Chocolate or Vanilla? CHOOSE


Studies say it takes 10,000 hours or roughly 6-10 years to master something. I realized that I have mastered so many things for more than 10 years, such as: working corporate jobs and amassing tremendous office skills, producing events, dancing, facilitating meditation and massage, and most notably male impersonation. I did it because I intentionally wanted to learn and grow into the best I can be. 

Here’s the truth — We are ALL experts. No institution or false authority is needed to hand out an official certification. Yet at an undefined moment the skill shifts from novice to master.  Every day we practice something if you think about it — we even unconsciously practice our negative habits. This person gets angry easily. That person has a hard time speaking up. This person is nervous about everything. We master addictions too — easily look around and count the number of people who are glued to their mobile phones!

How many of us stop to analyze how we say things and how we react? Why do we say things this way, why do we react this way?  Thinking about this reminded me of an educational course I once took led by one master with 150 attendees. The leader did an exercise with a two participants standing on stage. You can take a moment and do this exercise, too!

Ice cream: Chocolate or Vanilla? Choose one. No, seriously, right now simply choose one in your head….If someone were to give you free gourmet ice cream, which flavor would you choose? Why did you choose that flavor? Ask yourself five times . At any point did you say to yourself, “I choose this flavor… because I CHOOSE this flavor (damn it!)”

Apply this exercise to all areas of life. Do you have a bunch of reasons based on some logic or based on someone else’s preference? Study medicine or study music? Choose. Continue dating boys or date girls? Choose. Somebody wrongfully blames you — correct them or keep quiet?  Choose.

For myself, I noticed years ago that there were so many ways I react which are not my choice. They were learned from the environment.  Since it did not feel good for me to react these ways, I chose to change them. Most change did not occur overnight, it happened little by little.

For example, I did not like the level of sudden anger and subsequent resentment I held inside. I observed others who communicated upsets with such ease and lightness that I asked how they learned this way. One option is a method called “Non-Violent Communication.” Ask if it is a good time to talk. Make a neutral observation of what a person said or did and recap the facts (not opinions). Then describe your own emotions to what happened. Identify your needs in the situation. Make a request for future interactions and see if the other person is will to honor the request.

Upon discovering my sexuality and watching other women, I noticed that it was not pleasurable for us to constantly be barraged by aggressive males and eventually be influenced into an undesirable sexual interaction. It was always followed with general shame and disappointment. The typical sexual intercourse between two people, likely heterosexual, is nicknamed “vanilla sex” (a reference to a more ‘plain’ flavor). Unwanted sexual coercion has also been normalized by society. I then I began to wonder if a “chocolate” option is available…

I started to observe sexual encounters where pleasure and safety was a priority for all.   It really was possible to have two (or more) partners communicate their preferences with full transparency. In fact, they proceeded with sexual play based what’s called an “enthusiastic yes:” joyfully approved sexual exploration. Some beginning steps start with an honest conversation, like in BDSM/kink play:

-Do they agree to be safe, sane, and consensual?
-What is the safeword? (to signal stop, slow down, or give more)
-Is anyone involved under the influence of any drugs or alcohol?
-Out of the sex toys available, what are they open to using?
-What kind of aftercare do they prefer? (gentle care after harder play)

In a recent conversation about consent and pleasure, my friend had this to share:

“I’ve been in so many sexual situations where I forced myself to go through the motions of intercourse and even appeared to be into it, what would have truly been in my pleasure was to say no, or stop, or slow down. 

I’ve hated feeling like I was some sort of “thing” that a person could just take their pleasure for themselves from my body. It’s been a journey in uncovering the true nature of consent.  It feels so much better to be willing to unravel our own self-repression together. To be open to actually have our fantasies and desires become reality. 

I enjoyed the most beautiful experience of intimacy and affection I’ve ever had to date, in my 30 years of being alive. Slow, sensual, a moment by moment “enthusiastic yes” to each sensation.  We didn’t even talk during this fully clothed exchange.

In contrast, a few weeks later, I experienced a very different encounter, a rather disappointing one. This other lover was so consumed by their own desire for orgasm and ravenous pleasure that they aggressively bulldozed past my boundaries so quickly. My experience of them touching me felt like they were taking from me instead of replenishing.” 

This is only one of many long conversations that have opened my mind over the years. Now that I have different options to be able to live in a more healthy, clear, vibrant life, it feels like the new consideration is: “Chocolate — or spicy chocolate? CHOOSE.” 


■Text/ Dr. Wang Newton‧Phto/ Hedy Chang