Musings on Life for the Queerly Inclined

Posts tagged ‘sexuality’

Let’s Talk about Sex! (Unless Your Name is Dan Savage)

Hello!  It has been an age since I’ve posted anything, which I guess is proof that I have a life outside of the internet.  Good to know.  But now, at long last, I’m back and, as usual, full of thoughts about quirks and oppression in pop culture.

Last week I received an email from a friend that contained three words and a link: “ugh, dan savage.”  For anyone who knows me or has spent more than five minutes perusing this blog, you’ll know that “ugh, Dan Savage” is a common reaction in my life.  The self-proclaimed (and self-aggrandizing) spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ communities and writer of the Savage Love sex column is perpetually on my shit list.

But wait, Dan Savage is a gay man trying to increase visibility of LGBTQ+ peeps.  Don’t you support him?

[TW: discussion of oppression and survivor-blaming]

Funny you should ask.  No, absolutely not.  In fact, I think Dan Savage should shut up and get out of the public eye ASAP.  He has a long history of being incredibly biphobic, trans*phobic, racist, anti-asexual, misogynistic (among other nasty, oppressive qualities) and mocking survivors of rape.  Whenever he’s called out (which happens frequently), he becomes defensive and attacks the people who’ve criticized him.  So no, I don’t support him.  If you are unfamiliar with these incidents, may I suggest Google:

Dan Savage is

You clearly don’t have to type very much before you’re well on your way.  If you want even faster results, a record of various shitty incidents and commentary can be found at Fuck No, Dan Savage!  Beyond perpetuating a swath of oppressions, I think Savage gives really terrible, shaming sex/love/relationship advice.  On the occasions I’ve read his columns, I’ve usually wound up feeling ostracized on behalf of the people who’ve sought his help.  Not good.

Consider the article that my friend sent me, thereby prompting this post:

“I no longer believe that most bisexuals wind up in [“opposite-sex” relationships] because you’re all liars and cheats, or that you’re all dying to access societal perks reserved for heterosexuals, or that you’re all cowards and it’s hard out here for a homo. I think most bisexuals wind up in heterosexual relationships because most bisexuals are mostly hetero. You may be physically attracted to both sexes, but most of you can only fall in love with an opposite-sex partner.

“…before angry bisexuals start pounding away at their keyboards, consider this: My current position on bisexuals winding up with opposite-sex partners (you’re mostly straight) is a hell of a lot more charitable than my previous position (you’re cowards, liars, cheats, etc.).”

Excuse you…WHAT?!  Some things:

  1. What are “opposite-sex” relationships?  There can’t be opposites if there are more than two options.  Casual reminder that intersex folks exist.
  2. Thank you, gay individual, for asserting that you know more about bisexual folks’ experiences of their sexuality than they do.
  3. “Angry bisexuals”–yes, anyone who calls you out for invalidating their identity is simply angry and their concerns should be written off.
  4. “My new disgusting stance is more charitable than my old disgusting one” is not an appropriate or convincing argument.  He’s openly admitting that his views are shitty, but isn’t remotely apologizing for them.  He’s simply moving onto new biphobic accusations.
  5. Yet again, bisexuals apparently need external validation before their sexuality can be considered authentic.  Thank goodness Dan Savage is here to give a stamp of approval…or not.

But wait, isn’t Dan Savage kinda a tiny bit right?  Some bisexuals are probably in relationships that appear straight because it’s more socially acceptable!

I mean…yeah.  That’s most likely true.  So?  Bisexuals certainly aren’t the only people who choose their partners based in part on social acceptability.  Like, not at all.  Furthermore, your partner(s) are your business and you could have any number of reasons for choosing them.  As long as you aren’t being actively shitty/oppressive to marginalized groups, I don’t care all that much.  My #1 goal isn’t for every LGBTQIAP+ person to come out publicly.  Being out looks different for different people and is a highly personal decision.  I’m far more concerned by people like Dan Savage who–out or not–are doing a lot of damage to other members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as to folks of color (cuz POCs are totally more homophobic than whites and their homophobia is totally a bigger problem than racism *vomit*).

Why did I originally start writing this post?

Believe it or not, my original goal was not just to chew out Dan Savage and his politics.  After discussion of the initial article, my friend asked if I had any suggestions of better sex columnists.  I must admit: I don’t read much sex/love/relationship advice online or off, so I don’t have an extensive list to provide right off the bat.  That being said…

  • Scarleteen covers a wide range of topics from sex “how-to”s to sexual health, relationships, navigating doctor’s appointments, and more!  Geared toward young people.
  • Early to Bed is “Chicago’s first women-owned, women-oriented, boy-friendly, queer and trans-positive sex shop.”  The website and blog also include a ton of sex advice.
  • Early to Rise is an online affiliate store, geared toward men.  More sex advice and tips abound.  I’m not as familiar with this site, because most of it’s not relevant to me/my relationships, but I trust the Early to Bed folks, so I’d give Early to Rise a look.
  • My Sex Professor: I know one of the bloggers, so I’m mostly familiar with her pieces.  The site has a lot of great info, but as I was looking through contributors’ bios, I noticed that almost all are white women.  Just putting that out there, as it’s bound to affect content at some point.
  • Good Vibrations: Good Vibes is a toy store, so you guessed it–much (but not all) of their advice section pertains to sex toys.
  • What else?

This is not my area of expertise, but I’m sure some of y’all have great suggestions.  Have you found helpful blogs/vlogs/books/magazine columns that address healthy sex, sexuality, and/or relationships?  Please comment with your recommendations.  Spread the resources!

Last, but certainly not least: no sex-related blog post would be complete without a totally unoriginal, but oh-so-necessary reference to Salt-n-Pepa.  So here I go:

Victoria’s Secret > Most Sex-Ed Courses

A couple days ago, I was in Victoria’s Secret.  First of all, let me say that I freakin’ love VS.  So many different types of people shop there, which makes for the best people watching/listening.  Too funny.  As anyone who’s a frequent VS shopper knows, the semi-annual sale just happened, so everything was hella marked down.  Rooting through a huge (and by that point completely disorganized) pile of sale merch?  Don’t mind if I do.

Amid the 5857193 shreds of lace and cotton, I came across something very interesting:

Practice makes perfect?  Hmmm.  “What are they getting at?” I wondered.  Is this a reminder that, despite the fairy-tale romanticized myth of one’s “first time” being a guaranteed magical experience, many people’s first time having is sex is honestly not the best?  Not the most comfortable?  Not the most self-assured?  Not perfect?

Is VS encouraging self-pleasure?  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that will definitely get better with practice.  Is this a message to a partner, i.e. “with practice (and conversation) you will get to know my body better”?  Either way, I approve.

We’re stuck between abstinence-only sex-ed programs that demonize sex and media that tell us that we should all be having sex–and lots of it–and it should be great and we should inherently be amazing at it and what’s wrong with us if we aren’t???  It’s definitely time to slow down and actually have some critical conversations (especially with young people) about our bodies, sexual (and asexual) agency, communication, and consent.  Not just “no means no” consent, but “this is how to ask for what you want and really check in with your partners about what they want” consent.  Then the world might not be so full of panicked questions like this (and inane answers).

Another intriguing find:

Is VS promoting oral sex on women*?  When was the last time any mainstream media source or consumer advertising endorsed–or even mentioned–that?  Then again, maybe VS is just suggesting making out while practically naked.  I mean…that’s cool too.

*I acknowledge that it is my assumption that most people wearing VS items are women, though I’m sure there are others out there too.  You do you.

BREAKING NEWS: Queer Ladies Love Maddow

Autostraddle recently released its annual line-up of the 100 “Hottest Queerest Women in All the Land.”  For those of you who don’t spend your time fawning over queer culture websites (who are you?!), Autostraddle is a popular site for “news, entertainment, opinion, and girl-on-girl culture.”  What does this actually mean?  It means all the women (and others) of the queer (and other) persuasions just freaked out about how much we all loooooooooooove Tegan and Sara and OHMYGODRACHELMADDOOOOOOW!!

As usual, this year’s list is full of myriad talented, accomplished, and very attractive individuals.  But flipping through the pages, it’s impossible not to notice that most of them look pretty similar.  There is certainly some diversity of gender presentations–I’m always happy to see that–but the vast majority of these women are white.  Moreover, they’re predominantly young, slim, and white.  I counted fewer than 20 women of color on the list, as well as the cast of The Peculiar Kind, grouped together as #64.  None of them are in the top 10.

How do I know the exact number of women of color on this list?  I don’t.  It’s obviously not possible to decipher a person’s racial and/or ethnic identities just by looking at them or their name, but it’s apparent that the list is dominated by light skinned women, most of whom are repping similar sizes and body types.  So really, what this list tells me is that Autostraddle has rounded up yet another group of people who embody queerness as something that belongs primarily to young-ish, thin-ish, white people.  This misrepresentation happens all over the place.  Queerness is generally marginalized in mainstream everything (shocking to hear, I know), but as long as the few queer individuals that do appear show only a sliver of the queer community (the white, cisgender, and usually class-privileged sliver), then we’re continuing to divide and marginalize within our supposed community.  And that shit needs to stop.

EDIT: Apparently some clarification is needed.  The problem is not a lack of out LGBTQ people of color.  The problem in this case is that there’s a wide array of women of color who are routinely overlooked in favor of white women, who get the bulk of the recognition and publicity.  We cannot pretend it’s some sort of accident that hot people lists–and other images of which bodies our society/media consider beautiful–are overwhelmingly white, unless they’re specifically categorized as POC.  The same goes for ability, body type, size, and cis/trans* status.  This shit is old and needs to be changed like now already.

Psssst, Tamar! What is pansexuality?

I hear some of you wondering this across the vast reaches of the internet.  As much as I would like to release you to the wondrous world of the interwebs and tell you to get on Google and edumacate yourselves, in this case, that might lead somewhere unfortunate.  Periodically, I Google pansexual (as well as a slew of other gender and sexuality terms) just to see what would show up if I were trying to learn about these things for the first time.  The good news: in the last three and a half years (since I started doing this), definitions have expanded exponentially, thanks in large part to the blogosphere.  Now even Wikipedia is getting hip to the kids’ brand spankin’ new vocab words.  Still, I’m concerned about some of the “information” that’s out there.

According to Yahoo Answers’ “What is a pansexual?” page, “they are COOL PEOPLE.”  That’s lovely, dear, but not very helpful.  Other answers on this thread include “someone who’s unbelievably easy” and “sexually attracted to cookware.”  How I love the world today.

I cannot speak for all pan people–clearly, everyone experiences their sexuality differently–but here’s a good working definition.  Pansexuality means an attraction to people of many/all sexes and genders.  To clear up some common misconceptions: it doesn’t mean being attracted to/wanting to sleep with every single person all the time (how exhausting!), nor does it have anything to do with pedophilia or bestiality.  One phrase that I’ve seen tossed around a bunch is that pan people are “gender blind” and can’t see gender at all.  Excuse me, but…what??  To me, this sounds suspiciously like the people who claim to be “color blind” and unable to see race, when really they mean that they refuse to acknowledge it.  Am I attracted to people of many sexes and genders?  Yes.  Does this mean that I simply pass over these part of their identities and don’t notice them at all?  Absolutely not.  I just find different things to appreciate about various identities, so I’m not gonna discount anyone as a potential partner simply because of their sex or gender(s).  Everyone gets an equal chance in this regard.  If you can’t handle my obsessions with purple things and brie?  Well, that’s an entirely different story.

Who came up with these colors?

Greetings, friends and comrades.  Today I would like to discuss a very important and serious issue in my life: the pansexual flag.

Does it remind anyone else of Superman ice cream?  (FYI for  all you curious kiddies out there: I don’t recommend trying it–it tastes like blue and yellow.)

Given my penchant for being ever so slightly over the top, I would love to incorporate this symbol of one of my identities visually into my life and occasionally my wardrobe.  I would totally wear a pan flag to pride, if not for the fact that I would feel like a huge poof of cotton candy.  This is a problem.  It causes me great distress to know that I can never fully take this flag seriously.  Every time I start to feel a swell of pride, my mind and heart are derailed by memories of looking at this odd flavor in ice cream shops and wondering what it would look like when all the vibrant hues melted together down the side of my sugar cone.

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