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I’ve received several responses to one of my recent blog posts that accuse me of slut-shaming. I’ve received enough of these responses that I feel the need to clarify a couple things.

In the 1960s, media theorist Marshall McLuhan became famous for the phrase “the medium is the message.” However, his less-known maxim, “Faced with information overload, our only option is pattern recognition,” may turn out to be the more useful of the two.

Now, fifty years later, it seems to me that we’re in a state of pattern overload. It manifests in situations such as this, where the consideration “perhaps this use of sex isn’t such a smart choice for a woman” can’t be heard for what it is—a musing, a consideration, a possibility, an investigation—but rather must be filtered through ready-made memes like “slut-shaming.” I’m not offended, nor am I hurt, but I am disappointed by the fact that people who would never buy a pre-packaged cake mix so readily buy into pre-packaged conversations—manufactured, by the way, by the same sort of people.

To be clear, I’m not judging anyone for having sex on the first date. In fact, one of the major themes throughout all my work (written, visual, and performative) is that woman should own their sexuality, and by owning it, do whatever the fuck they want to do with it.

Dear Women, your sexuality is your power! Please share it freely and generously, whenever you feel like it, without letting anyone (including yourself) tease or mock you into feeling ashamed.

In my blog post, I was just saying what works for me. I never intended to tell anyone else what to do. I do, however, wish to make people think about why they do the things they do and to articulate why I do the things I do. And I also want people to recognize (their) patterns of behavior and think about why they do the things they do, and that they should do what feels right to them.

Dear Women, when you’re just not in the mood, or if he doesn’t treat you well, or if you want to kick it old-school and make him (and you) breathless with anticipation, orgasmic with delayed gratification for both him and yourself, then you should withhold sex!

On one hand, I am a very open person. It is easy for me to talk about many personal things with people I do not know, like I do here, on this blog. Personal things that would mortify other people to discuss.

On the other hand, I am a very private person with a handful of trust issues. While it is easy for me to write and talk about sex, it is difficult for me to be truly intimate with another person until I know them well. Specifically, until I feel that they will not abandon me. Verbal intimacy is easy. Physical intimacy is hard.

This is not meant as a sob story. This is meant as an explanation of fact. This is meant as a contextualization for why I do the things I do.

I am okay with this. Because—for me—the most rewarding physical intimacy is one that is achieved, one that requires effort and work and time to build. Do I condemn others for their one-night stands? Of course not.

Dear Women, do them and enjoy them.

They just aren’t for me. I’ve had purely physical sex, the kind with no accompanying emotional intimacy, and I didn’t enjoy it. I know that, for some, there is fucking, and there is making love, and there are benefits to both, but for me, I prefer to fuck someone I also love. Otherwise, I, and the sex, just feel cheap.

It’s very easy for me to role-play. I’ve been a performer, both in the bedroom and on stage. It’s easier for me to be someone else, especially with strangers. But I’d so much rather be myself in the bedroom. I’ve learned that that is the kind of intimacy that matters. To me.

But that’s just me. As for you, I urge you to do whatever feels right and good and satisfying, and if that means getting all dressed up so that you can take it all off on a first date, do it and revel in it.

As Adrian, the protagonist from my book Lovergirl says: no skirt too short, no drink too strong, no thought too perverse, no act too forbidden, and nothing is off limits!

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