Friday, August 04, 2006

And while we're on the subject: in which the author attempts to clear something up for once and for all

Personally? I don't hold with calling people "prudes."

I don't actually know as I think there is such a thing as a "prude."

I think there are people who really like sex, and like talking about it.

I think there are people who really like sex and don't like talking about it.

I think there are people who don't much like or have interest in sex and don't spend much time talking about it.

And then of course there are people (which probably includes most of us at some point or another) who are of the opinion that "I'm normal, you're kinky/wild, she's a degenerate perverted slutbot."

All of these, um, positions, make sense. To me. If you really like something, it makes sense to want to talk about it. Sometimes, because of cultural mores and our own sense of whatever, we like to keep ourselves to ourselves. Others of us, for whatever perfectly valid reasons, are not interested at this time (or ever); go in peace. And sure, one might have real concerns about abuse and exploitation and disease and other forms of harm in thisthatortheother, based on one's own experience with same (direct or otherwise), and/or based on fear of the unknown and the widely disdained.

The "I'm normal, but -that's- just sick" thing--well, it irks. But it's also pretty human. One hopes--well, I hope--that as long as the general standard of "consenting adults" is met, one's personal ick factor shouldn't really be an issue to someone else's enjoyment; or vice-versa.

Here's the thing about disgust, though:

Generally speaking, if it really is simple disgust (if disgust is ever simple) or, for that matter, indifference (more likely to be just that simple), one doesn't spend a whole lot of time talking about the object/practice of disgust.

So: now consider the people who are, to all appearances, not just uninterested but violently repulsed by sex--or, far more likely, certain specific kinds of sex; and yet, for some reason, never frigging shut up about it.

Not only do they talk endlessly about ("sodomy," cocksucking, leathersex, rabid ferret porn), but they somehow manage to track down the most obscure, shocking, perverse examples of the genre they can find. And share the most lurid details, painted with lovingly vivid imagery, with anyone who cares to listen and a number who really don't.

Remarks about "nonconsensual domination and/or exhibition" might be a bit obscure, perhaps.

Old joke:

Man goes to see a psychiatrist. The shrink, being old-school, kicks things off with a good old-fashioned inkblot test.

First image: "What do you see?"

Man sez, "I see...a nekkid woman."

Note. Second image. "What do you see?"

"I see..two people having (heh, heh) sex."

"Mm. And this one?"

"Oh! It's an orgy, isn't it! Look over here, you see how he's..."

"And this one?"

"...I can't even say it out loud (whispers)"

And so on. At the end of the session, the doctor sez,

"Well, Mr. Blahblah, it would appear that you have a rather morbid obsession with sexuality."

"Me?! ME??? But, doc! You're the one showing me all the dirty pictures!"


I realize that what I'm saying here is not exactly news for most people reading it. And the people who it -would- be applicable to certainly aren't gonna hear it now if they weren't before.

But I'm gonna spell it out anyway.

If you find yourself relentlessly battling with the forces of predators and perversion? If your driving passion is the rooting out and extermination of whatever-filthy-thing-it-is? If you see the world as one big cesspool of seething, teeming, depraved lusts, and spend all your time alternately bewailing the muck and stirring it with a stick?

It ain't the doc. And it's not the "dirty" pictures.

It's you.


Renegade Evolution said...

Ah, yes, there is something to be said for "to each his/her own"...

and that's true, about it not being the doc...

Bitch | Lab said...

i don't use the word or the analysis to avoid the conflict (like it matters.)

but i do think that it would be a good idea if someone acknowledge the _reason_ for prudery in the first place. it really was an ideal held up for True Womanhood in the Victorian era.

it has its remnants today in the common fantasy of the women who is prim and proper on the outside and turns into an animal in bed for the *right* man.

Central theme of Sex in the City -- Charlotte's character -- and also, I believe, why men had the hots for her more than any of the other characters on that show.

IOW, people who are exhibiting that kind of distaste *are* often exhibiting conformity to a dominant cultural norm and, as such, they are asserting the normalness and acceptability of that norm, one that is *ahem* deeply tied to patriarchy -- and capitalism.

I tend to give a shit about this be/c, as a working class chick, this was the kind of sexual harassment I most often experienced. I wasn't like the prudish middle class women, therefore -- just by virtue of my status as a waitress or whatever -- I naturally like to talk about it, hear jokes about it, and most of all do it enthusiatically and would welcome any and all comers! woo hoo

i'm in a bad mood today. people offended by prude?

fuck off and die. your bullshit prudery IS part of the system of male oppression, fuckstick.

belledame222 said...

and as it happens, i've just now been perusing the blog of one Dawn Eden.

you know, what with all this intra-thrashing on this side of the aisle, i've really been missing out on t'other side.

Goldstein and that lot, I suppose.

i'd say more about 'em but it's hard to post when you've ripp'd your own eyes out.

belledame222 said...

so, yeah. Beautiful Womanhood. which somehow miraculously would be available for -all- women (never even mind the question of whether you want it or not).

and the sanctity of the home, and the properly closed bedroom door. safe from the prying eyes of the neighbors and the roving lights of the police. unless it isn't. but, if you have the right *kind* of sex, why, that'll simply never come up. Problem? What problem?

and of course, once again, you have the notion of sex as a scarce commodity; implicit or explicit. love and intimacy, too, for that matter: there's only so much to go around. oh, and civil rights, and "freedom," and truth. either you're right or I'm right; we certainly can't both be right; and that's what matters.

Alex said...

A couple of my psych professors (in the course of talking about "The Dark Side of Sex", ironically enough) brought up the idea of "ethics of autonomy" vs. "ethics of community" vs. "ethics of divinity" - and it's from the latter that the emotion 'disgust' rises.

Appeals to a higher power, of "how can you do THAT? That's INNATELY WRONG."

The example I recall best (because it's a bit shocking, sorry) was necrophilia.

In autonomy ethics, so long as the person agreed for their body to be used in that way before they died, it is be fine.

In community ethics, the family and friends would also have to be okay with it (and, more likely, laws would step in to prevent it rather than deal with potentially squicking out everyone you'd have to ask).

Divinity ethics calls upon the innate sacredness of the body to disallow such acts - the "desacration" of a corpse, and so on.

I think, in many ways, it's this latter one that folks are calling upon.

"The female body is SACRED, so transmen are defiling themselves/transwomen are trying to appropriate the sacredness/invading sacred spaces."

"The female body is SACRED, so the owner willingly injuring it/having it injured is defiling it."

It's akin to the reaction a devout Christian might have at seeing a Bible burned.

I think, anyway.

Bitch | Lab said...

alex -- did you read Mary Douglas' "Purity and Danger" by any chance?

There's a sociological explanation which ties all three together -- but sociology was an attempt,in part, to move ethics out of the realm of philosophy to the study of the dynamics of people, organizations, institutions, and societies. So, it's sometimes seen as a usurper by philosophers. ;o

sailorman said...

Personally, my pet theory is that people talk about exhibitionists, S&M doms, etc in public life mostly so that when they accidentally let "cock" or "whip" or or "spank" slip out of their mouths in bed, they can claim it's because it was on their mind as something disgusting they saw earlier in the day, when they were persusing the internet looking for some sites to ban, ahem.

Cheryl said...

Well said, Belledame. Would that we could all live and let live [or "give" (or not) and let "give"].

alphabitch said...

"and as it happens, i've just now been perusing the blog of one Dawn Eden."

Sweetie, why are you defiling yourself in this way?

"i'd say more about 'em but it's hard to post when you've ripp'd your own eyes out."

/gets poor belldame a glass of cool water and a mint/

Just sit here for a minute and take a few deep breaths. Those people are scary. Fascinating in a way, but only from a great distance. Please be careful. They have some serious fucking cooties.

Totally not worth ripping your own eyes out over.

I'm just saying.

Also, yeah, right on about this whole 'prude' thing & projection. If you can't stop talking about a thing, and you frame everything else in terms of that thing, then you're the one having the problem.

Just a little theory I have.

Like that guy whatsisname -- Paul Cameron -- whose so-called 'research' w/r/t teh gay has been widely (but alas, not sufficiently - he's still very frequently cited by the anti-gay nutjobs) discredited -- who posits that the reason gayness is so gravely dangerous is that any man exposed to even the idea of it is going to immediately find it so compelling that he's going to leave off altogether with the boring old 'marital sex.' And the baby jeebus will cry and kittens will explode and society will eventually crumble.

I'm sorry, but the only men I've ever met who find gay sex that much more compelling than straight sex are, you know, gay. Straight guys might now and again give it a passing thought, and may or may not ever pursue whatever kind of experience would satisfy their curiousity, but it's just not more compelling. If you think it is, maybe you're gay!

In which case, just go do it already & shut up about it.

belledame222 said...

ohman, Cameron is classic.

I -was- hoping at one point that he was actually kooky Kirk's father, in a Darth Vader sort of way, you know--but, apparently, no. too bad.

Amber said...

your bullshit prudery IS part of the system of male oppression, fuckstick.

Amen (all irony intentional).

I would love to use that as a quote at the top of my blog!

Alex said...

alex -- did you read Mary Douglas' "Purity and Danger" by any chance?

It was three years ago, so remembering author names... not so much. If I can find my notes, I'll letcha know. :)

Lis Riba said...

Hey, don't forget those of us who don't much like or have interest in sex but like talking about it.


belledame222 said...

good point.

Natalia said...

That's really well-put.

This woman was telling me that all "Western girls" do is "get rammed" by their boyfriends in backs of cars.

Hearing her say it was weirdly kinky. I couldn't help but wonder if she understood all the sexualized terminology she was employing toward "Western girls" with their "tits popping out of their shirts."

The lady doth protest too much...

Natalia said...

***and as it happens, i've just now been perusing the blog of one Dawn Eden.***

Don't waste your life. I tried speaking to her. All I got in return was "polite" condescension.

belledame222 said...

o jesus, i didn't -speak- to her! my god, even my appetite for masochism has -some- limits...

Alon Levy said...

I don't ever use the word prude to describe someone who's anti-sex, simply because I don't think it's accurate. A prude is someone who's squeamish about sex for some reason - not enjoying it, not feeling comfortable enough to be sufficiently intimate with anyone, having a history of sexual abuse, etc. As far as I'm concerned, that term is entirely descriptive, like "blue-eyed" or "born on the 12th."

The proper term for people who actively hate sex, spending much time pondering that hatred or telling other people not to have sex, is "puritan." And I have no compunctions about calling puritans that, regardless of what excuse they give for their crusade.

Bitch | Lab said...

a prude is a person excessively concerned with propriety and's a word that used to more broadly signal someone imposing bourgeois (upper class) standards on the rest of society. These were generally associated with Puritan ideologies at one time: no bodily noises made in public, not discussion of bodily functions or noises in public, body bad bad bad,etc.

piny said...

"The female body is SACRED, so transmen are defiling themselves/transwomen are trying to appropriate the sacredness/invading sacred spaces."

"The female body is SACRED, so the owner willingly injuring it/having it injured is defiling it."

So right on.

belledame222 said...

and this is why, I submit, these people will forever remain marginalized. because if you're gonna pull that sort of crap, you really need to be unambivalent about it. you can't hold to "sacred mystical womanhood/feminine yadda" -and- "but we're not essentialists! we don't believe in masculine *or* feminine, really! Really!"

...and even if you do full-on believe the former, frankly, if you're gonna be that much of a hardass revolutionary, at some point you're gonna need actual weapons and suchlike to back it up.

because the male/masculine essentialists have been in place a lot longer.

$1 to Bitch | Lab 'cause I know this is gonna piss her off, but in this case i really do see this as a "master's tools, master's house" thing.

except there's so much confusion about what's a tool and what isn't, never even mind how to use it, that mostly you're just getting a lot of banged thumbs and swearing.