Venn Diagrams: a staple of my 6th grade English class. Used primarily for comparing and contrasting the traits of heroes and villains from our greasy books. As a heinously awkward, four-eyed, bookish Strangling, drawing those two stupid interconnected circles was the highlight of my day.
The analytical son-of-a-gun I’ve always been, it really was just par for the course.
While the days of 12-year-old-Me are long gone (thank god), there are a couple of old traits that still stick with me. I break down characters. I compare, I contrast. I draw lines and webs and circles to make sense of my weird world.
Recently (and not surprisingly, here at Tulip), I’ve been thinking a lot about sex: about desire, lust, love, and what, if anything, is the through-line between them all.
If you have peeked beyond our storefronts in either Chicago or Miami, or have taken the time to read the first two words of our website’s home page, you may have noticed one of our taglines: “explore love”. For some, the words make the space to shop for butt plugs more welcoming; for others, however, those words are lethal, a point of contention between those coupled and those not, the purists and the not-so-radicals who see sex as grounds for something else. From either perspective, love in sex, and sex in love, are two highly tumultuous, political points of discussion.
Conceptually speaking, I am in the latter camp. Sex, after all, is a physical act; a reactionary experience to an insatiable rush of hormones; a word used to describe whatever combination of thrusting/licking/sucking/ rubbing/coming you fancy. Love, on the other hand, is a word to describe any point on an almost ridiculously broad spectrum of emotion. Love, synonymous with sex? Bah! Logically, I separate sex from love, no problem.
But here’s the part of the story when my Venn Diagram-thinking comes into play, also the part when I reveal that I’m a total hypocrite. I draw my circles, and the overlaps are clear: my romantic relationships have all begun with sex. I’ve never been smitten and not wanted desperately a roll in the sack. My sexual trysts, always, have been prompted by love. But love in every instance is worth some clarification:
When I say love, I’m not talking about that Victorian bullshit to do with courting, love letters, or pining my life away; I’m not talking about the foundation of a monogamous, long-lasting, cooperative relationship. When I say love, I mean love-as-love-to-me: a need to be vulnerable in a moment, to nurture and be nurtured, to trust and be trusted; to show someone(s) that thirsty part of you they would have never seen otherwise, with the hope that, just maybe, you’ll see something back.
I’m such a sucker for that kind of love. But here I am, surviving the day.
So long story short, I guess: make sex about whatever you want it to be. Because the dictionary calls sex something that I do not, and as much as I analyze and interpret sex and love for myself, the conclusions I draw will be ones you most likely will not; me vs. you vs. Aunt Mildred vs. the postman vs. that dude who sneezed on you today, and on and on and on it goes. But hopefully you and I have one thing in common: a belief that sex – whatever it means – is something worthwhile to explore, and – always – a romping good time.