The Intimacy Spectrum

As expected, yesterday’s “The Unspoken But Expected Reciprocation Of Giving (And Receiving) Head” sparked some pretty interesting discussion, as there were many separate takes on what constitutes appropriate oral sex decorum. More than anything else, this conversation just reinforced the idea that sex is nothing but an enhanced from of communication, and if you haven’t or can’t communicate certain things to a potential partner, you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with them.

One of yesterday’s more interesting sub-convos had to do with the different (and occasionally arbitrary) levels of intimacy assigned to certain physical/sexual acts. For instance, while some people consider a kiss — even an open mouth kiss — to not be that big of a deal, others consider kissing even more intimate than sex.

***Admittedly, this — considering a kiss to be more intimate than sex — seems counterintuitive. But, when I think about it, there are women I’ve been with sexually — women I was with a long, long, long, long, long time ago — who I wasn’t all that enthused with kissing. At the same time, I’ve either had an intimate relationship or wanted to eventually have an intimate relationship with every woman I was excited about kissing. Moral of the story? Don’t kiss Deltas.*** 

With this in mind, I decided to create a bit of a spectrum today that lists certain physical and sexual acts from “least intimate” to “most intimate” according to exactly how intimate I deem them to be. This spectrum, by the way, will be totally based on how I feel about certain acts, not how “men” feel or what’s “the right way” to feel. Just judgments and assessments from my own dating and relationship life.

Slow dancing and/or grinding

While you can do a touch-less two step with practically anyone — babies, grandparents, your friends’ ex-girlfriend, puppies, the Pope, etc — dancing closer and slower suggests a certain level of attraction/intimacy that’s not shared with everyone. You may not necessarily want to sleep with this person, but it wouldn’t be the awfullest thing in the world if it happened, either. (And, if she puts her hands around your head or neck at any time — repeat: at any time — she does want to sleep with you)

Lap sitting

A tad more intimate than a slow dance, but not as intimate as what’s listed below, there’s no other act that actively straddles the line between “this is innocent” and “this is, um, familiar as f*ck” the way a woman taking a prolonged seat in a man’s lap straddles it.

A lip-to-lip closed mouth kiss

It’s funny how this act serves two completely different purposes. If done at the beginning of a courtship/relationship, it’s basically a guy seeing if she’ll actually let him kiss her or if she’ll pull a Mr Miyagi and move her head away at the last moment.

But, if done while people are already in a relationship, it becomes a continual sign of confirmation. It’s not done to arouse or test, but to basically say to themselves and whoever happens to be watching “Yup. We’re together and shit.”

Fellatio

Putting “fellatio” here instead of a general “oral sex” was intentional. As hypocritical as this may seem, I consider going down on a woman much more intimate than a woman going down on me. This list is all about scale, and even though there’s a ton of overlap here, if I made a list of all the women who’ve gone down on me and made another list of the women I’ve gone down on, I’ve “liked” the women in the latter list a bit more.

(Also, swallowing has no effect on fellatio’s placement on the list.)

Regular sex

What “regular sex” actually means will be clearer in a minute.

Open-mouthed kiss

One thing I haven’t touched on yet is the fact that there are definite cultural differences in regards to the intimacy spectrum. For instance, (generally speaking) it seems like White people don’t regard open-mouth kissing with the same intimacy and/or reverence that Black people tend to. Not exactly sure why this is, but I think it probably has something to do with slavery.

Cunnilingus

Never not fun.

An “adult sleepover”

Defined (by me) as a planned and sex-less extended make-out session that involves sleeping next to each other, the adult sleepover is only done with people you see as a potential mate. It’s basically the woman saying “I’m not ready to go all the way yet, but I still very much want to be next to you” and the guy saying “I like you so much that I’m going to excuse these blue balls you’re going to give me.”

PDA

Of the possible public displays of affection, the most innocent one — hand-holding in public — is perhaps the most intimate. Ironically, the least innocent one — f*cking in public — is also the least intimate.

Unprotected sex

Although this probably should be at the top of the list, there are a couple things below it that I consider a bigger deal than going raw.

Period sex

Umm, moving on…

Anal sex

Although some don’t really consider this to be a big deal and would have already named this on their lists (and by “some” I mean “catholics and Latinas”), since it’s the one heterosexual act I’ve yet to successfully complete — and since, at this point, the only woman I’d have anal sex with is a future or current wife — it holds the top spot on my intimacy spectrum.

Anyway, people of VSB.com, how does your intimacy spectrum look? Is it at all similar to mine, or would you make any changes/additions?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Don’t forget to tune in tonight to The Blaqout Show on www.blis.fm/theblaqoutshow from 8-10PM tonight as we discuss all things music. We goin’ in. And we going’  ham before the debates.

The Black People’s Color Spectrum To End All Color Spectrums

***A version of this entry was originally posted three years ago, but an argument I had with a friend who swears she’s not light-skinned prompted me to repost***

Despite our preoccupation with color, skin tone, and shade, our definitions of exactly what makes someone light or dark-skinned remain somewhat arbitrary, and completely confusing.

Don’t believe me?

Ask 20 black people tomorrow to name a light-skinned black celebrity, and your answers will run the gamut from Tracie Ellis Ross to Jay-Z, two people who resemble even-toed ungulates more than they do each other.

As long as our definitions remain so variable, we’ll continue to have 60 year old black men (ie: my dad) who need to be told by their wives and sons that they’re not the same complexion as Courtney B. Vance.

Today, I’ve decided to put an end to this confusion with the VSB Spectrum, an all-encompassing and omniscient ledger letting us all know exactly where we all stand, once and for all.

***Pics added for clarity***

Albino

mcx0707beskin004-med

Passing

jennifer-beals-picture-4

Tragically passing

mariah-carey-new

LIGHT-SKINNED

mike_bibby-arton20868-240x240
***I’ve found that hair and features determine a huge role in the perception of where a person should be placed in this part of the list. For instance, if you look at their pics side-by-side, Keyshia Cole is at least a shade lighter than Beyonce. Yet, most people probably assume the thundergoat is lighter because of her weave hair and creole
hybrid features.***

lisa

LIGHT BROWN-SKINNED

Obama 2008

***This is where the paper-bag test officially ends. This also represents the end of light-skinned points, and light-skinned guilt (where light-skinned people get so self-conscious about their lack of melanin that they try extra hard to be extra black. I call this the Micheal Eric Dyson Corollary)***

Lloyd Banks

Caramel

***Although this word isn’t gender-specific in theory, a straight man usually shouldn’t be described as caramel. ***

 

eve

BROWN-SKINNED

Pauley Pavilion

***The easiest place on the list, brown-skinned bastards can live their entire life without the hyper color-consciousness plaguing the rest of the spectrum. They can date whoever they want without being labeled as colorstruck or an overcompensator, and they are typically free of the color-centric insults (high-yellow b*tch, african booty scracther, etc) thrown towards other ends of the spectrum. If it sounds like i’m hating, good. Mission accomplished.***

angela-bassett_l

DARK BROWN-SKINNED

red-cares-lebron-james-400a120706

***This is the point where it’s officially taboo for a black person to openly profess a preference for a person with lighter skin. Also, there are more black professional athletes with this complexion than any other shade. I’m sure there’s a connection there somehow***

Chocolate

dwayne_wade

kenya

***A friend of mine said that while a typical light-skinned chick is better looking than a typical dark-skinned chick, a banging dark skinned chick is better looking than a banging light-skinned chick. He’s currently in prison, btw. I have no point here. I just felt like sharing***

DARK-SKINNED

kg

anthony_morrow_70700827856

***Its funny how the word “black” by itself has a negative connotation. For instance, my dad said that as a youngster, prefacing any insult with “black” (ie, “you black bastard” ) was grounds for an ass-whooping. According to my dad, it also snowed 5 inches everyday back then, so I’ve learned to take everything he says with a grain of salt***

8-rock

alek-wek

So there you have it. People of VSB, get in where you fit in. Where do you fit on the spectrum?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

The Cheating Spectrum

“Three days ago, my husband’s female co-worker called to inform me that she had been sleeping with my husband of two years for the past nine months. As I’m sure you can imagine, this shook my world and led to a lengthy fight. My husband has declared that he did sleep with her but says it was only once nine months ago.”

I came across this quote while going through Dear Prudence’s archives yesterday. The situation itself was unremarkable, and Prudence’s advice was on-point as usual (“Tell him you don’t know who to believe, and you want to contact his supposedly former lover and see if she has evidence that it was no one-night stand. Maybe that will shake out of him a different version of the truth.“), but the topic resonated because it made me think about all the gray associated with cheating.

For instance, I doubt her advice would have been the same if the person asking the question was a girlfriend instead of a wife, and I also strongly doubt that Prudence would have suggested that the wife try to find out the truth if the third party was the wife’s sister instead of the husband’s co-worker.

My point? All cheating isn’t created equal, and it’s about time that someone made a spectrum to accurately gauge which acts of infidelity are worse than others. And, as you probably guessed, that someone is me.

Without further ado, here’s the cheating spectrum.

***Acts of infidelity are listed from “1″ — stop bitching and get over yourself — to “10″ — someone needs to f*cking die***

(The “Annoying, but you need to forget about that shit” zone)

1.0

A lapdance from a stripper

1.7

grinding on the dance floor

(It may be a surprise to some to see a somewhat innocent dance being considered more infidelity-ish than a man or woman getting their crotch bounced on by a naked stripper, but someone dancing on top of you while you’re stuffing dollar bills in her butt crack has a funny way of making things less intimate)

2.0

Public but private lunch (ie: You share a table at Wendy’s with each other) with a very attractive co-worker.

(The “Maybe we need to talk, you f*ckin bastard”  zone)

3.0

Inappropriate GChat conversations, texts, or emails.

(“Inappropriate” in this sense is defined as “Anything you’d rather delete than let your significant other see“)

3.7

Talking on the phone after 10pm to any opposite sex friend about anything not business related

4.5

Confiding to a friend of the opposite sex about relationship issues you’re having

(A very underrated act of relationship disrespect that might even be too low on the list)

(The “You probably should know that I don’t have to break up with you over this, but I could”  zone)

5.0

Drunkenly kissing someone while on vacation

(Upsetting, but far from unforgivable) 

5.7

Telling a person you’re very attracted to that you’re very attracted to them

(Even if this interest is unactedupon, things like this need to be kept to yourself. Can’t be out there planting seeds like that, because, even if you don’t intend to, it increases the likelihood that you’ll eventually f*ck the plant)

(The “If you tell your significant other about this, you should probably brace yourself because you might get mushed”  zone)

6.0

Drunk vacation sex

(Sh*t happens)

(The “Unless one of us is rich, hung like a donkey, or looks like Stacey Dash, this sh*t is officially over”  zone)

7.0

Drunken but very passionate kiss between you and someone your significant other personally knows and sees on a regular basis

7.5

Longtime emotional — but non sexual — intimacy with a person not your significant other

(I have a feeling that most of the women reading this would place it higher on the list)

8.0

Completely lucid one night stand

(The “Where’s my bleach?”  zone)

8.7

One night stand with a mutual friend, significant other’s family member, or, if you’re a man, man

9.0

Long-time affair with a stranger

(The “Prison time actually doesn’t seem all that bad”  zone)

10.0

A long-time affair with a mutual friend, significant other’s family member, or, if you’re a man, man

(Not only do people often die in situations like this, but up until like seven years ago, you could legally murder someone over it)

Anyway, people of VSB.com, what are your thoughts about the spectrum? Did you agree with my placements? Also, are there any other acts you’d like to see included? If so, where would you put them?

—The Champ

The Danger of The Sexuality Spectrum

I'm sure they're very interested in today's comments

I read an article a couple weeks ago (I’d link to it here, but I forgot to bookmark it and I honestly can’t remember where I read it) where the author used the gay marriage in New York news story as an introduction to their feelings about how all sexuality is on a spectrum. Basically, there are two ends — 100% straight and 100% gay — and most of us fall somewhere in between.

I have to say, out of all the theories I’ve heard trying to explain why we’re attracted to who we’re attracted to, this makes the most sense to me. While some argue that you’re born with your sexual orientation and others remain steadfast by the idea that it’s a conscious choice, the logical conclusion seems to be that the box you decide to check on the sexuality SAT’s comes from a combination of nature and nurture.

But, if we admit that your placement on the orientation spectrum is dependent on myriad factors — a theory more and more people seem to believe — don’t you also have to accept the validity of more “dangerous” theories such as the belief that a person can choose to become “ungay” or even that prayer can influence sexual attraction?

I mean, a person who’s born, I don’t know, 90% gay or 90% straight (according to the orientation scale) probably isn’t going to be swayed by an experience or some really creative Bible study classes. But, if someone’s born in that 30 to 70 range, it’s not too far-fetched to suggest that people such as Dr. Marcus Bachmann (husband the horsemaiden of the Apocalypse, Michelle Bachmann) and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (a psychologist with a really shitty website who believes that therapy is an effective solution for modifying sexual orientation) might be (partially) right.

Maybe there’s truth to the idea that, for some people, the environment they grew up in can definitely help decide their orientation, and maybe there are people who can genuinely be convinced not to be gay (or straight).

Now, I understand the danger of accepting this as truth. It would give fuel to each and every anti-gay doctor, pundit, politician, and person who believes that gayness is curable, and if some gayness can be “cured,” all gayness can be cured. But, what might be even more dangerous is us — the “enlightened and educated” populous — being just as intellectually lazy by completely dismissing the fact that some of us were (and still are) an experience or even a discussion away from being gay (or ungay).

Anyway, people of VSB, I’m curious: In regards to our sexual orientations, do you believe in the spectrum (the theory that our orientation is a combination of nature and nurture and that we all fall somewhere inbetween 100% gay and 100% straight), nature (we’re born the way we are), or nurture (a combination of experiences and conscious choices decide our sexual paths)?

For those who believe in the spectrum, do you also think that a person’s orientation can be changed? If not, why not?

Lastly, do you believe that women’s sexuality is naturally more “fluid” or that both genders are equally fluid but we’ve just been socialized to believe that women have more inherent sexually flexibility?

—The Champ

the spectrum

“no honey, you’re not dark-skinned. not even close. you’re like three shades away. no one’s ever told you this before?”

—the champ’s mother to the champ’s father 15 or so years ago, after the champ’s father made a matter-of-fact reference during dinner to being dark-skinned.

despite black america’s latent preoccupation with color, skin tone, and shade, our definitions of exactly what makes someone light or dark-skinned remain somewhat arbitrary, and completely confusing.

don’t believe me?

ask 20 black people tomorrow to name a light-skinned black celebrity, and your answers will run the gamut from tracie ellis ross to jay-z, two people who resemble even-toed ungulates more than they do each other.

as long as our definitions remain so variable, we’ll continue to have 50 year old black men who need to be told by their wives and teenaged sons that they’re not the same complexion as courtney b. vance.

today, i’ve decided to put an end to this confusion with the vsb spectrum, an all-encompassing and omniscient ledger letting us all know exactly where we all stand, once and for all.

***pics added for clarity***

albino

mcx0707beskin004-med

passing

jennifer-beals-picture-4

tragically passing

mariah-carey-new

LIGHT-SKINNED

mike_bibby-arton20868-240x240
***i’ve found that hair and features determine a huge role in the perception of where a person should be placed in this part of the list. for instance, if you look at their pics side-by-side, keyshia cole is at least a shade lighter than beyonce. yet, most people probably assume the thundergoat is lighter because of her weave hair and creoleesque features. with that being said, i’d still bone both of them***

lisa

LIGHT BROWN-SKINNED

Obama 2008

***this is where the paper-bag test officially ends. this also represents the end of light-skinned points, and light-skinned guilt (where light-skinned people get so self-conscious about their lack of melanin that they try extra hard to be extra black. i call this the micheal eric dyson corollary)***

Lloyd Banks

caramel

***although this word isn’t gender-specific in theory, a straight man usually shouldn’t be described as caramel. ***

eve

BROWN-SKINNED

Pauley Pavilion

***the easiest place on the list, brown-skinned bastards can live their entire life without the hyper color-consciousness plaguing the rest of the spectrum. they can date whoever they want without being labeled as colorstruck or an overcompensator, and they are typically free of the color-centric insults (high-yellow b*tch, african booty scracther, etc) thrown towards other ends of the spectrum. if it sounds like i’m hating, good. mission accomplished.***

angela-bassett_l

DARK BROWN-SKINNED

red-cares-lebron-james-400a120706

***this is the point where it’s officially taboo for a black person to openly profess a preference for a person with lighter skin. also, there are more black professional athletes with this complexion than any other shade. i’m sure there’s a connection there somehow***

chocolate

dwayne_wade

kenya

***a friend of mine said that while a typical light-skinned chick is better looking than a typical dark-skinned chick, a banging dark skinned chick is better looking than a banging light-skinned chick. he’s currently in prison, btw. i have no point here. i just felt like sharing***

DARK-SKINNED

kg

anthony_morrow_70700827856

***its funny how the word “black” by itself has a negative connotation. for instance, my dad said that as a youngster, prefacing any insult with “black” (ie, “you black bastard” ) was grounds for an ass-whooping. according to my dad, it also snowed 5 inches everyday back then, so ive learned to take everything he says with a grain of salt***

8-rock

alek-wek

so there you have it. people of vsb, get in where you fit in. where do you fit on the spectrum?

—the champ