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by Race Bannon

I've noticed a creeping trend lately when it comes to how some people present their sexualities, kinky or otherwise. This happens mostly online on cruising sites and apps, but it seems to be happening increasingly during face-to-face engagements I've witnessed.

SmorgasbordWhat I've noticed is how remarkably precise and specific some people have become with their stated sexual identities and options. Not only have sexual positions and power dynamic roles often been demarcated, but the erotic options within those structures are listed with no wiggle room for adventure or exploration.

My ex, Guy Baldwin, had a wonderful metaphor he'd use in his presentations and writings about sexuality, kink sexuality in particular, but it pertains to all of sexuality. I've poached this metaphor many times because it's so good.

Guy would liken sexuality to a smorgasbord. While there may be a seemingly endless variety of foods on the table, few people like them all. Nor should they feel compelled to like them all. We can pick and choose those that we like and leave the others for people with different tastes. The goal is to have an enjoyable meal, not to try everything on the table.

Just as with gastronomic tastes, sexual tastes vary. Some like spaghetti and some like egg rolls. Some like both. No choice is better than another. It's all a matter of personal preference.

Plus, we get to choose different foods each time we walk up to the table. How many of us have eaten the same meal every time? Few of us. We like variety in our food. Most of us like variety in our sexuality too.

Also, people change. Many people's erotic fantasies and activities grow, shift and morph in different directions throughout their life. People might grab and try something new off the erotic smorgasbord table today that they wouldn't have dreamed of considering five or ten years ago.
Yes, some people have incredibly specific and narrow ranges when it comes to their sexuality. They have every right to those choices. My fear though is that with such specificity being more common lately people will come to believe that's how our sexuality should function.

Few things are less interesting than someone presenting their erotic menu in painstaking detail with their favorites essentially circled and underlined, but without them ever once uttering something akin to "What's on your menu and what do you like?" This happens all the damn time. Those people should teach a class titled How to Turn Off a Sexual Partner in 60 Seconds or Less.

While this column caters to the kinkier among us, the problem of rigidity happens a lot in vanilla sex situations too. How often have you read an online hookup profile that lays out the exact and very specific way you're supposed to please them with nary a mention of their openness to pleasing others? I would guess you've seen it often if you peruse those sites and apps at all.

Like what you like. Do what you want to do with your sexual partners. If it's highly specific, fine. It's your sexuality. I just think that most people would end up with better sexual situations by remaining open to exploring things outside of their usual erotic box and especially being more open to focusing on pleasing their partners as much as themselves, even if that means sampling something new that their partner has selected from the erotic smorgasbord.

Race Bannon is an author, blogger and activist. www.bannon.com

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