The question I'm asked most often by people entering into this world is, "You must meet some really weird people." I typically smile a knowing grin before I reply, " No, I meet people just like you." Then we get a good laugh, followed by more questions.
Most people have no idea how much insight that question gives me. Think about it. The perspective is that my practice in itself must attract people that are "weird" or somehow dysfunctional. I think they often forget there is a bit of a screening process. It makes me wonder how do they feel about what they're doing? It also provides a little insight into how they may see me. Not that this is bad. Many people are of the notion I don't turn people away. It's a common conception from what I've experienced. Do you want to know a secret? People who label others as weird because they've labeled themselves that way. The question really has a lot more to do with how we view ourselves.
From a young age, our world starts to develop. Everywhere we look, people are telling us who and how we should be. Our culture dictates a particular behavior to be considered normal. This sort of social grooming includes what relationships should look like. We're presented daily with images of happily ever after or "50 Shades of Gray." Our social media is filled with hashtags like #couplegoals. It's in our nature to want to fit in. Advertisers know that. Marketers often target a specific image. People around are trying to function and make sense of the same things. One of our greatest fears becomes not fitting in. People go to great lengths sometimes to make themselves more acceptable to others. Cosmetics alone makes billions of dollars every year. We worry about how we look, what we drive, and who our friends are. There's often a constant drive to have our life fit an image we have. Sometimes in that drive, we loose sight of who we are and what we authentically want for ourselves.
In quiet moments our internal dialog might speak to us about the things we want. We all experience this conflict in life at times. That is why we often wonder if we're on the outside. Am I different? You don't always want what other people want. Your beliefs about love and sex may not be the same as your friend or neighbor. So you keep it to yourself.
Sex remains a bit of a taboo subject for most people. Those taboos being another thing that continues to dominate our culture. You can go online to chat rooms or discussion boards for some advice or insight. For the most part, our culture rarely talks about different types of sex and intimate relationships. It's a bit of a disservice to me, with who and how we engage intimacy taking up such a large portion of our lives. There have been some progress and positive signs in recent years. Still, many people have concerns and insecurity over intimate matters. It doesn't fit that mold of what "normal" people do. By that measure then it must be weird. Can you imagine how many people are sitting at home alone feeling "weird" right now? At times I've been one of them.
In my years working with people, I have learned no one fits a mold or label. Many people seem to overlook the main thing we have in common, the human experience. I like to say we're all unique, but we're not special. We all have a desire to express ourselves through physical intimacy. Of course, we want to feel connected to others emotionally as well. Suppose we talked more openly with each other, as I have the privilege of doing. We'd understand we all feel very similar behind closed doors. Many people are insecure about their body, physical performance, or ability to navigate relationships. It's that simple. The grass is always greener. At least that is how our culture tends to be. Enough is never enough, and good isn't good enough. Your intimacy can't be held to such standards. Your relationships and sexuality are part of your human experience, where no one gets to dictate to you.
You don't need permission; you are free to explore. The only judge you need to worry about is in your head. You're not "weird" for wanting to explore who you are. Give yourself permission to be who you want to be in life. You are the author of your life story. Creating definitions is up to you. The people that we meet are just that, people. More often than not, they sharing the same concerns.