Archive for October, 2010


This one goes out to all my male readers, because I have a conundrum and I want your input.

When I was younger, I never really had a philosophical or moral “problem” with male circumcision.  It was just a personal or religious decision made by the parents of a male child based on what seemed right to them. In the long run, it posed no serious medical risk and didn’t seem like a big deal.

However, having immersed myself in a lot of random, sex-positive literature, I’ve found that there is a large community of people who are strongly against male circumcision, citing reduced ability for men to self-lubricate, lessened sensitivity, hygiene issues, and a sense of bodily violation by men who were circumcised.  Thus, while I don’t fault people for circumcising their kids (after all, they probably aren’t versed in the theoretical or medical arguments that led me to oppose the practice), I feel like the better option is to leave what nature created alone, and would suggest as much to people who were on the fence.

But Carnal Nation brought up an interesting question regarding circumcision in Africa, where HIV prevalence is so high.  Apparently, the WHO recommends circumcision as a means of reducing HIV transmission.  I am sketchy on the science of this, but you can read more about the general dialogue here.  The good thing is, most African men are getting circumcised later, around age 15 or so, when they have the agency to decide for themselves about the procedure.  But I imagine they have very little information on the subject, and have simply been told that it will prevent them from getting AIDS.  Does this present a moral hazard- making kids feel even more invincible against the disease by circumcising them?  And what about their own sexual and hygiene needs?  Is the potential for preventing AIDS worth trading off the general health benefits of having the foreskin?

Granted, it is AIDS.  And AIDS is a scary disease, and a prevalent one, so I am inclined to think the trade is worth it.  But something inside nags at me….

Your thoughts?

Also, for guys who are comfortable sharing- are you happy, upset, or ambivalent about being circumcised?  Has it affected you in any significant way?  Looking forward to your input.

Stay cool, queer kids.

Advertisements

Huzzah! A Link!

Look, kids, I found it!

For those of you interested, you can watch the full movie: Equality U here.

Equality U is a brilliant documentary about a group of young Christians who traveled cross-country to visit some of the most homophobic university campuses in the United States and to engage in dialogue with school officials and students about the intersections of Christianity and homosexuality.  It’s a really powerful and well-done documentary.  WATCH IT.

One area of sexual orientation which I haven’t even touched on in the course of this blog is asexuality.  And that, frankly, is because I know and understand little about it beyond the basic theoretical conception.  For those of you unfamiliar with that, an asexuale is “someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people

choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are.”  (asexuality.org– You should check this site out)

I think this is such an interesting area of human attraction to look at, but sadly I have zero connections to the asexual community, have no asexual friends or relatives (that I know of, at least), and am thus rather isolated from the sphere of people who discuss these issues.  I find it most telling that my university, American, whose Queers and Allies chapter is the largest student group on campus, does not have any programing or sub-committees which focus on the needs of the asexual c0mmunity.  Boo.

Which is why this article from the Guardian is so adorable and deserves your attention.  Amanda and Chris are an asexual committed couple who talk about their experiences finding love and living in an overly-sexual world where they feel they don’t normally fit in.

“When we announced our engagement, our families were happy for us, and our friends in the asexual community were particularly pleased. On our wedding night, my mother-in-law insisted on booking us into a honeymoon suite, so we invited all our friends to an after party. We played Scrabble late into the night and everyone stayed over and slept on the hotel-room floor.

People always ask how our marriage is different from just being friends, but I think a lot of relationships are about that – being friends. We have built on our friendship, rather than scrapping it and moving on somewhere else. The obvious way we differ is that we don’t have sex, though we do kiss and cuddle. We like to joke that the longer we’re married the less unusual this is. By the time we’ve been married five years we’ll be just like everyone else.”

Awww.

Now the thing I’d like to stress about asexuality (and which might clear up some headscratching confusion for those of you who don’t understand how asexuals form relationships) is the way it differs from romantic attraction.  Most people of what I call “the monolithic sexualities”- gay/straight/bi- assume that for all people, those that we feel sexually attracted to, we also feel romantically attracted to.  This just seems natural and part of an inherently intertwined social construct of intimacy.

HOWEVER, its not always true.  If I were to fully explain my sexuality, I would say that I am a bi-romantic homosexual- meaning that I feel romantic attraction to both men and women (and those in between and around!), but only sexual attraction to women.  This same construct can apply to asexuals.  Though a person may not feel the sexual pull towards others in general, they can still be romantically attracted to men or women.

I think that the different orientations of romanticism is something that even the Gender and Sexuality Studies people don’t talk enough about, which is a shame because it is a beautiful representation of how diverse sexuality can be.

I’d love feedback and comments, especially if anyone knows/identifies as asexual or as a “romantic” that doesn’t match their sexuality (bi-romantic, homo-romantic, etc.).  Talk to me!

Stay cool, queer kids.

 

Equality March

I love back on the National Equality March from last October fondly.  It was an amazing show of color, enthusiasm, and support for the gay community.  And it was also the day after I first told my girlfriend I loved her.  Pretty cool.

Regardless of whether you came or not, here’s a little trip down memory lane.  Buzzfeed presents The 20 Best Signs at the National Equality March. Let me know if you have thoughts for what I should write on my sign the next time a similar protest comes along.

 

And here’s two from my personal collection:

Coming Out Day!

Geeze guys, why didn’t someone remind me?  It’s National Coming Out Day!

While this event is usually a celebration of open acknowledgement of sexuality and sexual orientation, I’d like to broaden the scope a bit and let you all think about the different ways one can come out.  The idea of coming out actually reminds me a little bit of (I know this will sound cheesy, but…)m High School Musical.  I know, I know, bear with me here.  So you remember the scene in the cafeteria where the one basketball kid tells his friends how he likes to bake, and then a nerd tells her friends that she loves doing hip-hop and suddenly everyone breaks out into that song “Stick to the Status Quo?”

Well, that’s how it goes with a lot of things.  We are children of societal expectation, and there are a lot of non-normative things that require “coming out.”  That can be anything from loving to knit to being gay or trans, to loving BDSM and kink.  There are a million practices and identities that society points fingers at, claiming that they are wrong or at the very least, not normal.

Which is why I love this article  by Asher Bauer and this video by Brown U. alum Marty about coming out  (which, of course, encompasses coming out to yourself) as kinky

http://vimeo.com/9310463

http://carnalnation.com/content/58326/1067/kink-coming-out-story?utm_source=CarnalNation&utm_campaign=232b2b8fe5-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email

Marty, the courageous soul, came out on his Law School Applications as polyamorous, queer, and kinky, sparking an interesting conversation with his dad and society in general about which spaces allow us to be open about who we really are.

I hope you take a look and comment on both, but in honor of Coming Out Day, I’d really like to hear from you all about your coming out stories (or if you are an ally, about a friend who has come out to you).  Please share the love!

The view from academic queer studies position and from a regular, everyday LGBT person is VERY different.  And what often sits at the crux of that difference are the questions of assimilation and validation around the marriage argument.

To sum up the debate: arguments for marriage are the ones we see all the time- LGBT people are just as loving, healthy, righteous and deserving of the right to marry as anyone else.  Yes?  Arguments against marriage rights take the question of right and turn it on its head: why is marriage so important?  Why should we, as queer people who are DIFFERENT AND AWESOME, feel the need to conform to a societal expectation created by and for straight people?

This irreverent article by Simon Sheppard on CarnalNation does an excellent job of answering those questions from the viewpoint of a person who once opposed marriage. (there’s also a link to his original article explaining why he doesn’t really care to get married)

Point being, yeah, even if marriage is an assimilationist institution, it’s still a pretty amazing one.  I was a bridesmaid for my parents’ 25th anniversary vow renewal this past week, and the experience was incredibly humbling.  These crazy people who gave birth to me have been together, loving each other despite their flaws and shortcomings for longer than I’ve been alive, for a quarter of a century.  And that is absolutely beautiful.

Besides all the good stuff about medical benefits and social security (and my gf’s government health care package, whoooo!), marriage really does come down to the emotions- the neurons and hormones and heart-pumping happy feeling you get when you see the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  Being able to put a ring on it means just one more way of showing that person that they mean everything to you and that you’re ready to make a lifelong adventure together.

Having lived in DC just as gay marriage was legalized was exciting.  Living in a city with the potential to make that lifetime commitment to the person I love is life-affirming.  And waking up each morning to the person I want to share it with, well, that’s nothing short of bliss.

As a special treat, I’m pulling out two of my favorite sites from my collection of sex-positive/philosophical/borderline erotic articles and videos so that I can talk about gender roles and submission.

I think I’ve talked before about false dichotomies, but this bears repeating: society likes to pair certain attributes together, especially when it comes to sex.  If you’re a top, you’re dominant and usually butch; if you’re a bottom, you’re submissive and femme.  This is TOTALLY LAME AND INCORRECT.  Now that is not to say that these pairings cannot be fun, interesting, and worthwhile- I identify as closer to femme and frequently play the submissive bottom.  HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that the roles should be restrictive.

Cherry Bomb, a webcast by these 4 incredibly awesome lesbians who sit around, drink wine, and talk about sex, did one of their vlogs about gender roles in the bedroom, which you should totally watch so you can laugh with them.   But it also makes you think.  They touch on the concept of the “pillow princess” and the “stonecold butch” as terms for only feeling comfortable or aroused when giving or receiving.  This is an especially interesting concept to discuss because I think one of the greatest misunderstandings about sex (espcially lesbian sex!) is how both partners can be getting pleasure when only one of them is  “receiving.”   That kind of understanding of sex, I think, leads to bargaining and guilt when it comes to giving/getting head or fingering/handjobs, as if because the one person is acted upon, it is a chore for the other.  Silly.  Specifically silly because it assumes that there’s nothing to be gained erotically from seeing your partner happy, which makes no sense in any context, not just the bedroom.

Think about it… If you give your partner a Christmas gift and she throws her hands up, squees, and runs around in a circle with happiness, you probably feel pretty good too.  Because you like to see him/her/hir happy.  Same thing goes in the bedroom.  Feeding off of your partner’s energy is a HUGE part of having sex.  There are so many other dynamics that go into all of this, like when you consider one-night stands and other non-monogamous forms of intimacy.  Which is why you should watch the video!!

The other linky-link is an erotic piece by Sugarbutch about submission.  For context, the writer is a butch lesbian who is almost always the dominant in her relationships, and in this instance she is writing about being topped by her new femme “lover.”  Actually, she writes about that whole context thing here.  Yeah, read that first.  In the second article, she talks about being a butch top who has played submissive, which is actually rare in a lot of circles, but it isn’t her “default mode.”  The second piece is much more of a mental landscape- how it feels to submit (whether you’re normally a dom or a sub).

You can have me. My body is all nerve endings and convulses at every touch: your hands on the backs of my thighs. No need to open me further, this is all there is, this is all there is. Take me so I can only ever be taken by you. Take me so I wake inside myself screaming your name. Take me to where I feel again, where I feel anything, all of it, open, receptive, receiving, submitting.

That’s pretty much the best description of heavy S/M (from the submissive point of view) that I’ve come across to date.  I think its most indicative because it takes you right to the primal-ness of submission and sex in general- the desperate, unquenchable need that can be awoken within us.  Which is also, of course, why trust and aftercare are so important in S/M relationships or scenes.

This podcast from Realm of Bliss talks about the roles and duties of a dom and sub in BDSM relationships (although through the lens of hypodomination), and is a very interesting listen for anyone who is interested in learning more about this topic.

Enjoy!  Stay cool, queer kids.

No Comment

I’m going to call this my I-have-nothing-to-say-about-this-article-but-you-should-read-it-anyway post.  Below is essentially a dump of a few articles I’ve bookmarked which are interesting, but I don’t have any particular insight into.  Take a-look see, and educate yourself as desired.

A clever article from the Scientific American about masturbation and why its an awesome function of our species.

An article from Carnal Nation about the pronoun dilemma and how it extends to other gendered aspects of our language, like the words “girlfriend” and “boyfriend, ” even when the couple is straight.

Another Carnal Nation publication about Hijras, the trans/genderqueer “third sex” of Pakistan and India, whose rights are still being violated by police on a regular basis.

A shocker here- The Daily Beast explains how Lesbian Bed Death is a total exaggeration and is far from exclusive to lesbians.

Finally, an article about abortion hypocrisy– how women who picket abortion clinics find they need an abortion after all, get one, and then continue to abuse the center which provided them with care.  I’d really love feedback on this one, especially from pro-life readers, because while these people are clearly the exception and not the rule, I would like to know how you responded to the article.

%d bloggers like this: