First, let me say that I appreciate the work you do. Providing people with info about sex is important, and I’m always glad to see other people doing it.
But we’ve got a problem. Actually, we have several problems.
I follow a number of you on facebook because hey, I’m a young lady who wants to teach people about sex, and you are slightly older ladies who’ve made a career of doing just that. And we’re all champions of sex positivity, which as we all know is a bastion of shiny rainbow orgasms and acceptance.
First off, look around us. I am noticing a distinct lack of folks of color and queer folks. This tells me three things are possibly occurring. 1) You are actively working to exclude these groups from this community. 2) You are not explicitly excluding them, but you are pushing them so far to the margins and privileging white, straight, cis voices that to the casual observer other groups do not appear to exist. 3) There are issues within the sex positive movement that our privilege is blinding us to, but that POC and Queer people have spotted a mile off. So they’ve gone and made their own communities in an attempt to avoid those issues.
I’m willing to bet points 2 and 3 are the most likely explanation. Especially since, when I do run across critiques of the sex positive movement from marginalized folks, I see far too many of you jumping on them for being negative or sensitive. This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. If you are trying to build a movement that is inclusive, you need to listen to people when they tell you that something you are doing is problematic.
My other concern is that there is a distinct lack of critical or radical thinking in some corners of the sex positive movement. I know you think that, just by talking about vibrators and vaginas in a public forum you are fighting against oppression and patriarchy. And I think, to a certain extent, you are. But you can talk about vibrators and still reinforce a damaging status quo.
Don’t believe me?
Remember “Steak and Blow-Job Day?” A day whose whole function seems to be reinforcing the idea that men and women are inherently different in terms of there sexual and romantic needs. A day that oozes bad gender stereotypes with a dash of heteronormativity thrown in for good measure. You were a little too quick to embrace it, too happy for an excuse to say blow-job on Facebook. Who has time to wonder if this is reinforcing bad gender norms, we get to talk about blow jobs (tee-hee, aren’t we so naughty and subversive)!?
Or, worse, the fact that all of you changed your profile pictures to those damned HRC equal signs during the start of the DOMA/Prop 8 hearings. I won’t go into the issues with the HRC here, because people far more affected by their nonsense than I am have written eloquent pieces explaining it. But the very fact that you do not know any better is troubling to me. You consider yourselves allies, that much is clear, yet you appear to only have a cursory knowledge of issues within the queer community. You are people who are supposed to be knowledgeable in issues of sex,sexuality, and gender. You need to be more actively and critically engaged than this.
So, why did I write this? Shockingly, it’s not just to rant at those of you who are bothering me. I wrote it because I’m hoping some of you will see this and listen. Because I really believe that the sex positive movement has a lot to offer in terms of advocacy and activism, and there are some organizations that are succeeding in that. But if we let ourselves become too insular a community, too resistant to critique or to critiquing the discourses around us, we are not going to do as much good as we could. We’ll just be chicks with vibrators, and nothing else.