I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one…

The Learning Channel has just launched a new series called “Strange Sex,” which is an attempt to chronicle alternative sexual experiences and bring light to the diversity that is American sexuality.  Or…something like that.

TLC’s official press release explains: “Throughout the series, Strange Sex highlights some of the most atypical sexual encounters, including a man who has a balloon fetish, a woman who tries to have an orgasm during childbirth for the second time, and a couple who welcomes another man into their relationship, sex life, and home.”

I find the concept of Strange Sex to be at once intriguing and frustrating.  On the one hand, THANK GOD our media is finally acknowledging that there’s more to sex than Hollywood’s Jennifer-Anniston-and-Matthew-Mcconaughey-fuck-missionary-style-in-the-pristine-white-bed-of-his-bachelor-pad model.  Strange Sex covers REAL sexuality: the fetishes, generation gaps, polyamory, and sexual disorders.  On the other hand, I feel like Strange Sex is making a terrible spectacle of non-“traditional” sex practices.

Take a look at this trailer about mental orgasms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=421LxxUOfSY.  Strange Sex is trying to dissect our most personal relation- that between our bodies and our minds- with a kind of sensationalist skepticism that pisses me off.  Why is it necessary to scientifically PROVE that people are able to have mental orgasms?  Why is a cross-generational or polyamorous relationship viewed as strange to begin with?  I think more than anything else, Strange Sex speaks to all the ways our society still doesn’t know how to deal with sex.  We are only capable of looking at things in terms of the normal-abnormal dichotomy, of saying, “This is right, but this is wrong”  when really what we need to understand is “This is what we’re shown all the time and this is what we never hear about,” even though both sides of the equation are very, very common.

I feel like this plays into the way that LGBT people have and still sometimes are treated in society.  We are seen as strange, alien creatures- people with such different habits and outlooks on life that we aren’t even of the same species: we become something that is unrelate-able.  Which is ridiculous, of course.  Yet the idea of a man sleeping with another man (or a woman with a woman, or a woman with two men…) is still so completely incomprehensible, so odd and misplaced to the general psyche, that it becomes the central focus of that person’s entire identity and inevitably a source of conflict and misunderstanding.  Sadly, in a society that can’t see past their own perceptions of “normal” behavior, we as LGBT people will always be known for a sex practices as opposed to our individual lives and personalities.

Maybe I shouldn’t speak before I actually WATCH the show, but Strange Sex seems (from the trailers) to be doing us- us as LGBT, kinky, queer, poly, allied, or otherwise non-normative awesome people- a disservice.

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