Nature is an ecoterrorist!

Posts tagged ‘humane sexuality’

Am I Human?

I’m not a species essentialist. That is to say, I do not believe that the sum of a species is held in its genetics; a genetic code that makes you look “lion” enough to be visibly recognized as lion does not necessarily make you so. A lot of humans make this mistake—assuming that looks mean everything—because we have a pretty sub-par sense of smell compared to actual omnivores and carnivores and, Western culturally, we don’t really encourage developing it. To someone who doesn’t view animals as important, as real people, the idea of paying serious attention to scent as a primary non-human language is pretty ludicrous. Which is actually pretty sad.

Scent is fucking important, though, even for humans: it affects sexual attraction, love, often friendship, and your basic feeling of connectedness with other humans, not to mention food and its taste. People who lose their sense of smell generally fall into a deep, unremitting depression, regardless of their species—the same behavioral cues for severe depression appear in rats who’ve had their olfactory bulbs removed (by humans) and, as you should well know, body language will out; to put it more succinctly (and honestly), they developed severe depression. I am still surprised that we haven’t really gotten beyond food smells as a signal of scents’ importance to us.

But perhaps it’s because we don’t do it so well as many other animals, and you’re not really allowed to point out something humans aren’t as good or better at without rationalizing it away; perhaps it’s because we’d have to realize that all land-predators use scent to track prey, and we can’t because we’re not predators; perhaps it’s because we’d have to realize that scent has more importance for some species than, well, ours, and as such we can’t judge their capacilities on a sight-sound-dexterity human-animal template. Perhaps it’s because we’d learn more about non-human animals than we’d really be willing to know.

Did you know that when a cat is upset, the scruff on their neck will emit a very particular acrid odor? That the scent varies by mood—anxious, depressed, frightened? Did you know that when cats are happy, the scent changes—that a consistently ebullient cat will have this sweet musky smell? It’s cat musk, the same scent they use in perfumes, except when it’s actual animal musk (civet, for example) they just cage them and then treat the unhappy-scent with chemicals to make it into the happy-scent.

Did you know that this is why cats generally do not respond to mirrors, except at a distance or to play—because cats identify other cats only by scent? That’s why your other cats will freak out at one who’s just been taken to the vet for more than a small amount of time: they smell weird, they must be a stranger.

Consider that for a minute. Consider the idea that, for whatever reason, cats do not and cannot recognize other cats on sight, but on scent-profile. Consider that not as a bigot who believes anything different than what they do is inferior, but as someone trying to understand a foreign culture, from one equal to another. It makes sense; it’s just weird to think of as a human. I posit that it’s because cats’ eyesight is based mostly on movement; humans have a sense of sight that recognizes a wide range of color (which also can’t be movement-sensitive—look up completely colorblind people; their eyesight is literally like a hawk’s and, if they get any color-sight capabilities, they stop being able to really focus on anything). Dogs are partially colorblind compared to us, too; their social groups are also scent-based, though they’re still less sight-oriented than cats.

And, speaking of dogs, they don’t naturally stink; in an actual pack structure (which most humans are not capable of providing, given our cultural misconceptions), they actually smell floral.

I’ve had firsthand experience with that; I knew a dog who was basically ignored constantly by her family (all of which, of course, had the balls to say that she “lived a good life”) and when they expressed interest in having someone else take care of her, I jumped at it. I am very social, as is my best friend, and the primary characteristic of an alpha is that zie is very social; we groomed this little lab mix out, took her for walks to help relieve her arthritis, fed her food we would eat in addition to her kibble (raw potatoes, bell peppers, mandarin oranges—yes, she ate them!—strawberries and cooked legumes), and basically kept her with us almost constantly—the way a real pack would. She started off smelling like “dog,” that very earthy, not-sweet-musky, B.O. scent; her fur was oily and matted, so if you petted her for very long she’d leave that particular animal-product greasy residue on your hands. Yet after three weeks—of making her cuddle when she didn’t ask for it, come and sit when she didn’t want to, and basically making her a pack member—she started smelling sweet and floral, as if she’d just been bathed and shampooed (she hadn’t). Scent was not the only indicator of her mental health, but it was a damn important one. Her previous family had been wrong to assume that dogs just smelled bad—like it was natural, automatic.

If we considered scent important, we’d no longer be able to dismiss and diminish the non-human animals who rely on them as “silly” for not percieving the world the same way we do.

Scent is just an example, but it is a really good one, and that’s why I keep pushing it. There are other senses we do not understand, the biggest of which is probably sight, basically because humans like to assume they’ve got the best at it. But we don’t know the half of it. Birds, reptiles, insects and fish can often see ultraviolet light, electric, water and air currents, heat; these are extra frigging colors that we can’t see. The usual failing of humans is to be too busy believing they’re so damn awesome to actually be awesome.

But all the senses are just an indicator of the essential species-ness of a species is, what and who they are. Not being a species essentialist, I believe that a species isn’t merely defined in terms of genetics, but in behavior: ecological, group, individual, in order of importance, because the greater terms define the latter. That is to say, an animal (a species, not necessarily non-human) outside of its ecological place will not be able to “be species.” Their species-ness becomes harder and harder to maintain in unnatural circumstances, and having lived in a fucking tent without anyone fucking preventing me from getting enough food, I now realize that while naturalness is not really all love-and-light, it is certainly a requirement for actual happiness and fulfillment. (Of course, it doesn’t help that the status quo forever gets nature wrong, so you should probably just dismiss every idea you have about it right now and start over.)

Body language will out; behavior will out. Behavior is the window to the soul, not the eyes (even human eyes, on their own, are hilariously incapable of imparting anything more than “frightened,” “happy,” and “neutral”), but when you conceive of behavior in the limited sense of the individual, you lose one of your greatest tools to understand a species.

It’s too simplistic to try to understand human behavior in terms of the individual, because humans are also social, cultural, and ecological (or right now, anti-ecological—i.e. civilized). You can’t see a human or zeir emotions and behavior as merely an individual thing; it doesn’t make sense. You can’t cure someone’s anxiety by seeing it as an individual thing; you can’t cure anything by seeing it as an individual thing. When osteoporosis rates have an absolute correlation with high-dairy-consumption countries, you face intellectual dishonesty and a disgusting bigotry when you try to frame osteoporosis as an individual lack of dairy.

And the inverse, because you can’t have one without the other: real, optimum health cannot be achieved without covering all levels. Health is not merely physical, and it is not merely mental, emotional, not merely social and cultural; they’re inextricable. It’s a fucking web.

Now if you’re very bright you can clearly see that I’m using humans as the example, not the rule, and if you’re even brighter then you’ll be able to understand that only human-supremecist bigotry stops anyone from groking how to apply these assessments to other species, too.

I don’t believe that species-ness is an absolute—you can have varying levels of species-ness without actually “being species.” But one of the essential parts of species-ness is how you are social, in part because it determines how you think. (No, you don’t really have any agency within culture and civilization; cut yourself off and you’ll grow some, though.) The way animals relate to each other weighs heavily on their species-ness and also their ability to be happy; I’ll reference again the story about Sith, the dog I took care of, and point out that basically everyone is wrong about cats. They naturally group in colonies, even if they don’t hunt together, but even then they enjoy seeing another cat hunt; and their primary pleasure centers—cheeks, above eyes, ears, neck—are all easily accessible to another cat if they like each other. Hell, most cats enjoy living with other cats, and even become anxious, bored and lonely without them.

Which is all a fancy way of saying that you’re supposed to socialize with your own species; not that I’m precluding other species (after all, there are fucking thousands of cases of inter-species friendship outside of the influence of humans), but just that your own species is default. While I roll my eyes at the human supremecism behind the statement that it’s not healthy for a human to associate only with non-humans, I essentially agree with the concept.

Especially because humans who are not around other humans for long periods of time become—well… strange. They stop really knowing how to socialize, but even more than that, their mind goes weird and unhealthy; they get depressed, space out for long periods of time, and develop erratic moodswings. They become “touchy”—excessively needy for routine, feel uncomfortably and painfully vulnerable from contact with other humans, unable to read or react appropriately*, have exaggerated or suppressed behavioral/emotional affect, often develop repetitive compulsive behaviors, so on and so forth. In essence, they develop many of the traits of autism—which is one reason I’ve always been so wary of any claims of both the “natural variation” of the autism spectrum and the idea that what many anti-ableists call “neurotypicality” is somehow innate and unchangeable.

There’s not such a distinct line, and it’s not so innate or unchangeable. If you can develop the fucking behaviors, then clearly those behaviors we label “autism” are an inherent concept within the animal experience.

There are two groups most likely to get these things: the first is documented, the second is not. That first group is those who’ve been put into solitary confinement for even as “little” as three months; they develop all these behaviors, and like with eating disorders, they’re hard as hell to get rid of. I am, of course, obligated to note the remarkable similarities in these developments between human-animals who have been solitary-caged and non-human animals who have, like many puppy mill breeder dogs—and if you don’t like that comparison, then you can just get the fuck over your hoity-toity simian self.

The second group is a particular kind of homeless man—the solitary ones. Having come into contact with them, I can honestly see why street kids (who tend to be very social, or at least they were) would hate and disrespect them, but I am also a primitivist who accepts that nature isn’t very love-and-light—I think it’s actually natural to reject and shun the socially incapable so that they die, and that it’s become that way because of the necessity and the overwhelming dominance of nurture over nature. I also know that makes me kind of an asshole—which is fine, if I had my way almost every single person who might read this would never have been born. But for the record, I don’t think that this applies only to a certain kind of social… failure?; I count myself in the group. If I’d been born, in nature, with some kind of innate anxiety disorder, I’d be fucked as far as continued life went; and if all of civilization were to fall apart right now and it was still traumatizing enough that my anxiety disorder didn’t disappear the way it did in the tent, I’d be incapable of surviving then, too—not that I’d want to. Anyone who thinks that a life with anxiety can be good or acceptable is a total fucking tool, especially if they live with it. Anxiety and happiness/fulfillment are mutually exclusive.

Back to the subject—humans are inherently social with other humans; a lot of species-ness is tied up in how you are able to be social with others of your species (and often others of different species). To a point, I believe that sexuality is inherent, too—mostly in the way that emotional and sexual intimacy often overlap, while they’re not necessarily the same thing. It’s difficult to explain in English, because things are so divided in English—I don’t know if it’s possible to write “(1) for humans, intra-human emotional intimacy is absolutely necessary and natural for happiness and species-ness, (2) that emotional intimacy is often completely indistinguishable from the desire for sexual intimacy from one specific human to one specific other, (3) but emotional intimacy may not necessarily be at all related to sexual intimacy between two humans” without sounding like you’re condemning a lack of sexual intimacy, or a desire for sexual intimacy.

Which is not what I’m trying to imply; it’s a lot more complicated than that, as is everything. Between two (usually two, sometimes more) humans, a relationship may be entirely emotionally intimate and be just as fulfilling as another relationship that feels empty or incomplete without sexual intimacy. The two things overlap, but they are not lesser or greater; you cannot add emotions together and come out with something greater, like it’s fucking math or something. When you add one note to another, the music does not automatically become louder; but it is changed. Whether it becomes better, worse, or has no effect is entirely dependent on the piece. And even though it may be nice at one point or another, you can’t just add all these notes together throughout the entire thing hoping for the same effect—the piece will become, basically, noisy mush. And sexual intimacy is one octave; emotional intimacy is another. There’s more than one note, more than one nuance, and sometimes a piece sounds best when it’s kept simple, a la Canon in D.

And a piece cannot be judged against another piece except by the one hearing it; if you’re asexual, then maybe you just won’t have any interest in the sexual-intimacy octave compositions at all, but even those who are ?sexual can feel that the non-sexual pieces are the ones that sound sweetest when they play them with their non-sexual friend, and not want to play anything else.

But in order to be happy and fulfilled, you have to play the pieces with someone else; otherwise your ear grows dull and you stop being able to really distinguish the notes. That’s not so much like music, except that the longer you are isolated from others the more experimental and less relatable your music tends to get, but it is the way of the brain: pathways fade and grow with time and repetition and you are changed by what you experience in a real way, even if you can’t see it.

The mental is physical; the physical is emotional; the emotional is mental. The lines between these things are organic and indefinable, because they change so often and require such a nuanced view of life and love to take the fullest amount of joy in them.

A cat hunts, a cat plays, a cat chases, a cat grooms, a cat brings prey, a cat takes naps in the sun, a cat does these things with other cats. If a cat does not do these things, then they are a cat only in name and appearance: they have none of their birthright, their essential cat-ness, to make them happy, and it’s a wretched, cursed existence.

A dog plays, a dog chases, a dog wrestles, a dog rubs, a dog brings prey, a dog whines, a dog follows, a dog alerts, a dog is a dog’s pack; there’s no way you can distinguish between an individual dog and zeir pack without losing some sense of who and what that individual dog is. A dog’s pack is their birthright and still, it’s a wretched, cursed existence without it.

A horse races, a horse nuzzles, a horse whinnies, a horse nibbles, a horse is a horse’s herd. A horse who is alone is a horse as good as dead; if they are alone they will shortly be dead, and if they’re alone then death will be better than more of the same.

Evolution cannot be understand as purely or even mostly ruled by physical/ecological requirements, because the greatest threat to an animal’s survival is unhappiness. So make happiness come from what it takes to fully experience a healthy life; make healthiness, happiness and security indistinguishable and you have a successful evolutionary tactic. Also let the suffering ones die, because empathy is the only universal instinct amongst animals, and seeing someone who is suffering will make you empathize, and suffer yourself, and then everyone will suffer and die. Happiness is not an afterthought of nature; it is an evolutionary imperative.

A human laughs, a human kisses, a human shares: a human shares fruit, orgasms (if they want), laughs, kisses. A human explores, a human touches, a human admires bright colors, a human plays. Maybe some of them with other animals; but a human definitely does these things with another human.

It’s definitely pretty ableist of me to say this, but I don’t think you can be human without these things; I originally came to this line of thought because I realized that psychopaths—narcissists and borderlines, not just the antisocials—didn’t have any kind of mental or emotional process that would make me think of them as a person, so I wondered just what it was that made you human.

And I also wondered what made the survival of a species so fucking important, what it was that made Lierre Keith and every other carnist drool over the idea that a species would survive. And I decided they were wrong, and that the idea of a species as a genetic code, as an individual state, is a particularly individualist, intellectualist, pro-civilization, anti-nature evil, above and beyond being merely carnist.

A species is not a genetic code or an appearance. That is not how they function; that’s not reality. Behavior will out; function will out. I can’t even pretend otherwise anymore. It’s just too simplistic, it’s what you mean when you say “childish” and “immature.”

*”Appropriately” here should not be considered in the sense of the status quo cultural context, but in the way that, between two humans, both of them can continue to interact without feeling threatened-uncomfortable. Note two things: first that, as with all mental-emotional-behavioral Things, its level of “problematic” is defined by its consistency and regularity; second that it should also be noted that many, if not most, male-socialized behaviors (and quite a few female-socialized behaviors) cannot be considered “appropriate” in any way, shape or form. Gendered behavior is inappropriate—abolish it!

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Vanilla is Really Tasty (especially when you haven’t got that nasty porn taste in your mouth)

Here’s the list of “vanilla privilege.” What can I say, I got bored and irritated.

* A vanilla person does not have to fear that discovery of their being vanilla will have an effect on their work life.

Wait. What do you mean by “discovery”? It’s generally a good idea to keep your sex life out of work, especially because your coworkers do not appreciate it, but you can be “vanilla” and in a same-sex relationship—or does that magically count as “non-vanilla”?

* A vanilla person usually does not have to worry about the potential legal implications of sex in the manner they prefer with a consenting adult partner.
* A vanilla person does not have to worry about their being vanilla as having bearing on whether they are considered fit to be parents.

I’m fairly sure there aren’t any legal implications other than losing your children when you’re “non-vanilla,” at least in the U.S. But it’s pretty hard to argue that Peacock Angel is speaking to non-Western countries, since the idea of “kink oppression homigosh” is basically a non-issue when you’re not a privileged brat. Also notice the erasure of intimate same-sex or polyamorous relationships that do not include power dynamics, porn, or kink.

* A vanilla person doesn’t have to worry about their being vanilla being thought of as diseased or pathological.

Oh, yeah—you know, I never get thought of as repressed or uptight or a religious zealot or that I’m somehow just hiding some terrible fetish and pretending to be egalitarian. And I never get told this to my face, either, the same way lesbians never get told that there’s something wrong with them for not wanting to fuck men.

* A vanilla person will have an easier time finding depictions of people with sex lives similar to their own in the media.

Wheeeee no.

Anyone who takes this seriously is disconnected from reality; just for a start, “vanilla” sex is predicated upon a power dynamic of a passive partner and an aggressive one—a “man” and a “woman.” The “traditional” idea of sex—as a heterosexual, monogamously married relationship consisting mostly of missionary PIV and maybe you can talk her into licking your stick—is rife with power dynamics, and inherently not “vanilla” at all. It’s simply beyond me how anyone with an introduction to privilege-dynamics can refer to “vanilla” sex as somehow fundamentally different from what’s defined as “kinky.” Porn makes you incapable of thinking, I guess.

But even more than that, nooot really. Gather together 100 depictions of a sexual relationship from recent television shows and 100% of it will be power dynamics. If you go for references to sex from recent television shows (between adults, not children), you’re likely to find that about 75% of them can refer to “kinky” sex.

And again, because “vanilla” sex isn’t by any means egalitarian or non-pornified, I can’t find any depictions of people with sex lives similar to my own. I’m more fucking oppressed than you!

* A vanilla person will not have their sexual orientation called into question due to their sexual practices.

That’s pretty funny, because the fact is that Peacock Angel doesn’t seem to allow for “vanilla” gays and lesbians or triads. Zie doesn’t seem to be aware that zie is, therefore, questioning the sexuality of “vanilla” gays and lesbians because of their sexual practices.

* A vanilla person will have comparably easy access to reliable dealing with safety surrounding their sexual practices.

Oh, right. Because, you know, there’s so much correct information on the proper use of condoms and dental dams out there, as well as how to use them how to have sex e.g. proper stretching practices, not to mention the plethora of materials surrounding consent that are taught to you from a very young age. And not to mention access to STD protection, contraceptives, and abortion!

I live in a motherfucking utopia. Thank you for showing me the fucking light.

* A vanilla person seeking medical attention due to an accident that occurred during sex will not face scrutiny or be treated unsympathetically because of the nature of the vanilla nature of their sexual activity.

You know it! Women of any age never face scrutiny and unsympathetic medical staff when they have to resolve problems from their “vanilla” sex life.

* Vanilla is not used as a pejorative.

Okay, this one is absolutely true. The mainstream culture, which is in love with “vanilla” misogynistic power dynamics, never uses “vanilla” to mean that you have some kind of mental or personal flaw. No one is ever pressured into having sex they don’t want to have by being told they’re too “vanilla” as if it implies those same mental and personal flaws.

Heck, vanilla is so not used as a pejorative that Peacock Angel is actually using it to refer to real vanilla! All you folks who thought zie was defining you out of existence were simply imagining things.

VANILLA BEANS! HOORAY!

* A vanilla person will not be assumed to be a sexual predator because of their vanilla sexual practices, nor will language used to refer to vanilla people as a group be used to describe rapists and perpetrators.

… ? Besides the language that the kinksters adopted for themselves (sadist, slave, etc.), there’s not much that you can say is used against kinksters that’s also used against rapists. And perpetrators of what, exactly? Power dynamics?

Anyway, I can’t imagine why anyone would attribute sexual predatoriness to someone who finds domination and power erotic. After all, rape isn’t about power and domination at all; they’ve got nothing to do with each other.

* A vanilla person will have an easy time finding media that portrays people with their sexual preferences sympathetically and accurately.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHA

HA

ARGH.

(P.S. The Department of Redundancy Department called; they said they’d like to see if you could come in for a job interview so that they can see about giving you a job to work at for your career.)

* Vanilla people will never have their sexual practices used for shock value.

???

“Vanilla” power dynamics, including groping, sexual harassment, and boys-will-be-boys exploitativeness: not used for shock value.
Egalitarian lesbian, het and gay sex (poly optional): not used for shock value.

… Um, alright. How do I get a ticket to the dimension Peacock Angel is living in?

* A vanilla person does not have to worry about outsiders perceiving their relationship as abusive or pathological.

Hahahaha. Yeah. Having egalitarian sex isn’t weird at all.

Obviously, to correct this we need to acknowledge the truth: that “vanilla” sex is abusive and pathological, too. Then we can have actual, interesting, non-pornified sex where our fantasies aren’t fed to us from a male- and white-privileged hegemony.

* Safe spaces for vanilla courtship and socializing are not privilege to legal harassment in the way BDSM clubs are.

Exactly! Those safe spaces for “vanilla” courtship and socializing have to be kept free for sexual harassment.

* A vanilla person will not have their being vanilla brought up during a rape investigation (either as accuser or accused)

OH SHIT I THINK I JUST PEED MYSELF LAUGHING.

C’mon, Peacock Angel. Cough it up. How do I travel to the world you’re living in? Because seriously, I want to live there instead. I have social-ideology incongruity and I need to transition but hard.

* Vanilla people can assume their relationship partners will not find their sexual arousal pattern disgusting.

Someone’s never read The Hite Report or The Hite Report on Male Sexuality, I see. Or seen or heard the thousands of casual or joking jabs about how women are just so hard to bring to orgasm, or how it’s disgusting to go down on someone’s vulva, etc. etc. etc.

For a kinkster, Peacock Angel sure is awful sheltered.

* A vanilla person will not fear their sexual practices counting against them in a divorce.

Again, sheltered. When you speak in absolutes, you better be damn sure of them. Either people who are “vanilla” are not mainstream—they actually constitute a small minority—and Peacock Angel has just decided that they’re not kinky enough, or Peacock Angel doesn’t know jack shit about the world, or the definition of “vanilla” is absolutely incoherent.

If you checked D) All of the above, here’s an internet cookie. Nibble on it with joy.

* A vanilla person will not be asked about the origins of their sexual arousal pattern, or have it assumed their sexual arousal pattern stems from trauma or disease.

Again with the LGBTAP erasure: apparently you’re just not allowed to define yourself as non-kinky if you’re not the 1% of the world that’s in a heterosexual monogamous marriage completely devoid of anything but missionary-style PIV and of whom both partners were virgins when they got married.

Just, I… this is really incoherent.

* A vanilla person will not have to worry much about their roommate discovering their vanilla-ness.

Yes; everyone knows that it’s a perfectly comfortable situation for your roommate to know details about your sex life as long as you’re “vanilla.”

For which you apparently do not have to be married, even, meaning that a good fourth of this list doesn’t even apply to any of the people Peacock Angel considers “vanilla.”

* A vanilla person’s actions will not be attributed to their being vanilla. (Many people link people’s bad actions to their kinkiness, “Well of course he’s a thief, he’s kinky”)

Yeah, that never happens to “vanilla” peeps… I’ve never heard of any case where a young woman’s actions were attributed to the fact that she wasn’t a virgin or anything. Or promiscuity being attributed to gay men and bisexuals. Or a hatred for men attributed to lesbians.

* Symbols of vanilla affection/romance will not be appropriated as “edgy” fashion statements (E.G. collars)

Exactly, they’ll just be appropriated as non-edgy fashion! Now everyone can “enjoy” patriarchal power dynamics! Because it’s not like we’re not forced into it anyway!

P.S.: Any community that tolerates a subset labeling itself as and eroticising/glorifying slavery has exactly 0.000% of the room in the world to talk about “appropriation.” Seriously, Peacock Angel even identifies zemself as a dominatrix—like that hasn’t been used as a tool of oppression.

* Discovery of equipment associated with vanilla sexual practices, provided they are otherwise privileged (condoms, lubricant, even a vibrator) although embarrassing will not result people’s drastically changing their opinion of the person in question.

Um, exactly what the fuck are you talki—oh, right. Sorry, for a minute there I forgot that Peacock Angel is actually living in an alternate dimension, where this is not complete bullshit and a painful mockery of reality, particularly in countries where the female-born sex class have little to no hope of being able to attain the kind of “oppression” Peacock Angel is talking about. Carry on.

* A vanilla person will not have their masculinity/femininity called into question because of their dominance/submission in bed (I.E. A woman who enjoys being sexually dominant may be called unfeminine, or a man who enjoys being sexually submissive may be called unmasculine)

Of course not. They’ll have their masculinity/femininity called into question because of their lack of dominance/submission in real life! No doy, you stupid radscum fauxminists.

(Extra credit: why is being “unfeminine” or “unmasculine” to someone without power over you a bad thing?)

* The discovery of a famous person having vanilla sex (provided it is within the other realms of privileged sex, monogamous, heterosexual, etc) will not be considered news worthy.

* A vanilla person’s sex related equipment (E.G. Condoms, lubricant, dental dams) will be regulated by government agencies and tested thoroughly for efficacy and safety.

Yeah, exactly! Everyone knows that condoms, lubricant and dental dams aren’t, like, actually necessary to have any kind of healthy and non-reproductive sexual activity, “vanilla” or not. It’s not like they could jeopardize anyone’s life or health if they’re defective, after all! Those things are “sex-related equipment” in exactly the same way that bondage gear and restraints are for the kinksters! It’s not like condoms, lubricant and dental dams are basic STD and contraceptive protection and kinky “sex-related equipment” is restricted to people with the class privilege to buy them! All types of sexual activity are equal, dammit! Peacock Angel and the other kinksters deserve floggers as a basic right on par with minimum safe-sex materials!

Oh man, this is so exciting. Peacock Angel is all over there like GET UP STAND UP STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS to perpetuate a patriarchal sexuality that eroticises power, pain and dominance. ROCK ON!

* Vanilla people can find numerous studies relating to their sexuality and sexual desire from the scientific community that do not treat them as marginal or pathological.

Hahahahaha. Okay. So what’s the punchline?

* A vanilla person can count on the media to usually get the symbols associated with their relationships generally right (Here’s an example of the media getting it wrong, dominants generally don’t wear collars)

Oh my gosh, someone somewhere depicted a dominant wearing a collar! THAT’S LIKE BLACKFACE, GUIZE.

* There is accurate medical research on the effects of vanilla sex upon the human body, kinky people are left with scraps here and there and anecdotal evidence. We still don’t know if it’s safe to flog breasts.

Yeah, you know, they even tested water on animals. Freakin’ water, I’m not even kidding, even though we already knew the effects of water on an animal body. I know, right? Hilarious, or something. Vivisectionists will use any excuse to torture animals to death for grant money.

Huh? What? Oh. Alright, define “safe.” Free of power dynamics? Free of patriarchal imagery? Free of discomfort and pain? Free of a culture that sees violence and force as erotic?

* A vanilla person will not worry about how their vanilla-ness reflect upon their gender, sex, sexuality, age group, etc etc etc.

Sheltered.

* A person’s political beliefs will not be called into question due to their being vanilla. (For example, a heterosexual man who identifies as a feminist and acts as a good feminist but is sexually dominant may be told he is a bad feminist for enjoying a dominant role during sex, same for a heterosexual female submissive, or a sexually dominant woman may be called an angry feminist due to her preference for a dominant role during sex)

What? Wow, sheltered. Apparently Peacock Angel has never encountered politics in regards to LGBTA before.

* A vanilla person will have an easy time finding a counsellor who understands and is sympathetic towards their vanilla sexual practices.

A… counselor? Like, a therapist? A psychologist? A grief counselor? A hypnotist? A school career counselor? Or just “a counselor”? Is this one of those things that exists only in Peacock Angel’s dimension?

* Vanilla-ness is not vilified or exotified by the media (For exotification/vilification of the kink community check out basically any CSI/Bones/Law and Order type show with an episode that deals with kink, or numerous episodes of shows like 1000 Ways To Die)

Well, yeah, that’s true. Heterosexist power dynamics within relationships, and especially within sexual relationships, are just treated like they’re a requirement for a normal sexual life. It’s actually really depressing. Zie’s finally gotten one right.

* A vanilla person can remain ignorant of terms involved in BDSM.

And apparently a kinkster can do an entire list on “vanilla” privilege without ever being able to define what “vanilla” is in a way that doesn’t erase LGBTAP people or contradict zeir own point—either by proving that the population of “vanilla” people is actually close to nonexistent. Or being so consistently incoherent that zie actually proves that the idea of “vanilla privilege” is actually just a dog-whistle phrase with moveable goalposts for kinksters to play around with and pretend they’re oppressed.

* A vanilla person will not be assumed to be sexually experienced because of their vanilla-ness.

Seriously, what does this even mean?

* Vanilla is not taken to mean sexually available.

That only makes sense if you actually define “vanilla” to mean things that specifically are not taken to mean sexually available. (Also, I guess you’re not “vanilla” if you’re single. Eh?)

* A vanilla person can go their entire life without being called vanilla.

Yeah, in countries where they don’t have the word “vanilla” and cult compounds. Just, what is this I don’t even—

* As always, most importantly, a vanilla person can ignore their vanilla privilege.

Translation: if you can clearly see that I am full of shit and that the world does not work the way I think it does, YOU’RE PRIVILEGED!

No “Yes” Means No

There are few problems with the phrase No Means No—particularly in comparison to the admirable, but inefficient and naively optimistic Yes Means Yes. But one of those problems is the resulting idea that anything but “no” does not mean “no.” On Elkballet, MRA beliefs about rape were collected and analyzed, which I find especially useful because MRA beliefs about rape tend not to be very different from the general population—they’re just unwilling to rethink rape culture and very angry that anyone would ever have asked them to, so it’s like having a glimpse into concentrated rape culture.

One of those beliefs was this: “So the problem is not that the girl consents, she never consents—she just somehow omits to say no.”

Consent is default; women’s bodies are there to be used sexually, so if a woman somehow doesn’t want to have sex (lying whore! tease!), she’s required to actually make an effort to say no. Which is… really bizarre. It’s basically just the equivalent of saying that women aren’t allowed to say they’ve been raped unless they’ve given the guy fair warning; it’s like, totally unfair that she’d just spring this on him when she didn’t even say no or anything. Doesn’t she know how sex works? It’s supposed to be this boring, unimaginative thing where a guy gets on top and whacks off in her vagina; everyone knows that gender roles are natural and PIV = sex. Gosh, girls are so silly.

I’ve been pissed off about this for a while, especially since I’ve had to live through the supposedly “empowered” women who actually believe that power dynamics are hot and PIV/penetration = sex, not just their be-penised counterparts. But every time I say that you need a yes for it to be consentual, some sex pox pro-porner comes up and does this:

“But *whine* my sex partner and I *whine* feel like actually checking for consent isn’t, like, sexy *whine* and that it makes it like, less spontaneous *whine* and our relationship is perfect ’cause we respect each other’s boundaries even though we don’t actually care to make sure of those boundaries *whine* so why can’t you like, just shut up and not say it for the benefit of women who might actually need it *whine* instead of making me act like the adult I say I am and self-select out?”

No, seriously. I consistently get this. And to that fuckhead who is waiting in the shadows of the internet, ready to pounce in for a whinefest of how you’re such a fucking special snowflake that no one should ever actually talk about or believe in consent because it makes you feel left out, go fuck yourself.

Because, seriously, if it’s such a terrible thing to be a rapist, then isn’t the onus on you to make sure you’re not raping anyone than on your potential victims to keep you from raping? What the hell kind of logic is that? “Well, he didn’t tell me not to murder him and use his wood-chippered corpse to grow tomatoes in Lierre Keith’s backyard.”

Come the fuck on, people; surely you have the sense of tiny unripe sweet potatoes.

Look at it this way: you are passing out cups of soda at your party. You know, because a psychic told you or because you saw your cousin spill bleach on them or there’s a recall in China or whatever, that one or more of the plastic cups could possibly poison the person who drinks out of them. But either way, there is a chance that this person will fall down, convulse, foam at the mouth, and die a horrible fucking death. And it will be your fault.

Are you seriously telling me that you wouldn’t go out of your way to make sure the people at this party are safe? Are you fucking shitting me? You would rather be a rapist/murderer than make very very sure that you are not responsible for destroying someone else’s life?

Because if you’d rather, then you shouldn’t be having sex or passing out cups at a party. You are too fucking dangerous; you are too self-absorbed, and are too absorbed in “getting yours” to think about what you might do to other people. Don’t have sex, ever. Oh, and you got “falsely” accused of rape by someone who you didn’t get a direct, verbal “yes” from? Cry me a river, build me a bridge… and jump off of it, you fucking rapist.

Because No “Yes” Means No, and Only Yes Means Yes.

The Lessons of Pornography

So I wanted to point out the wondrous Elkballet again (I’m really digging that blog) on a particularly compelling post on the effects of porn. In large part because it’s all fucking true.

I watched porn regularly to masturbate for about two years beginning from when I was twelve. It took me more than six years after that point to really rid me of its effect enough to make an impact—of course, it didn’t help that I kept reinforcing the pornthink by repeatedly calling up the images and tropes when I was masturbating. I did this because, like Elkballet, masturbation wasn’t as fun or stimulating without it; it was years before I managed to masturbate to orgasm without using pornthink in some way.

When I first saw my boyfriend again, I found porn images would pop into my head during sex. I would have trouble being turned on, even orgasming without at least briefly calling up images I had seen. I would sometimes wish I could hop online and quickly look up images so things would go easier. Images would randomly pop into my head, without my meaning for them to. Without even realizing I had done it I developed a voyeuristic attitude towards sex. I wanted to watch him do things to himself, to me. I was even pressuring him into performing things, asking repeatedly despite him telling me it made him uncomfortable. I had stopped looking up porn, but my brain wouldn’t allow me to stop seeing it.

Check, check, check and check.

Looking back, one of the most bizarre and disturbing distortions that porn caused in my mental state was that I dissociated from my body during sex. I saw myself from outside—I saw myself having sex instead of actually being within my body, having sex. I became voyeuristic, too: sex developed into a series of actions. Me doing to my partner. My partner doing to me. As Catharine MacKinnon said—subject verb object.

There was none of the sense of sharing and being together that I now consider one of the best parts of sex; it was very mechanical and automated, though not in the way you’d typically think. Instead sex was segregated into roles—the top; the bottom; the sadist; the masochist; the dom and the sub. One was done to and one was doing to, except if the one usually done to was the one commanded to do. In case you can’t tell, I also became obsessed with BDSM; if you’re interested in it, it’s actually quite boring and you should stop and detox for a while. Forcing sex into a series of actions where one partner is passive/submissive and one partner is active/dominant stops you from ever getting to see how fucking awesome sex really is. It kept me from being able to see it for a fucking long time; I saw my partners as mechanical, too—like they were characters: they were just vehicles for the actions that were “hot,” as determined by porn—penetration, no doy.

Even when my partners persuaded me to stop being so intent on doing things and to simply relax, I couldn’t figure out what to do. Enjoying the sensation is alright, but it gets old fast. In porn, people don’t really, like, touch each other when they have sex—which is just beyond sterile; I can’t figure out why anyone would find it attractive anymore.

And you learn sex from porn; even if you don’t think you do, you do. Even if you think you already know about sex, the way you have sex will change if you start using porn. I had to go through a very painful growth period where I couldn’t figure out what to do with my hands if I wasn’t doing something to my partner.

Porn inhibited my ability to have sex with another person; I learned not to have sex with my partner, but to be preoccupied with porn. I’d say that porn was my sexuality for a good chunk of my life—that my sex life was haunted by the ideas of sexiness and hotness contained in porn, acting as a go-between for my partner and I, instead of merely allowing us to have sex.

Eventually I got over that. I’m still getting over it. But while I’ve recognized this for a while—recognized just how powerful pornography can be, and just how much it can absolutely cripple your ability to relate sexually to another human—there was another thing that made me decide to post this. I confided in one of my friends, as the post had caught her eye while she was visiting and she went ahead and read it, just how true it was and just how fucking hard ever having watched porn had made any kind of healthy sexuality for me. She replied—and has given permission to me to post about this—that she’s suffered from all of the same distortions in her own sexuality and mental state.

Except she’s never watched porn more than a handful of times, and for their comedic value at that. What caused that shit inside her head was the multiple rapes she endured as a child from grown men.

Rape taught her the same things that porn taught me: sex was penetration; one person was allowed to be active and the other person had to be passive; fear was inherently sexual; dominance was sexy; when having sex, people were really just things—objects using each other. She thought that large, painful penises or inserts were the only things that could be “sexy” and couldn’t stop herself from reducing the people around her into body parts—arms, legs, chest, stomach, butt.

Let me repeat that, more clearly: enduring repeated rapes as a child caused the same worldview changes as porn.

And now more succinctly: porn teaches the same things as rape.

For all the sex poxes may cry otherwise because they’re still having their sexualities warped and twisted by porn, I have to say, because I know better—porn is profoundly anti-sex, anti-sexuality, and just generally hateful shit. It’s much more fun over here.

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