Let’s Talk About Sex…..Well maybe not…. :-)

I got my rule on how much to say, or rather, not, about my sex life from, of all people, Chardonnay Williams my sister!  I over heard a conversation she was having with a friend of hers over the telephone about a guy she was dating.  “Whether he’s hung like a pimple or hung like a horse, I don’t discuss that with anyone.”  Those were the words that my sister stated to her very best friend.

That made sense, and so I’ve spent the decade since sitting quietly as people around me spill their sexy time tea. When I asked around, I found some women shared my outlook when it comes to talking about “private acts,” which is: Even when they want to, they don’t.

Of course, that only applies when it’s someone they care about. If it’s sex with a fling or a one-nighter? That biz is all in the streets. “I used to ask for penis pictures and share them with my friends,” one lady recalls. “After having sex with a new man for the first time, I would tell my friends every detail of the affair the next morning at brunch.”

Another friend added another exception: “I was abstinent for close to three years,” she recalls. “When I ended that, my ‘girls got all the details.”

When it came to relationships, most women I spoke with kept their business close out of respect for their partner or to avoid the varying opinions of friends who could cloud their judgment about the relationship. “Everything isn’t for everyone,” one friend explains succinctly.

My married homie says the only thing she can recall saying about her husband of seven years is, “He’s the best I ever had.” She adds, “Other than that I have no desire to share.”

Another friend warned of sharing because “it can lead to vagina envy.” She didn’t want to inspire jealously and seemed a bit afraid that if she shared how good her partner was, another woman might start sniffing around for a sample of the goods.

But then there were the friends who spilled, some more freely than others, whether they were committed or not. “Everyone needs that one person who they can share things with, even that ‘very private time’ you spend with your mate,” says one woman. “Even if it’s just to check yourself.”

Another friend says she had a “You spill-I spill” policy, which means she only tells all (or most) to friends who do the same.

And yet another had a reason for spilling that I never considered: “I have trust issues with women, and I admit in my efforts to trust more and feel a connection, I do blurt TMI sometimes,” she confesses.

It was during an over-sharing conversation that I began to rethink my keep-it-to-yourself rule. I was talking to my  “Samanatha”-esque friend, who is actually in a relationship but still shares all the details of her sex life with me. I was dying to tell someone about what happened the time I … and then he … and then we … oooh-weee! And I figured nothing I said would really blow her mind. Plus, it would be good for her to understand how awkward it’s been to hang out with her boyfriend, like my brother at this point, knowing the noises or outlandish dirty talk he does in bed (or wherever else their activity takes place).

“Like Sam, But Not” was whispering to me about what happened the night before because her man and my man were walking in front of us. She said, in great detail, how she did this one wild thing, and I think, “oh, hell no! This chick is on some next ish now!”  even though I keep a straight face. Then she follows that up with something else that I’m not sure I heard right because of the whispering.

So I asked, “ Oh, you [insert imaginative thing here]?” And she screwed up her face and said, “Oh, God. Ugh! Who does that?!” because apparently even my freakiest friend has boundaries and limitations. She laughed and the boys turned around to look at us.

I think, “Oh, $h!t” because that thing that my wild friend thinks is appalling, that thing that I asked her about? That’s the thing I do. Well. I was embarrassed, but I had no plans to stop doing it. I did, however, decide not to start talking about it.

Leave Scandal Alone..

Over time, I’ve noticed that We the Blacks, collectively, have an annoying habit of criticizing so many things to death. We — some, not all — can look at something that is widely perceived as fair and decent (or at least way better than he standard reality TV fare we’re mostly offered) and then stare it down, scour, and overanalyze it until we can’t see any good in it, only the problems galore. It’s not constructive criticism; it’s just complaining.

Last night, I checked into The Root for my digest of what’s new in politico world and found more complaining. This time is was from Tom Burrell, a 45-year vet of the advertising industry, moaning about — out of all the things actually worthy of complaint on TV —   Scandal. Burrell told The Root:

I’ve got major problems with Scandal. It comes dressed up and masqueraded as something new, but Scandal is basically a continuing perpetuation of the stereotype of a black woman whose libido and sexual urges are so pronounced that even with an education and a great job, and all these other things, she can’t control herself.

He adds:

But the message that is really being delivered is that no matter how much education you get and how much power you get, you’ve still got that “around the way girl” in you. It’s basically saying that black women are innately, inherently, hot to trot. He doesn’t seduce her. She seduces him.

Are we watching the same show?

I watch Scandal — over and over and over — because I see a positive image of a professional Black woman. Pope is a smart, respected, relied upon, fully (and wonderfully)–clad, quick-witted, shrewd, compassionate, well-connected businesswoman … who is also flawed. That makes for good TV. She’s got mystery, back story — though I can’t find any evidence of “around the way girl” so far — and in some instances, has questionable ethics. She’s is multi-layered, multi-dimensional and yes, she’s even an adult woman who has a sex drive, God help her, and she’s not afraid to indulge it (even if admittedly, it wasn’t the best choice of man).

I’ve heard the complaints from Black women about their representations in media, and I’ve penned my fair share of stories on this topic to add to the heap. I recognize the importance of positive images and the destructive nature of negative ones, but it’s unnecessary and just not so entertaining to trade in one caricature of what Black women are — always loud, aggressive, sex-obsessed — for another equally unrealistic one — always demure, passive, virginal.

It’s a little weird to me that Burrell picked up Pope’s sexcapades when it’s not even a present part of the life of her character, who is trying to do better. That steamy affair is backstory (notably with current repercussions in the series). Pope quit her job and started a new hustle, her own crisis management firm, to move on out of that trap. And despite several advances by he ex-lover, she has so far steered clear of following her heart back into tumultuous trenches, even if it’s very apparent that’s where she wants to be, just like that Donell Jones song. She’s had past indiscretions, but clearly a whole lot of present control.

Scandal isn’t a perfectly pious show, which the series title should give away. And it’s not perfect either (but close). But for those of us who are prone to complain about everything, it’s important to gain some perspective. Scandal is the first network TV drama with a black female lead character in most of our lifetimes. (The last of this kind was “Get Christie Love!” in 1974, which ran for one season.) This show and its feat were a long time coming, and while it’s always cool to have an opinion, understand that harping on the little things doesn’t open the door any wider for other shows featuring black woman as leading talent to get through.