Category Archives: Sexuality

A Brief Commentary on Shame.


This post was, for the most part, inspired by my resent post on a robust sex education program. I found myself really jumping at what a few people said and I want to explain why: I am strongly opposed to sex shaming. More so, I find that shame is an unhelpful emotion to try to bring out in others, and it is highly misused. Now, I believe that no emotion is truly a good or bad emotion, because all emotions can lead to negative and positive results, and each has their own use.

Shame, from my experience, is an emotion which is very good at one thing: entrenching preexisting behaviors. For behaviours that we would otherwise like to avoid, such as misgendering someone, or getting drunk and embarrassing ourselves, shame can be useful as we already have the preexisting wish to avoid those behaviours. When we slip up and feel shame, it reinforces those overall positive behaviours. However, when someone is consistently doing something perceived as wrong, and it has become habitual, people try to evoke shame to get the person to change. Unfortunately, like I said, shame reinforces preexisting behaviours, so, when you shame someone about something the habitually do or like/want to do, all you achieve is making them feel bad. And, more often than not, you either have no effect on their behaviour or you entrench it even further.

When you want someone to change, you don’t want to make them feel bad. Instead you want them to reconsider their behaviours or thoughts. By shaming a person your more likely to convince them that they are a bad person, then to convince them to change their behaviour. A person will change when they stop feeling bad about themselves and are actually motivated to change their behaviour. While shaming can ultimately lead to someone picking themselves up and changing, there is no guarantee that that will happen. But there is a real risk of entrenching the behaviour even more and making it less likely that the person will change it.

Aside: It needs to be mentioned that you need to be very careful if you think you should change someone else. It’s very rare that you’ll be in a position where you can effectively change a persons behaviors. Even then you should still tread carefully. The only real time you can justify trying to change someone is when they are doing harm to themselves and others, and even with that said just because you don’t like a behaviour or think someone would be “better off” not doing it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful. A perfect example of this is how some religious fundamentalists who basically make up excuses for why being Gay causes harm, when really it do no more harm than being strait does.

This is part of why I’m so opposed to sex shaming. First and foremost, I think that sex between two consenting adults is just fine. I may not like what they do, but that’s none of my business anyway. Secondly, shame doesn’t change behaviours. So if you want someone to take precautions or form new sexual behaviors, shaming them is counter productive. It may help those who were never inclined to do those behaviors in the first place, but we’re already not worried about those people. We are worried about those people who already have, or are inclined to having, problematic behaviours. So the last thing we want to do is shame them and entrench those behaviours.

(Small edit: I really didn’t explain what sex shaming is in this post I’ll have to write another post to make up for that, but for completeness I’ll explain some here. One of the major components of sex shaming are “slut-shaming” but I use the term as more inclusive to basically all the ways we shame people about there consensual healthy sexual behaviour. This includes sex between LGBT persons, BDSM, a whole array of fetishes. Though I think I ought to do a full post so I’ll leave it there for now.)


What I think a robust sex education program would look like. Plus a rant!


I’d like to start by saying. Abstinence is not a substitute for sex education. It never will be it hasn’t been effective, and in wouldn’t be effective. Why? Because most people are going to have sex, so if all you do is tell them not to do then how are you surprised when they eventually have sex they make all kinds of mistakes and missteps. You can’t expect to leave the lights off and expect newcomers to navigate the space safely.

People talk about abstinence as though it is some holy grail of sex ed. If only we talked more about abstinence teens and young adults would stop having sex! Hate to tell you but your parents generation of teens had sex, your generation had sex mine does, and the next will. With puberty comes sexual desire, while this isn’t universal it is extremely common, and for many teens and young adults sex is a real and present possibility, and something many want.

Telling teens not to do something isn’t going to be effective, and just telling them the risks isn’t enough as many will go on to risk it anyway. Lying and misleading them into think the risks are greater then they are is a bad idea, because when they find out well good buy to any trust those teens may have had in the person(s) lying to them and those implicit in lying to them. Even if they don’t find out, they are still in the dark about the real risk, and how to protect themselves even if this “save themselves” for marriage they did don’t know the options available to them, including general sex tips like lube usage.

All that you end up doing by promoting abstinence is making those kids ignorant, not safer. Don’t believe me read through this it has some mighty good citations.

Now my rant against abstinence only education has run it’s course I know not many reading is agree with abstinence only and understand abstinence, while it is an option, is only a tiny portion of what our children need to be informed members of society in regards to sexual activity.

I’d like to see a whole (mandatory) course devoted on the subject who’s main point would be as follows.

  • Reproduction and anatomy (the biological side of things, also including intersex)
  • Sexuality, and a brief look into gender.
  • Consent education, and education about rape culture.
  • Safe sex, including contraception, knowledge about vaccine treatments, information about testing, types of sexual intercourse, including non-preventative sex. Resources resources resources, you can’t cover everything, but kids will find out if they want to know, so you might as well direct them reputable sources.
  • Healthy Relationships, how to communicate, how to determine what you want what your goals are and what your comfortable with, how to share that with your future or current partner(s) and how to respect and compromise with your partner.
  • Abuse identification and prevention.

By hitting this 6 major points I could see us giving children a robust foundation for them to build upon as they grow into adults.

Reproduction and anatomy so that they are getting to know what to expect, and it’s just good for health to know how our bodies worth.

Sexuality so we do not push a heteronormative agenda a leave all the LGBTQA children high, dry, lost and confused. As well has just make it clear to everyone that differences in sexual preferences exist and are both normal and natural.

Consent so people stop raping one another, and so our kids understand what rape actually is.

Safe sex because most of these kids are going to be having sex in the next several years best make sure they’re prepared.

Healthy Relationships are something wholly missed in most sex education programs, expect most people will be getting into relationships before having sex. It’s an excellent time to have kids start thinking about what they want and how to communicate those desires, and well as teaching them how to communicate in those future  relationships where disagreements or misunderstanding my form.

Domestic abuse is still a massive problem in our world and give the next generation the tools to better identify and deal with it will bring about what I suspect would be some massive positive changes.

This is my ever growing outline for what I plan to be teaching to my kids in the future. I hope to see what we teach in school expand to these important lessons which I feel many children never really learn except for the hard way.

Witheeth

PS. It has been brought to my attention that some folks are think that I want to do away with teaching abstinence altogether. That is not the case, I want to do away with abstinence only education(because it’s been shown highly ineffective, achieving the opposite of it goal), other wise abstaining from sex is a perfectly valid option if you choose it. However it is ill advised and ineffective to try to force abstinence, and does not teach those necessary skills. Also don’t sex shame it’s counter productive, but I’ll do a post on that later.


A quick synopsis for my ideas on good Consent education.


Make it quick and repeat it often

Make it informative

Make it inescapable

Focus on Consent (but don’t avoid saying rape)

Make it quick

Make it from different perspectives

Tailor it to the audience where ever you can

Make it mandatory

Make it informative

Make it quick and repeat it often.

 

Obviously this doesn’t give good info on the actual how’s, though there are not shortage of skilled sex educators and film students out there. Make a hundred or so pick 15-25 of the best.

Withteeth


In reply to some “Straight Pride”


So starting yesterday I had the displeasure, but opportunity to critique this long winded post by a white heterosexual cis man (a privilege granting affliction I possess as well) who seem feel hated because of being straight, and that we should all just get over it and are equals (equal in sin, as well as In God’s eyes). Further more he appeared to be on an ongoing tangent about straight pride of all things. The following is my reply:

 

*Picks up mic*

Okay so most of us Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual and allies (LGBTQA) don’t care that you’re white or that you’re straight, we do care that white cis gendered (look it up) heterosexual people don’t think they are a privileged group.

Though in fact some people would hate you or be extremely angry at your post for a number of the reasons which I will elaborate on. I don’t hate you, but your post has angered me and shows a general disregard for the lives of people you clearly don’t understand, and whom I respect deeply and a community which I love and would fight to protect. Also why would some people hate you? I know: perhaps it is because they are feared, hated, disregarded, and willfully misunderstood by millions of people, not to mention the fact that they are hunted because their love is some how not “pure.” Not just by random people but by their own parents and siblings, kicked out of there homes as teenagers, ostracized by their communities for their feelings and desires that they had no choice over, and that many would get rid of if only they could, but they can’t.

I don’t know you (person in question). You’re probably an alright guy (though thoughtful probably is how others describe you). But you’ve claimed that you’re equal to these people in more ways than one. That you had to deal with any of the systematic pressures I talked about above, because those and many more are prevalent around much of the world, further more you claim that the bible is going to tell you something. The bible was used to support slavery and teaches that women are property. Cherry picking from the bible is a time honored tradition that I will not partake in. I’d suggest getting your morals from a source that doesn’t suggest stoning people to death for working on Sundays, mixing fabrics, eating shellfish, and beating your slave (*hint* not to death!). I honestly don’t mean to be overly aggressive over your faith, but you used it as an argument so it’s fair game.

As a sex positive person, and understand the literature on child development, your continuation of sex shaming, and sex negative attitude are neither healthy nor going to help your children. We are all born naked and nudity does not scar children, body shaming does. (not referring to  sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances. That’s a whole different can of worms). I’d suggest looking into Lindsey Doe and her Sexplanations for an effective and healthy look on sexuality and sex, though it might be a bit much so I’d tread slowly. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkxMlA7rt-mnIc1AjbyAsPw

To wrap up LGBTQA persons on the whole don’t hate you, and what we don’t like about your ideas has almost nothing to do with your whiteness or straightness, but rather your disregard for LGBTQA issues, for the prosecution and hate and violence directed at millions of LGBTQA  people that goes on today. That from your post say we are all equal, yet women still get paid less, Queer people all over the world can’t marry the people they love. They are also not given the same respect as a straight person. If that’s your form of equality well then I think it speaks for itself.

I’m willing to continue this discussion and start up more if anyone reading this is interested, I think that any one willing to take a stand is taking a step in the right direction, I just hope that you, (person in question), and those reading continue to critically think about what you believe and about what you are told, including by me. I can safely promise that I will do the same.

 


The Problem with Homophobia and Transphobia


There are many problems with both, but I want to focus solely on the problems that arise due to homophobic and transphobic speech. The other day we were talking to a man who felt utterly worthless because his culture holds homophobic beliefs and he happens to be gay. His whole life he has heard people use homophobic slurs and dismiss others as nothing more than “that faggot.” Hearing these things, hearing people dismiss him when they don’t even know that they are making these claims about him, has led him to feel as though he is a failure for being born gay. This man is not a failure, nor is he worthless, but he has been made to feel as though he is. Because of words. Because of the words that people say when they think that there are no queer people around. The words that we say can hurt and we must be careful when we speak. This is why gossip and rumors are frowned upon, and why the “sticks and stones” rhyme is wrong. Words can and often do hurt more than any physical pain. Therefore, words that are homophobic and transphobic should be avoided. Even if you do not believe that there is a queer person around to hear you. If you do say something that is potentially hurtful, even if you don’t understand why it would be considered hurtful, then you must be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions. If you say homophobic/transphobic things, then you are responsible for causing people to hate themselves. You are responsible for causing people to become suicidal, and killing themselves. Maybe you are not the sole contributor, but you were a contributor nonetheless. Maybe you didn’t want to hurt anybody, but you were, and are, complacent to their pain. If you do not want to hold that responsibility, if you do not want to take part in the guilt, then you must speak out against the hate. You must warn others when they use the hateful language. You must be part of the solution.


Why We Want to Blog


My partner and I are both university students. I am studying History and Philosophy and my partner is studying Botany and Philosophy. We have recently decided to try our hands at blogging in order to better understand our interests, improve our knowledge, and meet others who have similar interests. Some of the topics that we intend to talk about include books and writing, graphic novels, history, philosophy, chain mail and blacksmithing, politics and feminism, gender and sexuality, and religion. As you can see, we have a variety of interests and aren’t really interested in bogging ourselves down with one topic.

I am currently writing a fantasy novel and a graphic novel and am hoping to discuss writing and graphic novel art as my main focus.

My partner has been dabbling with chain mail and blacksmithing and would like to focus mainly on those two interests.

We are looking forward to sharing our interests and hearing from those with similar interests.


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