sex is a big deal

You can tell the students have started arriving on campus by the way I haven’t written anything for ages. And the slowness of posting will continue definitely through September and probably through October. Sorry about that. Jobby job, ya know.

Anyway, there’s this alternet piece on 5 reasons the author is glad she’s had casual sex, that’s bugging me today, so i thought I’d take my lunch break to write about it.

The five reason’s she’s happy to have had lots of sexual sex are: (1) fun (2) experimentation (3) pleasure without unwanted commitment (4) independence and confidence and (5) intimacy and connection.

(That last one might sound paradoxical in a world where “platonic” has come to mean “in the absence of sex,” but it wouldn’t in a world where “platonic” retained its original meaning of “connection on every level, INCLUDING sex.)

Anyway, the article isn’t bugging me because I disagree with it – on the contrary. It’s bugging me because I can’t figure out what anyone would object to about it.

I suppose it’s slut-shaming stuff, like, “Well a woman who’s had lots of sex partners without emotional commitment is just telling herself a story to make herself feel okay with her past.” Because we can’t believe that someone could be reporting the truth about their inner experience if that truth violates our expectations.

But why slut-shaming?

Why sluts?

Because to me Greta Christina’s article is, like, not really even about sex. She says herself that she got those five things from OTHER activities than sex, but sex was ONE of them. So why is sex the one that needs an article written about it? Why is sex the one that conservative media bores feel the need to groan about for ages? Why is sex the one that gets paraded through politics and social judgment?

Well, aren’t I just asking why sex is a big deal?

And why IS sex a big deal? Why? I think it’s probably because the person or institution that controls sex controls nothing less than the genetic destiny of the species.

Women control the genetic destiny of the species when they take birth control, when they have sex with multiple partners, when they have abortions, when they marry (or don’t), when they have sex with women; when they do ANYTHING that increases or decreases their chance of reproducing, the world goes FUCKING APESHIT.

(You’ll notice people also get into giant tizzies about parenting. Just look at the carseat industry. “Freakonomics” told me there’s no reliable evidence that those regulations increase child car safety.)

So the Puritan Pundits will never chill out. They’re in a panic and feel out of control; they don’t trust women, teenagers, or people of color to take adequate care of the future of the species, so they have to stir up a fuss and get people to allow them to have control. They don’t KNOW that that’s why they feel that way, but that’s why.

Because sex really is a big deal. And it takes a great deal of trust to allow the general population to be granted control over their own decision-making, and there are plenty of good examples of why it’s a bad idea (though more, IMO, good examples of why it’s a good idea).

Like, I met this guy yesterday who said he thought women who were on public assistance should be required to go on birth control like Norplant or an IUD, so they wouldn’t get pregnant while their lives were in a mess. And I can kinda see his point; if I weren’t such an autonomy fiend I might even agree. After all, it’s just an extrapoliation of what a woman’s body does naturally, when she’s starving or otherwise stressed and her reproductive system shuts down. And we can’t rely on people to make the rational decision to VOLUNTEER to go on birth control, necessarily. They might have absorbed various cultural ideas about birth control, or they might think abstinence is adequate, or they might not feel there’s an inherent contradiction between their lives being unstable and having a child. Who knows.

You’ll notice I am in favor of people not having kids when their lives are unstable. I won’t deny that, but I do recognize that I’m not in charge of that decision for anyone but myself.

So the conflict comes, I think, from granting individuals control over their own bodies, when their decision-making has been distorted by institutions that would prefer that they not exercise control over their own bodies. If you see what I mean.

Anyway. Sex really is a big deal.

And that’s the end of my lunch.