Shame is Lame Part 2

October 3, 2010

Last issue, I introduced the idea of sexual shame and how it can rear its ugly head within you. But sexual shame is not only something we feel, it’s also something we enforce. You may not even realize the subtle statements you make about another’s sexuality are shaming. These statements often carry not only judgments about someone else’s desire or habits, but also sexist re-enforcements about men’s and women’s roles. My goal as a sex-positive adventurer is to root out these sex-negative attitudes and lovingly disengage them from our minds and hearts so that we can be freer to love, play, and fuck.

A friend recently told that a new male acquaintance who offered me some handyman help was just helping me so he could get in my pants. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told this when a guy has offered his help. My first reaction was to defend him: he’s respectable, not shallow. Still, I knew he wanted to get into my pants and I was open to it. What bothered me was my friend characterizing him as ONLY wanting to get into my pants, making him sneaky and manipulative. Wanting to get close, and to help, was somehow then wrong, as if his desire and how we followed it was not okay. But what’s wrong with it?

Unfortunately, when a culture shames us into not expressing our sexual desires, we do need to get sneaky, and this results in manipulation. But my new construction buddy was a grown man, and it’s generally not as much fun to mush bodies together with someone you don’t connect with on other levels. It’s not fun doing construction with them either.

My other issue with my friend’s statement is being told that as a woman, I am not interesting and multifaceted enough that a man want to enjoy my company as well as physical contact. As a woman, I want to be seen as more than just a conquest, but when our language reinforces the role of a woman as only a fuckable body and a man as only a sex-hungry wolf, we reinforce the very dynamic that keeps us both oppressed. We have to change these stereotypes within ourselves if we want to live in a sex-positive and equitable world. Acknowledge sexual desire and celebrate it, rather than denigrate it.

Catching ourselves when we make these statements and others like them, as well as not buying into them, is one more step on the road to overcoming the lameness of shame.



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