A reader recently wrote that she and her “sex positive friends” have been “beyond cringing at the thoughts [I am] sharing” on this blog.
I asked for further clarification, but got none, but it made me think. It’s definitely true that, on this blog, I have confessed to all sorts of thoughts and fantasies. And actions. But I’m intrigued that it’s the thoughts I’ve shared that has made these “sex positive” readers cringe.
I believe, as an article of faith, that sane people have crazy thoughts and fantasies. I further believe, as an article of faith, that not having crazy thoughts and fantasies is likely evidence of, if not insanity, at least pretty radical disconnection from one’s thoughts and fantasies. Repression. Shame. Dissociation.
There’s, of course, a big difference between a fantasy and an action. Many women have rape fantasies; I’ve never met a woman who actually wants to be raped. Many men have rape fantasies, but only rapists actually rape. And having the fantasy doesn’t make one a rapist.
My fantasies and thoughts are, for the most part, benign. I don’t have rape fantasies. I don’t have aggressive, violent, or demeaning fantasies. To the extent there’s violence in my fantasies, it tends to be implicit, conceptual: I fantasize about women so completely ministering to my needs as to have no agency – other than – and this always is a crucial part of my fantasies – subordinating themselves to me willingly, willfully, as a gift. So in this scenario, sure, there’s a sense in which I’m fantasizing the eradication of the woman. But at the same time, I’m holding onto her, onto her agency, by making her subordination of me entirely an act of empowered agency.
The least benign fantasies of which I’m aware are the ones I have the hardest time tolerating. I’ve written about the way my body is capable of responding to young women, sexually mature, but beneath the age of maturity. These bodily reactions give me pause. They make me squirm. And I don’t allow myself to pursue them even so far as to conscious fantasy. I prevent myself from doing this to protect myself from the danger I perceive in them. But even if I did, I would argue, there’s no harm in that. Fantasies and thoughts are different from actions, and, as I wrote in response to the commenter who got me started on this post, an inability to distinguish between thoughts and actions is, in fact, a symptom of – the definition of – psychosis.
Regular readers of this blog know that I do my best to explore myself, always. When people criticize me, I try to discern whether I can learn from their criticisms. I hope the commenter, and her friends, will follow up with concrete examples of just how it is that I make them cringe, just what it is that I think that is so disturbed, so disturbing, to them. And I’m eager to engage, as always.