While watching your partner have sex with another person is common enough to play a vibrant role in swinging and orgies, and to spawn porn parodies like “One Flew Over the Cuckold’s Nest,” in general it’s safe to assume that a conversation regarding your partner’s sexual history rarely ends well.
Recalling Amsterdam trips at 19 or drunken indiscretions with a married man upon moving to New York typically don’t make for the best dirty talk. While honesty is the best policy, exchanging such details in a new relationship often leaves you wishing you left them in your past like your Bob Marley wall tapestry rather than stamped on your present like the peace sign tattoo on your ass.
As a sex writer, I can attest to the usefulness of personal anecdotes in writing. (See: This article.) People tend to be more interested in learning about “sounding” (the practice of inserting objects up the urethra) when you can describe a British man exhibiting such a kink in your bed after a tea date than simply an interview with a sexologist on the practice standing alone.
Less clinical, more relatable, with a punch of humor. “The truth is stranger than fiction” said Mark Twain, although I don’t think he was referring to pinkies up pee-holes. While the general population tends to appreciate such tales, the one reader group that grimaces, perhaps secondary to my parents, are my boyfriends.
The arc of my partner’s interaction with my more personal sexual writing usually goes as follows:
- Pre-dating, they read some post I wrote about butt stuff and get a chubby.
- We’re together, and their chests puff out at having their abilities celebrated in my writing, unless I mention something they said about pee and then we get into a fight at brunch.
- They scour through old author pages and find some of my more explicit earlier work and jealousy arises.
- We break up … I write about it, they hate me.
During the courtship, when things are still mysterious, you know, before someone’s been inside you, it can be useful to have some of your preferences already on the table. A blog post about BDSM can cause someone to purchase ropes and paddles for their sex drawer particularly for you. Writing so openly about sex creates an attitude that allows both lovers and friends to discuss issues and fantasies they’d typically be shy about without fear of judgement.
Jealousy towards past writing from a partner, which admittedly adds an element of public knowledge, throws extra wood on the fire. This should be acknowledged in the same fashion any discovery about someone’s sexual past should be. “Yeah, I had a life before I met you, but we’re together now.” All our experiences do build to the present moment, after all.
When it comes to using one’s current sex life in writing, or the sensitive burn of a breakup, one must proceed with caution. I am still learning, but I have discovered from my mistakes that the callousness of mentioning past breakups still stabs me with a rod of guilt; I was often so young and unaware of the wake of my boat. As we learned from Carrie Bradshaw writing about a politician’s golden shower fantasy on an episode of “Sex and the City,” while the sex writer chooses their publicity and profession, generally our partners have not signed up for a career that includes their dominant nature in bed of the public domain.
Discussing the Brit’s affinity for a swizzle straw up his urethra is a tidbit I feel fine mentioning, as one odd date without an exchange of last names or bodily fluids is unlikely to result in any personal embarrassment for the bearer of the kink. However, in long-term relationships, I now make it a rule to discuss any writing that may touch upon intimate details with my partner before publishing.
Until someone gives me a lucrative book deal, that is, in which case I’ll create a vicious cycle of revealing any sexy stories that might help pay for my future children’s therapy.
Original by Sophie Saint Thomas