laughably angsty

sex-negative? (or, confessions of a prude)

radical communities have been on this “sex-positive” tip for a long time now.

i don’t feel like a sex-positive person.
in fact… i think i’m sex-negative.

i can already hear it:
WHAT?
YOU’RE NOT SEX-POSITIVE?
YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN HEALTHY SEXUALITY, IN CONSENT, IN A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO BE BOLD AND INDEPENDENT?
YOU HATE WOMEN?
YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN SAFER SEX? YOU WANT EVERYONE TO GET STD’S?
YOU’RE A SLUT-SHAMER?
AREN’T YOU EMBARRASSED TO BE A WOMAN AND SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT?
SEX IS GOOD FOR YOU!

here’s the disgusting truth:
sex positive communities do not always respect people who choose to abstain.

i have had friends lash out at their “prudish, Victorian, hopeless, sexless, celibate, tight-ass vanilla friends and family” with me in the room, unaware how shaming it is to have your “sex-positive” friends be so negative about your sexuality.

I WAS MOLESTED FOR A GOOD PART OF MY CHILDHOOD.

I DO NOT ALWAYS FEEL POSITIVELY ABOUT SEX.

i do not always feel positively about my own sexuality, i don’t usually care about others’ wild sex lives, and i am certainly never going to feeling positively about a culture that places SUCH A STRONG EMPHASIS ON SEX.

i told this to one of my best friends, who is a sex worker and understandably a good deal of her life is dedicated to fighting peoples’ negative stereotypes about this kind of work. as well it should be. it’s important to her for her friends to know that she is in control of her body and her sexuality, and she is proud of it. she isn’t forced to do it. she doesn’t have a controlling pimp. in fact, her profession allows her a lot more flexibility (no pun intended) than most corporate jobs. i respect her right to wear whatever she likes, and to choose any job she likes, including sucking someone’s cock for rent money. i don’t care what she does. i’m not going to call her a slut, or stop respecting her. i do not believe sex is a sin. but why is it a sin for me to be different?

it’s not like i never attempted your “free love” lifestyle.
it just doesn’t fulfill me emotionally or sexually.
but i think you should do whatever makes you happy.

because of this, people always tell me, “oh, come on, that’s different, you’re still sex-positive, it’s not like you think everyone should be ‘little house on the prairie’ all the time.”

but what if a “sex-positive” person DID have a friend with “traditional” views of sex? what if that WAS my perspective? what if i WAS influenced by a judeo-christian narrative that holds female sexuality as powerful and therefore potentially dangerous? what if i DID find sex to be a sacred covenant between two people who want to connect more deeply? would that be sex-negative? would i be an enemy? why are traditional perspectives acceptable to mock?

& why does nobody in the sex-positive community seem to care that they are making so many survivors of sexual trauma feel bad and guilty about their “boring, sexless, tight-ass” sex lives?

as though the world is divided in two: educated sexually liberated people, and those of us neanderthals who are too stupid to free themselves.

i am fortunate to have worked through my issues enough that i no longer feel i want to throw up when forced to deal with “sex-positive” culture. but i am fortunate. and many are not so fortunate.

you want to make THE ESTABLISHMENT uncomfortable, because you think anyone who doesn’t want to see your ass is a tool of THE MAN and hates what your autonomy represents, but the honest truth is there are tons of feminists, survivors, and other people who do not want to see your ass. and that does not make us oppressors.

not wearing booty-shorts to the queer dance party not only marks me as hopelessly lame – it means i hate women, too?
that makes it sound like you want to control me and my sexuality – and isn’t the point of your “sex-positive community” to FIGHT AGAINST THAT?

we are all trying to survive this insane culture that doesn’t let women create their own path.
don’t make it worse.
if you’re TRULY sex-positive, you will respect how damaged many of us are from sexual trauma and sexual violence, and stop judging your ‘prude’ friends.

EDIT JUNE 2015

been thinking about this a lot, and coincidentally, ran into some pretty brilliant critiques of “sex-positive feminism” that i didn’t touch on here.

“What’s wrong with the generalization that more sex = liberation? It locates sexual liberation in an experience of white heterosexual femininity. It does not take into the account the different experienes of racialization and sexualization of women and queer people of color. While straight middle-class women may have been stereotyped as pure, asexual virgins, women of color were hypersexualized as exotic, erotic beings (see hottentot, harem girl, lotus blossom, fiery Latina, squaw, etc.) For women of color and queer POC, adopting a sex-positive attitude does not “liberate” them of such stereotypes, in fact, it fuels them further. In addition, sex-positivity does not offer a critique of capitalism and the way our sexualities are commodified and exploited, preventing ‘free expression’ of sex, in the favorite words of sex-positive feminists.”  – counterstorytelling: sex positivity isn’t so positive

here’s another:  a riff on the collusion between sex positivity and the carceral state

a culture of fakeness

a person who puts on a happy face in front of company? that’s fake. that person is being inauthentic. yet the person who’s asked “happy birthday, how are you?” and responds, “i have been obsessed with the fact that, turning 30, my first suicide attempt was 17 years ago” is not going to be the most popular person at the party.

our culture demands we be fake.

anything real is scorned.

we love artificial! we love unnatural!

women are not hairless, yet the reality of women having hair disgusts us. we demand that women shave, tweeze, wax. we demand this fantasy, this collective delusion.

men do not exist in a vacuum without emotion, yet they are expected to bottle everything up, and put on a drag act of masculinity. that’s what’s expected. we demand the fantasy of the their unassailable strength.

every part of our culture rewards bullshitting. how many women would sleep with a man who approached them and said, “please have sex with me”? even women like me who are aware that it is a game are turned off by this unwillingness to follow absurd and manipulative social convention.

“rudeness” is often someone being honest or real in a socially unacceptable way.

when someone asks you how you are, your culture forbids you from honesty. you’re not supposed to say, “i am worried about my parents’ mortality.” you are not supposed to say, “i feel i haven’t accomplished enough by age 30.” you’re not supposed to say, “youth is currency and i’m growing poor.” & you’re definitely not supposed to say, “i’m extremely alone, i have no community, i think my sadness is actually a deep mental illness that is spiraling out of my control and i have nowhere to turn, i have alienated nearly every one of my friends, and i’m constantly contemplating whether or not my consciousness has a right to life.”

so i didn’t say, “i am so depressed. i want a hug.”

i said, hi. i said, how are you doing. i said, you look great.

i said, thank you for coming to my 30th birthday party.

ha-ppy bir-thday to me.