You get really emotionally and sexually candid (even graphic) in some of your writing. I’m wondering if any member of your or Kristen’s family reads this blog. Do they even know it exists? How much do your families know about this part of both of your lives?
My youngest sister also writes a sex blog (though we’re not really out about being related), so she knows. My other (middle) sister (I’m the oldest) also knows, though I don’t think she reads it regularly. I’m not sure how much either of them read, because, I mean, how much do you really want to know about your sibling’s sex life? I do read my sister’s blog, but I tend to skip over the sex parts—we don’t talk a lot these days, since we both have busy lives in big cities. So this is one way for me to kind of keep up with what’s going on with her. I imagine she reads my blog similarly, though I don’t really know.
My parents know that I write lesbian erotica, and that I’ve been published—I was on the phone with my mom once while she searched for my name in Amazon and was, well, a little surprised with the results. I don’t think she really wants to know about the details of my sexuality, though, so I doubt she has read any of the works that are under my birth name.
My parents also know that I lead workshops, though I usually play up the gender aspects and play down the sex part. Though sometimes I’ve said that I’m doing a class at a sex toy store. So there’s some openness about what I do, but I tend to gloss over the details.
As far as I know, they don’t know my pen name, so they don’t read this. But it really wouldn’t be very hard for them to figure it out, thanks to Facebook—I do tend to promote my events, like Sideshow, on my personal Facebook page, so if my parents really wanted to they could figure out that name, find my Sinclair Sexsmith Facebook fan page, and link it back to this site pretty darn easily.
I don’t know about my extended family, though I think some of them know. My uncle runs a small publishing company and lives in New York City, and he published my most recent chapbook and knows about Sideshow, so again, it wouldn’t take much digging for him to know.
And Kristen’s family … I don’t know. Likewise her sister and parents could probably do some digging from Facebook and figure it out, and I suspect they are more inclined to do that than my family is. Her mom did email me at my mrsexsmith gmail address once, which kind of freaked me out. I’m not sure how she got that address or what it means. But Kristen and I have decided to ignore it, basically—either she’s read all the archives or she hasn’t, and until she brings it up and decides to make an issue of it (which I don’t think she will, since that would involve having a direct conversation about things like sex and, moreso, the lesbian relationship her daughter is in), I’m not going to speculate.
So, now that I’ve gone down the laundry list of relatives, there’s one more thing I want to say about families and sex lives.
Dan Savage on the Savage Love podcast (which is the only podcast that I really keep up with), on the February 1, 2011 show, had guest Amy Lang from BirdsandBeesandKids.com on to field questions about parenting, kids, and sex. (I’d link to it directly but it appears the direct links don’t work, so you’ll just have to find it by date.)
At about 30:30, they play a call from someone with a question about nudity and polyamory, and Amy an Dan use it as a way to explore “the line” between what we should and shouldn’t talk to kids about. What is “too open?” What is appropriate, and what is crossing the line?
Dan: We all had a friend whose parents were too open about sex with their kids and their kids friends, which made us uncomfortable.
Amy: Too open about their own sex lives, which is where I’d like to draw the line. American parents are so worried about giving their kids too much information—it is virutlaly impossible for us to give our kids too much information about sex and relationships. The TMI point? Is THAT. Your sex life! Your kids don’t want to know!
Amy: Do you want to know that your parents had a sex life?
Dan: My parents had a sex life?!
Amy: No! They didn’t!
Dan: Good! Phew!
Now, I think there should be some acceptance that our parents have a sex life, but I do maintain that I don’t want to hear about it. They go on to discuss polyamory and how to go about being open about that to your kids. But I’m less interested in that conversation and more struck by this TMI point. It has influenced the way I think about this stuff, and its easy for me to then draw there : they are not invited to read it because it is too much of my own sex life.
In my experience, writing about my own sex life worked best when I was (more) anonymous. It was easier to write and be open about what I was doing in bed. It’s harder now, not just because I’m more exposed but also because I’m 2 1/2 years into a relationship, and though we are still having great sex, we’re not as exploratory as we used to be—not in a bad way, there’s just less to xplore now that we’ve been exploring for 2 1/2 years (though we did have foot sex for the first time just the other night … and I have two ‘squirting dildoes’ on my desk that we have yet to try out … )—and the edgy stuff in our relationship is the emotional stuff, the fighting and the growth struggle and hard times we’re going through as we’re building our longer term life together. And while I have written about that (a little), it’s hard because it is deep and sometimes too vulnerable to reveal to such a broad (and sometimes unnecessarily critical) audience.
I would like to continue to write about it, though, despite the challenge.
That’s kind of a side note.
There’s one more thing I’m chewing on, related to families and sex, and it’s the daddy/girl play and the taboo eroticism that keeps families together. But I’m not sure how to express that yet. I’ll keep chewing.