Sex Pos Movement? On Self Liberation and Social Liberation

Last night at work I had this wild fluttering feeling rushing up my chest.  It was a mild one, it’s the kind of feeling I get when I’m falling in love (something I try to do as often as possible.)  When I’m in love I can stand right there in the dish hole and have an orgasm just thinking about the subject of my affection, not the sticky ejaculate kind that people with penises usually associate with orgasms, but the ones that shoot electricity out of your fingertips and ears.  The kind that only people with cunts, or who know the joys of prostate play are able to achieve.

I thought it interesting because I’m not currently falling in love, but it made me realise that this winter I’ve been neglecting my anus, that changed this week and therefore dish washing orgasmic rushes ensued.

I should back-up.  Back to two summers ago, when I was a very confused man, or was still trying to be a man, anyway.  I’d been reading lots of queer theory, I was very interested in it because I had this unshakable feeling that I wasn’t a man, really.  The feeling manifested in the occasional (any occasion I could find) cross-dressing from early adolescence on.

My only concept of transpeople was the mainstream myths, transwomen who hate their body, live in stealth and are attracted to men.  None of that was me, so I was confused.  When I read Whipping Girl by Julia Serano it clicked, I now had a framework to explore my gender and sexuality.

I was now thinking about my gender in a way that made sense but what really got my transition going was sex.  That fall I had an encounter with a queer woman who was in town visiting a mutual friend.  It was the first time I had sex and didn’t have to play the role of the dominant lover.  In the past I’d fallen into that role out of default because of my male body but this was so different.  I didn’t play the sub, it was truly equal, we made love like equals, following each other’s leads and expressing our desires and comfort levels freely.  I felt so liberated.  It was healing, for both of us as she later revealed in correspondence.  She’ll always have a special place in my heart for that long distance love affair.

I’m telling this story because I want to make it clear just how deeply I understand the feeling among sex positive people that they are a part of a movement for social liberation.  They’re not though.  The sex positive movement, like anything dealing with sex, is so poisoned by patriarchy and capitalism that it can only be a reactionary movement.

At the next burlesque show look around at the creepers in the audience, they’re not interested in “strong female sexuality”, they want to see a peep show, these strong women are objects to them.  Take a look at the people profiting from the show, they don’t want social liberation, they want to make a buck off of women’s bodies.  If the show has any subversive content, look at how the audience converses right through it only to hoop and holler at the next pretty young thang to get out there and shake it.

Making your own porn may be fun, it may be a source of personal liberation, but it does nothing to liberate the thousands of women who are subjected to the institutionalised rape of the porn industry.  Tying your D.I.Y. porn into a broader movement opens markets to the people who are profiting from the porn institution, making more opportunities to rape under the guise of liberation.

I understand the self liberation that sexuality can bring, I think it’s wonderful.  It was a turning point in my life.  I’ll not let that personal liberation be co-opted by a reactionary movement just because I might believe it’s contributing to a social movement.  It’s not, that liberation is a selfish one and that’s okay.  It’s like that vegan bike punk who thinks they’re making a dent in our toxic culture with their lifestyle, they’re not.  Riding a bike frees you from the tyranny of car culture, but only you.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. irateadri
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 15:57:46

    I kind of love this post.


  2. timms
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 13:27:33

    last paragraph was especially wonderful, great post QC :]


  3. soops
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 22:30:31

    Okay, I’m wondering if you’ve connected this to the debate you had with Jill/Twisty. I think the same things you say here can be applied to “femininity”; while I would never say to any woman, “this is the way you have to dress in order to be properly revolutionary”, I think femininity as an institution is a system meant to control women, and I think it should be attacked.


    • QueerCoup
      Apr 09, 2011 @ 16:19:28

      I’ve considered the connection, but first I think it’s important to reframe the premise. I think your analysis is too narrow, the system that is meant to control women is the gender binary and femininity is only one half of it. We should be attacking the whole system, not only one part. I’m convinced that singling out femininity for attack only reinforces male supremacist notions, that masculinity is the natural state when it’s really a construct, like the rest of the binary.

      I think looking at it this way, new questions emerge, can femininity be wielded in the gender fucker’s arsenal against the binary or not? If not, what weapons do we have? Is the strategy of gender fucking reformist? If so, what strategies might get more to the root? These are all questions I’d like to consider, but in the mean time the strategy of gender fucking not only make sense to me from a revolutionary perspective, but also a personal one.


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