I published an essay recently where I argued that sex should not have to be eliminated from our daily interactions since sex is such a large and valuable part of the human identity. I got some comments I did not expect. I expected people not to “get” it. I mean, I’m a wacky scientist. But I didn’t expect that, because I relayed my own experience and opinion on sexuality (and not anyone else’s), readers would accuse me of “denying the idea that people have diverse forms of sexuality”, “refusing to accept any identities other than straight” and “erasing the experiences of an awful lot of people.”
Since when does one have to be an expert in representing every sexual identity in existence to present a valid position about human sexuality? I am straight. I am a woman who likes men. I don’t like women. I have sex! And, I won’t apologize for any of it. I have friends who reside on all shades of the sexual spectrum. I love and respect them dearly. But just because I know and respect someone who is gay or lesbian or bi, doesn’t mean I can speak to their human sexual experience. To do so would be highly presumptuous and wildly fake.
I am of the opinion that anyone who purports to speak representatively of all sexual identities is swimming in their own arrogance.
If you roam in feminist circles, you’ll inevitably be involved in a discussion about the sexualization of women. I constantly consume commentary about the “consumption of Black women’s bodies” and patriarchal equation of women’s worth with their sexual prowess or body image. These arguments are a vital part of the gender discussion and achieving true parity between women and men. But methinks the totality of the arguments against representing women’s bodies as sexual bodies dodges the fact that we are all sexual beings.
The human body is tuned for species survival. To do that in a fashion wholly unassisted by modern technology (or an old-fashioned turkey baster), sex usually has to be involved. Therefore, it stands to reason that the human body is hard-wired for sex. And there is some of scientific evidence to support this statement. The sexual differences between men and women are exactly what makes our species so biologically successful.
Though many of life’s exploits can be detached completely from human sexuality, there is personal value in asserting ones sexual identity. Notwithstanding the potential for exploitation, sex workers use sex or sexual prowess to make their living. People with satisfying sex lives tend to also have healthier personal relationships, higher self esteem, and assertiveness as well.
The totality of personal identity and self worth should not solely be based on sexual identity. But sexuality is a vital part of human identity. It seems to me the efforts to reject the inherent sexuality of the human species for an asexual sociological model is fallacious at best.