Norma Jean: Very Personal

Very PersonalDear Norma Jean, While I really like your new, expanded and uncensored Alternatives ads, I very much take issue with the little advertisement on the side of the page to "Turn back to the regular personals for true romance and relationships." To me, this helps perpetuate the stereotype that a so-called "alternative" relationship cannot also be a committed and loving relationship.I feel that Norma Jean's column also supports the stereotype. She asks, "Hey, what ever happened to love and romance? Didn't sex and love once go together like hand and glove? Or is it now collar and leash or dildo and astroglide?" Is her point that love is only straight, vanilla sex and anything different can't be love? I've been in a loving, caring, exclusive relationship for over a year with a man I met through the alternative section of your paper.Norma Jean plans on throwing a "Strictly Romance" party for anyone who still believes in falling in love, and she prays that she meets "someone I can open my heart to and experience the healing of a really solid relationship that has more going for it than explosive orgasms." She seems to feel that the two are mutually exclusive -- I've found out they don't have to be.Romance, love, equality, communication, respect and caring have little to do with the type of sex people enjoy and everything to do with the people involved. So, do me a favor and don't assume that my "alternative" relationship can't possibly be about love and respect and I won't assume, ... that "straight" relationships are about ... miscommunication, frustration ... boredom.Thank you,Ginger CatingAlbuquerqueDear Ginger,Thank you so much for your letter about the perceived discrepancy between my description of "romantic love" versus "alternative love." To me, sex is an expanded language that arises out of a person's subconscious, and is then acted out with a partner. We've all had a "hate fuck" at one time or another with someone we loved, haven't we?Last night I rented Blue Sky, starring Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones, all about a couple with a twist on their very passionate relationship. It was, no doubt, a love story. The beautiful "in her prime" wife of an army professional is an exhibitionist who gets turned on by sexually teasing just about anyone -- particularly her husband's military colleagues. On occasion she goes too far and makes love with another, temporarily losing sight of wives and families, the politics involved and her husband's feelings. I absolutely loved her! The honesty and boldness of her character (an Academy Award winning performance) allows us to see the truth of this equation for their marriage. He gives her the room to express her smoldering side, and she loves/needs him for his unconditional love and commitment to the marriage.I truly believe that intimacy is best expressed through sexuality. S&M is a natural acting out of psychological "control dynamics" that occur in all human relationships. My blessings to a couple who finds that deep physical language where this dance deepens; whether it be allowing a woman her bi-sexuality, understanding a man's need for more than one woman or venturing more deeply into B&D, S&M and exhibitionism in order to explore childhood issues through intimate adult relationship.Please don't mistake my occasional, colorful, irreverence for judgment. I am definitely in your corner!As always,Norma Jean

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