Sunday, 19 March 2017

On sex and different kinds of relationships

Don't you wonder about the porn industry sometimes? I do. Because porn is something I would never do, it's curious why people get into it and how it affects them and who can stay for a long time. Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends: Porn and the follow-up 15 years later Twilight of the Porn Stars offer some great insights into the porn industry, especially the male performers, and its impact on the performers' personal lives and relationships. Sex is an intimate act; it may not necessarily involve as much emotion as cuddles, holding hands, or forehead kisses, but it's not merely physical, and over time it can get complicated. And we can see in the Theroux films that it does.


Today there are myriads of different kinds of sexual relationships. As the regular readers of this blog belong to other generations, I'll define them, to the best of my understanding. 
1-night-stands need no explanation. 
Hook-ups are meet-ups for sex. Hook-ups are different from dates. 
Booty calls are calls for sex; and people you ring up for sex. The way I understand it, booty calls are the people you call to come over only when you're free and horny instead of making arrangements like you actually like each other, then each returns to their own life. 
Fuck buddies are people that meet regularly to have sex. There may be a bit of small talk, but fuck buddies are regular sex partners that don't do anything else together. It's just sex. These are people that have a good time in bed, but either have little else in common or choose not to do anything together to avoid attachment and complications because for some reasons they don't want a serious relationship. 
Friends with benefits are friends that also have sex. That means that, unlike fuck buddies, friends with benefits can hang out and do other things together. The difference between this kind of relationship and a serious relationship is the absence of romantic feelings on at least 1 side, and the freedom. There is no exclusivity. 
If that term sounds too cold and detached, lover is another option. Lovers, I think, can be similar to fuck buddies or friends with benefits, but the term suggests more passion involved, and more intimacy. But like fuck buddies and friends with benefits, people who are lovers can have sex with someone else. 
(These terms tend to be used interchangeably, but I think there are nuances, they're not exactly the same). 
On my part, I've tried all of these things. And now I'm in a serious relationship. A conventional monogamous relationship. 


An open relationship is a concept I don't get. People can do it if they want, and as long as both are comfortable with it, I have no objections. I just don't get it. What's the point of being in a relationship with somebody if you also have sex with other people? What makes it different from friends with benefits? 
(I'm lucky that my boyfriend is a great guy and we have a lot in common, in terms of Weltanschauung, interests, politics, religion, etc. and he also has a similar view on sex and relationships). 
There are only 2 cases in which an open relationship makes sense: 
The couple have long periods being away from each other, and both have high sex drives. 
or The couple would like to have some fun, such as threesomes. 
In the 2nd case, that would make them close to swingers. The difference between the 2 is that swingers are couples that have adventures and have fun together: orgies/ sex parties, threesomes, partner-swapping, etc. whereas an open relationship is where each person is off doing their own thing. 
In my opinion, swinging makes more sense. It's not my thing, but I can see why it's great for people who consider themselves free-spirited and want to have some variety and spice up their relationship by having some adventures, and it's for like-minded people to have fun together. An open relationship must be built on trust, but when a person is having sex with someone else, the other partner isn't present, and who knows, over time, this person may grow attached and develop feelings for someone else. In a way, it's like cheating in the open. I respect people who do it, but personally I don't get it. 


On the other side are people who don't realise the importance of sex, or sexual compatibility. 
Nowadays, premarital sex is no longer a taboo except in very conservative places, so people choosing to remain virgins till marriage is a lot less common and often because of religion. Personally, I openly support premarital sex. What if there's a problem? What if there's no compatibility? What if there's something you want to try but your spouse doesn't want to do it because he or she finds it weird or unhygienic or whatever? 


And then there are people who don't realise the importance of dating, and of experience. 
I have a rather close friend that is Muslim, and the more I talk to her, the harder I find it to understand Muslims' "rules" for sex and relationships. 
Normally this is what people do: you date, to get to know someone, then either you have sex and start a relationship or get into an official relationship and have sex, then over time, if it doesn't work, you break up and find someone else, if it works, you want to get married, so you get engaged, and get married. 
(Except when you choose to remain virgins till marriage, as mentioned above).
Sometimes people start with sex, then date, and follow the same order. Sex, or, to be precise, how you behave in bed, does reveal a lot about your personality. 
For Muslims, you meet or get introduced to somebody, then you get engaged in order to go out with them and get to know them, i.e. you get to know them after getting engaged, and if it works, you get married, and after that have sex, if it doesn't work, you break the engagement. 
I think experience is important. I learn over time. And as I meet different kinds of guys, I can compare, and see that certain things are not OK. 


Should I write more about sex? 


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  2. What are they teaching in schools nowadays? HEh.

    On a serious note ... What is the first question that comes to your mind when you think of somebody as a sexual subject (somebody who engages in sexual activity)? Is it, whether he is somebody's fuck buddy? or does he give booty calls? or is he open to 'open relationship'? Or is it first and foremost about his sexuality, whether he is gay, or straight or so on? In other words, is the sexual landscape even today not the same as in our times and populated by such figures as ‘homosexuals’, ‘heterosexuals’, etc.? Or has it changed completely and the figures replaced by 'fuck buddies' and 'booty callers' and 'friends with benefits'? On deeper analysis, I think you will find that the answer is no, that nothing much has changed, and the questions that we ask ourselves, the anxieties that we have, the fears that keep us awake in nights, the dreams that haunt our sleeps when it comes to sex and sexual matters, both on an individual level and the level of the society as a whole, are still the same and couched in similar terms (of our sexuality); that the experience of sex for us is still the experience of our sexuality …

    Different ages/societies problematized sexual activity differently. Ours did it in terms of sexuality. How did some others? This is how you should approach this topic and not in terms of how some societies are less liberated than others (the whole “repressive hypothesis” is problematic anyway). Somethings to think about.

    P.s. Sorry for the mess above. You will clean it, of course. :)

    1. One minor correction: Insert the word "everywhere" in the sentence above, "Or has it changed completely and the figures replaced (everywhere) by such figures as 'fuck buddies', "booty callers..." For, indeed, there is nothing new about these figures, or at least about the type of ‘free' behaviour they represent... Such behaviour has always been there, in one form or another... The whole 'repressive hypothesis', which says that sexuality and sexual activity in general were repressed in the centuries immediately preceding ours, is problematic to say the least: For one, it creates a false dichotomy not supported by historical facts; and, secondly, by saying that human sexuality was repressed, it posits it as something given, a fact of nature or something…

      Beginning in 18-19th centuries there is a gradual shift in the way people think about sexual activity, look at it, discuss it, a new experience born. This experience, which is still by and large our own experience today, is based on human sexuality. It is how we problematized sexual activity, our experience. Different ages experienced it differently. So, to say that human sexuality (and sexual activity in general) was repressed earlier is hardly accurate. Nor does it make us any less ‘repressed’… we “other Victorians.” :)

    2. I honestly have no idea what you're on about.
      If you think that I think before these terms were created, there was no such thing similar to friends with benefits or booty calls, as you seem to be attacking the repressive hypothesis that is not in my post, you're mistaken. I'm talking about the concepts, which I'm sure not everyone on my blog is familiar with. Also, people today look upon those relationships differently from before. I have never stated that such behaviour didn't exist in the past, which you for whatever reasons believe I have- all I've been implying is that such relationships are less of a taboo and more in the open.

    3. I honestly have no idea what you're on about.

      Yes, i suspected as much. But no harm done, right?

      ...On second thoughts, tell me do you or do you not believe that our age/society is more liberated than some others when it comes to sexual matters? And, was that or was that not part of your post even a little bit? Also, does this (more) freedom not constitute for you the essence of our sexual experience today? Like if somebody were to ask you, "What do you think of the sex life in general today?" would you not say, "Oh, it's more free"?

    4. To be honest, the question about "the sex life in general today" doesn't make much sense to me, at least I don't know what you mean to say. But if you're thinking of something like people in past eras didn't like sex very much, didn't violate the norms such as having premarital sex, didn't have purely sexual relationships, etc. then that's not what I'm saying.
      But our age/ society being more liberated than some others in sexual matters, I don't see how you think it's not a fact.

  3. Interesting thoughts and I could spend weeks discussing them all. As a child of the 60s, when all these boundaries were being questioned and huge chages were taking place, not to mention a guy who has had two very different open relationships, but has now been bi-celibate for a decade, there's a lot I could add, but I don't know if I have the time.
    I have been using 'fuck buddy' as a synonym for the more eupheistic 'friend with benefits', ie a friend with who one occasionally has sex if you both feel like it (as opposed to 'spouse', someone with whom you rarely have sex), but I did come across a lass who seeemed to think the term implied a sort of obligation to fuck reasonably frequently. Maybe I should adopt the distinction you suggest.

    1. I personally think both of those terms are very cold.
      But sometimes it's precisely because of that that they are perfect.