Yesterday on the bus a man was loudly joking about all the luxury items he would one day be able to provide for his friends. One of these items was “a whole bunch of white women.” The man and his friend laughed especially hard at this proposition, leading me to believe that there is some cultural consensus that white women are of high value to non-white men.
This wasn’t my first time considering the power dynamic of race in romantic relationships, nor was it the first time that I had thought about the dualistic nature of fetishism, but it was the first time I witnessed this kind of attitude and subsequently felt like a damn fool.
But why am I so disheartened by someone regarding the occupants of my demographic as high-value goods when each day I am disproportionately concerned with creating and identifying value in my self for the ultimate purpose of exchange?
Who has the authority to determine and prescribe value? Is value contextual? Is it subjective?
Is my value as a sexual object exclusive to my value as a capitalist subject? Will those who want to trade me also want to trade with me? Can you respect what/who you sell? Is it necessary for you to respect those you do business with? Can you be a merchant in some circles and function as a good in others?
If the lines between object and subject are fluid, how much integrity do the object and subject actually have?
Researching anal sex on the internet has proven to be quite a challenge, so this morning I went to my local brick-and-mortar bookstore to see what they had to offer. It was hard to find a title that guaranteed its pages were about anal, and when I finally did something weird happened–I was too embarrassed to take it off the shelf.
Now, by this point I had already spent a suspicious amount of time reading excerpts from other books from the sexuality section. I think I even cheated out to the isle while skimming a copy of The Ethical Slut, hoping a news reporter would happen by and snap my photo or something. But I froze when my eyes landed on The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure. I couldn’t even pick this book up. I mean, just seeing this book on the shelf made me feel like a total pervert for being interested in anything sexual at all. I shimmied out of the bookstore and walked home, thinking about what a degenerate I’d be viewed as if I were a man and spent my time doing the things I do.
At first I thought that maybe anal pleasure is too extreme for me to be comfortable with and I kind of freaked out and thought, great, yet another item on my “things I was really excited about but never followed through on” list. But then I realized that while anal sex absolutely pushes me to think about some difficult things and try some new things, that’s only part of what bothered me. It isn’t that I’m freaked out by anal sex per se. Rather, I’m freaked out about publicly associating myself with anal sex.
In pornography, the presence of an erect penis makes the difference between whether a video will be designated as softcore or hardcore. Late night Playboy, art films, sex education movies, women’s and couples erotica–these are all tawdry and socially hushed but still regarded as somewhat politically correct ways to consume erotic images. Hardcore pornography, on the other hand, is strongly correlated with the worst social ills–rape, violence, murder, addiction, child abuse. Even in 2013 I think there is a subtle unspoken assumption that if you watch pornography, you’re a little mentally unhealthy (that, or you became mentally unhealthy from watching porn).
A woman masturbating alone with a sex toy (as my sex toy reviews implied I did) isn’t a threatening idea. In fact, it may even just be a new take on the ultimate pornographic image where the viewer desires a woman desiring herself. It’s “naughty” and “edgy,” but it’s a highly sexualized pro-woman situation so what can you do but applaud it? Heterosexual anal penetration, on the other hand, has so much rejection and disapproval from so many different camps–plus it deals with your bum and maybe even poop (ew!)–that it carries aversion in its aura. It’s easy to write off because it elicits such a strong reaction. Kind of like, “I know it when I see it.”
Anal is the new hardcore. It’s thought of as gross, offensive, possibly only benefiting the penetrator, associated with dehumanizing women, associated with homosexuality, thought of as dangerous, and so on. And as it turns out, I’m embarrassed to associate myself with it. But I think this says less about my personal attitudes and more about the attitudes of society.
And this is always where I get into trouble…prioritizing my desire to experience/learn about cultural taboos and marginalities above my desire to make myself feel comfortable.
Here’s a topic I’ve never discussed on this blog: anal sex.
I’m not sure how the subject of anal managed to slip by because it’s totally relevant to my personal trajectory. As I’ve mentioned before, prostate stimulation can lead to female ejaculation. So since anal penetration directly stimulates the prostate it seems like a viable candidate for how to achieve female ejaculation.
In addition to having a strong tie to female ejaculation, anal sex also points to the existence of a unisexual pleasure–one that men and women can both experience in the same way. Instances of biological male-female similarity make for productive conversations about gender, especially in the case of sexuality, the experience of which is highly gendered.
Anyway, yesterday I was asked to share my opinion about an in-development “butt plug” (there has to be a better name for it). I was excited to revive janefader.com with an extra-special, spicy review of such a scandalous nature, but I totally chickened out!
So, yup, I’m gonna be talking about anal for the time being while I muster up the courage to either a) use this new sex toy, or b) look deep within myself and figure out why I can’t bring myself to use this new sex toy. If there’s something you’re interested to expand your thinking about re: anal play, leave a comment or find some way to contact me anonymously. Topic suggestions include: anal play vs. anal sex, male vs. female prostate, hetero vs. homo anal sex, safety, Kurt Vonnegut, anal training, butt plugs, anal beads, and my favorite–the possibility of a symbolic relationship between shit and money (as is suggested by Freud).
If casual sex is worth having, then the process of mutual seduction is why.
The thrill of successful communication and the amount of trust it takes to believe that another person knows exactly what you mean. And you know exactly what they mean. And everything is jam packed with joy and immediacy and smeared with winks and literary devices. The risk of making an implication, the risk of trusting you know what’s being implied. The very physical awareness of connecting.
When you fuck it confirms the legitimacy of your instinct and your skill as an artful, social animal. Before, they were feelings. Now they are facts. A truth has been realized. Set; spike.