Rarely do I post anything about my personal better yet my sexual life, but I cannot help but share this particular situation. My not saying anything about it in the past probably has something to do with how many of us women have been socialized into thinking about the expression of our sexualities; we are not “supposed” to talk about sexual encounters or the fact that we engage in sexual pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Of course that is utterly ridiculous. Many women openly desire and discuss sexual experiences with their friends and partners. On the contrary, I find that it is heterosexual men who do not share their feelings or thoughts about sexual pleasure unless it is in a context of patriarchal aggression, conquest and domination (and perhaps mostly with “the boys”). The older that I get, and the more that I am empowered by my sexual choices and practices, the more I come to realize how important it is for women to dispel sexual myths or ideas, especially the idea that we are reserving sex for some mystical, magical, virginal moment with some imaginary “knight-in shining armor.”
About ten years ago, I was at a black writers’ conference and I had the opportunity to meet bell hooks in person. I will never forget how empowered I was after hearing her blurt out the words, “Gimmie some dick!” This she did from the podium in the presence of some of the most prominent black writers and thinkers, such as Haki Madhubuti and Nikky Finney, and I was instantly empowered. In that moment, I experienced such an emancipatory rush of feelings about myself and my sexuality that I could not contain my awe and thus my applause. Seeing this type of transgressive activity live and in person is something that most of us need to see to get past our sexual inhibitions and conservatism (especially if you were raised in a religious tradition that promoted sex outside of marriage as “sin”). That said, the other night, while engaged in a sexual encounter with a man who I’ve known for more than twenty years, and at the point of his climax he repeatedly yelled out, “Do You Wanna Taste It?” *pause* Indeed, it was a question so loud, so startling, so unexpected, that it actually stopped me in my tracks, if you get my drift. Maybe I’m just a little heady or something, but I was truly turned off by the question at that moment. Of course, over my lifetime I’ve heard some pretty startling proclamations when it comes to men and sex-talk, but that particular question, “Do You Wanna Taste It?”, was so detached from what was actually taking place at that moment (for me, I suppose) that I lost the feeling. Thank goodness that I had come to my conclusions much earlier.
Today, I was talking with a long-lost colleague and as we were discussing our observations of the social climate at work and on social media networks, my encounter with this man, better yet with this question, “Do You Wanna Taste It?”, came flooding back to my memory (with a fit of laughter if I might add). Looking for the connection, I surmised that perhaps I thought about that question right then since we were talking about the way in which many adult people, including those in managerial, professional positions, are not able to connect with people who are not like them, or who are economically positioned in a different class (managers v. vice-presidents). We concurred that many are clueless about the personal insecurities and social questions that they are acting out at work, and we compared stories of how people isolate and segregate themselves at work by associating only with people who are the same, just like them. As we were in this conversation, I recalled an exchange that I had on Facebook that day with a woman who was concerned about the solidarity between feminists and black women. In return I asked her if she had any black women friends, notwithstanding feminism. The answer to that question was no.
So, where is this going? Well, more and more we are seeing that many people, young and old, lack the ability to connect. On the one hand, they desire intimacy with others, they want “to taste it” wherein the “it” would be something associated with intimacy or friendship or some kind of closeness, but, unfortunately, and even in spite of all the tools that we have to connect us to others, those very same persons lack the ability to initiate and build bonds of solidarity and partnership with those who are different or with those who are not the same. Thus, they only connect with those who are the same (by race, class, sexual orientation, gender, professional position, social status, etc.). It is ironic that we have all this stuff to bring us together, even in the bedroom, and yet folks are detached, clumsy and awkward when it comes to being intimate and connected to others. This cognitive dissonance leads many folks to say and do unexpected things that seem bizarre and out-of-place (as in some “Waiting to Exhale” type shit!). I suppose, for example, that I remembered this startling exclamation by my sexual partner from this last week because in that moment that phrase, “Do You Wanna Taste It?”, seemed so out of left field yet it was part of the sameness that I have repeatedly heard from men in the bedroom. In my experience, I’ve found a few phrases that seem to always come out of a man’s mouth during sex. If it is a man who I have I known for some time, especially an old friend or lover, he (like the others) may say, “This is my pussy,” which always leaves me a bit miffed. Fortunately, I’ve gotten pretty good at reassuring him that it is not “his” pussy, but mine; all day, every day it is my pussy! And, I have come to hear this ridiculous proposal often enough that I am quite good at explaining to any man that he has no claim to my pussy. Yes, it belongs to me. This (relinquishment of patriarchal power), of course, is not how many men behave in the bedroom or conceptualize a sexual act with a woman; many are quite the same and act as if they are entitled to laying claim to a woman’s pussy by virtue of a sexual act. If you think about it, this idea is not random; it comes from many years of social and religious conditioning and sex-talk between men (and women) who associate sex with property and ownership. Indeed, I used to think this way. I used to think that if I had sex with a man that I belonged to him and vice-versa. I used to think that being sexual with a man conferred some kind of supernatural, spiritual connection upon him and me in such a way that it could not be broken. But, as I have grown older and better at establishing intimacy, I have abandoned this superstitious thinking and realized that an intimate and lasting connection does not materialize just because one shares bodily fluids or orgasms together. Real intimacy is nurtured in vulnerability, transparency, the explicit back-and-forth and sharing of desires and mutually pleasurable acts. A little like here or comment there is annoying and even aggravating to me depending on what it is. Real intimacy or connection is not conferred by the click or the lick, but by a sustained, trustworthy and steady presence in the life of another. Yeah, that’s when I go ahead and taste it, and he doesn’t even have to ask.
© 2013 annalise fonza, Ph.D.