I spent this morning with the words and insights of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I listened to his “I Have A Dream” speech, I read through some of his most inspirational quotes, and I read his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.”

Although I usually like to keep posts on SmartHotFun.Com on the light and fluffy side, I feel that today is a good day to get a little deep and intellectual.  Today, I’m going to talk about sexual freedom, and I have 2 MLK quotes that I think are particularly poignant when it comes to this concept.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - MLK, Jr.

If you're here and you're reading, I'm assuming that great sex is something that matters to you. Through my years of teaching and learning, I've come to the conclusion that great sex requires a sense of sexual freedom. A sense that you have a right to your desires, that you have a right to ask for your desires, and that you have a right to say no to things you don't desire. It has been my experience that the people who have successful sex lives are those that don't remain silent about what they want/don’t want, and do not silence their partners when their partner’s speak up about their desires.

When someone doesn’t have a sense of sexual freedom, they don’t speak up about what matters, and that is the day that their sex lives begin to end.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” - MLK, Jr.

We live in an America where, for a huge plethora of reasons, silence about sexual desire is the status quo. As the MLK quote intimates, this silence divides us. I believe this division results in limitations on sexual freedom.

When the conversation that dominates popular culture is about what one small group of influential people feels is “moral” or “normal” (whether you believe in these messages or not), everyone is negatively affected because these messages inspire silence and silencing.

It is this kind of silencing that has lead to a culture where you can simultaneously call someone’s sexual desires nasty or immoral when you don’t understand them, and then throw up a TMI when they try to explain themselves.  It’s this kind of silencing that makes you throw up a TMI when ANYONE starts talking about sex, even if you know that person pretty well.

Shutting down communication shuts down the production of language about sexuality.  The less language we have to communicate about sex, the less capable we are of understanding desire.  The less we understand desire, the more we fear our desires. And this affects our freedom on multiple levels.

On the level of the individual, when we do not feel free to communicate about our sexual desires, we cannot know ourselves. When we don’t know ourselves, it is easy to live in fear of the desires we have.  This is not freedom.

On the level of a sexual relationship, when we do not feel free to communicate about our sexual desires, our partners can’t know us. When our partners don’t know us, it is easy to live in fear of how they will respond to our desires. This is not freedom.

On the level of culture, when we do not feel free to communicate about our sexual desires, we cannot form a language by which to know ourselves. When we do not have a language by which to know ourselves, it is easy to live in fear of the sexual desires of others and discriminate against them based on our fears.  This is not freedom.

To get to a point of true sexual freedom, we have to start talking about our desires and we have to stop silencing other people when they talk about theirs.*

So how do you work your way toward sexual freedom?

Action Steps for Great Action

1. Examine a way you have silenced yourself sexually, and come up with a game-plan to speak up.

Example: You really want to try rimming your partner, but you heard somewhere that only freaks rim.  It’s a desire that you’ve had for a long time, but that message has been holding you back from asking about it because you’re afraid of what your partner might think.

You find a good article that expresses why rimming can be hot.  You send it to your partner in an e-mail with a note that says, “This is something I’ve been interested in for a while.  Would love for you to read through this article and then have a chat with you about it over dinner tonight.”

2.  Examine a way you have silenced a partner sexually, and come up with a game-plan to make amends.

Example: Your partner sent you an article about rimming, asked you to read an article about it, and then asked to talk about it over dinner.  You responded by saying, “Fuck no. That’s so disgusting.  I can’t believe you want to do that.”  You’ve noticed that your partner no longer asks for anything, and you realize that your reaction may have silenced them.

In order to make amends, you sit down and figure out any questions and concerns you have because of this request. After writing down those concerns, you tell your partner that even though you’re still not sure you want to engage in rimming, you're sorry about your initial reaction. You have thought about it more and you want to sit down with them, hear them out, and share your concerns with them.

3. Examine a way you have perpetuated systems of sexual silencing and come up with a game-plan to encourage sexual freedom in the future.

Example: You were out with a group of friends and they start bashing a sexual activity.  It was obvious from their conversation that none of them had ever experienced this activity before, and were speaking from a place of ignorance.  Even though you’ve actually never done that sexual activity or plan to do the sexual activity, you can intellectually understand why it could be hot.  Despite this, you remain silent.

The next month, you’re out with the same group of friends and they start bashing another sexual activity that they've obviously never done.  You haven't tried this one either, but this time, instead of remaining silent you say something like, “Hey, have any of you even ever tried this activity?  Because if you haven’t, how do you know it isn’t awesome?”

So whether you’re increasing sexual freedom by speaking up for your own desires or speaking up for the right to desire freely, I hope that you …

Keep Thinking,
-Becca

Picture of the American Flag

*I should note that there is a time and place for everything.  As adults, I assume you'll be able to figure out the difference between silencing someone and just postponing someone's story until a more appropriate time.

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