A friend of mine has been talking a lot about sex lately.
It's not the kind of talk that is designed to promote him as a sexual conquistador or to shore up his masculinity. In fact, he's been doing a lot of questioning his place in the sexual culture that is Atlanta's black gay milieu. Some element in his questioning has sparked in my mind an analysis of my own sexual behavior.
I am great on the theory of sexual liberation; i talk a really good game. The truth of the matter, though, is i am about as sexually repressed as you can get. I'm not sure when that happened. I used to be free. (I used to be a little too free, if you know what i mean.) So how did i become a sexual prude in my old age?
Okay, so i'm not really old. And i'm not really a prude; i mean, i don't go around judging what other people do sexually or turning my nose up at folks who talk about things that i personally wouldn't choose to engage in. I just don't seem to feel the same way about myself that i used to.
I remember a time in my adolescence when sex was all i could think about. I didn't think of myself as sexy or even attractive at the time. Then there was my first boyfriend when i was 15 or 16. He made me feel sexy for the first time: desirable, powerful, and oh so potent. It was the beginning of my sexual awakening.
There was the "dry, white season" of my year-and-a-half at Michigan State University, followed by the dark days of my park-cruising adventures. Salvation at the hands of a new group of friends led me to my first black gay social gatherings and clubs, and opened new possibilities of sexual conquest and exploration.
My move to Atlanta signaled a significant shift. From vixen to serial monogamist, i moved to a new pattern of expressing my sexual self. Somewhere along the way, my sexual attitudes and my sexual behaviors fell out of synch. I stopped feeling my sexual power and stopped exercising my sexual prowess. Somehow, i reverted to my adolescent self: thinking and talking about sex without feeling especially sexy.
Maybe it's married life. Maybe it's middle age. Maybe it's both, combined with the fact that i work primarily around men who are much younger than i am.
Whatever the cause, i have a sense lately that i am undergoing a major shift in my life again. I am at one of those critical junctures where not just one thing, but many many things are changing for me. How will the changes affect my sexual life? I don't know. But my partner better watch out, 'cause when i get my bearings again, i'm gonna be all over him.