Monday, March 7, 2011

"One thing you can say for masturbation..." certainly don't have to look your best." (Mart Crowley, The Boys in the Band)

[Something I wrote this week for the Queer Sexual Ethics course I'm taking this year at Pacific School of Religion. Reflecting a little Michael Warner, a little Foucault, a little Judith Butler....]

Unless we are content to be sexual absolutely alone without relationship or even the random dirty picture, our erotic selves cannot function without dependency or impact on others. Beyond the individuals whom we invite into bed or backroom, our sexual choices create cultural currents of power, privilege, and precedent.

The awareness I've gained from these few weeks of study is of the levels of responsibility we have towards one another as we Queer folk claim our space and our rights in the world. For most of us, the circles of impact are much wider than we think. Even when we have flagrantly public sex (woo hoo!), we don't really imagine universal visibility. Somehow we suppose there's a limit to who sees us and who is affected by our actions.

But by tracing a caress onto the skin of another person we indent the earth enough to guide heavier currents that might inscribe a channel and divert (subvert, pervert) the ways of the world. Once we move past solitary self-pleasure (and become concerned with how we look) there is no such thing as casual sex. Everything matters. (Thank God we don't teach this reality to children, or we'd really scare them into a life of abstinence, so don't tell the pope.)

The universe is expanding, and we are helping it along. We are doing what we need to do for ourselves (and that is good!), but have we the slightest clue what we're doing to each other? By Queering the known topography, are we heading into further chaos, or into a newer, more functional structure of relationships? Will more people be recognizable, or will more of us become less known to each other? If we aren't demanding "normal" of each other, exactly what do we require?

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