With a hellish election season finally wrapped up here in the United States, I can’t help but think back to all of the disgustingly sexist things that have happened. It made me think for the billionth time that we need better sexeducation in this country. Particularly, we need better sex and gender education, and everyone regardless of gender needs to learn about feminism. Well, sadly, we all know that isn’t happening in our current education system, which is why I am so grateful for those people on YouTube who try to educate others. Today Ispecifically want to talk about Carlin Ross and Betty Dodson, two amazing feminists and sex educators whose goal is to help de-stigmatize women’s bodies, help women learn about their bodies, promote a healthy sex-positive attitude, and promote women’s rights.
Warning for explicit discussion of sex and general NSFW-ness after the jump.
Nothing bothers me more than the fact that religion has such a bad relationship with sex. In my particular experience, I am sick and tired of Christians having so many hangups about sex. I don’t necessarily have an issue with some Christians wanting to wait to have sex until marriage—I don’t agree with it, but as long as Christians don’t judge people who chose to do something different with their sexuality, then I’m fine with it. But that tends to not be the case. Individual Christians might be fine with it, but many Christian institutions tend not to be. I can’t tell you how many times as a kid I attended events that said “sex is a gift from God” but then proceed to say things like “but if you ever masturbate you’re sinning, if you think about sex you’re sinning, if you have sex ever then not only are you sinning but you’ll probably get a sexually transmitted disease, get pregnant, and even (especially if you’re a woman) you’ll be used up and broken.” This might not always be the intentional message, but I have seen and talked with enough teens to know this is the message that often gets through. The constant push from Christians to avoid any sort of sex or even exploration of sexuality certainly diminishes the belief that sex is a gift from God. But these modern problems aren’t the only thing that makes it seem like sex isn’t a gift from God. It’s Christianity’s long history of portraying sex as evil. Christianity has long listed numerous demons whose whole purpose was to tempt humans into some sort of “sexual perversion”, from Satan to Lilith and many others. There is also an obsession in Christian history with regulating peoples’ sex lives. There was a time when even married sex was considered lustful if it wasn’t done for procreation. Anything beyond married procreative sex was seen as the temptation of the devil.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. According to many religious teachings, this temptation into sexual sin was often seen to manifest itself primarily through women. Women were often thought to be more susceptible to lustful urges and temptation. Women were furthermore thought to have a closer connection to the devil because of this and because of their connection to Eve, the first woman, who was believed to have caused the downfall of man. And this is even reflected in our pop culture. I’m more than a little annoyed that more often than not in our pop culture, any and all sexuality is connected to the devil or demons, and that is all often wrapped in a nice sexist bow. While it’s understandable that our pop culture gets these ideas from religious sources, it’s certainly not healthy or helpful.
The “star-crossed lovers” trope is pretty much the oldest, most worn-out convention in literature. It was old news when Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, though no one can dispute that he did it with exceptional flair. It was certainly long since old news when Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan conceptualized Saga, yet theirs has been one of the most engaging and innovative independent comics of the last several years. There is no single reason for Vaughan and Staples’s success, as they are an exceptionally talented team and the story and characters they have created are brilliant, but they have managed to hit on something specific that gives new life to their own star-crossed lovers tale: filthy, nasty sex.
We made this baby, it was awesome.
Content warning: graphic sexual/anatomical comic book images below the cut.
I am willing to bet that you have been in a fandom and listened to people debate about which characters are doms or subs. Basically, they are asking who, in a BDSM relationship, would be the dominant one and who would be the submissive one. You may have heard people also argue about who is a top and who is a bottom in m/m queer relationships, and while that is not the same as being a dom or a sub, the argument is usually similar. People tend to claim that the more dominant character would be a top and the more submissive or at least less sexually aggressive one would be on the bottom. While that is not necessarily the case, this is an argument I see in fandom a lot. It’s clear from my own experience in fandom that many people are at least kind of interested in the power dynamics of BDSM, even if they aren’t fully into the lifestyle or certain aspects of the BDSM community. However, many of the ideas about BDSM tend to be extremely stereotypical or riddled with misinformation.
I just started watching Rick and Morty, and I must say that I adore it. Rick and Morty is the story of an elderly, eccentric, alcoholic scientist who moves in with his daughter and her family after years of being apart from them. Rick spends most of his time with his grandson Morty, who helps Rick out as they travel through space, alternate universes, and other crazy adventures.
I was recently rewatching Season 2 of Rickand Morty—in particular, I was watching the episode “Auto Erotic Assimilation”, where we meet the Hivemind being Unity, a former lover of Rick’s. In the episode, Unity appears to Rick in a variety of genders and while Rick seems to be primarily interested in Unity’s female avatars, he doesn’t seem averse to the male ones, who are also incorporated into their lovemaking in various ways. Furthermore, though Unity appears in a variety of forms to Rick, they seem to primarily be identified in the show as female.
So today we are going to talk about not only Rick Sanchez’s sexuality, but also what the sexuality and gender of a Hivemind would be like.
One thing in our culture that has always bothered me was this idea that sexual repression and Christianity go hand in hand. This idea states that if you are a Christian, you aren’t allowed to express your sexuality in a healthy way. Typically this means that you can only be a married heterosexual couple who only have sex in the missionary position.So if someone ever convinces someone who was (or in some cases still is) a strong Christian to start having sex,they’ll unleash a wild, sexually deviant person because of all that desire the Christian had to repress for so long. There are so many problems with this notion. It simultaneously makes both people who want to stay virgins and people who enjoy certain fetishes into “weird unhealthy people”, neither of which is the case.
You can see a very clear example of this in one of my favorite musicals: Rocky Horror Picture Show. This movie certainly isn’t entirelybad or evil or anything; I love Rocky Horror Picture Show and I watch it all the time during Halloween. But it’s definitely highly problematic because the show really exemplifies the virgin-whore dichotomy.
Usually, when I write these posts, I get the ideas for the topics from something I’ve seen recently, but for some reason nothing I watched over the past couple of weeks has made me think about gender/sexuality representation. So, I had to cast my mind further back, and then I remembered iZombie, the fun, entertaining little show with a different spin on zombie fiction.
I’m always looking for LGBTQ+ representation, so I was somewhat disappointed at the show’s lack of actual queer characters. However, the show’s premise does lend itself to some interesting opportunities for representation—when zombies eat a person’s brain, they temporarily acquire some of that person’s traits, and apparently, these traits include sexuality. But, since you’re essentially mixing two personalities, things can get complicated (and sometimes lack continuity). There are only three instances in Season 1 when Liv or Lowell eating a brain affects their sexuality, so it’s not the largest sample, but I still think they’re interesting to look at.
I have noticed more than once how authors have used magic as a way to punish women when they have sex. Whether it’s in fantasy or horror, more often than not, women are punished with curses or death for enjoying sex, and it’s a trope that really needs to be put to rest. In horror movies two teens having premarital sex are almost guaranteed to be murdered by the monster. But women are punished far more often for sex than men. Heck, sometimes women are punished for sex even when it’s against their will. It sucks a lot that even in fantastical stories, we can’t get away from this mindset.
Sexism affects people of all genders, but it affects us all differently. Women, whether virgins or sexually active, tend to be demonized and ridiculed. But for men, virginity is the ultimate crime. Whether the guy just hasn’t had the opportunity for sex or has chosen to wait, it doesn’t matter. According to our society, men who have not had sex, particularly with a woman, are somehow lacking. So when a prominent male figure is revealed or even implied to be a virgin (for whatever reason), there tends to be something of an uproar. In our media, there is almost never a virgin male character, and when there is, they are either portrayedas having something wrong with them or almost their entire plotline is dedicated to them losing their virginity. For our pop culture to have a character who doesn’t follow these rules is rare and frankly revolutionary. That’s why I am so happy that Steve Rogers, Captain America himself, is a virgin.
Late to the party as usual, I recently started playing a little game called Dragon Age: Inquisition, a stellar endeavor in videogame storytelling, and a goddamn work of art as far as I’m concerned. Also, it has butts. In my play through I opted to romance Dorian, the gay necromancer from Tevinter, but I then learned to my delight that had I not opted to romance Dorian, he would have begun a background romance storyline with a massive, intimidating Qunari mercenary called the Iron Bull. I found this aspect of the story both hilarious and charming, but after discussing it with my lunchtime friend, Dillon from Goldburgers, he remarked blithely, “that is definitely some kind of bestiality.”
This statement perplexed me a bit. Sure, Qunari aren’t human and have some distinctly un-human features, but they’re far from the first or the most exotic humanoid fictional race to acceptably get it on with humans. Even people who have never seen Star Trek know that Captain James T. Kirk has banged no shortage of space babes. In virtually every high fantasy novel, some human or other gets into it with some elf or other. Why does no one think of these human/non-human relationships as bestiality? In the context of non-human but sentient races, what defines bestiality, and does the concept even apply? Which people may we acceptably bang and why may we bang those people and not others? These are the real questions.
Is “fearousal” the word for this? I feel like that’s the word for this.