Sex is about trust, always, always, always. You could be the most dominating dominator or dominatrix in the whole history of mankind and really, when it comes down to it, you'd essentially want to or need to be able to trust your partner or partners, that they want to be there, to be with you, that they'll trust you enough to communicate with you and so on and so on. People are at their most vulnerable when it comes to anything sexual; it is both a literal and figurative bearing of the soft underbelly. And, let's face it, any goings-on look utterly ridiculous and the participants ludicrous, really and truly; no matter how artfully the neoprene or ostrich feathers or bicycle parts or what have you are arranged, somewhere in the centre is at least one hideously exposed great ape.
Where there are issues of trust, there are issues of power. Trust can be abused and betrayed and so can power stemming from this. It is a well-known saw that rapists rarely violate others on erotic grounds, but as a way of stealing power, as surely as some dogs will hump the legs of unknown visitors. People, who rather often do not come under the heading of rapist or molester, can rather often use sex as a way of controlling others, of dominating them more darkly or of denigrating them. This is obviously A Bad Thing and as old as mankind itself. What better way to screw someone up than to force one's way into their inner-sanctum? The best way of all would be to be invited in and then use this to hurt the other person.
Those of us living in the Western First World do indeed live in a rather sexualised, maybe over-sexualised, climate. My premature granny-feelings come into play each time I hear of some young girl or boy who appears to be having sex, not merely in cases where lack of contraceptive information and accessibility may have resulted in kids begetting other kids, nor yet when it becomes apparent that diseases are being spread via sexual contact. My concerns are that there appears to be too much pressure for people to have early sex, especially when they do no yet possess the maturity or life-experience to deal with the aftermath. Two of my schoolfriends (at least) started having sex very young; one was 13 and hung around with friends of her 29 year-old sister and the other was 14 with a 24 year-old boyfriend. I couldn't say if these 'relationships' ended happily or satisfactorily for these girls, but back in the day they possessed a certain cachet for merely having boyfriends, increased by the age of said boyfriends. Nowadays, I'd probably count a man in his 20's who slept with a girl in her early teens as being a paedophile, at the least as being highly socially inadequate. I would also wonder about the girl's self-esteem. Along with half of the world I squick noticeably each time a female teacher is arrested for seducing a young, male student, on the same grounds. A line has been crossed in these cases, the will of the more powerful individual imposed upon someone who is really only physically equipped to have sex. Even where young lovers are of a similar age, I sigh inwardly and wonder why kids are in such a hurry to grow up; sexuality is an extraordinarily personal thing, better experienced with a partner one has truly chosen.
For in this dirty world, one is too often categorised and judged and graded by matters sexual. If an adult is bisexual, it might very well be a large part of their self-identity or as relevant to their impact upon the world as a preference for salty popcorn over sweet. To many people, polyamory is abominable, to others the height of cool and to yet others, the makings of a complicated domestic life. Sexuality can be conflated with morality or with social worth. The lothario who boasts of conquests, real or imaginary, can cause offence or hurt, be pitied or become a local hero. The young lady or gentleman so boasted about can be the target of envy or of sneering or of concern in equal measures. Even into later age, it seems to be all too tiresomely common that certain people openly label others as desirable or undesirable and harrass them accordingly. And it is easy, too easy to drop one's jaw at the mention of someone else's abundance of sexual partners and to either form a snap judgement or take the admission as a challenge.
What you do isn't important; how you do it is. Describing and analysing the rights and wrongs, whys and wherefores of human sexuality, such a personal and individual thing, is as tricky as countig bubbles in a pot of boiling water. But I would always go back to first principles and take trust as my watchword.
Please vot for me! I'll be better next week!