I had a woman friend when I was an undergrad who would go months into a relationship before consenting to penetration. She would say, "We haven't had sex yet," during that time, even though she was swallowing her partner's ____ on a daily basis. I found the idea that this activity was only "fooling around" rather curious at the time. But now that I'm wiser, I recognize that her definition at least had consistency going for it.
My current preoccupation is erotic language. Does it ever make sense to say people are having an affair when they are exchanging only words? At what point would a mutually shared fantasy take on the force we normally associate with physical contact? If an idea makes you come, could its influence reasonably be described as a type of penetration?
I'm fascinated by the divide between my theoretical position, which holds that the distinction between words and deeds is ultimately an illusion -- Faust might as well have quoted the Gospel of John the way it usually gets translated, "In the beginning was the Word. . ." -- and my practical one, which counters that there is a huge difference between merely thinking of an action and actually doing it. Interestingly, it's the theoretical position that is steering me away from the path of freedom. I'm sure I could get along just fine with the knowledge that the space of fantasy only promises liberation so long as it is unregulated, provided I could convince myself once and for all that it really does matter whether we act on our impulses or not. Stranger still, as I've been writing this entry I've been fighting back the urge to go read the New Testament. What's that about?