A friend suggests that when out on a first date--- when engaged in what is very much an interview process with a potential bedmate ---one key way to determine whether it's worth the risk of discussing one's sexual interests or preferences is first to ask a couple of questions. My friend suggests that the first preliminary question should be: Do you have a Tumblr? If yes, then the next question must be What do you write about? If it's fashion or music or books, then fine. If she says she writes about gender issues and social justice, then it's probably time to call for the check. I think we can take this much as a given: no one who's keenly interested in gender issues or intersectionalist feminism wants to discuss sexual interests or tastes...and they certainly don't regard being out with you as a date, and a fortiori not as a social occasion that leads from going out to making out.
Do you have a Tumblr? Well, that's simple enough, and I may try that with my next Young Companion. It strikes me as something that saves time and disappointment, and there's something to be said for efficiency. Also for saving oneself from being mocked or "called out"--- especially since "calling out" is likely to involve a public scene, and public displays of anger always terrify me.
We're still at the question of how one raises the issue of one's sexual interests and tastes. Yes--- it's an important thing for any relationship. At least in theory, a relationship or an evening moves from going out to making out, and it's no fun for either party if there aren't shared interests in bed. But while no one male should ever risk trying to talk about these things--- or admit to feeling any desires at all ---with someone who has a gender warrior Tumblr, there's always the issue of how to raise the issue.
If you're male, you obviously can't ask the girl, and you just as clearly can't offer up your own presentation speech without an explicit invitation. Or at least not these days. There was a time when I'd have looked at a lovely young first date over my glass and traced a finger along the back of her hand and told her that she had...say...lovely and quite kissable collarbones. Or asked which she liked better--- having her ankles kissed or her spine. Once upon a time, I'd have looked at my date and smiled and thought that the evening was going well, and that the odds were very in my favor for her to smile back and tell me a story or two that would sketch out things she liked.
I've lost a sense of how to do that. These days, I'm certainly not going to state my particular interests or preferences. I've lost my sense of timing, and I'm now deeply terrified of being mocked for those interests and having a savage and contemptuous critique of my tastes, skills, or interests broadcast by social media.
If you're reading this, do suggest your own thoughts on how to raise the issue of comparative sexual interests here in the age of the gender wars...and do offer up your own suggestions on why we're now more willing to mock or be horrified by any non-vanilla interests than we were twenty or thirty years ago.