friends. I don’t disagree with their views or what religion says specifically, but I don’t necessarily fully agree with the interpretation as it applies to modern life. My spirituality lacks a label, and the ambiguity sort of carries over to how strict of a moral standard I should follow, and what role society and peers (both kink and religious) should have in forming that standard. Have you ever tried to form an opinion without ANY outside influence? It’s not simple or easy, and really just requires trying things out, going with your gut, and letting experience, faith, and intuition lead the way.

I don’t have the answers here, even though I wish I did. Right now, I approach each event and opportunity within kink independently. If I feel mentally, emotionally, and physically at ease with the situation, I proceed, following the SSC/RACK guidelines. I’ve learned that communication and honesty are really key, from negotiations to romantic intent to sexual safety, and I know to communicate about all of those things before proceeding. I’m cautious about my partners and their limits, romantic entanglements, and safety, and I do my best to follow the law. That’s my ethics of kink in a nutshell.

For other answers that approach this well, see below.  The first one is particularly insightful; I agree with everything written. (Clearly I blanked with this prompt…)

25 Things About my Sexuality

1 year update found here: https://inquisitiveexplorer.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/25-things-about-my-sexuality-revisited/.

Many of my fetlife friends have been posting these. The trend is based on this website: http://25thingsaboutmysexuality.blogspot.com/. I don’t have the nerve to post my 25 things quite so publicly (on fetlife), but here’s mine.

  1. I’m a masochist. I love pain. I love way it makes me shudder, scream, and sometimes cry. I love how it gives me a reason to fight and struggle, yet simultaneously can guarantee my surrender. I like submitting to it, I like knowing someone is getting off on inflicting it. I also have a really high pain tolerance. Don’t be afraid to hurt me – I can take it, and if it gets to be too much, I’ll say so.
  2. I’m afraid of my own masochism. Despite all the things I just mentioned that I love, I’m afraid that my masochistic desires will prevent me from finding a relationship that will satisfy me. I’m afraid I’ll put my trust in the wrong person and end up hurt in the bad way. I feel somehow partially damaged for desiring, craving, and enjoying pain.
  3. I find it difficult to vocalize my feelings, from emotions to screaming from pain, it’s all hard for me, even more so in public play scenarios. In private, if I feel comfortable with you, I will make an effort to relax and let sounds happen. In public, I tend to withdraw vocally and it takes a bit to make me make noise. I’ve been told my non-verbal cues are explicit enough to make up for it, but others have been frustrated or disconcerted if I don’t scream from what some would consider heavy pain.
  4. If I start uncontrollably shuddering during play, almost 99% of the time it is a good thing. Usually, this happens after an intense amount of pain, although rope and other things with certain people evoke it as well. This reaction internally resembles something like aftershocks of a climax, and can be prolonged for hours. There may or may not be accompanying sexual arousal, but even without it, it’s still physically and mentally very satisfying for me.
  5. I can slip into subspace, but loud background noise gets in the way. I love feeling spacey and sated, especially when it’s combined with the aforementioned shuddering.
  6. I love pushing my limits. I’m pretty stubborn, and I enjoy seeing how much I can take. If it’s bondage, I like seeing how long I can stay in a position, or how much I can contort myself into a new one, etc. I tend to have more difficulty finding people who can push me to my limit. I love nothing more than playing with someone who is willing to challenge me, especially if their will is stronger than mine.
  7. With that, I will safeword if I need to but it is difficult for me. When I combine my own stubbornness with my innate desire to please, it gets hard to stop something.  If I’m petrified or freaking out or something and my Top doesn’t notice, I will bring it up, and if I don’t feel comfortable enough to do so then I shouldn’t be playing with that person.
  8. Realistically, I think most of the times that I’ve safeworded have been out of concern or fear that the Top playing with me was tired, sick of playing, etc, not out of need on my end.  I worry a lot about pain play or bondage being too focused on me, thus being work for the other person. It helps me a lot to hear whether or not my partner is enjoying himself. It also helps if I know in particular that the person enjoys whatever we’re doing – rope play with a rigger, pain play with someone who considers himself a sadist, etc.
  9. I love to write, and have written erotica for many years. None of it is nonfiction, but certain individuals have at times been the catalyst to my writing something down. I always appreciate feedback and interesting ideas. Someday, I might go on and write an erotic romance novel, but I need spare time first.
  10. I find comfort, relief, and pleasure in consistency, rules, etiquette, and protocol. Simultaneously, the intensity, extremity, and commitment of those things scares me and puts me off quite a bit. I haven’t figured out a good balance yet. This is a large part of what drives my rare submission, but also is a lot of what scares me about a D/s relationship.
  11. I have a love/hate relationship with light humiliation, in terms of being flustered or embarrassed. I like being made to blush. It doesn’t take much to get me to that point either – talking about sex, teasing, etc. does it quickly. I like the dynamic that type of teasing creates, and I like (and hate) the level of vulnerability that type of interaction fosters.
  12. I was raised Catholic and grew up with a Mormon best friend. I don’t attend services, but I do believe in and have a relationship with God. I don’t think sex should only be after marriage, but I do take issue with having NSA hookups, one night stands, or casual sex (defined in this case as intercourse) without some form of commitment/ongoing dynamic.
  13. I love and adore bondage, but rope bondage more than anything. I love the experience of being bound and the intimacy and sensuality that can be shared. I like the feeling of complete helplessness. I like testing my flexibility, struggling, and not being able to escape. I love the feeling of rope on my skin, the scent of jute, the bite of the binding. I enjoy bondage sexually – it definitely pushes my buttons – but I can also enjoy it as a mental release. I find safety and security in the bindings, and it does things for my stress level and mental state that I bet would rival therapy.
  14. I try to be very open minded, but at heart, sometimes I’m a conservative Indiana girl. I don’t know how to handle polyamory, queer identities, sex in public, and other things sometimes. I can get really awkward, and I don’t know the proper way to interact. Please don’t take this to mean that I am disproving, judging, or in any way responding negatively if you fall into these categories. If you tell me how to act or set the tone, I’ll do my absolute best to match it as quickly as possible. It’s just a hard to manage “I’ve never dealt with this, what do I do?!” reaction.
  15. I have horrible difficulty asking for what I want, including asking people to tie me up and/or hurt me, directing them to best please me, voicing my desires, etc.  I appreciate it when my partners make me talk about things, even when it’s embarrassing and hard for me (in fact, as mentioned above, sometimes the forced vocalization and resulting embarrassment can be arousing in and of itself). I blush, stammer, hide, etc. sometimes, and it’s better when people push me into vocalizing. On this same note, I find initiating contact with potential play partners extremely difficult, and greatly appreciate initiative in a partner.
  16. I’m not extremely sexually experienced. I’m not a virgin, but I haven’t had many sexual partners. In fact, I’ve done kinky things more than I’ve done certain sexual things.  I have a healthy sex drive, but as points above indicate, I’m not overly promiscuous.
  17. I find everything about hidden control in public to be incredibly arousing. Remote controlled vibrators, hidden rope harnesses, sneaky bites or pinches, very discreet play in a dark semi-private space – all of these things push my buttons like none other. That said, I highly value privacy and propriety, and have to trust that my partner will protect my reputation.
  18. I love to dance, and at different points in my life I’ve taken tap, ballet, hip hop, swing, tango, salsa, and broadway dance classes (some for much longer than others). Jazz/broadway style and hip hop are where most of my background lies. This is most relevant sexually in terms of my flexibility, which tends to surprise people a bit. I find ballroom dancing especially to be a great manifestation of power control, and a man who can spin me around a dance floor or keep up at a club is a whole different type of sexy.
  19.  I had a traumatic childhood experience with inter-female sexuality, and as a result I’m very, very hesitant to do anything sexual with a girl. I’ve loosened up on this a bit more over the last year, and am more open to playing in a kinky way with a female – especially as part of a couple who is topping me – but it’s still an often uncomfortable zone for me.
  20. Orgasms are strange for me. I can have a “mini” climax rather easily, but I’ve only had more intense orgasms a few times. Climaxes and shuddering from pain are their own separate category of pleasure. Too frequently, I get performance anxiety, especially in public play scenarios.
  21. I love to cuddle! I adore hugs and snuggling, and once you’ve welcomed it I’ll forever be happy to be a cuddle buddy. These feelings are amplified tenfold after a scene.
  22. More than I ever thought I would, I like edge play. The bite of fear thrills me. My reaction to fear scares me sometimes, but I do enjoy it. I’m curious about takedowns, kidnapping things, etc. (but only with role play).
  23. I’m entirely too curious for my own good. My curiosity has led me to try things I would never have considered, and usually I’m a “try it once before ruling it out” kind of person. There are many things that are going to take a lot of time, finding the right person, the right level of trust, etc. to do, but there are few things that I would rule out forever.
  24. I enjoy a dynamic where my partner is amused by my antics. I am very easily amused, and humor is important to me even during play. I enjoy it when my partner is also amused or is amused by my amusement, if that makes sense. That knowing, slightly condescending, stern look touched with humor can get me every time. Enjoying this dynamic is a large part of why I usually play with and date men who are older than myself. I’m not opposed to a younger guy, but I’ve yet to feel that same dynamic with a younger man. I will point out here, though, that there is a fine line, and if the condescension steps across it I become incredibly snarky and pissed off.
  25. I’m driven by my desire to make those around me happy. I vigilantly strive to please people. This drives my more submissive side. My snarky, independent side has spawned a switch-y being who may emerge at some point in the future, but it would definitely be more of a service top thing.

Hot Topics: Polyamory and Religion

Polyamory:

Long commutes give me way too much time to deliberate on things. I love reading, but sometimes I get motion sickness on the Metro so I just sit and think.

I’ve been thinking a lot about polyamorous relationships lately. It seems like more and more of my friends and acquaintances (even some vanilla ones) are in poly relationships, or at the very least are open to open relationships. The reasoning, when given, varies. Some folks believe there is no way one person can be everything to another. Others believe that love cannot be limited, defined, and controlled by mere humans, and so are open to accepting love in whichever forms it comes in. Some others seem to just have no jealousy and feel no need to stay committed to one person. I’m sure there are many, many more reasons that I’m not representing here, but these are the most frequently quoted amongst those I know.

I don’t really know how I feel about it. My past serious relationships have always been monogamous, and I always thought that would be my interest. That said, if you really trust someone and communicate well with them, then jealousy is a non-issue.

I don’t really know the best way to represent my views on this to others. For any type of casual relationship, I’m totally fine with poly or monogamy. For something long-term and serious, I’m unclear. It all just requires a mental refocusing of sorts, a shaking off of what society says is ok.

Religion:

Then, the second thing on my mind a lot recently has been religion. One of my roommates is actually in the process of breaking up with a man she loves because he is an atheist, and she is very, very serious about her faith. I don’t partake in any organized religion, but I do find solace and strength in God.

When it comes to religion, I don’t know all the details. I just know that I don’t see a condemning God. God fills in where science is uncertain. Anyhow, I’m not certain to what extent I need to share these beliefs with a partner. I think people have the right to believe as they will. I think that multiple religions and ways of life can lead to the same outcomes. I respect atheists’ right to believe that way, and I understand the questions that lead to that position. I don’t have the answers to those questions either, at least nothing beyond feeling.

Sometimes, I think it’d be nice for my partner to have faith, but at the same time, I’m so outside of any organized religion that I have no idea what faith they would have that would mesh with my beliefs. I don’t know how raising kids in religion is better than without; my catholic/jewish upbringing did nothing for my spirituality or morals.  What benefit would my partner’s beliefs add to my life that would make it a key point in our relationship? More importantly, what would they give me that they couldn’t provide without faith?

I don’t know that it matters. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that, if there is an afterlife, people will be condemned even if they lived an upstanding life. That doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t want to justify things purely because I want them to be that way.

At the end of the day, I feel like if I have chemistry with someone, and intellectual connection, mutual respect, and whatnot, then faith shouldn’t stand in the way. For now, I’m just going to be entirely accepting and see what happens. Take life as it comes is my go-to approach, so that’s how it’ll be.

On the less serious side:

  • I’m still debating rope camp v. fetfest.
  • The book “Bonk” by Mary Roach is amazingly fascinating – did you know that the gag reflex disappears during peak arousal? Handy knowledge, that.
  • Work is challenging and interesting, though my procrastination can be an issue. More work means more productivity, and I need to passively communicate that to my supervisors.
  • I’m debating a new cell phone for when my plan expires in August, but I’ve no idea which to get. I want a smart phone, but not an iphone, and I want a keyboard. First world problems.
  • I found a perfect rope bondage outfit this weekend : soft tank top, cotton shorts or spandex shorts. Exposing but private, soft, and won’t get in the way of the rope.

Pre-Finals Mania

This post will likely make me come off as a huge control freak…which, when it comes to my academic and professional life, I suppose I am.

So, /beginrant. I’m so, so, so sick of group presentations. It is beyond belief. I have 6 classes right now, and in 4 of them I have group projects/final presentations. Depending on other people is driving me crazy! People don’t meet deadlines, slack off on their portions, and it rarely works out. It is sooo much easier to do a project alone. In my night class tonight, I spent the first half of the class ignoring other people’s presentations and redoing our powerpoint. It was awful. I would have been better off giving the entire speech myself. Ugh. At least that class is now over. /endrant.

On another note, I hate when people present frameworks for change without measurable, enforceable objectives. Having goals is pointless if there are no actual steps to achievement.

Completely separate from that, I spent a good 2 hours defending Christianity on Friday night. Most people always assume religion and politics are off-limit topics. I’ve always negated that – I love talking about religion and politics, together or separately. That said, when it is a topic that close to people’s hearts, and something that is so controversial, it needs to be a discussion, NOT an argument. There needs to be respect, and people have to be willing to listen to the other side. On Friday, this didn’t happen. One person was treating the conversation like an argument he needed to win, calling certain Christian views ludicrous and crazy. I don’t mind challenges to my belief, and neither did my very conservative friend who I had been defending, but the way in which our other friend went about it was horrid.  You can tell I dislike confrontation.

Some randoms:

  • Indian food is delicious, but mind-boggling. I can never remember the taste. When I try to recall a taste memory of Indian food, I can’t. You know when you think of your favorite food, how you can crave it? I never remember enough of the flavor to crave Indian food. That said, when I eat it, it’s great. Perhaps it’s just because I don’t eat it frequently, but it’s just interesting. Or, maybe it is because sometimes the appearance and scents are also unfamiliar.
  • I’m officially going to end up with an A- in financial analysis and likely an A- or A in management science. I find it somewhat comical that I’m doing better in my quant classes than my writing/seminar ones, given my background.
  • Firefly is an amazing television show, and I can’t believe it took me this long to be aware of it. Super funny! Highly recommended.
  • The warm weather is inspiring a need to frolic. I hope I have time to run around outside and frolic in the sunshine sometime soon.
  • I’m going to try to shove as much kink into the next 3 weeks as possible. We’ll see how this goes. I ❤ playing and whatnot, and it just helps me out. When I can submit in personal situations, I am able to take control the rest of the time in a much more effective, focused way. Aside from that, it is just so much more fun as a social interaction to not have to filter or be in control during the entirety of the interaction. Whether one on one or at a kink event, I don’t have to be a Dominant force, whereas in my day-to-day life I normally do. I don’t always mind it, but it takes its toll.

Now that I’ve procrastinated long enough, back to the next group assignment of this week. Ugh.

Randoms, 1-24 (Pot, Religion, Family, et al.)

1) Legalization of Marijuana

I’ve been working on a project for a class/government agency on public opinion of marijuana since 1970. My personal responsibility has been to become an expert on past laws/propositions in the marijuana world. We are going to use this data to chart public opinion, and to get an idea of where trends are going in certain states.

I knew about prop 19 before this class, but I didn’t realize how far medical marijuana had progressed. 15 states and DC have medical usage laws in place, and in 2010 another 18 had laws on the ballot/in the legislature. Certain states, like Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and Minnesota are only a year or two away from passage. Personally, I’m not against this, but I didn’t realize as a country how far we’d progressed.

Technically, within federal and international laws, medical marijuana is illegal. I doubt the federal government will enforce that superiority law, but it puts an interesting perspective on things. Another interesting point I’ve learned is that the wording of Prop 19 in CA actually made it illegal for a workplace to discriminate against a drug user, even while federal policy made it a legal requirement to have a drug free policy. Also, under federal law, any money made from illegal activity (such as taxing legalized marijuana) can be seized at any time by the federal government. Those discrepancies make the failure of the proposition much more comprehensible.

Another interesting point is that of 50 states and DC, 46 have had SOME type of MJ law – decriminalization, medical, legalization, therapeutic research, etc. Indiana (my home state) is off the list, as are Utah, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Idaho. I knew my state was conservative, but I didn’t realize we were among the same ranks as Utah and Idaho.

2) Bible Belt

This kind of goes with my next interesting point. I overheard some international students on the shuttle today discussing religion in the US. One made the point that every time he visits the US, he discovers a new religion. They were jokingly going through a listing of local churches. In my hometown, the city is literally called the City of Churches. Within 5 miles of my house, there are two evangelical christian mega-churches, a catholic church, a lutheran church, baptist, episcopalian, three churches of God/united Church of Christ, and I think a presbyterian. If you go another 2-3 miles, there will be a dozen more. That’s a LOT of religion.

People ignore Indiana. They disregard it. No-one understood why I was SO amazed when the state voted democrat in 2008. I mean, we are one of the 4 most conservative states in the nation. We’re more bible belt than some southern states. We do have a lot of factory workers, rural employees, and labor union type of folk, and we *are* right next to IL, so Obama makes some sense. But, IN is also traditionally one of the most racist states. Muncie, IN was used as Middletown America in a variety of national studies to represent small-town america. I have a new sense of appreciation for my hometown.

3) I’m questioning Big City living.

I keep thinking about leaving Pittsburgh in May (or August, whenever it happens to be). I don’t know how I feel about it. I really am passionate about public policy and public service. I want to work in energy policy. I love it, it keeps me on my toes. I want to be in the center of it all, and the best place to be is Washington, DC. But, when it comes down to it, I want more out of my life than a career. And yes, if it’s a career in public service than it is making a difference, but I want a family and a home life too. I just don’t know if I’ll find that in DC.

I’m not from a “small” town. My town has 250,000 people, and my high school had 2,000. I went to college with people from high schools of 200. In Indiana, my town is the second largest. When I visit larger places, however, I realize that even though my city was big by IN standards, it is very small compared to the Eastern Seaboard cities.  I’m all about an informed public and being around people like that, but I also value midwestern morals and manners.

I’m a nice girl. I smile at people, I talk to people. I reserve judgement, and try to be nice to everyone I meet. I can find joy in simple pleasures. I like open space and nature. I don’t mind discussing corn, or spending a weekend just hanging out by a lake. I enjoy long drives to get places. Don’t get me wrong – I love the culture, museums, art, music, sport, and educational benefits of a large city. I just don’t know that I want to live in one…definitely not long term. I want to be near enough to one to take advantage of the nighttime and weekend activities, but I want my suburban/semi-rural living.

As much as I’m a “career-woman,” I’d also be a great soccer mom. I’m not ready for kids just yet, as I don’t feel I’ve lived enough yet (plus I’m not patient enough or settled enough), but I want them someday. I want a house, a husband. I don’t want to have to give up my job, though. I know in government, they’re cooperative. And, in theory, if I get the right federal appointment, I could transfer to a smaller town in a few years, maybe.

Hard choices. I’m still staying on the DC track of my program; I understand the logic of how much it will get me ahead. I’m just revisiting choices I made when I moved to Pittsburgh; a smaller school, in a smaller place would have suited me. I’d be just as happy working in a local government office in the long-term, even though I’m pursuing jobs at the national “super ambitious” level.

4) I need to reassert my comprehension of my own knowledge.

I started qualifying my answers again. I’m one of the youngest people in my grad program, and sometimes I feel really incompetent. I forget that I’m just as qualified to be in the program, that I’m intelligent too. I doubt myself. When that happens, I start to preface my answers to things with “I don’t know, but…” then I give the answer. I raise my voice at the end of statements, indicating uncertainty. This only makes people doubt me. NO MORE.  I DO know what I’m talking about. A friend recommended that I think “what would a man do” before I speak up…which is sad, but true. Men aren’t afraid to be falsely confident, and they rarely show fear at being wrong. I need to absorb that mentality.

5) Valentine’s Day –> Cupid = Santa?

If Cupid were Santa, and I could ask for anything romance-related that I wanted, it would be this:

I want to go on a date with a Dominant fellow, and surrender control for the entirety – no decisions. That includes dinner and whatever activities. I don’t want to pick the restaurant, or the movie. I am ok giving input when requested, but I don’t want to make the choices. The specifics don’t matter as much – I don’t care what activities we do (I’m really easily pleased), but that’s the gist of it.

If Cupid was feeling particularly generous, the fellow and I would have enough attraction that I’d enjoy him touching me, and he could assume temporary “ownership” for the evening as well. That could include discrete torment or teasing throughout the evening or afterwards. Maybe not full on sex, but again, that’s the gist of it.

Either way, the first part would be enough. I’ve experimented with different types of kinky play, and I enjoy doing that and will continue to do so. I want to experiment more with actual power exchange, in an everyday scenario, when it isn’t as sexual. I want to feel that type of submission. I realize it’d be all the better with someone I really like and am attracted to, and have hope of a relationship with, but I figured I’d keep my Cupid requests on the lower expectations side of things.

~

If I haven’t said so before, I like things in multiples of 5, so that’ll be all.

Standing for Sex

Saw this quote on Fet today:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

~Buddha~

 

People always say that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. I’ve *always* stood for something. I was a political science major, and I’m studying public policy. I’m not an activist, but I have opinions and views and values, and I stand by them. I constantly make goals and strive towards achieving them. In part, I define myself by how well I know what I want, how I’m going to get there, and how I can be flexible in ways that allow me to remain open-minded.

For me, it is extraordinarily difficult to not know where I stand on something. Lately, I’ve been feeling that type of uncertainty. In particular, I’m not sure of how my faith and my sexual desires/predilections interact. Because I’m uncertain of that, I don’t know what my limits are when it comes to certain types of relationships or sexual interactions. Casual sex and friends with benefits situations versus monogamous, committed relationships. Part of me understands that I’m learning and exploring (my new mantra), and so it’s ok to not know how I feel. On the other hand, I *hate* not knowing how I feel. I feel like I can’t set goals and pursue them, I can’t be “successful” in the way I define it, without knowing, with certainty, where I stand.

The issue is, how the hell do I figure it out? As the quote above says, and I fully agree, I can’t rely on what society or other people say is right, I can’t rely on blind faith or values. I can pray about it, think about it, talk to a trusted friend… but it’s difficult.

I’m at war in my mind about it. I was raised in the Catholic church until I was 14; long enough to have those values ingrained in my head. My best friend in high school was Mormon, and while I didn’t agree with all of it, I had and continue to have a strong faith. I waver in it sometimes, and I don’t actively attend services (since I have no accurate label for my beliefs), but I have faith. God means something to me.

My parents and sister, however, are very open and ok with casual sexual encounters. The kink community, as a whole, is very, very ok with casual sexual encounters. Some of my friends are very fine with it, others are waiting for/have sex only in serious relationships, others are waiting for marriage. But where do I fit in?

If it is safe, consensual, and pleasurable, will God think of it as wrong? Consensual meaning that both people have the same expectations from the encounter, safe meaning all methods of birth control possible were taken and that previous partners were discussed enough to be careful. Is that a moral-less choice? Or, is it enjoying life fully? Is it taking advantage of something rare – respect and attraction between two people, even if the aren’t ready or searching for some type of lengthy commitment?  As long as I’m being picky, and not having sex with everyone just for the hell of it, isn’t it ok, even outside of commitment, in God’s eyes?

Right when I think I’m settled on which “side” I’ll stand for, I talk to someone who convinces me differently, or I think of certain religious condemnations, or I see something in the media, etc.

Which brings me back to Buddha’s words, “But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

My reason tells me that if I am ok with it, I agree to it knowing all the details, if I consent and am safe about it, then God will respect my choice. Intimacy is not a bad thing. I know lust is seen as a sin, but if it is in moderation (i.e. not with all and sundry, and not indiscriminately done), then I can’t see it as a damning thing. It’s like with alcohol, or dancing, or all things that are pleasure-based. I think prudence and thought need to go into decisions, and they should be made with honest communication and no alcohol, etc. shading the mind, but if done that way, fine.

I just need to get over the fact that people will damn me or judge me for thinking that way. Much as I try not to let that get to me, I dislike confrontation and I want to please people. It’s the submissive inside me. When standing for something gets hard, I like to have solid proof on my side…and for this type of issue, there isn’t any. That’s why it’s just that much more difficult of a thing to process.

Such is life, though! I continue to live with no regrets. I hope my choices don’t belay me with complications later on, but if they do, I will deal with them as I do with everything else in my life, and it will all still be good.