Like any blogger with a relatively large and loyal fan base, I struggle all the time with what to share. I err towards the uncensored, for a variety of reasons. I know that I benefit from reading about how other bloggers handle tough times; I like to think that some good could come out of me sharing my difficulties. And I know that I benefit greatly from the support I get in comments. I also don't feel a great need to censor because I'm very open about the fact that I blog and what I blog about. My mom and dad read my blog, as do my sister- and brother-in-law. A couple of coworkers read my blog. Lots of my real-life friends read it. My general rule is that I don't blog about things I would not feel comfortable discussing in real life, although from time to time I violate that rule if I'm using the blogging process as a way to work through something I'm not quite ready to talk about yet.
Another reason I tend not to censor is that I'm very comfortable with myself, my beliefs, and my morals. I don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions, decisions, or actions, and I've learned a lot from commenters who don't agree with me on some subjects. Losing a spouse, the grieving process, and parenting—my main topics—are universal. There are widows and widowers among Obama and McCain supporters alike. Right-wing Christian conservatives and athiests all have kids. Sadly, I don't think anyone makes it through life without grieving the loss of something. Likewise, my readers tend to come from all walks of life. I love that. I work hard to be a tolerant and open-minded person, and I think we can learn a lot from each other. (Does anyone else hear the strains of "Kumbaya"?)
When I first started posting about dating—and especially about sex—I wasn't surprised to get comments about my morality, or lack thereof. Some of the comments stung a bit; I hate feeling like I've disappointed anyone. Then is occurred to me that while my actions have clearly implied certain beliefs, I've never laid my beliefs and morals out in black and white. That made me start thinking about exactly what I is I do believe. I found that it's not so easy to define. I don't made decisions without thinking, but nailing down my thought process is not as simple as I thought it would be.
Sexual behavior is of course just one part of a person's moral belief structure, but it's been the one most up for debate here on my blog, and it's also the one I feel is most taboo for people to discuss. Let's open it up for some chat, shall we? Without further ado, here's a random collection of my thoughts on sex, with the caveat that of course everyone should be practicing safe(r) sex, etc.
- I think sex is great fun, and I don't think people should be embarrassed to enjoy it.
- I completely respect people who wait until marriage to have sex, but I did not feel any need to do so myself.
- Sex can be a wonderful part of building an emotional connection with someone, but you can have good sex without having an emotional connection and you can certainly have an emotional connection without having good sex.
- As long as both parties are clear that the relationship is not destined for the long haul, there is absolutely nothing wrong with two adults having a casual, sex-based relationship.
- I would not be comfortable seriously dating or having a physical relationship with more than one person at a time.
- I don't think you need to wait a certain number of dates or establish that a relationship is "serious" or "committed" before you decide to have sex.
- Single parents should not be barred from having sex, and having sex does not make a single parent worse (or better) at his or her job.
- Sex is not the more precious gift I have to offer a guy, nor the most important or compelling thing I bring to a relationship.
- I can't imagine having sex with someone just for the sake of having sex. I have to feel some kind of connection—emotional, physical, both. I've gone a long time (like years and years and years) without having that connection at times, and that's OK. I'm not going to do it just to do it.
- In some relationships I've had, the sex has happened right away. In others, not. While there's no way to know for sure, my sense is that the timing of the sex has had no impact whatsoever on the ultimate success or failure of relationships I've had.
I'm not laying all this out there in order to justify anything I've done, but rather because the variety of comments on the subject have made me curious about where I fall on the Morality Spectrum. Am I a sexual über-liberal? I never thought I was; I've always felt pretty middle of the road. But perhaps I'm some kind of Free Love Guru and I didn't even know it. Where do you feel like you fall on the spectrum?
EDITED: Of course I do not think it is OK to flaunt my sexuality in front of my kids! They are waaaaay too young to have "The Talk" with (thank goodness, I'm so not ready), but not too young to notice how I interact with people. No one I date is going to be staggering out of my room half-naked in the morning (or evening, or middle of the night, or what have you). No one I date is going to be staggering out of my room fully clothed in the morning (or evening, or middle of the night) for that matter, not of there's a chance that Maddie or Riley would see him and wonder what's going on. But protecting them from adult activity that they are too young to understand is not mutually exclusive to me having an adult relationship.
As an aside, it's posts like these that are one of the reasons I continue to allow Anonymous comments. This is a sensitive topic. I'd rather deal with a random, crazy hater from time to time than have people feel like they can't share.