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This is a segue of some sort, I’m sure, but I sometimes forget how far “out there” I am in my own head. I write erotica for a living, and I come to think that’s normal. I’m open-minded about sexuality and I come to think that’s normal. I’m comfortable with my naked body–and other’s naked bodies–and I come to think that’s normal too.

And then I have a morning like this morning. Sitting in the coffee shop writing a story about oral sex, and listening to the conversation of three people at the table next to me. It starts out with religion, which is what gets me to eavesdropping. I like to hear about religion, about people’s beliefs and rituals. Two women and a man at the table, talking about Christianity, about their church, their role in it. About how they drink occassionally and they never know who’s going to judge them for that. How they have to be careful.

And then it moves on to sex. Well, sort of. It’s sex in that non-touchy-feely, giggly, “I went to drag show once and it was so gross” kind of way. Now these people are at least my age (mid- to late-30s, for those of you who aren’t paying attention). Quote: “And there were people putting dollars in their underwear and their bras! I will never ever do that again.”

That’s when I realize, wow, I am way out there. Where is that boundary for me? That point where I get squeamish or “grossed” or giggly and uncomfortable? It’s pretty far away. In fact, that boundary is so far away that I can’t even see it.

But the thing I keep coming back to is the one girl’s statement. “You never know who’s going to judge you because you drink once in a while.” Aren’t we all so afraid of that, of being judged for the things we do that “aren’t ok?” Isn’t that how we’re all same? Whether the “not OK” thing we’re doing is having the occasional drink, or dancing in drag, or watching the drag queens or writing erotica in the local coffee shop. I’m grateful for my own open-mind, my experiences, my ability to write–and think–about sex in a way that’s normal (for me). I’m also grateful that I’m still afraid, that I worry about being judged for these things, and that the fear gives me some way to connect with these people sitting next to me…