Monday, September 26, 2011

Enthusiastic Consent, Poly and Mono

There is this idea that, by "putting out" for multiple people, consent means less. As though spreading it thins it.

Another way of looking at it is that sticking to one person can become an obligation, a chore. Enthusiastic consent can lose its enthusiasm in stagnancy. Enjoying different partners allows one to value each more.

Neither point of view is generally right or wrong, just different for different people. Giving enthusiastic consent to one person can strengthen it for some people, sharing it with different partners empowers it for others.

Enthusiastic consent is not a dwindling resource. Whether given to one or to many, frequent giving makes it more joyous. The enthusiasm makes one an active partner, fully aware of what's being shared.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Porn Through the Ages

Today, I perused the sections of The Art Institute that I otherwise visit: medieval, Renaissance, etc. Europe up until the mid-1800's. A particular painting from 1609 caught my eye, The Capture of Samson by Peter Paul Rubens:

Mostly because it was a preliminary sketch, this piece stood out. Intense motion, sharp contrasts, tension, etc. I don't typically get a lot out of mythological scenes, but the raw eroticism of this slapped me in the face.

In high school, I took Latin and absolutely loved it. My favorite teacher, Mr. Mathers, had a print of this painting, Danae by Titian, up in his classroom:

At first, my classmates and I saw this and thought "another old-ass painting these old people like. How boring." When we learned the myth of Danae, who was impregnated by Zeus' gold rain (hurr), this painting took on new meaning. "Mr. Mathers, this painting is...well...PORNOGRAPHIC!" He just smiled and nodded, "yep!"

Titian's painting has much less tension, excitement, and overall feeling in his painting (although Zeus looks like he's having a great time!), but both that and Rubens' emphasize that the erotic has always existed. Before XTube, before DVD, before VHS, before movie theaters, before private printing - there was painting. Even highly oppressive societies have had some outlet for the erotic, although it has been well-hidden in mythology and classical artwork.

You'd think that after all these centuries of undulating bodies, people would learn that our sexuality isn't going away.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Feminine Domesticity

Wanderlust, the antithesis of domesticity, is a masculine characteristic. And, likewise, domesticity is feminine. I have a very high wanderlust and, frankly, I don't want this to be a gendered quality. For a few years, I've been exploring masculinity and experimenting with masculine traits. The implication, though, that feminine women stay at home precisely because of their femininity concerns me. I don't mean housewifery specifically, also settling down sooner/younger than men and not exploring beforehand.

Many feminine women, particularly from college, say that they admire my "bravery" in traveling disconnected from domestic obligations. That's great, though it isn't exactly "bravery" to follow your dreams and it would be more of a compliment for these women to live their own lives. These women also fear for me. What does this accomplish?!

Perhaps feminine women are more domestic because home is a safehaven from misogyny. Which isn't to say that misogyny doesn't happen in the home, but the facade of control can be held up there more than out in the world. And for all their masculinity, butch lesbians get very domestic and eager to settle down. They tend to get twice the bullshit: misogyny + homophobia. With the understanding that home is a safehaven from these social forces, butches would be even more driven to build and maintain one. This certainly helps explain why lesbians jump into relationships so quickly: to feel safe together from shared bullshit.

And I may be exempt from gender-related domesticity because home wasn't a safehaven for me. The road is my safehaven.