May 28 2005


Readers may recall a recent vituperative essay in which I identified the global preoccupation with sex as a sort of pandemic hysteria. I brandished my acute grasp of the obvious with the cunning observation that our culture is obsessed with sex. Obsessed, I opined, to the extent that people who aren’t obsessed with sex are considered nutbags. Synchronicitously, a recent article in Salon about those wacky asexuals touches on this very issue. Asexuality, it turns out, is highly dangerous!

Advocates of sex obsession — by whom I mean the entirety of the male population, as well as that new crop of saucy gals who believe that orgasm ’empowers’ them — hype the idea that copulation is as essential to human health as pizza pie. They cite the hard-wired urge to reproduce as natural selection’s way of ensuring the success of the species. People should be obsessed with sex, they argue, because that’s what Nature intended. Sex is natural.

Yeah. Natural like a fox! The sex = health equation is a load of dicksmoke.

The biological imperative argument may support the occasional reproductive boink, but it hardly makes the case for nonstop hottt sexxx as the loftiest pinnacle of human endeavor. As far as procreation is concerned, sex is superfluous. Neither is it required for orgasm, or even intimacy. Nor is it the founding principle of love. Sex has not become society’s governing motif just because it’s “natural.”

Nope, the global sex fetish, once you cut through all the crap about bonding and fulfilling biological destinies and making a gift of your genes to posterity–Nature could give a fig for you and your genes — is an entirely arbitrary construct used for control and ritual domination. It’s a culture virus, the egoist conceit of — that’s right — patriarchy.

Sex as the ultimate human raison d’être is, in fact, a cornerstone of the male supremacist agenda. After all, men seem to be the only ones afflicted with this overarching need to copulate. That’s because, as every girl who has ever met a teenage boy knows, they get sick and die if they can’t fuck! You know! Blueballs! They die from blueballs, a condition in which the ungratified boy suffers piteously disfiguring boils, brain lesions, spina bifida, blindness, and psychosis before his miserable, frustrated life is extinguished by the spontaneous combustion of his toxically elevated testosterone.

But no woman needs sex. She may like it, and because of that she may want it from time to time, but if there were no patriarchy — by which I mean, if she were not a member of the sex class — her submission to ritual domination would remain, like the whipped cream on a mocha frappuccino at Starbucks, entirely optional. But there is patriarchy, and she is a member of the sex class, and as such, expression of her sexuality is permitted only in terms of male prurience. It is her sacred duty to prevent blueballs, and what’s more she’d better like it, or she’s a frigid crazy bitch lesbian who thinks she’s above a good ass-whuppin.

So is it any wonder that sexperts are circling the wagons against the notion of asexuality as a legitimate orientation? As we have seen, patriarchy relies for its continued success on precise regulation of penis placement. But like the frigid crazy bitch lesbians, asexuals are bucking the system. Their idea that rutting is boring or meaningless or revolting is antithetical to the patriarchal position, so naturally efforts to quash this seditious shit are well under way. The Salon article gets this astonishing remark out of a prominent male sex therapist: “[…] to say that someone is ‘asexual’ is tantamount to saying that they’re not a human being.” And this fuckard is by no means alone. Big mental health cheeses place enormous importance on screwing, and judge that, at best, the asexual has “issues,” and at worst, a dangerous anti-social psychosis. The medical establishment wants to cure these poor, sick, uncooperative bastards.

Hey homos! Sound familiar?


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  1. Tony Patti

    The older I get, the more your arguments against prurience seems to make sense. The matrimonial roll in the hay is another thing, though, I’ve got to say. The urgency for gratification is gradually replaced by the desire for a kind of intimacy only the closest of friends can share.

    Nothing could be less sexy than middle-aged people who aren’t extremely attractive having sex. It’s not what all the nut-jobs are really fighting for. They are arguing for a lustful fantasy, and the sanctity of that adolescent dream of getting the sex you think will be so much better than anything you’ve ever felt before. You think that getting girls and getting blow jobs and getting this or that sex act will satisfy you and it never does.

    The howl of Twisty Faster as she rails against the sex-celebrating world at large is the sound of someone who has lifted the veil from lustful longing and seen the grim chemistry beneath it all.

    It’s possible, however, to agree with this and still use sexual intimacy to forge and renew a bond with someone who will forgive you your warts and wrinkles, demonstrating love that renders even more ridiculous the constant clatter of machine-made sex fantasies all around us, even at this moment, clogging the same wires that send this message to you with the furious thunder of monotonous digital pumps.

  2. Twisty

    You’re saying that a couple of old married heterosexual chums gettin’ it on is not the same as when some bootymeister picks up chicks in bars. I agree that in these two scenarios sex is used for different purposes. However, I would argue that the fixed order always makes unequal demands on the participants, because the fixed order is inescapably rooted in oppression. Even old married het sex doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

    But by all means! Bone away! Just because sex within a patriarchy is not, perhaps, the most egalitarian of endeavors doesn’t mean it should be entirely abandoned. That would be like forgoing wine with dinner because you’re having fish and all you have lying around is a bottle of cabernet.

    My argument is not that people should not have sex. My argument–in fact, it is my only argument, and pretty much the entire purpose of this blog–is merely that patriarchy exists. My secondary purpose is to expose the methodology by which this often invisible ideology of oppression taints all of human enterprise. I do this by saying shit nobody wants to hear. It’s amazing that anybody reads this blog at all, when you think about it.

  3. Tony Patti

    We both appreciate the gradations of oppression. So little is done to prepare us for the full physical weight of sex. So little is said about the strange relation of dominance and submission to something that, in actuality, is all about reproduction and unity.

    I would like to close my eyes, deny everything, and simply pretend sex is all about reproduction and unity – a sacred loving bond between a man and woman. But how can you when you are constantly hearing and learning that sex is mere prurience, an entertaining spectacle of voluntary exhibitionism and eager submission intended to exalt your meager self-image into a masterful, dominant illusion of erect and copious splendor that will ineluctably result in an orgasmic frenzy that gratifies both your own lubricious desire and your needy, insecure ego, filled with renewed confidence by the faked moans and writhing limbs that signal another triumph of your lovemaking skills.

    It’s pathetic and somehow almost amusing in a black humor way how men respond so deeply and quickly to the desire to dominate and then loudly proclaim themselves feminists and clamor to claim victimhood for themselves whenever a woman gets uppity enough to suggest that they might help feeding the kids themselves once in a while, for example.

    It’s so hard to see your own faults, since they blind you by existing at all. Being willing to even consider them is my only hope to better myself as a human being.

  4. Anonymous

    You people are total idiots. And this is coming from a woman.

  5. Twisty

    Dear anonymous woman,

    Way to sock it to us with that cogent argument! Please pray for us!

  6. Ron Sullivan

    Most of the shit that gets passed off as “sexy” or “about sex” has no more to do with sex than rape does. There’s maybe a little overlap because some of the same bits get used, but… What was that thing we said in the ’70s? “Rape is sex the way getting hit on the head with a skillet is dinner.” Or something like that.

    It’s as pavlovian and conventional as the mudflap babe or this year’s waistband and hemline locations, and my sex life got a whole lot better when I got to stop dealing with it. I don’t know what it’s like for young women now, really; it looks, from the perch of lofty middle-age, even worse than I remember it in the ’60s-’70s. Harder to find a quiet spot away from the bullshit about what guys are supposed to want and what we are supposed to apologize for not having. Or having too much of. Or covering or not. Or wanting too.

    Long-time affectionate sex is great. You don’t have to be married; you don’t even have to be a couple (other numbers work too); I swear it’s all done with pheromones and the rest is counterfeit.

    However. After all the bazillions of diapers I’ve changed over the years (big sister, babysitter, Big Nurse) I wish I’d saved a few of the used ones to slap upside the head of anyone who wants to tell me sex is about anything, especially reproduction.

  7. Twisty

    Well said, Ron Sullivan.

  8. Thanks for your linkage/analysis of that article. I found the following quote especially telling:

    “I worry about boys and girls, men and women, finding an ‘asexual’ Web site and accepting their asexuality as an identity without even trying to understand its genesis. Some of these people need help.” (Aline Zoldbrod, “Boston-area psychologist and sex therapist”)

    Boys and girls? Men and women? What about folks with a non-binary gender identity? Is that something that also needs to be “helped”? An active, sex-based sexuality is clearly a commodity in which these sex therapists and psychologists have a capitalistic investment.

    People uncomfortable with sex having the sanctioned option to just opt out (of sex, then out of heterosexuality and the commodification of sex, so holy hell, then even out of the entire patriarchal structure, as you point out) are incredibly dangerous to all of the matrices of power presently in place.

  9. “…are incredibly dangerous to all of the matrices of power presently in place.”

    To understate!

    Found this the other day:

    Patriarchy has always used sexuality to control people, and it is still doing it, but times have changed and it is doing it a bit differently these days. Our government used to censor porn. Then they found that it was easier to maintain the morale of male combat troops if instead of censoring it, they distributed it. So they did. And it worked. So they began promoting it outside of the military because they wanted to control civilians too. And that worked also. There are millions of people in the U.S. today who believe that because they have access to porn, they still have some privacy from government intrusion. Many of them have clever little methods of maintaining their privacy when they visit kiddy porn websites. And whenever a few thousand of them get arrested in a federal sweep, they think it is an aberration, or that they just weren’t using the right security precautions. The truth is that none of their security precautions work and the government can round them up any time it wants. While they’re watching porn, big brother is watching them.

    There’s an old Sufi story. A magician had a flock of sheep and he was too lazy to fence them in, and too cheap to hire a shepherd. So to keep them from straying, he hypnotized them into believing that they weren’t sheep, they were magicians. And it worked and his sheep never strayed.

    Real freedom of speech, as intended in the First Amendment, is the freedom of the powerless to speak truth to power. The powerful don’t need freedom of speech to be guaranteed to them as a right, since they have the power to say whatever they want. It is the powerless who can be silenced by the powerful, so it is the powerless who needed to be guaranteed freedom of speech. That right has been completely destroyed. You can criticize the powerful, but you cannot do it to their face. You cannot speak truth to them. You can watch all the porn you want, but you cannot get within a hundred yards of Bush if you’re wearing an anti-Bush or anti-war t-shirt. You have the freedom to watch videos that objectify, trivialize, humiliate, and even torture the least powerful people in our society, but you do not have the freedom to speak truth to power. And most people never even noticed the trade-off. That’s how hierarchies work. You get to pick on anyone lower than you in the pecking order, so long as you don’t turn on those above you. Most people think it’s a sweet deal, and will put up from almost anything from their superiors, so long as they can pass the abuse on to those below them.

    From a comment by mymarkx on:

    This is the sentence that sent me running for green, leafy relief*:

    “Then they found that it was easier to maintain the morale of male combat troops if instead of censoring it, they distributed it. So they did. And it worked.”

    *My homicidal-tendancy-prevention medicine, keeping the murder rate around here down while protecting my karma as these boys are playing hell with certain spiritual path issues like not hating these cockwads with every fiber of my being.

  10. genderberg.com

    This thread, right down to that must-read article Mar Iguana posted, has managed on its own, and before 9:00am Pacific time, to meet today’s minimum quota for feminist verbal brainfood.

  11. Another dangerous asexual

    Why does everyone assume that asexuality is about sex anyway? A rather large percentage of us really couldn’t care less about it, with the notable exception of someone expecting us to participate. And yet, somehow, we’re undermining all of society, luring your children, friends, and family into a miserable, loveless celibacy (because in our society sex = love, just like gpa = intelligence and education = competence).

    And they accuse us of not dealing with our sexuality when they are, in fact, the ones incapable of dealing with it.

  12. Deeblite

    As a male asexual, I just want to say that I don’t appreciate your comments about the entirety of the male population being sex-crazed.

    That said, much of what you’ve said here makes a lot of sense.

  13. Feminist Avatar

    Just because a bit of historical context is never boring:

    did you know that in the seventeenth century in western Europe it was women who were sex-crazed and would literally become ill or crazy or dead if they didn’t get some sex?

    Men who were the perfect specimens of humanity did not need sex, but women whose body fluids were imbalanced (hence they were female and not male) needed sperm to help them achieve perfection. Without it, they became ill and got diseases such as greensickness. Juliet is accused of suffering from greensickness in Romeo and Juliet, hence her father’s attempt to marry her off. Sex controlled women. Without they were running around all crazy and using their bodies like they had a right to them or something.

    Science backed this up- it was a completely natural state of affairs!

  14. Twisty

    As a male, Deeblite, with your unique male perspective, how would you characterize the socially acceptable male attitude toward sex?

  15. Cass

    Nice post, Twisty.

  16. curiousgyrl

    I like this post. It reminds me of my pet peeve with the sex advice columns (which is, of course in second to my wild, untamed peeve of hating patriarchal sex advice columns) that sex is naturally and should be the most important thing in any lifetime partnership. This much pushed principle strikes me as asinine, and also as an unmeetable standard. Sex in any long relationship will change overtime, and shouldn;t be more important than morals, money and taste in movies. to the extent that it is, its usually because someone is an asshole. Sex obsession–and Dan Savage– justify these assholes.

  17. Anya

    Thanks, Twisty, for alleviating years and years of anxiety for me. I’ve always thought there was something wrong with me for a)not being obsessed with sex and b) finding heterosexual sex to be horribly unpleasant (even though I’m straight). But duh! it’s the patriarchy’s fault, not mine! Sigh of relief.

  18. JessMess

    No one is reading this anymore probably but boy does it strike a chord. I’m a longtime lurker and felt compelled to post here even if it exists out in the ether now (old post).
    Recently my Nigel and I went through problems of the prurient sort. He said that the spark is gone (after 8 years of being best friends and soulmates) and that urge/ lust for sex doesn’t exist between us anymore. This hurt so bad and continues to hurt. I’m moving out separately. I fucking hate this, and the hostile environment for sex that the P has created. Nigel has created his own notions of what sex should be between two people from movies and porn created within this fucking pit called patriarchy. I thought he was different and one of the good ones. I’ve lost all faith.
    At least now I can come to terms with the fact that maybe I’m not so interested in sex after all and it might not be such a bad thing. But this is hard hard because I’m beat over the head with sex culture everywhere I turn. Sex doesn’t sell: what people mean by that is naked women’s bodies sell. It disgusts me how women are treated like cum dumpsters by men. It disgusts me that my partner who I shared such a connection with is ready to discard me just because the sex isn’t full of lust and cumshots like he’s used to seeing in Hollywood and porn. Men are exposed to so much of this vile shit through porn that it takes more and more extreme acts to get them excited to even begin sex. I hate them.
    I thought he was a good one and that through my radfem tutelage he was a true ‘sympathizer’ or comrade but boy was I wrong. Wrong after 8 years, I feel like such a fucking fool.
    Sorry for the long post. Anytime the P gets me down I always come here and feel like I’m not crazy and there are people that understand. It also–dare I say the “e” word–empowers me not to give a fuck about men and the status quo. It makes me want to burn the P down. Thanks, Twisty.

  19. Twisty

    “No one is reading this anymore probably”

    Not true! I just read it yesterday. It’s a dilly.

    But please don’t feel like a fool. We’ve all bought into the relationship fantasy to one degree or another, most of us to the nth degree at least once. How are we to know in advance that the whole set-up is bogus? Nobody tells us. We have to find out the hard way that porn culture is the only game in town.

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