RACE BANNON: Clean Slate Kink

RACE BANNON: Clean Slate Kink

from Recon News

30 November 2021

By Race Bannon

We kinksters love our fantasies. Edgy and adventurous sex is the lifeblood of our sexualities. It's the glue that bonds us as members of the kink communities to which we belong.

That's hot and sexy, but over time I noticed a trend in my life that I didn't like. My cruising had become an exercise of matching my rigid list of fantasy sexual activities and erotic mindsets with someone else's, the equivalent of a pass or fail checklist by which I screened every potential partner.

Whether I met a guy in a bar, at an event, or on a site like Recon, rather than approach them with an open mind my first instinct defaulted to mentally going through my list to see if theirs matched mine. This might seem like a great way to cruise, but it ended up not serving me well.

Flashback to my 17-year-old self when I stumbled upon my first leather bar, and you would have witnessed someone who was quite open minded. Kink and the world of leathersex were so new to me that I approached each potential encounter with the curiosity of an explorer. I assessed men and the sexual experiences they might offer with the eagerness of a starving man presented with a smorgasbord of endless gastronomic delights.

I'm not sure when I shifted to more rigid fantasy scenarios. It just happened. Unconsciously, insidiously. Over time, my fantasies solidified into a vastly reduced subset of activities and ways of positioning my mind when engaging in play. I found that I no longer assessed the person upon first connecting, but rather assessed their list. Once I became conscious of this tendency, it struck me as entirely backward.

My first instinct is to blame what I call the databasing of sex. What's behind the technology of hookup sites and apps is ultimately a database, your description and sexual desires neatly stored to be perused by whoever comes across your profile. Perhaps I too had fallen prey to the tendency to decide on a suitable kink partner based on their profile data points rather than them.

Meaningful encounters matter to me these days. I'm as much of a pig and slut as I've always been in my mind, but in practice I am leaning more toward playing with the person regardless of the specifics of what we do in a scene. Sure, I like certain activities more than others. Some sex acts remain on my no or not likely list. Still, I try to ask myself if I want to play with the man/men first before doing a deep dive into the specifics of how they play.

Let me be clear. Random, anonymous encounters are just as appropriate a pursuit as connections with people with whom we have or might develop a deeper bond. You'll continue to see me in back rooms, sex clubs, and at play parties. Those are fun. Hookup sex has its allure. My contention here is that considering the man/men beyond initial physical and activity superficialities before determining the specifics of the sexual connection might also serve you well.

Some of you reading this might proclaim that this checklist screening is something we've always done even before technology became our main connection mechanism. And perhaps you're right. I'm not sure. But my own pre-internet sex life history informs me that I certainly did this a lot less back then and do it a lot more now.

In the pre-technology era, it was more about meeting a person, seeing if there was any sort of chemistry, then seeing what transpired erotically in the moment. I don't recall my sex life in the 70s and 80s being as obsessed with matchup perfection.

A few years ago, I undertook an experiment. My experiment was to embark on a new sex strategy that at the time I called my "clean whiteboard" approach. These days I tend to use the phrase "clean slate" because I find the word slate sexier, and I try to avoid attaching the word white to anything that could be misconstrued.

One dictionary defines clean slate as "an absence of existing restraints or commitments" and that resonates with me. I don't want a list of rigid turn-ons and turn-offs against which I assess every guy I meet. I prefer my erotic mind to meander and discover as much about myself, my sexuality, and the other person as possible before getting to the specific menu from which we might construct our scene.

For many years I've utilized write and erase boards in my work, using them during countless meetings. Staring at me in the conference room might be a huge board filled with ideas, desires, plans, strategies, patterns, workflows, or whatever. Yes, they sometimes helped the group's thinking, but once written down they also became the direction in which we headed, even if in hindsight it turned out an entirely different direction would have been a superior choice.

My theory when I undertook my experiment was that wiping the board/slate in my own head clean of my sexual list and preconceived notions about my sexual options might improve my sex life. Perhaps consciously avoiding snap judgments that summed up someone based entirely on a few seconds of seeing them and having them list their dos and don'ts could, in theory, give me a fresh perspective on sex. I gave it a try and the results were heartening.

Don't get wrong. I am not under the silly notion that one can just wipe out one's preferred sexual choices. That's not possible. Every time we masturbate or get turned on there is a script running through each of our minds that spews forth in graphic detail the exact scenarios and types of people that get us off the most. That is what it is.

However, I feel that if we consciously suppress those defaults, even for a few moments, and instead choose to approach potential sexual partners with as much of a clean slate as possible, it reaps substantial rewards.

During my experiment, every time I encountered someone of sexual interest, online or in person, I consciously told my brain to set aside as many of my usual defaults as possible. This was not easy! The strength of our sexual default settings is incredibly strong but challenging them a bit turned out to be of great benefit.

I'd meet a guy in a bar or on the street, or interact with them online, and to the best of my ability try to take them at face value with as few preconceptions about them or my own expectations as possible. If they weren't my physical ideal, I talked to them anyway. If their kinks didn't match up exactly with mine, I tried to find common ground. If our role dynamics seemed askew, I didn't write off the encounter until I was sure it wouldn't work (it often did work).

In short, I tried to wipe my brain's sexual slate as clean as I could, to start afresh with each person.

What was the result? Some truly amazing sex with men I'd possibly never have connected with before the change in mindset. Top, bottom, or versatile? Sometimes it became moot if we just wanted to connect and have fun however we had it. Their list of kinks not matching mine exactly? Somehow, we found one or more of them that synced just fine, and we focused on those. My predilection for men over 40? I set that aside and ended up also having raucous fun sex with guys in their 20s and 30s.

Was the experiment always successful? No. Repeatedly my default settings would rear their heads and interject into the interaction. I really don't think all our default settings are reprogrammable (I think some might be though). I'm not sure chucking everything cemented in our brains erotically is possible or even a good idea.

What I do believe though, is that if more of us approached sex with a more open mind, a "cleaner" slate, we'd be happier and have better sex. At the same time, I theorize it can improve our overall kinky social networks because we establish more deep relationships, even if they are primarily casual play partners, than we would if we did not seek out the man before the kinks.

Give it a try. If you do, I'd love to hear about the experiences.

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