Promiscuity and Casual Sex

I was having a conversation with a friend a while back and they brought up the notion of a mutual friend of ours being ‘noted for their promiscuity’, I didn’t disagree. In an email conversation later something was said in reference to this same friend that I misunderstood as refering to me. To be honest it was an easy misunderstanding to make, however it did get me thinking.

I don’t think that by any stretch of the imagination anyone could call me promiscuous at this point in my life. I wonder if some people might call me promiscuous. I will happily kiss and snuggle pretty much anyone I like, I have two boyfriends and a lover all of whom I have a reasonably active sex life with. (Lets not debate right now the activity of my libido). I would say that with none of them am I engaging in casual sex. Thats not to say that I intend to settle down and have kids with each of them (just to show the extremes of the situation), but lets talk about my definitions of casual sex and lets have some honesty for once. I would also claim that there are very few of my friends enjoying casual sex. The point is that a lot of my definitions as regards sex seem a little out of sync with other peoples. I define casual sex quite differently from, it appears, the majority of other people.

I got to uni and discovered quite how easy it was to get laid. Casual sex was, for me, about going out and meeting someone with whom there was a flicker of chemistry and just going with the moment. I came to uni with a boyfriend in a supposedly monogamous relationship. To my eternal shame I rationalised that sex without ties wasn’t the same as cheating on him, after all, these people I was shagging were all about the moment, it was kind of like dancing, just with clothes off (or more often moved strategically aside). It should be pointed out that my boyfriend at the time was at university in London and we met up twice a term for a weekend long shag-fest (as well as both living in the Green County during the holidays) until he split up with me.
In my head the fact that was obsessively careful about condoms (I can still count the number of men I’ve shagged sans condom on the fingers of one hand) and visiting the GUM clinic in time to get the results before spending the weekend with him, counted as some form of fidelity. So that was my first year, as a result I equate casual sex with not necessarily knowing the other persons name, having sex in alleyways, loos and all manner of other unsavory places. Casual sex, for me, is about taking the moment to it’s logical conclusion and then moving on to the next moment.

Some people seem to think that casual sex is any sex that doesn’t appear to be ‘going anywhere’. But then these people seem to have particular destinations in mind for where sex should take you rather than any particular appreciation for the moment of sex itself, for the golden colours it contains. I like sex. I liked a lot of the sex that I had down the alley from the Shagga or behind South End Stores on campus. Sure, ultimately it was meaningless but thats if you see the meaning of sex extending to beyond the moment of it. The beginning of my second year at uni I was single and suddenly faced with the fact that I had cheated on my boyfriend, that I was a liar and dishonest – unsurprisingly I wasn’t too happy with myself. I had pretended that I had come to uni and cured myself of any lasting unhappinesses that existed back in Royston Vasey, eternal thanks to BBM, MoT, Cuddles, the Naiad, Cornish Bloke, Lighting Guy and Scottish Heather for appearing when they did. But especially BBM because he viewed what I was doing as unhealthy. Sure existing moment to moment is fine but people, humans, need souls (in his view and mine) and souls are about forming bonds of love that exist for more than just a moment.

I still appreciate momentary bonds. I emphatically thank the third Blue Eyes for opening my eyes to the real possibilities of In Love (and all that that entails) for a moment. I still like the fragmentary and passing nature of existence. But, souls are about those ties that keep going and about building them piece by piece, day by day. I cannot think of anyone enjoying casual sex at the moment because most of the people I count as friends are building bonds that last more than a few minutes, sure maybe those bonds last a week, a day, for some months or only every so often when the people in question really need a shag. But they are spider-lights nonetheless and I respect them as such. Spiderlights are not always thick and heavy, and some days you can look at the threads people are stringing up and wonder at how they don’t weigh down more than they do. So, no, I don’t know anyone of my friends who are regularly engaging in casual sex.

But what about promiscuity? To me being promiscuous doesn’t necessarily equate with having casual sex, it can equate with having many lovers and also with moving between them with relative speed. Promiscuity is about not worrying, not not careing, but not worrying. Equally though promiscuity isn’t necessarily about having no connections. A promiscuious person who is happy with themselves probably has a good idea of who they are and who they’re sleeping with and how and all the rest of it. Sometimes people seem to use promiscuous as an alternative term for unscrupulous or someone who is damaging to themselves sexually. I disagree. Promiscuous is simply about sleeping with a number of people that seems either a bit more than the norm (whatever that is) or moving between lovers with speed/ease.

I guess my life affects my definitions of promiscuity and casual sex, but I refuse to believe that my experience is that varied from the average. Certain things I find myself defending that people seem not to believe, for example that if sex is all you want be you a guy or a girl you can go out and get it because sex is there for the taking, just go dancing. Maybe it helps if you’re a girl but I doubt it. I’m not so attractive that I’m irresistable, I’m not so sexually talented that people can’t help but go to bed with me ergo anyone who wants just to get laid can. This leads me on to my second point, being attractive to people is secondarily about appearance, mostly it’s about attitude. I’m an average looking, fairly geeky girl with no sense of style from the Green County, whos first love is reading and writing. I’ve been in love seven times, I’ve had many lovers who remain precious to me, friends coming out of my ears and been involved in a million wonderful human soap operas. Attraction, physical or otherwise is about attitude otherwise my life makes no sense.

I think the reason that I’m writing this blog entry is partially to defend my experience as being not that unusual. It bothers me, as I’ve documented before, that people seem to see me as special. Archangel’s catalyst theory, the Jellicle Cat’s sexion jokes, even Manly Viking’s very complimentary notion that I’m some sort of inspiration reminiscent of dreams and fairy tales. I notice that my ideas, my thoughts are at variance with the prevailing ones and yeah that means that the experiences I have had which have led me to these thoughts and conclusions are different but anyone could have had them, they are not born of me solely, just the way the world works. Also, not all of my experiences have been positive, I worry when people see my as inspirational or whatever because althought anyone could have done everything I have I’d rather somethings no one else does. That period of just going with the moment with anyone, that period means I have no idea of how many people I’ve had sex with. I’ll say that again, I have no idea how many people I’ve had sex with, I’ve got a rough estimate based around term dates etc. but that just gives me a ballpark figure. I have no idea how I came out of that period of my life without so much as a coldsore. I’ve been to the GUM clinic more than I can count and *touches wood* never had anything. There are things that I did because for all I like to pretend that as soon as I got out of the Green County I got well again I wasn’t. Getting out was good for me but the moment I start telling anyone, ‘oh yes, I’m fine now,’ thats when it comes back and in a million insidious ways.

People have said to me that they’d like to live in MishWorld. I’ve invited people to come along for the ride. The thing is that MishWorld is great in a lot of ways, (I’m alive and breathing – what else does anyone need?) but some of its foundations I’d rather people skirted. MishWorld can be yours too, it’s not some product of utter weirdness, its about adopting the best attitude for you, but its not about the things I do or have done. Leave those things alone. It’s about finding out how to smile each day and how to love and I still live moment to moment. But I want people to love themselves, I don’t want to be an inspiration or seen as being some catalyst for events in other people’s lives. Everyone can be a catalyst, everyone can do this. Everyone can do this without having first fucked up as much as I have in the past. Everyone can do this without those dodgy foundations. Just, stop thinking that promiscuity and casual sex are hard and fast things. Stop putting things in boxes and look for the spider-lights. Every person, every event, every moment has it’s own significance, its own magic and specialness and without that the world is harsh and that makes the boxing people too harsh as well. The world is too wonderful to be harsh to her.

It comes down to a choice really, either everything is sacred or nothing is and there is no moderation in that. There are no half measures, and everyone’s moments are just as beautiful as mine (more so really because to me theirs are new and exciting).

I think I may have lost a certain amount of sense part way through this entry. Sorry about that if you’re still reading. I guess I don’t like people putting other people in boxes or defining people by one thing and one alone. There, a conclusion, thats gotta be good right?!

17 thoughts on “Promiscuity and Casual Sex

  1. Manly Viking’s very complimentary notion that I’m some sort of inspiration reminiscent of dreams and fairy tales.

    You’ve shown a couple of paragraphs down why this is the case: Mishworld is a place where everything is sacred and that is what makes you this creature of dreams and fairy tales, not who you intrinsicly are. Depending on the situation it can make you anything from frustrating to inspirational.

    I think that everything being sacred is fine and doesn’t mean it becomes irrelevant. I might view a christian shrine as sacred but it doesn’t mean I’ll become christian or do anything special at that shrine, likewise I don’t see how finding the sacred in a cup of tea diminshes anything else. It’s always seemed to me that there is more to spirituality than finding something sacred.

  2. The view of everything being sacred reminds me of things that I’ve thought myself. For me, that kind of serves as a reminder to myself that everything is special in its own right, in a different way, and deserves for me to approach it like it was.

    Have you ever noticed the special feel when a connection to someone else is instant and mutual? It’s like it gains a spacial radiance.

  3. Sacredness…

    Undoubtedly this is on the cusp of the regular semantics game, and yet there are important issues here. A place, object, person or deed which is sacred is one which is set apart, usually as it partakes of a quality which makes it closer to a god, or God (I use the terms without gender bias), or transcendent reality than others. (It may be helpful to look also at the two meanings of the English word ‘holy’.) Clearly, from that perspective, *everything* cannot be sacred, nor can *everything* be special, unless one begins to describe degrees of sacredness or specialness, which I don’t think is what anyone meant. However, *anything* can have the potential to become sacred, or special, to someone’s own subjective world. A sacred moment can be triggered by contemplating a cup of tea, and presumably *someone* finds the beheading of kidnapped victims by terrorists to be a sacred act, but I’m buggered if I do. Finally, all this shouldn’t be confused with the responsibility that we have to look out for each other and our environment.


    I think the availability of sex depends also on the neatness of the line that you draw around it. Personally I enjoy the communication before and after ‘sex’ (as it is generally thought of) as part of the overall sexual experience. Quite frankly very few people appeal to me when considering this overall aesthetic (for example, pissed-up clubbers have slurred speech *and* slurred body language leading to stunted communication all round), so sex in that sense has always been something to savour. Of course, when opening up these boundaries around what one defines as sex, say by considering A.O. Spare’s line, "All things fornicate all the time." one is open to consider a vast array of experience. I still well remember the first time I found sensual and erotic pleasure in the gentle touching of sun-warmed stone in a quiet summer meadow. From such a perspective, which may seem peculiar or perverse to many, the current fashionable categories of straight, gay, lesbian and bi seem laughably parochial.

  4. The sexions gag (that there is a virtual particle called a "sexion" that transmits sexual-ness (for lack of a better term)) I’m afraid dear still holds in this discussion. the cause of them being emitted more from some people than others (not you specifically) was never defined, however your discussion about attitude quite possibly provides a reasonable source for them (in the humourous model).

    Interesting entry however, but I’d dispute your description of either everything or nothing being sacred, I don’t quite see why there can’t be a middle ground of some things being so (even if those things are unrelated to this entry). Its just the everything/nothing absolute seems to have been dropped into the tail end of the entry with no support from anywhere around it.

  5. The end statement that everything is sacred or nothing is about how MishWorld works. The solid basis for MishWorld is that everything is special, is sacred for it’s own self. Once you start allowing for a greying middle ground then MishWorld is full of grey and damp clouds and then the ground gets boggy and marshy and I’m sunk.

  6. The catalyst theory and the sexion jokes always felt like humorous ways to approach a complex situation that was, and is, far from easy to understand in all it’s richness.

    The everything or nothing sacred thing confuses me too. If everything is sacred or nothing is sacred, then sacredness is irrelevant, as it cannot influence our behaviour, or the meaning of our behaviour, in any way. Moreover this is a theoretical approach to sacredness, a grand narrative, and not a practical one connected to what we see in our worlds. People *are* different from each other and so are places, deeds and thoughts.

  7. I actually believe that everything can be sacred. If you believe that everything is a reflection of the divine and carries that element of the divine, then it is sacred. In my case, the statement that everything is divine is more of a short way of describing my way of looking at things. Everything is unique, down to individual snowflakes, and to me, this is a reflection of the divine, an element of being sacred.

    Jez, I presume that you *know* the divine exists.. but do you believe in the divine? Do you feel it?

  8. I think we are playing semantics here, but for what it’s worth, here’s my tuppence:

    While Jez is quite correct regarding the notions of the sacred and the holy – that is, that which is set apart from the everyday patterns of our lives – I can to a certain extent, see our hostess’ point also.

    Quoting Spare again, from the Logomachy of Zos: "However great your reach, whatever you touch, shall touch flesh."

    My understanding of this little nugget is that the notions of sensation are not simply one-way – the world touches us as we touch the world.

    Sex, at a fundamental level, is about touching and being touched – an interaction which leaves both parties changed. It doesn’t matter if the sex is loving, or a meaningless fuck. Nobody emerges as inviolate. There is no way that one can draw a distinction between say, the fucker and the fucked, in such a way as to say that the fucker is unchanged by the act.

    In terms of the sacred and the profane, in my view, it is not a simple division between the two. Nor is there, and pardon me for saying this, the get-out clause of "everything or nothing."

    Such extremity is at best, again in my view, a convenient short-cut.

    Just as the world touches flesh, and vice versa, it is the act that is important.

    If we consider sacredness as the "set-apart-ness" then it is the act of that setting apart which makes it holy – of saying, "This is worthy of contemplation in distinct totality as opposed to merely being part of the simple repeating patterns of everyday life."

    In essence, it is a magical act I suppose.

    As Jez says, sacred moments can be found in the strangest of places, and the profane can be found within the "holiest" of places.

    It is, I believe, the responsibility of those who seek that which inspires the Art/Arte, to elevate the patterns of everyday life from simple repetitive drudgery – to not be pashu within that context. To quote Spare again:


    We who are about to partake of each other, shall walk past all amorous sickness and deaths, for we are within the magical equinox.


    We who proudly make unto ourselves every graven image, shall have great copulations and are allowed to love our Gods, for we know the Sacred Alignments.


    We who do not crucify

  9. Ann…

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by ‘the divine’, perhaps you could unpack your understanding for me? (not necessarily here!) As I understand it many traditional Indo-European cultures (and others) view the world of men as a reflection of the world of the gods. People, animals, plants, objects, places and deeds that are closer to that world are seen as sacred. It’s a dynamic thing, not a static one. It is from these cultures that the words sacred and holy come from, so that is where I look when trying to forge my own understanding.

    I have felt the presence of gods, I have felt the presence of other wights. I *might* have felt the presence of other ‘powers’, for want of a better word.

    I am quite happy to say that everything is unique, and therefore has unique value to me, but sacred is something else.

  10. Sacred. Its an interesting word. It means set apart and holy. But this is not about me finding things sacred, this about me acknowledging that everything is sacred, everything is set apart and holy on it’s own terms. I can know that, I can relook at anything on its own terms and know how special that is. Or I can ignore it because there is something of greater priority for me at the moment or whatever.

    Is this a get out clause? I’m not sure. I don’t think that ‘sacred’ is purely to do with spirituality, its to do with a world view that can, I think, be atheist or secular if you substitute the loaded word ‘sacred’ with something more along the lines of ‘special’. I do understand it much as Nordic Lady seems to be, as viewing the expression of what I call The Divine/Magic within reality, of course this is not to say that I believe I am entirely correct in how I call this since I am but one human filtering something that I have no completely correct and apt model for.

    Sex, then, sex can be enjoyed as purely itself, or as a part of a greater whole but without viewing its on it’s own terms then I find that it just becomes a tool to be used as part of human interaction. A bargaining chip in the nature of relationships, every part of every moment can be sacred, every interconnecting part of every interconnecting moment can be sacred when viewed on the terms of that/those moments.

    I think maybe people don’t get what I mean by viewing things on their own terms. I am not trying to view things in isolation, to isolate moments from a whole would be to take several steps backwards because in order to be human you must be aware of the whole. But, and here’s the key, the sacred, special nature of things are about appreciating the terms under which they occur.

    An orgasm itself is not special. The touch of a lovers fingers against my clitoral piercing, the look in a lovers eyes as their tongue touches the bottom of their teeth and they know that if they touch me again just *there* then I will come, that is special, that is viewing things on their own terms.

    A death itself is not special.
    The life that has ended, the final goodbye as the eyes mist over, as the tears come to my eyes and as the hand touching mine loses it’s grip, that is special, that is viewing things on their own terms.

  11. Jez – I’m talking about my own worldview, my own perception of the divine, my *belief* if you want to call it that. It takes elements, perhaps, from some of the commonly used concepts, but is not identical to them. I’m making a distinction betweem the logical realm of reasoning and book learning, and the realm of belief, of spiritual experience, of belief in a divine that will come to one’s aid and of seeing a spark of the divine in everything.

    As far as I understand, what you are talking about belongs in the realm of knowing, of book learning and mental experience, rather than what could be called "matters of the heart". I believe that you can experience the divine in both ways.

    Mish – yes, I think we may have similar views in this. At least I felt comfortable with what you wrote.

    Cornish Bloke – some interesting thoughts there, I’ll have to look more at that when I have some more time.

  12. Things have to be sacred, or I can’t run roughshod over their sacred stature.

    If everything is sacred, that gives me more room to move.

  13. If it’s any help, the Mish-as-catalyst theory’s out of date now.

    I didn’t notice the word ‘platonic’ anywhere in the above post – could be I missed it.

    Casual sex = sorry, what was your name again?

    Platonic sex = wow, are you going to be at LURPS on Tuesday?

    Not-at-all casual sex = mmmm, I love you, you know that?

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