I continue to be bombarded with countless untruths about what occurred during our lecture on February 21st, 2011 at Northwestern University. It has turned into a global game of telephone. The story has become so distorted and plucked out of context that it no longer resembles the reality of what happened that day. But that’s not the point of this post. You can read more about the truth and how I feel about the media’s take on this elsewhere on SunnyMegatron.com.
We are four people, while kinky in our private lives, are also intelligent, successful, contributing members of society. We agreed to speak with the students at Northwestern, as we often do with other small groups, because we are passionate about sex education and breaking down prejudices based on sexual preference. We didn’t sign up to be outed to the entire world.
Kink frightens a lot of people. Part of the reason we volunteer our time to talk about BDSM/kink/alternative sexual lifestyles to small groups is to help dispel those fears. Kinky people aren’t weirdos and perverts but more often, your successful and seemingly “normal” friends, neighbors and family members. I have many friends in the kink community who are very high profile individuals in their day to day lives; lawyers, doctors, celebrities and the like who would be ripped apart by scandal if found out by the general public.
Most individuals go to great lengths to hide the kinky side of themselves because they can be fired, arrested and targets of hate crimes if found out by employers, neighbors and family.
Being outed by the media has caused the four of us a tremendous amount of friction in our personal lives. Some of our careers may be at stake, family members are upset and we’ve lost friends. We certainly didn’t ask for that. We’ve collectively spoken on these same topics in smaller groups for years without issue. On the same token, however, we’d be hypocrites if we hid our heads in the sand and felt ashamed of what transpired at Northwestern University.
How many of you like your hair pulled? A spank on the butt? To be tied to the bed post? Do you like to use toys during sex? Enjoy dirty talk? Anal sex? Prostate massage? Get a little pang of excitement when you feel that little bruise a partner left during sex? Do you enjoy rough sex? Do you like to role play or dress up? Have you sought out a threesome with a committed partner? Are you homosexual? Bisexual?
Many of us can likely answer “yes” to more than one of these questions. If you did, then you, my friend, may be considered kinky. You’re “not normal.” Furthermore, according to American psychology and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) some of you may actually have a mental disorder.
Sound ridiculous? To put things in perspective, homosexuality wasn’t removed from the DSM until the mid 1980’s. Most rational folks today would think considering homosexuality a metal disorder to be preposterous. However, only 25 years ago it was.
It seems the only acceptable sex is in the dark, missionary style, vaginal, don’t talk to your partners about it, committed relationship, male orgasm focused sex. And if we have any other sort of sex, which most of us do, we should feel ashamed of it.
The ins and outs of alternative sexual lifestyles are what the four of us came to Northwestern to speak about. This is what we spent 95% of our time there discussing. We gave students the opportunity to ask us nothing–is-off-limits personal questions in order to get the point across that most kinky folk are not sketchy, drug addicted deviants. We succeeded at that and received nothing but overwhelmingly positive feedback. Female g-spot orgasm/the 3 minute demonstration was an important topic that came up on the fly and we made an on-the-spot decision to quickly address it. This has been totally lost in the media. The only people that have a problem with our presentation were people who were not there.
As Jim so eloquently said in our March 3rd, 2010 Chicago Tonight interview, “you never really know what you’re going to be forced to stand up for and when. It happens without you knowing about it. And the fact that we’re being forced to stand up for the ability to demonstrate freely sex to people who are interested in sex is something I never thought we’d have to stand up for.” The four of us didn’t ask to be the center of controversy; we were trying to help dispel myths and prejudices about sex and human relationships through education. Unfortunately, that made the details of our personal lives and ourselves the subject of ridicule, judgment and prejudice from around the world. It may even end up costing some of us our livelihood.
This controversy has taught me we have much more to worry about than whether a 3 minute demonstration was appropriate for an audience of legal, consenting adults. As a society we have much bigger fish to fry. Why are we so afraid of sex? Why do we feel so compelled to judge and discriminate against others based on their sexual preferences? Why do we feel so ashamed of an act that is so simply and basically human?
Furthermore, what does this debate say about intellectual freedom? Look back through history, challenging existing norms and assumptions, even when it incites controversy, is what has allowed us to learn and grow. Just because something is unpopular to some does not mean it isn’t academically valuable.
We’ve always been taught the western world’s sexual revolution was won in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The events of the last few days have indicated to me the new sexual revolution has just begun.
For more perspective on what really happened that day, Rabbit White conducted a lengthy interview with the four of us. You can read Rabbit White’s article here.