Thursday, January 28, 2010

Greta Christina: "I Don't Want to Want What I Want"

(Courtesy of Laura W.)

"I Don't Want to Want What I Want"
Greta Christina's Weblog

If you read the sex advice columns (and who doesn't?), you see this sort of thing a lot. "I'm gay, and I don't want to be." "I'm kinky, and I don't want to be." "I have a fetish, and I don't want to."

"I don't want to want what I want."

Now, despite what some may think about us sex-positive advocates, I'm not going to reflexively say, "Oh, just go for it." I don't necessarily think that everything we want is good, or good for us. (Snickers bars come to mind.) Some sexual desires can do us harm if we act on them: the desire for barebacking, say, or the fetish for being fed until you gain massive amounts of weight. And if what you want sexually is immoral -- sex with children, say, to use the most obvious example -- then that's a no-brainer. Being sex-positive doesn't mean being positive about all sex, in every situation.

But let's say that what you want sexually isn't immoral, by any useful definition of the word. Let's say that what you want is consensual, and honest, and doesn't hurt anybody in a way that they don't want to be hurt. And let's say that it's reasonably safe as well: no more likely than any other hobby to cause serious or lasting harm, to you or to anyone else.

Dark bed And let's say that you still don't want to want it. Let's say you're still distressed and unhappy with what you want in bed.

What then?

I don't pretend to have an answer to this. Not one that could be written in a short blog post, anyway. But I think part of the answer lies in doing a careful, thorough, honest inventory of your thoughts and feelings... and figuring out, not why you want the sexual thing you want, but why exactly you feel so bad about it.

I think there are three main reasons why people wish they didn't want the kind of sex they want. 1) They've internalized the social stricture against sex in general: they think sex is trivial and silly, and in general not worth wanting or pursuing. 2) The kind of sex they want is one that society frowns upon, and they've internalized the social stricture against it: they believe it's immoral and bad, even if it's consensual and honest and doesn't hurt anybody. Or 3) The kind of sex they want is one that society frowns upon... and pursuing it will be inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst.

To Read the rest of the Essay

No comments: