As part of a discussion on finding friends, confidants, and potential playmates Patrick Califia and I had a quick exchange on how our age and experience affects what we are looking for. He has kindly allowed me to quote it below.
Ideally, as we age we learn and grow. Some folks suggest that our desire to ‘sleep around’ grows less as we find ‘the one who completes us’. It’s my view, and Patrick seems to agree, it’s not that we no longer enjoy multiple playmates so much as how we select them changes. Our desired outcome morphs from pure physical pleasure to something else.
I also mention that our desire for such additional connections may be inhibited by our current, often long-term, primary relationship. Our society still promotes a heteronormative, monogamy-based pairing as the ideal.
I’m actually the one who wants to break bread with my prey. I decided a few years ago that if I didn’t like the other person enough to have dinner and speak at length with them, it wasn’t a good idea for me to tie them up and beat and fuck them. I have to stay on this side of respect for the other person, and at least like or enjoy their company, to keep within the bounds of what I’m comfortable with as a sadist. Otherwise, I tend to hook up with people who want me to go a lot further than I want to go. They might be happy with the scene that results, but I wind up feeling like I need a moral shower.
Aside from the ‘dungeon’ aspects, this sounds very similar to what I see & hear from other folks our age(-ish). Some people take it as meaning they have to avoid ‘hook ups’ – but that may be to protect their primary relationship.
I believe it can mean that we want more out of what we invest our time and energy in.
I feel like my words are lacking- I’m at work so perhaps tomorrow I will re-visit.
I think you are saying something valuable here. In my twenties, I was putting a lot of notches on my bedposts. It had validity. I learned a lot from sleeping with or playing with virtually anybody I could. But at this point in my life, I don’t need that kind of knowledge any more. What I want is compatibility and precision in meeting my needs and the other person’s. So I would rather take more time in screening or preparing an encounter, and hopefully avoid misunderstandings or misfires. I hate disappointing people or being frustrated, so this strategy works better for me at this phase of life. It’s no judgment on the “fire at will” person I was for so many years. I’m glad I can run my fingers over all those notches. But today, I don’t need to know what hundreds of different sets of genitalia or buttholes look like. Sex has become less of a physical challenge (Can I make this stranger’s body do tricks for me?) and more of a hope for a mutual “trip” someplace that combines heart, mind, and body.
More About Patrick:
Patrick Califia is a transman, published writer and activist who was instrumental in organizing the leatherdyke scene in the late 1970s. Today, he enjoys making canes and corsets for play-friends of all genders, and participating in pagan rituals of transcendence or union with the divine. He is working on a book about how the mental-health establishment stigmatized BDSM people by labeling their sexuality a mental illness, and he is also putting together a manual on sexuality and intimacy for transmen and their partners.