MORE sex, then…

Interesting. My last post on this topic – trans sexuality – which was mostly the dipping of a toe into water, evoked a bit more controversy than i expected.

In part, i think, because the language was not entirely familiar: one peep appeared to think that “sexual narrative” was journo-speak for smutty story. But also because of some of the reasons i alluded at and more.

So i’m going to take a second bite of the cherry here (ooer, missus!) and try and put my thoughts in order.

1. Discussing sex and sexuality is “dangerous”. This is an observation from many spaces, many debates – including academic network, Onscenity – where discussing any amount of topics in the media/popular culture (violence and the media, censorship and, etc.) is perfectly acceptable, but discussing “sex and…” instantly arouses cries of “agenda”.

Though oddly that accusation seems mostly pointed at those writing from a sex-positive pov.

2. Models of sex and sexuality have historically been from a normative perspective, often written up from by white, middle-class males to the exclusion of all others. The history of female sexuality – and i’m indebted to Gloria Brame for some source material here – was mostly written by the patriarchy, with men setting down what is normal, what not for women. Men even pathologising what THEY see as non-normative behaviour.

3. “What women want” is frequently very different from what men think they do or should: i was mildly amused recently by the reaction of a cis female friend to imagery i discussed that was picked by lesbian friends. As in: “Oh. I hadn’t expected that…”: because her view of what appealed to lesbian women was fundamentally shaped by a male sexualised view of same.

4. Discussion of sex and sexuality throws up awkward issues. For women, f’rinstance, the rape fantasy thing: its there. The difficulty is in analysing and deconstructing it in ways that don’t play to the oppressive male: “you see, i told you women like that sort of thing”.

Clues, i guess, lie in the fact that it is a fantasy, which is NOT the same as desiring anything remotely close to the reality: its personal and its private. Also, as per Meg Barker: transgressive is OK, co-ercive is bad; and its all about understanding the difference between the two.

Informed consent under conditions of free choice.

5. A common reaction to difficulties in the sexual narrative is a refusal to talk about it, because its seen (as above) as giving hostages to fortune. Perhaps rape fantasy IS no more than a patriarchal imposition: but that needs to be argued, not simply asserted.

6. These same memes run through trans debate on sex in much the same way and measure:

– there is much allergy to discussing it (even though others, espesh the media and transphobes are more than happy to imply sexual motives to anything trans);

– historic discourse on trans sexuality (repressed homosexuality, autogynephilia and the like) has been imposed by the same white male patriarchy as decided it knew all about women;

– trans sexuality contains problematic stuff (particularly if one acknowledges that the transgender umbrella contains some whose interest in trans IS to some degree motivated by kink);

– the latter creates and contributes to a divide within the community: all trans folk tend to be tarred with the same brush; which possibly leads to a rejection of sexuality, even of discussing sexual narratives for fear that those outside the community will immediately jump to the wrong conclusions.

I think that’s about it, beyond suggesting that my response to the above, as to all other big debates of this kind, is that “knowledge shall set you free”. Or in this instance, talking about it.

Whereas shuffling awkward issues under the carpet is more likely to perpetuate difficulties.

jane xx


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    sarahlizzy said,

    “historic discourse on trans sexuality (repressed homosexuality, autogynephilia and the like) has been imposed by the same white male patriarchy as decided it knew all about women”

    Yes, exactly this. This is where Bailey et al make their biggest error IMO. They assume that the sexualities of trans women (they don’t much care about trans men) are “male sexualities” and work from there. The whole house of cards is built in on shoddy and just plain wrong foundations.

  2. 3

    Kris said,

    “No further comment necessary”. Meaning what? Lack of evidence – maybe because he was innocent of the crime? His co-defendant told a lot of lies in order to get a lesser sentence. Let’s now hope that the co-defendants sentence will be increased. Only then will justice have been served IMO.

    • 4

      My reading was that they prosecuted the right guy, but there was some rather severe witness intimidation.
      In one way a win for the prosecution, they arrested many of the defendant’s cheer squad at the trial on outstanding arrest warrants for murder etc,

      Regardless of the court outcome, the point is that post-op trans women who are sexually active are often murder victims. Their killers, if caught (and that’s only 30% of the time), walk free as often as not, from a variety of causes. Less likely in the UK, more in the US.

      One can’t have a discussion about sexuality in the Trans context without mentioning this as a factor in suppressing normal sexual activity.

      Frankly, having sex is deadly dangerous for us. That does tend to cramp one’s style a tadge. It’s not something most women face as anything other than a very remote possibility.

  3. 5

    Kris said,

    The problem with Trans”sex”ualism is not the sexual bit – that refers to ones physical sex. The problem is in a society that is preoccupied with sexuality. It doesn’t help that the silly PC brigade have decided that ‘gender’ is the new sex. My sex is female, my gender is no-ones business. My sexuality is also no-ones business. And I’m really not interested in other peoples sexuality.

    You can’t turn on the TV or walk down the high street these days without being bombarded with sexual themes. And of course all the porn freely available on the Internet. Society has a sick fascination with sexuality. Frankly, it’s disgusting. IMO.

  4. 6

    just another tranny said,

    “historic discourse on trans sexuality (repressed homosexuality, autogynephilia and the like) has been imposed by the same white male patriarchy as decided it knew all about women”

    And herein lies the root of the problem. We have men applying their particular POV to explain or justify whatever their particular pet theory happens to be. It has nothng to do with reality.

    An example of this overgeneralization based on personal POV or anedotal information can be seen in the following example, where the author expresses a personal opinion as if it were fact.

    “Frankly, having sex is deadly dangerous for us.” The question here of course is: Who is “us”? Zoe refers to “trans” women getting murdered.

    Are these ‘trans*” victims, ‘non-op’ prostitutes posing as women? Might that not be a somewhat high-risk endeavor? Might it not be useful to consider that the vast majority of post-op women engage heteronormal sex with their male partners often, without running any particularly high risk of being murdered?

    Again I see this residual patrimony telling us women how, when and even IF to have sex. How condescending of you.

    • 7

      “Are these ‘trans*” victims, ‘non-op’ prostitutes posing as women? Might that not be a somewhat high-risk endeavor? ”

      This particular victim had been post-op for nearly a decade.
      I’ve not seen any evidence that operative status makes one scintilla of difference. Psychopathic hatred makes no such fine distinctions. Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex – it doesn’t matter to them.

      Normal, Sane people would see the difference. But they’re not the problem, it’s the low-grade sociopaths who are.

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