So, I've been watching a lot of Sex And The City lately (yes, fuck you, I'm a guy who watches Sex And the City, it works best if you think of it as a satire). I can't decide if the show is pro- or anti-feminist. On the one hand, all the women in the show support themselves through successful careers (amazingly, since the plot often requires them to be dumb as posts) and they're sexually liberated (mostly). On the other, all of them are obsessed with finding the perfect man and getting married (Charlotte anoyingly so), the obsession with designer labels is just pitiful and some parts of the show are just stunningly anti-male (seriously, imagine half of those jokes being made about women and the uproar that would follow). Oh, and they all drink far more than is healthy although I'm willing to let that slide on the grounds we mainly see the characters in social situations. The mixed messages on feminism was something I got used to watching Buffy but with Buffy, the premise of the show constantly reminds you that these are not normal people. If you spend your teenage years beating the shit out of vampires, werewolves and the occasional robot, your worldview isn't going to be remotely normal.
What's interesting about the show, apart from the aforementioned indecisiveness, is the attitude of the characters toward non-vanilla sex or sexual orientations. While the gay character we see most often, Stanford, is slightly camp, he also manages to avoid the twin traps of gay characters in TV (being either celibate or wildly promiscuous). Although the premise of the show requires him to be as unlucky in love as the other characters, Stanford manages to be a warm and sympathetic character. Less sympathetically treated are the bisexual characters we meet in one episode. Although protrayed as pleasent people, the fact that they are far younger than Carrie (our POV character) and Carrie's reaction to them, means that their bisexuality (or possibly their tangled personal relationships) comes across as just one of those crazy things that the kids do these days.
It's amusing that TV can't seem to decide how to deal with bisexuals. Statistically, there are far more of us than there are exclusively gay people but while gay people have gradually become accepted and respected characters in TV (and about time too, don't misunderstand) but when we appear on TV, we always end up portrayed as either gay people who occasionally have sex with the opposite sex, straight people who occasionally "experiment", greedy or just flat-out insane. The idea that there are people who tick both boxes on the form marked "fucks girls" or "fucks guys" seems to make otherwise gifted writers lose all grasp of ambiguity (Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon, gifted writers both, take a bow). Naturally, there are a few exceptions. The entire main cast of Torchwood are portrayed as bisexual to one degree or another. The omnisexual (men, women and sometimes non-human species) Captain Jack is mostly portrayed as just slightly different although most of his on-screen lovers are male (possibly to accomodate John Barrowman's real-life orientation). His on-off relationship with his seneschal, Ianto, is portrayed as positive, loving and supportive which is part of what made Ianto's meaningless death toward the end of Children Of Earth bloody annoying.
Here's the FYI on what you need to know about us bisexuals: There's nothing to know. My faith teaches that love is the intermingling of souls. Some people find that with the opposite sex, some people find that with the same sex and it's all good because the love, that most important and rarest of elements, remains the same. Oh, every couple has their quirks but the love shared by two men or two women is exactly the same quality of love as that shared by a husband and wife. Bisexual people are exactly the same. We find love where we find it. This world is so hostile, so stacked against love in a million ways, that it seems absurd to place additional barriers in the way. Humans are animals, yes, but we are also something more and it is our capacity to love and to be loved that makes us something more than just a superevolved ape.
But, to return to the original rambling over a TV show, it seems another human quality is our capacity for sexual invention. In the course of the three seasons of the show I've watched recently, we have heard about: Anal sex, watersports, oral sex, chemically assissted sex (both clinical and recreational), any amount of costume play, threesomes (every possible variant), etc, etc. The main characters, all highly experianced sexually, always react to these with a mixture of bewilderment and disgust. These are women who have laid so much pipe you'd think they'd sprung a leak (and I mean that as a compliment) and they react with horror at the idea of anal sex? Do TV writers believe that real people only fuck in the missionary position? Fact is, for as long as humans have been fucking, they've been inventing different ways to fuck. Apart from the chemicals, all of this has been around for as long as we have records. Charlotte (yes, most of the sexually naive plots involve Charlotte, she's the naive character) eventually blows off the anal sex proposition with the hysterical rant that "I don't want to be the up-the-butt girl because no-one ever marries the up-the-butt girl and if they do, I'll be Mrs up-the-butt". Quite apart from being both stunningly naive and insanely stupid, the absurdity here is screaming at us. The characters obsession with rules regarding sex is self-defeating. It's sex, not a space shuttle launch. Of all the dumb shit humans do, sex is one of the few that really does come instinctively. It's sex, the only rules are the ones you make up for yourself.
Actually, strike that, there are rules. Here are the rules:
1) Consenting adult humans only. Sex is a grown-up game for grown-up players. Don't invite the under-age, the mentally under-age or your pets.
2) Fellas, either grow a beard or shave. Stubble only worked for Don Johnson.
3) Ladies, ditto. Most of us don't much care if you shave all over or go au naturel but stubble burn is just as annoying for us as it is for you.
4) Never tell the truth about your partner's genitals unless the truth is complimentry or something that can be easily fixed (i.e. requesting a wash is fine, requesting piercing isn't).
5) Ladies, if a fella goes off too early, don't make a fuss. Even if you're trying to be sympathetic, it comes off as pitying.
6) Fellas, if you go off too early, the correct response is not to roll over and go to sleep. The correct response is to use fingers and tongues to keep your partner on the boil until you're ready to go again.
7) Ladies, do not be ashamed to say what you want. Contrary to popular belief, asking a guy to fuck you rigid will usually be met with a sigh of relief. Having to always make the first move is nerve-wracking, especially in this day and age of sexual harassment lawsuits. I have no idea how gay women handle this one, anyone want to enlighten me?
8) Pulling out the toys is fine but give your partner warning first. Saying "you mind if my little plastic friend joins in?" is fine and it's a lot less stunning than having Black Beauty suddenly appear between the sheets.
9) Don't shag someone else's significant other if you can avoid it. Look, stuff happens and the heart does as the heart does. Sometimes, life gets complicated and love even more so. I know that as well as anyone but be aware that when you crash land into someone's love life, the stakes get very high, very quickly. Poly couples, make your own rules here.
10) If you're into casual hook-ups, that's fine. No judgements here. I happen to be a big fan of sexual pleasure and if it's just two people giving each other pleasure for the night (or day or lunchtime), that's fine. But for casual hook-ups, two additional rules apply: A) Rubbers are mandatory. No excuses, ifs, ands or buts. Unless you met your playmate at an HIV+ support meeting, slip on a rubber before you slip into your lover (ladies who love ladies, you get to skip that one); B) don't say "I love you" unless you mean it. If it slips out in the heat of passion, just try not to do it again. Everyone is in love when they're cumming and if they say it, don't hold them to it. But, in general, be up front about your intentions. If all you're looking for is a memorable night, say so.
11) Unless your partner is able to give a firm clear "Yes", don't go there. "FOR GOD'S SAKE, FUCK ME!" counts as well. If in doubt, "Are you sure?" is a good way to check. Granted, we've all fucked when we were beer buzzed or slightly high but if your partner isn't able to affirm their assent in a clear voice, settle for making out. That way, worst you'll have in the morning is a little embarassment.
12) No-one gives a shit about your porn stash. Really. This is the Internet Age, any of us can find any porn we want any time we like. Tits, cocks, pussys and asses are not a rare commodity anymore.