Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Well, not quite, though the literal interpretation could be applied to the metaphor. It’s not my metaphor; someone said to me today that a person who engages in a variety of short-term activities is akin to a promiscuous man sleeping with many women because he’s trying to find the best mate. My replies to any conversation have a significant delay period, so I didn’t respond, but it bothers me when people are wrong.

First off, the con-arguer in this debate is implying that pre-marital (or marital if you really want to push the boundaries here) sexual promiscuity is a negative behaviour. That would be like me saying that waiting until you’re married before engaging in sexual intercourse is wrong. I might not think it’s the best approach, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it. Just as there is nothing wrong with enjoying consensual sex with multiple partners. Sexual compatibility is extremely important in a relationship. And I would say that sexual compatibility is even more important when one or both people has experienced a trauma.

Now, the metaphor. Similarly, I believe it is healthy for a person to venture, non-committedly, into different interests. This is certainly the attitude towards academics; take lots of different classes during your first year or two to find out what you like. Would you call this person an academic slut? (I would, but only in jest). There are so many things to experience in life, it seems a shame to pick one right off the bat and fully commit to it; that’s what leads to disappointed monogamy.

Likewise, with the traumatised person, and here the trauma can be any psychiatric illness, they may not have had many positive experiences in any activity. In which case, they may need to try smaller, safer activities, without the pressure of full commitment, in order to build confidence that they can enjoy, not just one or two, but many of the experiences life has to offer.

Some difficulties may arise with the borderline patient or any avoidance behaviour, which is probably what the con-arguer was getting at, and I agree with in such cases, but the metaphor from their point of doesn’t hold up under detailed analysis.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't sound like his metaphor implies that sexual promiscuity is a bad thing. I agree with his reasoning, engaging in many activities until you find the one(s) best suited to you is a lot like sleeping with or dating many people until you find the best one(s). Maybe it was the way he said it but I think that's an accurate metaphor. I also think promiscuity is a good thing as long as you're safe.

    So remember: next time you try something new, wear a condom.