sex positivity, pathologization, rape and medical exams.

Content note: rape culture, sexual assault, pathologization of difference/ sexual orientation.

Update: Something recent on sex positivity and I found the sex-neutrality reference I mentioned – a video by Reid Mihalko hosted on an over-18 website thus I had no luck with text-based searches.

Part 1: Sex-poz, tradition and rape culture.

Women are pressured, in various ways, into thinking they ought to have penetrative sexual intercourse with men. There is pressure that they ought to be straight and aside from educational and legal assumptions, or societal pressure, there is the biased conditioning of children and pre-pubescents), and pressure regarding prospective marriage or partnership and reproducing. Perhaps the introduction in this article targetting heterosexual couples may help think about the general context. I’ve heard testimonies for decades from close female friends, acquaintances or random women who have phallo-vaginal intercourse (PIV thereafter). This story harkens back to many stories I’ve heard, and I imagine it is comparable to prostitution when a woman thinks they ought to perform certain acts they don’t feel like doing, whether they is in a position similar to one of the 2 situations, or whether it’s “intercourse” in a world saturated with double-standards.

Here’s an example of double standards which may be obvious for certain people and need to be pointed out for others, from commenter 21 : ” […] the one and only time I read Vonnegut. It was in some short story collection. Something Monkeyhouse? Slaughterhouse Five? In one story, a women is hung up about sex. The solution is for her to get raped. Didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but apparently this was a great writer, so I kept reading. (I was young.) Further on there was a story about a man who’s hung up about sex. The solution is for him to meet the most alluring woman in the universe and be swept off his feet.”

I’ve been trying to think of a better analogy since months but can’t: Imagine a world where there are ways to avoid cancer or treat it gently but institutions and society have only prescribed a certain harmful chemotherapy along with the carcinogenic cause as mandatory for everyone who can potentially have the cancer (and the partner who can’t get it has internalised the medical industrial complex and the other partner/future-patient suffers, not withstanding life-affecting consequences on a 3rd potential person, which I won’t get into here) as the only option about 49.5% (actually over 50% in most countries – one could include most of the 1% intersex estimate because they are assigned female at birth and moulded like the generic female against or regardless of their will) of the population is allowed to consider in spite of the high risks involved. People may not wish to have mainstreamporn-prescribed sex but they assume they have to and if everyone I know from high school has said to me that PIV for instance is a thing they don’t enjoy but (they like the rest and) their partner does so they oblige, I’m likely to be convinced femonade is right about intercourse.

Part 2: Medical-industrial fetishization and porn culture.

The gynaecology industry seems designed around PIV and its unfortunate consequences and no one enjoys certain exams. It took me a decade to realise that so-called mandatory exams are not necessary if someone has not had PIV. Friends who don’t have PIV are still having “routine” pap-smears and I doubt it makes a difference to share my point of view (informed by my luck of finding a good gynaecologist after many bad ones asked me to make an appointment for my first pap – because sadly there’s not enough information, even to the female medical world in a big Western city apparently, that HPV is an STD).

Aside from the assumptions made when a female person walks into a gynaecological, let’s consider the lack of information, informed consent and what could be deemed ‘medical rape’. Having a gynaecological chronic illness since 10 years and having been treated both allopathically and otherwise (with considerable success), I’d say that allopathic (conventional western medicine) treatment has failed yet doctors tried to push the pill ad nauseum. Treatment consisted of getting on the pill (for hormone regulation), changing to one that seems to work better (have less side effects), tricycling (increasingly painful process where one attempts to skip menstruating for 2 months thanks to the pill thereby increasing risks of other stuff that “require pelvic and other exams”) and when all failed, the gynaecologist suggested I got pregnant (assumably she was hinting at farming my uterus because I didn’t intend to have sex, wasn’t in a relationship, nor wished to have a kid). Perhaps that is a less horrendous suggestion to most, considering other gynes routinely do pelvic exams and so on on women who are aggressively prescribed the pill or other short-term band-aid solutions that make them need a laparoscopy at least 4 to 8 times more often than those who don’t have recourse to the same methods (could be 40 to 80 times, no reference but myself here) If sufferers wish to go the allopathic route (the other requires considerable desperation or a suicidal temperament initially) I would suggest endocrinology, based on conversations with women with health-threatening hormonal issues. You can read about diet change and other methods here and here is an endometriosis forum link.

Part 3: Sex-positivity and rape.

From the perspective of some sexual orientations or in the case of the previously sexually-abused, there is a big blurry misanalysed area we mistakenly call consent. In an over-sexualised culture where sex-positivity is glamourised and where being different, or “damaged”, is put down, hidden, seen as a position from which one needs to transition or grow, one gets forced to have sex and PIV to either prove one’s ‘normality’, to prove one’s feelings towards someone or to have a child (societal pressure? how many women actually think about whether they really want to make and throw a child into this world where orphans abound? I’m suggesting adoption as an alternative here).

If one is unaware of one’s sexual orientation or hasn’t been in a position to discuss it or discuss what consent means for oneself, there cannot be said to be consent. This is similar to the situation of pelvic examinations in a medical setting that dis-empowered the patient and upholds ignorance around the process, cross-institutionally and otherwise. In the case of those who have been abused sexually in the past, I guess this may help to think about it and I’d advocate for sex-neutral spaces. This is less gender-discriminatory or sex-discriminatory and also less ageist and divisive in general. By the same principle, sex which happens in consensual settings has better be left to spaces where consent is not assumed from the general public.

Homotopia and queer realism

Update: This may help with perspective.

On a more serious note… (I’m grateful for others who have covered the topic amazingly well, because I’m short of an arm and a wrist currently): “Queer issues vary, but I think many of us agree that asking the state to recognize our pair-bonds and allowing us to be out while fighting unjust, colonizing wars are not everyone’s first priority. I commit to a political stance against marriage, monogamy, and “I do”-ing my way into a spot in the shrinking middle class.”

“Being queer, at its core, is a question of commitment. My body, in the food it consumes and the drag makeup it wears is marked by gender, sexuality, and my commitment to respecting the subjectivity of humans and non-humans on this planet. Being queer isn’t easy because it takes those extra steps; you can be not-straight, or non gender-conforming, but can you just effortlessly position yourself in a political and phenomenological struggle against society and the state? Can one be simply “gay”, and blend in with the larger society that oppresses the ones who choose not to conform without losing themselves in the shuffle? My answer is no, and it’s why I call myself queer. Being queer is a serious endeavor, and one that comes with specific obligations.” Read the whole entry over at becausewemust.org here Here’s some other resources.