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Love Hurts?

Warning! I am about to disclose my sex life. If this makes you feel uncomfortable in any way you should stop reading now. If you are one of my kids (you know who you are) you should also stop reading immediately. Ready?

A few weeks ago, after reading ousted CBC icon Jian Ghomeshi’s FB revelation that he engaged in rough sex (forms of BDSM), I felt prudish. I felt like Rip van Winkle, awakened from a domestic slumber, to realize the world of sexual relationships had changed, and I was no longer hanging with the cool crowd. Apparently, BDSM is so boringly conventional that even Costco sells Fifty Shades of Grey.

(Note: If you are not familiar with the Jian Ghomeshi case, you can read the backstory in my previous post: What Mothers Need To Teach Their Sons About Sex.)

In fretting to my besties about whether I was being priggish in my own sex life, it turned out that I was in good company. One pal wondered whether this was the “new normal” (note: this was when we all believed Jian’s version of events that his “rough sex” was consensual, and before all the shit hit the proverbial fan). She questioned whether there was something wrong with her, and whether her husband felt that he was missing out. Many of us were asking ourselves whether it was time to get with the nouveau sexual program and release our inner vixens.

Jian-gate has so far had many positive outcomes. We are thinking more critically as a nation about sexual relationships, power dynamics, and the inadequacies of the criminal justice system in dealing with domestic abuse. For me and my besties, it has also motivated us to think more critically about our own sex lives and whether we have become boring middle-aged mommas. Self-doubt is part and parcel of the female psyche.

I am all for change. I believe we should never stop being curious about the world around us. It is incumbent upon each of us to take a step back from our established routine–whether it is our sex life, our daily work, our hobbies and interests—to consider whether we are pushing boundaries to be the best and most interesting version of ourselves that we can be.

Let me share with you something beautiful, dear reader. My initial feelings of inadequacy have slowly melted away in the past few weeks as I wrestled with the idea of rough sex. My feelings of middle-aged prudishness have been replaced with validation, as it has for some of my friends too. Jian-gate has sparked conversations with our partners. One of my friends reported that she and her husband mutually agreed that they don’t get off on that, and would not want to be with someone who did.

Yes, dear reader, me and my besties are embracing our “boring” sex lives. Hallelujah.

I am now even stronger in my belief that inflicting physical harm (e.g., hard slaps, asphyxiation, torture bondage) on my partner does not mesh with my own definition of love. And I would not want my partner to hurt me either. I can’t see myself wearing bruises like a badge of honor. And I would be mortified to witness marks that I inflicted on someone whom I loved. In my books, love shouldn’t leave marks.

By the way, I am not passing judgment on BDSM or rough sex. I totally believe that is a personal choice (a “human right” as Jian vigorously maintains), and that some loving couples integrate this successfully into their own sex lives. I can only share that when I read Fifty Shades of Grey I did not feel aroused. Even worse, the unimaginative dialogue and exceptionally poor writing insulted me. I wanted my money back.

These past few weeks have been a good exercise in re-evaluating my own sex life. Was I just idling along on the same beaten path because I was too puritanical, scared or complacent to hike on new trails? Or was I on the right path because it has always led me to the most fulfilling emotional place with the man I love?

The latter. Enough said.

Sue Nador hashes out expectations in the messy world of love. Follow her on Twitter: @Sue_Nador and her weekly blog The Relationship Deal.

Image(s): iStock

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