Posts Tagged ‘Sexuality’

http://lawandsexuality.blogspot.com/2012/02/sexy-boy-and-treasure-island-media.html

Law and Sexuality Blog has an interesting article about a M/m porn company, TIM which has been marketing its wares with images of young boys.

You can read the whole article here.

In it Chris, an academic, writes:

‘there is the less radical, but perhaps no less controversial idea that children can be sexual beings.  This is the revelation that social media already offers to anyone willing to see it, and raising difficult social and legal questions about consent and contemporary domesticity.’

I agree. But I think as an expert in law and sexuality, who writes and blogs in part for an academic audience, he might have acknowledged where the ‘controversial idea that children can be sexual beings’ comes from: Freud.

Here is an extract from Freud’s ‘Autobiographical Study’ on the subject:

‘I have already mentioned that my investigation of the precipitating and underlying causes of the neuroses led me more and more frequently to conflicts between the subject’s sexual impulses and his resistances to sexuality. In my search for the pathogenic situations in which the repressions of sexuality had set in and which the symptoms, as substitutes for what was repressed, had had their origin, I was carried further and further back into the patient’s life and ended by reaching the first years of his childhood. What poets and students of human nature had always asserted turned out to be true: the impressions of that early period of life, though they were for the most part buried in amnesia, left eradicable traces on the individual’s growth and in particular laid down the disposition to any nervous disorder that was to follow. But since these experiences of childhood were always concerned with sexual excitations and the reactions against them, I found myself faced by the fact of infantile sexuality – once again a novelty and a contradiction of one of the strongest human prejudices. Childhood was looked upon as ‘innocent’ and free from the lusts of sex, and the fight with the demon of ‘sensuality’ was not thought to begin until the troubled age of puberty. Such occasional sexual activities as it had been impossible to overlook in children were put down as signs of degeneracy or premature depravity or as a curious freak of nature. Few of the findings of psychoanalysis have met with such universal contradiction or have aroused such an outburst of indignation as the assertion that the sexual function starts at the beginning of life and reveals its presence by important signs even in childhood. And yet no other finding of analysis can be demonstrated so easily and so completely.’

 

The Marvellous Slope Show is back! Season Two of the story of superficial, homophobic lesbians Desiree and Ingrid kicks off with a poignant (but hilarious) episode called ‘Taking Space’

http://theslopeshow.com/2012/02/14/season-2-episode-1-taking-space/

This reminds me of the song: Space, by Pulp. The lyrics of the album version begin:

You said you wanted some space …
Well is this enough for you? …
This is what you’ve waited for …
No dust collecting in the corners …
No cups of tea that got cold before you drank them …
Tonight … travelling at the speed of thought …
We’re going to escape into the stars …

 

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2012/01/30/Cynthia_Nixon_Being_Bisexual_Is_Not_a_Choice/

Cynthia Nixon, who I last week defended for stating her sexuality is her ‘choice’, has gone back on her word.

After a huge amount of hostility and pressure from gay activists and gay media outlets I might add.

Her revised statement reads as follows:

“My recent comments in The New York Times were about me and my personal story of being gay. I believe we all have different ways we came to the gay community and we can’t and shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one cultural narrative which can be uninclusive and disempowering. However, to the extent that anyone wishes to interpret my words in a strictly legal context I would like to clarify:

“While I don’t often use the word, the technically precise term for my orientation is bisexual. I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact. What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship.

“As I said in the Times and will say again here, I do, however, believe that most members of our community — as well as the majority of heterosexuals — cannot and do not choose the gender of the persons with whom they seek to have intimate relationships because, unlike me, they are only attracted to one sex.

“Our community is not a monolith, thank goodness, any more than America itself is. I look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when America recognizes all of us as full and equal citizens.”

Whilst I am gutted to say the least she felt the need to revert to the popular and pernicious ‘born this way’ stance, I do have some sympathy for the Sex in The City actress.

The current atmosphere amongst gay rights groups means that bisexual people are treated as if they are either gay, straight or lying. In comparison to the pure states of Gayness and Lesbianism, bisexuality is treated as the poor, and unwelcome relation.

Note Nixon used the word ‘legal’ in her statement above. She may have actually been avoiding legal action here, I wouldn’t put it past some gayist organisations to try and make out that claiming sexuality is a choice is against the law. She also is an actress, and theatre and Hollywood I expect are pretty conservative when it comes to sexuality. She may have been advised to couch her feelings in safer terms to avoid being penalised in her acting career.

The UK Daily Mail joined in the gloating about her change of tack, saying that bisexuality is a fact. Well, yes. But it is a fact we do have some agency over in our lives. Who we have sex with is still up to us as individuals.

The Advocate online magazine illustrated their update with a photo of Nixon bald, when she had cancer treatment. I can’t help but feel they were aiming to humiliate her just a little.

I still defend Cynthia Nixon but I am deeply saddened that she felt she had to go against her own instincts about her own sexuality to please the gay establishment.

A recent New York Times interview with Sex In The City star Cynthia Nixon, has caused a bit of a furore amongst mainly American gays. I first read about the story in Queerty, which is itself a VERY gay website. But I appreciated them running  it, and quoting Nixon at length and opening up the discussion to the commenters below the line.

Other publications/individuals have not been so generous, and have railed at Ms Nixon for what? For having the audacity to suggest she has some agency in her sex life and her love life? How very dare she!

One of the main criticisms from Teh Gays about Nixon’s statement is that she is playing into the hands of the religious right in America who claim homosexuality is unnatural, against God, and a sinful ‘choice’. One supergay article suggests:

‘she needs to learn how to choose her words better, because she just fell into a right-wing trap, willingly.  When the religious right says it’s a choice, they mean you quite literally choose your sexual orientation, you can change it at will, and that’s bull.’

http://gay.americablog.com/2012/01/dear-cynthix-nixon-hurting-your-own.html

Another gayist piece states quite baldly:

‘ the issue here is not the legitimacy or source of an individual’s sexuality. It’s a question of strategy. ‘

http://www.readability.com/articles/lfxvzpqn

This concept of ‘strategy’ relates to a theoretical term called strategic essentialism.

‘The term was coined by the Indian literary critic and theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. It refers to a strategy that nationalities, ethnic groups or minority groups can use to present themselves. While strong differences may exist between members of these groups, and amongst themselves they engage in continuous debates, it is sometimes advantageous for them to temporarily ‘essentialize’ themselves and bring forward their group identity in a simplified way to achieve certain goals.’

I oppose ‘strategic essentialism’ because I think it fails in its own goal of uniting ‘oppressed’ groups who have a common ‘enemy’ or oppressor. It serves to privilege (yes I can use that word too) one group’s identity and needs over other, less powerful ones.

In the case of the backlash against Cynthia Nixon, it is clear to me that (usually white middle class and often male) gays are outraged that their worldview and their sense of self, and how they were born this way, is not being prioritised. If sexuality is, to some degree, a choice, as Cynthia says it is for her, (note she is not generalising about other people), then gays lose some of their ‘victim status’ as these poor, beleagured people who are forced to live under the shadow of the heterosexual dominant group.

One of the comments that I found most troubling was this one:

It seems to be suggesting that bisexual people ‘choose’ their sexuality but gay people don’t! Apart from this not even beginning to make sense at a ‘scientific’ level – how are bisexual people ‘made’ so that they have the ability to make choices and gays are not? – it is politically quite worrying. I think what it is really saying is that bisexual people are ‘liars’. If sexuality is innate then people who ‘choose’ to go against their ‘natural’ sexual orientation, be it straight or gay, are a) lying and b) oppressing the people who stay in their ‘natural’ boxes by making sexuality look like less of a destiny.

One of the comments by Nixon that stood out for me was this:

‘I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.’

http://www.readability.com/articles/lfxvzpqn

My ex was/is bisexual. Though he rarely used that word to describe himself. Sometimes he took the Freudian label and called himself ‘polymorphously perverse’. And sometimes I have worried, since we broke up, that he might have ‘gone gay’. This has filled me with a sense of loss and rejection, because if he is now ‘gay’ then what does that say about our relationship that occurred (with some hiccups) over a period of over ten years?

I expect my ex doesn’t identify as gay, now. He was more Anti Gay than even the author of the book of that title. He taught me, long before I had heard of Steven Zeeland, that ‘sexual identity is a joke’.

But it’s not a very funny one. And I think people’s reactions to Cynthia’s open discussion about her own sexuality, are a sign of how we still haven’t reached ‘the end of sexuality’. Maybe one day, eh?

_______________________

 

Broken Record

Posted: September 10, 2011 in Blogging, Freud
Tags:

Someone called me a ‘broken record’ today. And I think they were right.

But I will keep repeating myself over and over, and singing this discordant song, and breaking myself over the turntable of your prejudice and willful ignorance, until I get my message across. Or give up. Or die. Whichever happens first.

So here are two of my favourite scratchy tunes from my most respected recording artistes, in the field of sexuality:

Mark Simpson on ‘The Private Lives of Dr Sex’ – a beautiful and rigorous defence of Kinsey and his refusal to be put into a box, or to put others into fixed categories.

Sigmund Freud’s Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality – a lesson in accepting how we are all a  combination of drives, impulses and indeed ‘neuroses':

http://www.magma.ca/~mfonda/freud07.html

Tell me when I have finished spinning and I will wind myself up and start all over again…

This is the list of entrance prices/membership fees for a ‘hedonists” ‘sex club’ in Toronto, Canada.

It is a very interesting example of the different values of men and women in the ‘sex’ marketplace. Even in the ‘recreational’ sex marketplace.

Why do you think it costs only $5 basic entry for a single woman and $80 for a single man?

I expect it is mainly because there are not enough women going to these clubs and so they need to give women incentives to go.

And because if there are too many men, the club will go from being ‘hedonist’ to being ‘homo’.

Also, single men are often treated, in the club scene, as predatory- see the sign at the bottom: NO touching without permisssion!, and the note saying ‘single gents will be admitted at the discretion of the management’- and kind of potentially ‘creeps’.

In some clubs there is a genre of man that regular clubbers call ‘the wanky man’. A man who does not take part in the ‘action’ but instead, stands around watching and probably masturbating. This is portrayed as unsightly, perverted and somehow aggressive to the other clubbers, especially women.

It is almost as if men themselves are seen as a problem, unless they play by the rules.

It’s no wonder many men go to all-male clubs, saunas and gyms. There may not be any women there, but at least they are not having their sexuality policed within an inch of its life.

http://sofiastry.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/a-stark-economic-visual-of-the-sexual-marketplace/

Mr Fuck Theory doesn’t like Mr Freud very much. And I don’t like Mr Fuck Theory. But I want to put our emotional responses aside to try and explain why I disagree with Fuck Theory’s ‘critique’ of Freud’s ‘conceptual violence’ in relation to femininity and homosexuality.

Here is Fuck Theory’s post:

http://fucktheory.tumblr.com/post/4070969035/the-blind-spot-of-an-old-dream-of-symmetry-the

‘The Blind Spot Of An Old Dream Of Symmetry

The implications of this conceptual violence proliferate in a great number of directions, all of which are best summed by Luce Irigaray’s typically dense and brilliant formula, “A man minus the possibility of (re)presenting oneself as a man = a normal woman.”

As is often the case in Freud’s reading of homosexuality, homos and women both lose out; homos because their object is a “false” object, a misdirection of energy “properly” directed to a vagina, and women because their anatomy is stripped of any specificity:  the only thing that matters is the penis doing the penetrating, whereas all holes are pretty much the same.’

———-

Basically FT is saying that Freud has decided that anal sex between men is simply (but also perversely) what men do in the absence of a vagina in which to put the penis. Because, as Paglia put it so succinctly years later, ‘Penis Fits Vagina’.  Freud is misguided, because the man whose anus is penetrated, according to critiques of  ‘Freudian’ theory, is presented as ‘the woman’. And this assumes only women can be penetrated. And that the act of sex is primarily penetration by a man of a ‘woman’.

Now, I need to go back to my Freud to demolish this argument effectively. And I don’t have his  Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality to hand. The main thing I noticed from reading that book was that Freud’s use of the term ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ or ‘active and passive’ did not necessarily relate to ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and that this is important!

But, the real reason I reject FT’s which is the basic ‘feminist’ critique of Freud, is partly, actually, due to those ‘emotional responses’ I mentioned before. As Freud has taught us, often our ‘gut’ reactions are the most significant.

Feminists’  ‘gut reaction’, their instinctive dislike of Freud, could be because he prioritises the role of the ‘phallus’ in sexuality and our psyches (which women, lest we forget, do not possess). Gay theorists such as FT may dislike him because they too prioritise the role of the ‘phallus’ and Freud’s analysis suggests that being gay means taking it ‘like a woman’ and losing the power of the…cock.

People think I am the one obsessed by cock. But whole analytical theories and political arguments and identity movements have been built up around this pink, squidgy (and sometimes not so squidgy) member. The thing I like about Freud is he doesn’t hide it. He says- look! Boys and Men have Cocks! They appear before them as babies and dangle infront of them and the women in their lives. They preoccupy their dreams, they wake with them hard, or leaking fluid. They see other men’s at the urinal and compare them. They build buildings in their image. They find that women (and other men)  can’t take their eyes off them. And women, they can only ever really, as  Julia Kristeva would admit if she were being honest, see themselves as ‘she who is without a cock’.

Philosophers such as Irigaray, and feminists, and Fuck Theory, are trying to supress the importance of the cock, by blaming Freud for noticing it. This seems so unfair to me. And if anyone is doing any conceptual ‘violence’ I think it is them.

I think Mr Fuck Theory can’t deal with the idea that if, (and it’s a big if) and when he bends over to take it, he may be somehow ‘emasculating’ himself, even for the briefest time. So he makes out the anus is this special hole, where special ‘manly’ things happen that is so different from the vagina, which is what girls have.

FT acknowledges that women can have anal and vaginal sex, but he does so to make the point that the anus and the vagina are ‘qualitatively distinct’, and that by implication gay men and women are ‘qualitatively distinct’ I can’t help but feel.  Now,  I am a woman who has had anal and vaginal sex. My experience is only one person’s. But I think personal experience, and Sigmund should agree, is valuable in discussing sexuality. Mr Fuck Theory never discusses his personal experience, beyond telling us he ‘fucks’ (theory and MEN’s anuses).

There are differences between vaginal and anal sex. One of the differences is I worry more during vaginal sex that it may lead to pregnancy. Another is that the anus is tighter than the vagina. And the man tends to seem to find it more ‘naughty’ to do anal. Also, I find it easier to do anal without facing my partner, and harder to have vaginal sex, without facing my partner. Sometimes I don’t want to see his face, or mine reflected in his. Another difference is it feels to me, in my body, that the route to ‘me’, to my self and my emotions, that vulnerable place inside where everything can come crashing down at any minute, is via my vagina. It came as no surprise to me, that after I had ‘escaped’ a violent (including ‘conceptually violent’) relationship with a man, that it was vaginal intercourse that could leave me frightened, crying, shaking, vulnerable, every time I ‘had it’ (because, boys and girls, being penetrated is something that ‘happens to you’ not something that you ‘do’) for months, or maybe a year afterwards. I have not spoken to men about this, but I wonder if there is a route that leads to their inner self? Because if it is not via my anus, could it be via theirs? (Maybe it is via their mouths – and we all have one of them).

But I can’t articulate these specific differences, or ask these questions, using the language of feminist and gay ‘anti-Freudian’ theorists. They are too busy both denying and thus reinforcing the ‘feminine v masculine’ ‘active v passive’ roles in sex that Freud identified.  Because if you deny something too heavily you end up just emphasising how important it is. Mr Fuck Theory is saying: Gay men are MEN, who don’t have VAGINAS who are DIFFERENT from WOMEN. They  are not women because they have a COCK! And really, who would want to fuck, let alone be a woman? I note with some amusement that though they share a critique of Freud, the feminists and the ‘gayists’ tend to use this critique to deny what they have in common: ‘we are not faggots’ say the feminists, ‘we are not women’ say the faggots. I suspect Freud might be amused by that too, if he were around to see it.

I think Mr Fuck Theory is proving Freud’s point. I think he is saying ‘suck my dick, Sigmund’, but the lady doth protest too much.