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No Such Thing as Sex Positivity in Schenectady

March 15th, 2016

It’s funny. It seems the harder we work for sex positivity in America (and the rest of the world), the less open Capital Region, New York is to all things sexual.

As most of you know, I live in Schenectady (skeh-neck-tuh-dee) County. Though lately people are calling it “Little New York” because of its crime rate, Schenectady, and its surrounding towns, don’t come close to the openminded atmosphere believed to be found in New York City. Acceptance, tolerance, and intelligence are at an all time low, here in the Capital Region. Sex is still something we don’t discuss. And being open about your sexuality has become something to be offended by.

What do I mean?

A few years ago, a bed and breakfast was closed down because it became common knowledge that the owner was hosting swingers parties and kink munches. There are rumors flying around about the reasons behind the city agreeing to force the doors closed. Some are saying that the B&B’s patrons were having sex outside, raising all sorts of hell, blasting the radio at ungodly levels till all hours of the night. People who frequented the B&B say those complaining about it are full of crap. But we all know, when a witch hunt’s afoot, people on both sides will say anything.

Just off the main drag and right before a highway entrance, an adult store complete with spank booths was “invited” to move. The guy’s been there forever, and until the city started trying to figure out ways to bring money in (read: convince the rich conservatives to come back), no one had any problem with his store, which sort of looked like an old-time movie theater or skating rink, if one ignored the red-lettered sign that said, “Must be 18 to enter. Have I.D. ready.” plastered to the front window.

It needs a woman’s touch. I’ll give you that.

It’s owned by an older man who’s a little on the crude side, and hasn’t the first clue (or maybe he’s just lacking the inclination) about how to deal with customers just beginning to explore their sexuality. His selection is mostly made up of plastic, Cyberskin and jelly made by Topco, CalExotics and Penthouse. But he’s got an excellent personality, is open to (some) suggestion, and is more than willing to give you a hand if you need it. And you can’t tell from the outside that he’s been using the cheapest carpet and shelving possible probably as long as he’s been in business (which is something crazy like thirty years), or that he obviously isn’t the person you call on when you want your floors vacuumed and closets organized.

I think what frustrates me the most about Schenectady telling him to move it along is that he’s done a lot of good for the community, from what I understand, but now that he’s “in the way” it’s time for him to go. Par for the course, I suppose.

They’ve quietly closed a few other adult stores, better and worse than this one. Strip joints are being forced out of business.

We’re cracking down on all forms of prostitution, from the addicts screwing people in piss-soaked alleys to support their habit, to high-class hookers who are their own employers and get paid thousands of dollars an hour to meet rich Johns (i.e. – CEOS, governors, senators) in five-star hotels. We still complain about public displays of affection as if they’re the end of the world, and seeing a couple make out is almost as rare as seeing a unicorn hold up traffic at the intersection.

One of the top news stories, for a short while, was how disgusted Saratoga residents were with the “Girls Gone Wild” party held at one of the local colleges, even though it was kept inside.

It’s apparent in the city’s social media, as well. I’m listed as the sixth most influential “tweeter” in my city, but my name doesn’t appear on most local lists because of the content on my website. Or maybe it’s because I say “fuck” a lot. Either way, I’m offended! Just kidding.

And don’t get me started on the area’s outward opinion of homosexuality. I can’t even begin to tell you how often I hear, from both sides of the gender line, “Two girls going at it is hot, but two guys? That’s just gross. What are they thinking?” There are “one man, one woman” stickers everywhere.

For about five seconds, we had posters at bus stops encouraging Hispanic homosexuals to be more open about who they are (Hispanic people are less likely to come out of the closet due to cultural expectations), and advertising a support group for any and all homosexuals in the Capital Region. But some Christian group took offense, and the posters came down almost immediately.

There appears to be very few “kinksters” out here, and the vast majority of them keep their interests close to the breast.

And who can blame them, really? Nine out of ten employers in this area would fire your ass if they found out you spank your significant other in the bedroom, regardless of their own bedroom shenanigans, right before they call the police and have you arrested for domestic violence, who will, in turn, investigate you for all sorts of “sexually deviant” behavior.

While I’ll certainly agree that not all of the aforementioned establishments present “sex positivity” (at least from a feminist point of view), neither does systematically expunging them from society. Especially considering some people actually enjoy going to them. Like, say, M and me, for example.

Liberal state my ass.

And I honestly don’t know what to do about it. Because one voice cannot be heard over the masses, and even if it could, I don’t even know what I’d say.

What about you? What would you say?

originally posted on EdenCafe.com, May 20, 2010

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