I recently spent a few days driving to southern California, riding in the back seat of a Toyota Tacoma (with my grandson and son-in-law back there too) while my daughter drove us to different places, then driving back home to the Wasatch Front. I am so glad my rig has more room than that Tacoma. While driving along a stretch of I15 in central Utah there was a place where the nearest big trucks were more than a mile ahead of me and the nearest cars approaching from behind were more than a mile behind me. With the cruise control taking care of the speed I let part of my mind listen to the radio. John Lennon’s Imagine had just started. I’ve heard this song probably thousands of times.
I paid a little more attention to the words this time. I had always caught on that he was saying there are these things, like countries, that tend to separate people. For some reason this time the line “and all the world will be as one” hit me a little differently. Maybe recent events that seem to be trying to separate us into not just smaller groups, but groups that basically hate each other has so colored my view that I heard that line as saying we would all be the same.
Knowing more about Lennon, his times, and just other parts of the song, I don’t think he wanted a single view forced on the world. His song was hoping we would just get along with each other and let each person live to their fullest without the separation that things like countries and religion can impose on us. I like to post some views on other platforms, especially social media platforms, under a somewhat different persona. Lately that me has been almost ranting against labels dealing with sexuality, and the dynamics of the relationships people have to express and enjoy being sexual. I’m not sure which is more difficult to reach, seniors that are healthy and wanting to enjoy these feelings both emotionally and physically that their bodies are capable of but some number label assigned to them makes them feel they should be beyond those desires, or convincing young people to stay healthy so they won’t face that challenge when they are seniors.
I understand labels help many things. I don’t know what I searched for when I was starting this page but Google didn’t give me much information about senior sexuality. On Twitter I came across Joan Price, or I should say she said something to me. This morning I searched for things in the terms she uses and there is plenty of information. It seems most of it is anecdotal with only a few studies in the searches. I recently finished reading The Sex Bible for People Over 50 by Laurie Betito, PH.D which was a good mix. Again labels, books of anecdotes or studies, but few mixing the two together. Labels separating entirely. Laurie Betito is in Canada and I noticed when she quoted studies, most of them were from institutions in Canada. It could be the Canadians are ahead of the U.S. in terms of helping seniors enjoy life, including a healthy sex life.
I carry a label that is based on how many times the earth has gone around the sun since I was born. That label changes each spring. I remember a time when the culture I grew up in said I couldn’t take a date to a dance because I was too young yet two weeks later it was not just acceptable, it was almost expected. I understand legal age to drive or drink having to work like that as there are limits to what conditions a law can be based on. I really think parents could tell if their son or daughter was mature enough emotionally to go to a dance without waiting for his/her birthday to pass. Labels are being used to create divisions between us even by age.
These divisions give many people an excuse to be judgmental of those with a different label. That difference could be in skin color, where they were born, how they talk, etc. In most cases the ability of people or the desirability of being friends with them is based on something that really doesn’t matter. Sometime between 15 and 20 years ago I had twin brothers in my classes. Thankfully they were in different periods. In the middle of this nearly completely white community were these two young black men. They happened to be too young to take dates to dances by that same rule that hit me at their age. One of them was talking to a friend while I was helping another student after school. He was saying something about though his skin was black culturally he was white. At the young age he was seeing that at some times he would have trouble fitting in with either group. I’ve often wondered how that affected his confidence in certain situations.
Confidence is a feeling of being assured of a certain outcome in a situation. Anxiety is a feeling of unease about a situation. It can be a lack of assurance the outcome will be as desired in a certain situation. Like the young student caught between two labels could easily have been experiencing anxiety about certain social situations, many adults feel a lack of confidence when dealing with sexual situations. That young man didn’t receive a football scholarship a few years later. He was very talented but didn’t apply himself to developing that talent. I’ve always wondered to what extent his lack of confidence in things other that football hurt, and his overconfidence in his talent also hurt his reaching that goal. I had another student about that same time that knew his football talent was high, but he wanted to improve it and practiced many drills even when the team wasn’t practicing. He switched periods in my class to be there when the team was away. He worked at his football skills and his other challenges. He not only got a football scholarship, he went on to play pro ball for a while and last I heard was a linebacker coach at a university.
One student used his anxiety about labels interfere with working at what needed to be done. The other used his understanding of certain labels to work and build his confidence.
So what does this have to do with Imagine and sex-positive lifestyles. Back when I was starting this blog the Monogamish Marriage folks (Twitter: @Monogamish1 and Web: The Monogamish Marriage) sent me a link to a blog post about some of what I was experiencing Real Talks: Sex and Drugs. There was some use of blue pills that then needed to be used to keep confidence. Lack of confidence (anxiety) can be a real problem for men. As we get older it more easily disrupts our ability to perform sexually. Recently I listened to a podcast by a couple that organize lifestyle events (party might fit but it is a different sort of party) talking about how his increasing confidence as his anxiety about penis size lessens as he comes into contact with people well known in the lifestyle community that are not hung like a horse.
I know the lack of confidence comes from expectations, but how many of those expectations come from labels. Is that expectation that his penis isn’t large enough from hype for other events or couples on websites? Also some anxiety comes from wondering if you fit the expectations of a certain label. So to propose some changes to expectations I’m going to list my own imaginings.
Imagine no one cares if your bi, straight, gay, or whatever orientation, they will still talk with you and expect you to have the same rights.
Imagine no one cares if your relationship dynamic is polyamorous, swinger, open, kinky, or maybe even exclusive (monogamous) as long as you accept others have different dynamics.
Imagine these labels don’t come with rules in order to call yourself that but are general terms to help find those that may have something in common with you while understanding there will be differences too.
Imagine the most important thing to people is that you are living how you choose as long as you do it in a safe consensual way in how it affects others.