Have you ever experienced a moment when you’re at a restaurant with someone and they order food you think is disgusting? You think, “How on earth can they like that? YUCK!” Personally, I cringe when someone orders something with olives. I can’t stand the taste. I tried an olive again a month ago just to see if I still hated them, you know ‘because tastes change’. Nope, still hate them. Strawberries on the other hand …
In my experience, olives are one of those things where you either love them or hate them. Not sure why. My sister is definitely one of those people who LOVES olives. I remember when we were little she would stick an olive on each of her fingers and then suck them off one at a time, but not before walking proudly around the house and dripping olive juice on the floor. There is an olive theory, in the show How I Met Your Mother (awesome show by the way), that says olives predict compatibility. Thus, if one person hates olives and the other doesn’t the relationship is destined to last. Apparently, if you don’t fight over the deliciousness of the olives a relationship crisis is averted. I guess that’s why I’m still on good terms with my sister despite having stolen clothes from her closet.
I digress. Back to the restaurant. If your friend orders olives, you wouldn’t tell them they don’t get to eat the olives just because you don’t like them, right? And you don’t believe their olive-eating rights, now and in the future, should be withheld just because you love strawberries and hate olives? Not likely. Instead, even though you don’t like olives and may think “yuck”, they get to enjoy their olives, you get to enjoy your strawberries, and everyone’s happy. Right?
Now why am I talking about olives?
I want you to think of olives as representing a certain sexual behavior you don’t like. I guarantee someone else in the world absolutely loves that sexual behavior. Maybe it’s something like having their hands tied behind their back. Whatever it is, think of that sexual behavior you don’t like in the same way you think about the olives you don’t like. Thus, the same rules would apply:
Just because the other person loves having their hands tied during sex and you don’t doesn’t mean the other person shouldn’t get to enjoy it. Nor does it mean that person’s hand-tying rights should be taken away now or in the future. And, even though you don’t like having your hand’s tied and may think “yuck”, they should get to enjoy having their hands tied, you should get to enjoy the sexual behaviors you like, and everyone’s happy. Right?
Unfortunately, what happens all too often is the “yuck” associated with people who eat olives doesn’t have the same meaning behind it as the “yuck” people often associate with other’s who have different sexual practices from their own. For instance, if a person eats olives, people generally don’t think there is something wrong with that person, that they’re disgusting or they were brought up wrong, or that they have a disorder. People just typically don’t consider another’s olive-eating behavior as something that is bad or that that is something inherently wrong with the person. With sexual behaviors, on the other hand, the “yuck” often carries with it a whole host of negative accusations against the person:
You like to kiss other women? Then there must be something wrong with you!
You like to have your hands tied during sex? I don’t understand why, so you shouldn’t get to do that anymore!
Thus, because a person’s preferred sexual behaviors are part of who they are and an expression of what they find enjoyable, when one person has such disgust and hatred regarding their pleasures it becomes unnecessarily more negative and accusatory than olive-eating.
My hope for you, then, is that the next time you consider supporting the idea that someone’s rights to pleasure should be revoked, or hating a person simply because their preferred sexual behavior differs from yours, you remember my olive analogy. So unless someone is forcing you to eat olives or hurting someone while they eat, don’t yuck somebody else’s yum; rather, allow others to enjoy their olives, enjoy your strawberries, and everyone is happy.