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The Sex Positive Movement


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#1 Eta Carinae

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 06:42 AM

. . .and why I don't particularly think it's good for asexuals.

(Bear with me if I'm incoherent: it's late.)

I've got a couple reasons for not really liking this movement. Well, okay, three, but one of them's personal. The two legitimate reasons are as follows:

1. What happens to us if it's successful? Oh, sure, in a perfect world, if the movement caught on, it would do so in a way that everyone's sexuality was accepted. But we don't live in a perfect world, and when philosophies spread, they can easily get corrupted and/or reduced to their bare essentials.

It's the latter that I'm particularly worried about: the basic message of the sex positive movement seems to be that sex is good and natural and healthy. That's a worldview makes it extremely easy to dismiss asexuality as either nonexistent or pathological.

Now imagine what would happen if everyone held such a worldview. Everyone. Including the people who aren't too bright. Including the ones who don't think their beliefs through, or take the time to research them. Including the judgemental sorts who don't understand that different people like different things. Including the people who don't see nuances in things, who simply pass down the bare bones of a philosophy to their children, and including the children who never bother to add to the philosophies their parents give them.

There's the disturbing potential that if the movement ever caught on, it could make things worse for us. The majority is neither kind nor tolerant to outsiders, and if you tell it that sex is good and healthy, there's a very real chance that we will be labeled as outsiders even more than we already are, and treated accordingly. And I'm not willing to take that risk.

Sex-positiveness may be beneficial in theory, and in unsullied practice. But so's Christianity.

2. You thought mainstream society was bad? If you're one of those people who complains that mainstream Western society is saturated with sex, how much worse do you think it will be if everyone were wholly comfortable with sexuality? (Or do you not think it will be worse?)


Discuss.

P.S. It's my 100th post. Huzzah!

#2 Artemis

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 11:29 AM

I totally agree.

If the sex-positive idea does work properly we could expect everybody to say: "so you're asexual, that's cool".....but you're right, we'd probably get: "so you're asexual, that's wrong".

Look at what happened when women got "sexual liberation" - or to put it another way, women got the pill which meant they didn't have to worry about getting pregnant every time they had sex. Contraception is definately a good thing, in my opinion, and you can't blame the pill itself for what women's "sexual liberation" turned out to be. So were we "liberated"? Well we weren't liberated to be lesbian if that was what we wanted (lesbians weren't "normal"), we weren't liberated to be celibate or asexual (that was for women who were "frigid") - we were only really liberated to have sex with men, when men wanted it, in the way they wanted it. "Sex" was mostly defined according to what men wanted, and it seems to me that women were never able to define sex according to what they wanted, so I don't think we really were "liberated" as much as we're supposed to think. It's still not entirely "normal" in modern times to be lesbian/gay/bi/asexual etc.

I wish sexuality was regarded like blood groups: the commonest blood group (in the UK) is O+, and the rarest is AB-, but we don't think that people who are O+ are normal and those who are AB- are abnormal (or non-existant!) - they are just different. In the same way, why can't society think of being heterosexual as the most common orientation, and being GLBA etc as being simply less common!

As to the second question, I've noticed the amount of sex references in everyday life increasing, and it seems to be totally irrelevant to the subject under discussion (in gardening programmes for example!), which really pisses me off. They don't suddenly start talking about planting herbaceous borders during sex scenes on TV (maybe it would make them more interesting?), so why are they doing the opposite. So any further increase in that kind of thing would really drive me mad. On the other hand, if sex became so everyday and "natural" (maybe like going to the toilet?), people wouldn't feel the need to go on about it all the time - this would be preferable to me!

Another thing that worried me is that if everyone became very sex positive, would asexuals become the enemy, trying to corrupt "innocent" naturally sex-loving young people into being celibate/asexual?

This train of thought is disturbing me now!

#3 Skiddaloxx

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 02:34 PM

Question: can you try and define "them"? who are "they"?

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#4 AVENguy

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Posted 13 April 2003 - 03:39 PM

I definitely hear what you're saying, and even though at it's core the sex positive movement is all about stating your personal desires I think it's got a bad habit of equating a lack of sexuality with sexual repression and sexual empowerment with sexual intensity. On the other hand I don't think a sex-positive world would actually be all that bad, or all that sex-saturated (depending on how it was done.) If the sex positive movement spread a message like "sex is no big deal!! Have all the sex you want as long as you're aware of the risks and how to reduce them" then people would eventually realize that "all the sex they want" has a finite limit. In a sex-negative environment where people are told "(lit) for the live of god, don't have sex!! It's too important to exist outside of marraige!!!" people may well be inclined to have more of it than they otherwise would, because it takes on all of these extra dimensions and implications. I'm for a movement that says "the only thing that shuold matter about sex is whether you and your partner(s), aware of the risks, want to have it."

#5 ogbg

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 02:21 PM

Question: can you try and define "them"? who are "they"?

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You know! The Men in Black :wink:

#6 Eta Carinae

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 09:26 AM

Question: can you try and define "them"? who are "they"?

I don't see a whole lot of pointing to vague "they"s in my post, but anyway: is this a genuine request for information on the sex positive movement, or an underhanded way of calling me out on what you thought was stereotyping on my part?

#7 Skiddaloxx

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 10:00 AM

A little bit of both, Inkburrow. The PSM central message (Sex is healthy and natural) is something I am fond of. Do you really think it will be a problem for asexuals? I have never been a big fan of movements and i think the PSM people only proclaim what everybody knows already anyway. Sex is just an option of general asexuality. REgarding the time you spend having sex and the time you don't, it's obvious to see that sex is only a tiny action at midnights or mornings and the rest of the day everyone is basically not spending their time sexually. So actually here we are saying "NO" to that tiny-time-consuming little action called sex, we rather spend this time doing something else. No-one will shoot us for that decision.

I believe that the majority is tolerant towards outsiders. I mean who is in and out anyway? It's all a mix and mishmash today anyway.

*mishmashing out*

Skiddaloxx

PS: Inkburrow, don't worry, be happy! :D :) :o :twisted:

#8 Eta Carinae

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 10:32 PM

A little bit of both, Inkburrow.

I actually went hunting around for some kind of central FAQ on sex-positivism, but two pages into Google I couldn't find one and gave up. So if you want information, well, you'll have to look it up on your own. Google for the term, and click around the results; you'll get a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about.

As for stereotyping, I was referencing what I've found to be, generally, the core beliefs behind the movement; I'm sure there are various nuances to those beliefs, but I didn't think it necessary to go look them up and mention them in my post.

I believe that the majority is tolerant towards outsiders.

Only if by tolerant you mean that it doesn't break out the pitchforks and torches. Seriously, look at the way it treats any outsider group now. Their lives are generally far from living hells, but they don't get quite the same deal the insiders do.

As a more general rebuttal to the points AVENguy and you made, I want to say that I don't think that a sex positive world would automatically be worse for us than our current world. But there's the potential, and I think that arguing that the sex positive movement is truly compatible with asexuality (and those who think differently are getting the beliefs wrong) is a little like arguing that Christianity is truly compatible with homosexuality. It may be, but there are people out there who disagree with you, and you can't just wish them away.

And yes, I have seen a number of sex-positive people claim that asexuality is unnatural/unhealthy/what have you. I'm not involved in the movement, so I don't know if they're a tiny minority or a significant minority or not a minority at all, but that particular interpretation of sex-positiveness is out there. And as its views on asexuality are fairly in line with mainstream society's views on asexuality -- at least compared to the "asexuality is okay, too!" brand of sex-positivism -- I wonder if it could be, from mainstream society's perspective, the preferable form of sex-positivism. At the least, I don't see it automatically dying out.

Finally, let me take you on a little thought experiment: suppose the movement catches on. Suppose, even, that it's the form of the movement that's friendly to asexuality. So, sexual people start having lots and lots of sex, more than they do now. Since there are so few asexuals, most sexual people only know other people who are having lots of sex. How weird do you think we'll look to those people when they do stumble across us? Sure, they'll recognize that we've got a legitimate sexual orientation, blah blah blah tolerancecakes, but we'd be quite outside the norm, probably even more than we are now. And people, generally, even if they don't mean to or don't mean any harm, treat those outside the norm differently, or at least think about them differently (witness, for example, the treatment of the disabled).

It may not go that way, of course, or we might not be seen as beyond normal anymore than we already are, but I think it's possible.

#9 Skiddaloxx

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 11:31 PM

WEll, give those people time and space to get familiar with the topic asexuality. Most people are scared of the new thing and changes, that's why they glue themselves to what they already know. It's always been that way in history. People like rules and traditions, which is actually a good thing.

Yes, i have never had sex. No, no-one is forcing me to have it. I am not out as asexual (which is due to the fact that i am not sure if i am it). BUT i don't feel a need to say i am asexual (coming out), i'd prefer saying i am not interested in sex. To say "I am asexual" is somewhat political! Yuck! No straight *normal* person has to come out as it and we must give ourselves the same right to be what we are!

You must be joking by saying people will have more sex! Since everyone's sex drive is different, it will only free the people who had to repress their high sex drive. And that's healthy! It doesn't mean that everyone is gonna fall to the floor and fuck around. And if so: fine. I am not hanging up my self-worth on other people's opinions. No no no! I am working with disabled people and this gives you a real sense for the important things. At first I was feeling a bit awkward but soon it became so normal working with them. It's all down to fear of the unknown/differences. It's absolutely no use to be aggressive to or against sexers if some of them don't understand asexuality. It's their right, just as ours, to make up their own mind. The best thing to do is to be gentle to those who are scared or unfamiliar with asex. Do you feel a need to justify ur asexuality?

Love,
Skiddaloxx

#10 Artemis

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Posted 19 April 2003 - 07:39 PM

I’m with inkburrow on the problem of prejudice and the way people treat those who are “different”. I’ve experienced prejudice based on being female, despite this being something I have in common with 50% of the population. I’ve seen and heard the kind of prejudice that my friends and colleagues from ethnic minorities experience, and if I was lesbian/gay/bi I certainly wouldn’t be out at work because I’ve heard the things some of my colleagues say (and many of my colleagues seem to have no problem with people of other races but big problems with anybody “non-straight”).
If the sex positive movement is going to allow people to be open about what their sexuality is, if they want to be, without suffering because of it, then that’s fine. If it’s going to help free people from their hang-ups, then that’s fine, but for those of us who don’t want to have sex “shoved down our throats” all the time, then the sex positive movement needs to allow us to be free of sex if that’s what we want.




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