July 4, 2009

Playing Both Sides

Next week a good friend of mine and I are going to be speaking to a workshop class here in the San Francisco Bay Area on the topic of switching. We’ve taught this workshop before and it was a huge success and we’ve been asked by two other organizations to teach the same class to their groups. When we taught it the first time it was one of the biggest turnouts that organization had ever had for a workshop. What makes this topic so appealing?

I think the topic of switching has such appeal because it’s one of those umbrella topics that allows for discussion about a whole lot of sacred cows within the kink scene such as:

  • Fluidity of wants and needs. The truth is that our sexuality and relationship needs aren’t static. They’re fluid. They change over time. What we want and need out of our sexuality and relationships changes as we change as people. For some it changes a lot, for others a little, but change is inevitable.
  • Overcoming Old Guard protocol. I’m someone who comes from what many consider the Old Guard era, but I’m not someone who worships at its altar. Much of what’s been presented about the Old Guard era is more myth than fact. Regardless, much of what constitutes Old Guard thinking is quite good and embracing it can be beneficial. Being constrained and limited by such thinking is not so good however. Time moves on and so do entire sexual scenes. We either move on with them or get left in the dust to wonder what happened and why our sexuality doesn’t seem relevant anymore.
  • Dom/sub dynamics. Those in dom/sub relationships or who play within that realm often struggle with versatility (switching) issues. A dom who also likes to bottom or a sub who also likes to top can meet with resistance to such desires, both within their relationships and within the community at large.
  • Real-world issues. Having to confront the issues around switching prompts discussions about all of the other real-world issues that arise when our sexual and relationship dynamic fantasies mix with the realities of the world in which we live daily.
  • Diversity. Sometimes those who hang out in the kinky world like their sexual roles, activities and accompanying relationships to be clear cut and constant. There’s a certain comfort in that for some, but many (most?) find those constants to be limiting and that they can squash any creativity or growth. We’re each unique. Diveristy is the rule, not the exception.

If you’re reading this and you feel you’re quite happy with your sexuality and relationships just as they are, great! I’m all for each of us pursuing what’s works for us. However, if you’re someone for whom versatility and ongoing adaptation is important, I strongly urge you to resist any efforts to sway you from those thoughts, those desires, those needs. Go for it. Enjoy. After all, it’s your sexuality, your relationships. Do it your way. Otherwise, why bother? It’s supposed to be fun and fulfilling. Do whatever it takes to make it so.

What are your thoughts on switching? Do you struggle with issues surrounding your need for versatility?

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