[Editor’s Note: The Bay Guardian welcomes and presents our new sex columnist, Krissy Eliot, whose columns you can find here every Thursday and in our print edition on an occasional basis, including in next week’s Sex Issue. Enjoy.]
I moved to the Bay Area seven months ago to escape my repressed, small town life on the East Coast and learn what it’s like to live in a sexually liberated culture. I intended to bump elbows and uglies with sex educators and activists and get a job writing about those experiences. I fantasized about becoming a sexual avenger for the oppressed millennial women being churned out of the small towns in America. I came here to make a difference.
And I’ve gotten off to a good start.
I’ve had a stranger stroke my clitoris at an orgasmic meditation conference, attended a lesbian sex party, shared a sexy tale on stage at Bawdy Storytelling, experimented with THC lube, and gone to a cuddle therapy session (and these are just some of my adventures).
These activities may seem normal to a born and bred San Franciscan, but this place is like another dimension for me.
I lived in rural Maryland for most of my life. Unlike SF, we didn’t have orgasmic meditation or diverse lifestyles. We had churches, liquor stores, and a Wal Mart. I lived in a suburban area that was surrounded by farmland (I’ll never forget the acrid stench of cow poop every morning as I rode the bus through the winding country roads of my youth, Walkman clutched in my sweaty teen fingers).
There were about five black people in my high school, one Asian person, and two lesbians (who were basically the school pariahs). The rest of the students were hillbillies, stoners who loathed hillbillies, or members of the marching band. And no matter what group you belonged to, there was a 99 percent chance that you had conservative, religious parents who believed sex out of wedlock made you a heathen. (Reading the Scarlet Letter in 10th grade reinforced these life lessons). I was no exception to the status quo — with a God-fearing mother and a socially suicidal spot in the marching band’s color guard squad.
I had no sexual prospects.
That’s not to say I didn’t experiment as a little kid. My girl friends and I were licking each other’s vulvas in my parents’ basement when I was 7 years old — cuddled together on pillows inside forts my older brother built with his Mickey Mouse blankets. I think I realized sex acts were condemned when my brother told my parents that I’d flashed my coochie at his friends. I remember hiding at the top of the stairs, tears running down my cheeks, shaking — as I was called down to the living room where my father was seated on a chair, waiting to bend me over his knee.
For me, SF is such a strange place not because of the abundance of sex, but because of the blasé attitudes towards it.
A popular local host and MC told me that none of my ideas on sex would shock anyone because the locals here have “seen and heard it all” and plenty of people in SF already write about sex. An editor of a local newspaper told me that I couldn’t possibly “out sex” anyone in my writing. And while I was sitting in the corner of a bohemian tea party in the city, I rattled off my desire for coital adventure to some hippie who told me that I “possess a curiosity and perspective on sex that most San Franciscans don’t.”
It seems that the sex scene in SF has taken on air of cockiness. A “we’re the big dogs” point of view. And since I’m a small town pup, it seems people expect me to earn my place in the pack, conform, and fade into the background.
I’m not trying to forge new ground with a freakier sex act (it might literally kill me with the shit San Franciscans do), and I’m certainly not calling myself a sexpert. I’m just want to filter a culture through a fresh lens. Why do the people of SF seem to think this isn’t valuable? Has America’s fabled sexual utopia grown into an old dog unwilling to learn new tricks? Or more importantly — new perspectives?
The fact that the people here seem so jaded makes me wonder if there’s an entirely different sexual dysfunction here — one of boredom or arrogance. Have I escaped one oppressive place to fall victim to another? Has living in a sexually charged bubble over the years caused the locals to be less open to the ideas of outsiders?
I guess I’ll find out.
Readers can contact Krissy and view her previous work at www.krissyeliot.com.