Saturday, June 30, 2012

On Identity and Labels

This is so not an original sort of sex blog post. But that's OK. It seems like everyone has something to say about this lately, and that includes me.

If you've read any of this blog or know me at all, you will know that I identify simply as "sexual." For me this means that I not only find all genders/ gender identities attractive, but that I also find all sorts of sexual scenarios, ideas and expressions arousing. I have used the terms bisexual, pansexual and queer before, but none are accurate. Not only that, but they all have very specific and somewhat serious problems to me. Bisexual will often get you excluded from lesbian/ gay communities and will get your sexuality dismissed as "just a lark," or similar ideas. Pansexual will get you made fun of for being a hippie/ pagan/ LARPer, and doesn't really include the fact that people can be attracted not just to multiple genders but also multiple ideas or scenarios. Queer carries with it a heavy political aspect, and I have often found queer communities to be very dismissive of heterosexual sex and heteronormative behaviors. I love heterosexual sex! And while I feel heteronormativity can be very damaging, I also find a certain amount of comfort in a heteronormative space. Also, while non-monogamy/ polyamory can fit well with all of those identities, none of them are explicitly non-monogamous. Non-monogamy is also a very important component of my sexuality, and my most recent revelation and cause.

I want to talk about how these labels and identities divide us rather than bring us together. I understand how they can be used to great effect as a shorthand for describing yourself to others. Or for finding like-minded individuals. Or for forming community around a cause. All of these things are, at their base level, positive and affirming. For so long people who's sexualities have fallen out of the realm of "normal" have felt shunned by society. Heteronormativity has been extremely damaging to our culture. So many have suffered terrible trauma and pain based on what they find attractive and sexually arousing. I have suffered it as well, and I get that.

Here's the rub: as someone who straddles the line of enjoying all sorts of sex and sexuality, I have suffered trauma and pain from both sides. Shockingly, the most direct ridicule I have received has been from people who identify as queer or lesbian (because I am female I believe). While I have received mostly indirect ridicule from a television pundit or republican senator for my less heterosexual interests. Queer people have ridiculed me for enjoying penetration with a cock attached to someone who was born male. Lesbians have ridiculed me for enjoying a threesome with a man and a woman, or for simply going home to a man after fucking a girl. I have been excluded from spaces for not being queer enough. I have had people repeatedly remind me that I am not bisexual because I admittedly prefer relationships with men. I have had women break up with me for liking their husband better than them. OK, well that last one is probably fair, but it still hurt.

I feel like I constantly have to remind folks that in order to be truly sex-positive you have to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone's sexual identification or interests, as long as everything is consensual. For someone who has had their sexuality oppressed and ridiculed and sometimes even prosecuted, it seems obvious to me that respect for others sexualities would come naturally.

Go ahead, say it. After all the oppression that gay, lesbian, trans and queer people have had to deal with for so long, we have every right to feel the way we do about heterosexuality or other similar, patriarchal, heteronormative, etc. practices. Well, I disagree. Everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves inclusion. Everyone deserves a chance to share, learn and grow together. I truly, passionately believe that the only way to a more sexually positive, accepting and open society is to never exclude, oppress, ridicule or other anyone. No matter how much of a douchebag they are.

Of course, I aim for a society where sexual identification becomes obsolete, and that is where all of this comes from. I understand how dismissive that might seem to many who's identities are so very important to them. Even though it may not sound it, my identities are actually very important to me. But only when we can let go of them, lose assumptions surrounding them and just love who we love and fuck who we fuck... I believe that is when we will really be free of sex-negative tyranny.

4 comments:

  1. Brilliant, agreed, and hell yes!

    xx Dee

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  2. minor correction/callout: as a trans person i'd prefer you used the term "a cis male" to "born male". it's less problematic. thank you.

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  3. Thanks for the heads up. I usually try to use cis male but slipped up in my moments of passionate writing. I will continue to try to be aware of that.

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