It took a rude awakening for Lincoln Anthony Blades to let go of the shame he’d been taught about sex and find fulfillment in the bedroom.
Growing up in a West Indian community presented my future sex life with some steep challenges. If your parents, friends, and relatives are Caribbean, then you know exactly what I mean when I say we’re taught what not to do sexually from a very young age. There are songs decrying (or bunning out) damn near every aspect of sex, including homosexuality, oral sex, and anal sex. The attitudes regarding these acts are so widespread and overtly negative throughout our community that one will train themselves to avoid participating in those acts for fear of “degrading” themselves. However in the summer of 2002, I not only freed myself from this archaic way of thinking, I also learned the key to having an amazing sex life.
It all started when my friend in New York told me he was throwing a concert with a popular dancehall performer, who was famous for his many anti-gay, anti-oral, anti-anal sex lyrics. He invited me to come down to NYC for the weekend and take in the show with him, as well as assist with any show duties. Since I love dancehall music and I was a huge fan of the particular performer, I was sold instantly.
Instead of having to watch the show from the crowd, I was able to stand on the left side of the stage just behind the curtain, which provided me a full view of the entire audience. I saw the intensity of every flickering lighter every time the artist condemned orgies or sucking on toes as acts of the Devil. And then he performed a big tune to a huge applause right after. (Well, West Indians don’t really applaud – we “push up our gun/pum-pum fingers,” which can be replicated by making a middle finger, putting up your index finger right along it, turning your wrist sideways and then pushing your hand up and down.)
After the show, we hopped in a big black SUV and drove the artist back to his hotel to chill out. I spent a few minutes listening to my friend tell the dude to relax and enjoy himself, and we both went off to our own rooms. (FYI: Dancehall concerts aren’t like others that end at midnight or 1 a.m. You’re lucky if you’re out of there before 4 a.m.) When we woke in the morning, it was time to take the artist back to the airport. As we checked him out, while he conveniently sat in the back of the vehicle, my friend received the room charges – and that’s when things got really interesting.
As the front desk clerk gave him a list of the miscellaneous extra charges to the room, my friend gave the list a quick once over and slid it to me to double-check the numbers. When I started to look them over, I paused, glanced at him, then back down at the paper, and said, “I don’t think you got the right bill bruh.” Without even glancing at me, he said, “Why do you say that?” I didn’t want to tell him that I saw about six XXX movies listed on the bill because I thought it might enrage him and anyone from the artist’s camp who overheard me, so I whispered to him, “Yo, there’s porno listed on this bill! And I don’t think White Broads Love BBC is about the news channel in London!”
My promoter friend, who had been throwing shows for years, slowly turned his head to me and gave me a look that said, “Welcome to real life ninja …,” before paying the charges. As we drove to the airport, I caught myself staring at the artist more than once, as he told us about the lyrics to his new song, which included pouring gasoline on anyone who tossed salad (or something to that effect). I was more than a little disappointed that I was witnessing the blatant hypocrisy of a man who just ordered 69 Jump Streetand Muffy, the Lesbian Punani Slayer. I mean damn, I had followed his rules of avoiding sexual self-degradation and now I’m finding out it’s all been predicated on a lie.
And it was at that point I realized why I wasn’t having great, brag-worthy sex like my friends often experienced. I had a friend who would always brag about the freaky shit he did with his girlfriend, even after I attempted to shame him by labeling some of the acts as “nasty.” He would always reply with “Man, I don’t give a damn what any man, woman, or child thinks about what I do with my girl in the bedroom. The only thing we care about is pleasing each other!” I, like an idiot, wasn’t alone in the bedroom with just my girlfriend. I brought the shame, opinions, and distractions from the outside world into my bedroom and let it significantly affect how we chose to enjoy ourselves.
And while you may not be West Indian, if you’re being honest with yourself, you can admit that your community also shamefully stigmatizes sex and sex acts, which may have affected you on some level. There are things we’re scared to try or hate to engage in, not because we have first-hand experience with them, but because we’re afraid to be labeled “nasty,” or just plain afraid of what will happen to us if we indulge in our natural desires. Too many of us are afraid to explore our partner’s sexually and learn what we like ourselves.
If you are in a relationship, there’s a very simple way to have an amazing sex life: Don’t allow the hang-ups of other people to invade your bedroom and just be present with your partner. At that point, what they want trumps everything everyone else says you’re not supposed to want.
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site ThisIsYourConscience.com, he’s an author of the book “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer” and a weekly contributor for UPTOWN Magazine. He can be reached via Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at This Is Your Conscience.
Photo: Flickr/Bùi Linh Ngân