The My Sexuality Post has gotten a good response. Between 200 and 300 hits since it went up two days ago! And 16 comments so far, ranging from the polite "well done", through "There's so much here I get", and "I wish you'd been my friend while I was learning about sex," to "I really want to talk to you about so much stuff." Some people are taking the chance to open up, which is good. I've always tried to make time for those that need someone to talk about most things, but especially so if the subject is sex or relationships. There's been some great comments.
One person inferred that I'm a great essayist, or at least becoming one. Wow.
So yes. The post was very much worth it. And I'd like to thank everyone who read it and commented, because, well, it's a bloody big ask, ten thousand words. I often look at LJ posts that go for more than a page and cringe.
It's also nice because there are a few friends on this LJ where the idea that they don't know this much about me is just kind of weird. Not because they have been intimately involved with me or anything, but because they are such a big part of my life, even if I don't see them often. I trust them and care about them, so it's nice to share some of what has turned me into the man I am today, with the people who in their own way have influenced that.
Now, the My Sexuality Poll. What a nightmarish thing to try to put together! Trying to allow for increments that accurately cover the sorts of situations I have found myself in, and realistically deal with the incredible openness and physical intimacy I've found with people over the years, without it needing to become all about intercourse. Attempting to make it clear that this is only a hypothetical, that any woman (or the occasional man) who answers it needn't fear being groped or stalked, or fear crushing me with an honest, 'not interested, sorry.'
And then there's simply putting myself out there and saying to a crowd of people "Be honest, am I the least bit desirable."
This poll has been, without doubt, the most liberating thing I think I have ever done.
Thirteen people have done it so far, which is not bad given to get to it I recommend reading an epic bloody post... then the poll itself is massive, confronting, and in-your-face. Plus, even with the best wording, you can't get around the problem that you're asking people to answer based mostly on pure speculation. You often can't know how you'd react until you're in the situation.
Also, it's specifically asking women to express their theoretical levels of desire for intimate contact with a guy they know will be reading it. That's a hard ask, no matter how you look at it. Most women aren't likely to be that comfortable with it because a woman expressing herself... overtly, in this way would still be considered a little wrong or slutty by some folks. More importantly, most women have learnt that to express even a minor level of interest in a guy can backfire terribly. So to put yourself forward in that way isn't easy. Even harder for those in relationships.
To everyone who does the poll, thank you for your bravery and honesty.
Now my reactions to their reactions. Well, I never would have thought that so many answers that effectively said "Sorry dude, we're not gunna play hide the sausage with you" would make me smile so much. Seriously. I've come away from the poll very happy and just a little more relaxed and empowered.
Because I now have a much better idea of where I stand with these ladies. Do you know what that's worth to me? For a start it means with some I can go "Ok, cool, I haven't missed or misread anything." Given I've crushed people by being oblivious, or felt the bitter taste of what may have been if only we'd talked about our feelings, my god this is wonderful!
I've always said that for good or bad, it's better to know. It's certainly an easy thing to say, much harder to do. But you know, for me so far, the actual knowing has been a dream come true.
Within the first four people to do the poll was a woman who I admire greatly, who I'd really like to get to know much better, and who I never expected to be interested in me sexually.
And she's not.
But she's open to talking with me about pretty much anything. Do you know what that's worth to me? Knowing that little factoid means that maybe we can find the time at some point to talk. And I would be so very happy with that. The fact that, again in the right circumstances, she may one day be up for lounging around together (clothed) and talking for hours is also a nice possibility. I would love that!
There have been replies from people I know much less well, and who don't know me well, where they've said they'd like to get the chance to know me better. Not sexually, but as a person. That's nice. Really nice. And that they are open to me getting to know them is lovely.
It's also, for one or two people who said if there was anything more to tell beyond what they may know, given me the chance to write to a couple of people. In one case, it gave me the chance to say, 'Nope, nothing more, but I do think you are an amazing person.'
I like being given the freedom to tell someone that I find them beautiful, or sexually attractive, or intelligent, and have them know that it's a genuine compliment with no expectation or hope of gain because I already know they aren't interested, and they know I know.
I like complimenting people when it occurs to me. I've always hated holding back for fear of it being thought of as buttering up. So I get to give compliments about nice clothes, great hair, good post or story, but not say "I find you incredibly sexually attractive," or "You have gorgeous breasts." And that's a freedom I'd like to have, and have it judged for what it is - a compliment.
Lastly, it's given me the confidence in just one or two cases to contact someone I cared deeply for and tell them. Including one person who hasn't done the poll. It's nice to feel like I can do that without the world ending.
So, thank you to those that pushed for the poll.
Thanks to my test-readers and their comments, thanks to the people who suggested questions for the poll when I asked for them. To the people who don't know me so well or have never met me, and have done the poll, thank you and you seriously rock!
The women who were able to answer honestly, whether that was to say they'd like to cuddle with me, or to say they wanted to talk the night away, thank you. To the ones who admited their curiosities and that they wouldn't follow through, thank you, you're very sweet and brave.
And especially, thanks once more to the women who have answered and in some cases given me the freedom to talk to them honestly about my feelings, even when those feelings may not be what either of us would have preferred.
It's one of the nicest gifts that I have ever been given.
I hope to be able to hold onto it for a while at least.