One Sexual Society

Sex has been proven to be a particularly strong tool in society. The extent to which sex impacts the individual, however, is something that may not be as clearly understood as people may think. In “Sexual Desire and Gender” written by Pepper Schwartz and Virginia E. Rutter, the notion of sexuality being an individualistic trait was raised.

In society, sexuality is something that is typically used to group people together. It is a label that makes things easier to understand. Imagine a world where if somebody were asked their sexuality, the response would be a long list of personal preferences and a resulting answer on a scale of one to ten. Lady Gaga would love a world like this, yet imagine the challenges that would be posed to the gender norms that we have all subconsciously adopted throughout life. For simplicity, lets just say that society would be a bit more complicated.

When I think about the notion of sexuality being individually defined, it is interesting to note the differences that there would be in politics. In the current political election, the notion of gay marriage would be a bit different. In “Sexuality in Marriage, Dating and Other Relationships” by F. Scott Christopher and Susan Sprecher, gay marriage was discussed and the social factors that are involved. In the other readings on gay marriage as well, there was a general acceptance of the notion that gay marriage is not widely accepted. In a society where sexuality was determined on a personal basis, marriage would be interpreted differently as well right? It would seem so since gay marriage is as taboo of a subject as is the rising number of different sexual identities.

Yet what is true about our society is the fact that gender brings with it a list of expectations regarding sexuality. As a male, it is funny to read about the expectations and mental processes that “men” experience. The idea that men have this fast twitch sexual drive while women have a more sustained desire is one that I’m sure we have all heard before. The belief that an orgasm is more difficult to reach for women than men is, in addition to unfortunate, thought provoking when bringing in to the picture the idea that sexuality is individually defined. If sexuality really is tailor made, then what role do the gender norms play?

A world without sexuality expectations and preconceived notions regarding gender and sex would be a very different world indeed. The example of politics becomes even more relevant. Although we often do not consider sex to be a huge factor in politics, it is crazy to think of just how much of a role sex plays in the way our country is run. Besides the easy to digest commercial world where sex sells, tougher topics such as marriage are actually the ones that define candidates in the eyes of citizens. All that is to say that if sexuality really was individualistic, things would be more complicated maybe, but there would be a lot more time to talk about more important things.

2 thoughts on “One Sexual Society

  1. So do you think we should expect sexuality to be a spectrum? In the beginning of your post it sounds like you think it’s impossible, but by the end it appears you think it would be a good thing.
    What if gender norms and sexuality weren’t binary? Or even tertiary, as the bisexuality debate suggests?
    I think it would completely revolutionize our daily lives. For example, if I could go get a pedicure and then go to the rifle club to shoot with my best friend (who is of the opposite gender), all without experiencing any awkwardness with other people or any self doubt, I think that feeling of freedom would change my perspective on a lot of things in life.
    You discussed the political ramifications of this potential change in viewpoint on sexuality especially in regard to the hot topic of same-sex marriage. I wish to suggest a potential outlook.
    The primary excuse (outside of religious values) for political denial of the right to marriage is the slippery slope problem. People suggest (for some completely unsupported reason) that if we legalize same-sex marriage, we will eventually be accepting polygamous marriages.
    If we could propagate the acceptance of a variable scale of sexuality and correspondingly, gender, I don’t think this would be an acceptable excuse anymore. Marriage (or whatever rights it conveys) should be restricted to two individuals who love each other. If no one could identify on one end or the other of a binary system, would we spend so much time arguing about the right to commit in some way (religious, or no)?

  2. J: In your post you say “[A]lthough we often do not consider sex to be a huge factor in politics, it is crazy to think of just how much of a role sex plays in the way our country is run.” If you think about the topics we are addressing in class: marriage (straight and gay), reproduction (think birth control, abortion, reproductive technologies for infertility, pregnancy outside of marriage) sexual health (sexually transmitted infections and the drugs that prevent and/or treat them, HIV/AIDS), and even discussions of sexual violence (specifically rape and sexual assault) have all come up just in this election cycle. I am almost stunned by how much sex and politics are mingling in mainstream political discourse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *