knowing and not knowing

Tuesday night M and I went to Denny's with the girls because it'd been so long since either of us had a chance to hang out with everyone lately. For some reason, A got on the topic of sexual history, how many people have you kissed, slept with; what's the oddest place you've had sex, etc. Because I know these people fairly well and I know their personalities and opinions about sex, I knew when we began talking that my "numbers" would probably exceed everyone else's at the table, except maybe Alli just because I don't know her as well.

After sharing stories, A looks around and says, "We're like Sex and the City," to which her gf replied, "Well, Devon, at least you are." And everyone laughed.

Like I said, none of this surprised me. I joked around about my past, trying not to feel guilty or bad about it like I usually do. I am trying to be okay with who I was and who I'm becoming. And I truly feel I have nothing to feel guilty about. I never lied to anyone about my intentions, about what I was going through in my life at the time. And it's not regret that I feel exactly about my relationships, or decisions I made in the past. It's something else, some kind of odd guilt, burden, responsibility. The laughter, the storytelling actually helped alleviate some of the feelings I normally have instead of making it worse.

It's interesting though, how these discussions go. How bold it feels to discuss sex in public, to tell stories and gauge whether people are shocked or not. What insights do we offer to people when we talk about our sex lives? Why is there a need to know and not know at the same time? It's a question I'm exploring in an essay. Often, there is a burden in knowing. Does it depend on what it is you know? Or think you know? Is it the way you interpret what it is you know? The thrill of knowing is coupled with the danger of knowing.