ike most people, I suppose I've had my share of being called names, everything being commented on from my ancestry to my sexual appetites. But the label of promiscuity falls more often on the heads of chicks than on us guys.
I remember once when I was probably thirteen or so, this chick, Carol, a friend of my sister, was over at our house, and I was pushing to get close, really pushing. Well, nothing much happened, but my mother came in and somehow Mom blew her cool and launched into a tirade about this chick, Carol, and her reputation and how she wasn't going to let her son be led astray. It really wasn't much like what I expected from my mom and I was embarrassed as hell, knowing that I was the one trying as hard as I could to get something initiated. I just split and went off, ashamed that I had caused Carol that kind of treatment. It was some time before I could look her in the eye again, or talk to her comfortably.
But, if any good came out of that thing, it was that it made me very suspicious any time I heard a chick called a slut, whore, pig, manhole, piece, tramp, or harlot; man, what ugly names, (You know what they call guys: Lovers, Casanovas, Rogues, Bandits, Don Juans, that's a whole different level of name-calling.) And when my friends started to make it with chicks, they would go through the same thing; putting down the chicks they were balling, or hoped to ball. Well, I sort of covered that thing when I talked last column about guys' attitudes toward balling. What I'd like to explore here are the reasons why both sexes are apt to do a lot of balling with a lot of different partners, and if it seems to be oriented more toward chicks, it's only because they get the short end of the stick when it comes name-calling time, and need to be understood faster by more people.
I tried to point out last issue that we all tend to concentrate on our sexual identity, often to the exclusion of many of our other aspects. I think that what is called promiscuity is a natural mode of behavior which can result from either a realistic or an unrealistic picture of our sexual selves.
The two unrealistic pictures are either erroneous ones or incomplete ones. If you have an incomplete view of your sexuality, you have only two alternatives: confine yourself to your imagination, or experiment to find out more. The more experimentation you attempt, the more complete a sexual definition you construct, the less over-emphasis you give to your sexual identity, and the healthier and more whole a being you become. So some people who are called promiscuous are just going through a learning stage.
It's the people with the erroneous concept of their sexuality who I could really cry about. When you are in that bag, you tend to select partners and situations which correspond to your mistaken concept. When each experience turns out to be a disaster and hardly satisfying, you throw yourself into a series of like episodes, trying like hell to prove that you are someone you can never be. Some quit, avoiding all eroticism with the conclusion that it is sex, or members of the opposite sex who are at fault, and not themselves. Others continue, unhappy, to the end. Only a few ever discover that it is their sexual self-image that contains both the cause and the solution which will result in more gratifying sexual experiences.
Few, if any of us, ever gain a total or even a completely error-free image of our sexual identity. A significant part of that is a result of the social environment in which we have grown. It's pretty much of a guilt- oriented society, containing the premise that pleasure is equated with immorality, and the lesson is programmed into us early. It takes time, effort, and understanding to discover and dissolve the synaptic links we made when we didn't know enough to discriminate, but that kind of housecleaning, whether it'd done via "acid," analysis, or meditation is essential for personal freedom.
The consequences, i.e., the punishment or promiscuity has been castigation and/or ostracism upon discovery, and discovery was most often the result of fertility. Today we have tools and techniques which eliminate fertility as a tattler, and they can be as freely taken as is novocaine at the dentist.
Earlier we mentioned that people with a realistic sexual self-image were apt to participate in so-called promiscuous behavior. These are beings comfortable enough in their sexual identity to be freed from emotional or intellectual dependency on the social code. They dig balling with as many partners as they desire, and as often as they find it satisfying. Although applied to them, the term "promiscuity,'' which means involvement without discrimination, or lack of selectivity, is a misnomer. These people are quite selective, and highly discriminating in their choice of times, places, and partners. And many of them are cool enough to go unobserved by the self-appointed guardians of public morality.
Bad as it is to have others calling you dirty names, it's worse when you do it to yourself. If you have been balling more and enjoying it less, dig yourself. It's time to adjust your perception of your sexual self. If balling is a relatively new experience for you and you dig it a lot, don't worry about it too much. When you reach a more complete awareness of your erotic nature, you will quite naturally settle into a level of activity suitable to your own erotic temperament. Whatever you do, don't apply descriptions of promiscuity to yourself. It's the first step toward involving yourself in endless attempts to prove those tags as self-definitive. And that's a pile of bull-shit, lover, you don't deserve to bear.
None of us are guilt-free when-it comes to name-calling, and I'm damned ashamed of some of the labels I've applied to others. But, we can dig ourselves and thereby dig others; it's not only gratifying, but freeing.
In closing, let me tell you: It's not who you do, it's who you are when you're doing it.