Let’s Have “The Talk”
Did you have “the talk”? You know the one I’m talking about. The conversation with a parent, guardian, sibling, cousin, or some other random (hopefully not stranger) person related to you about that awkward and uncomfortable topic. I’m talking about SEX! Uh oh, the cat’s out of the bag. I’ve gone and named it. I said the “S word”. The next thing you know, I’ll be busting out the “F word”. I can probably guess what you are thinking, but I mean feminism. Anyway, the fact that you remember that conversation, or remember the general lack of an appropriate conversation is probably significant. In short, sex(uality) matters.
From the moment I picked up D’Emilio & Freedman’s Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, I was hooked. My own “talk” or lack there of, is fodder for another post. First, some introductions are in order. Well, I guess that could be part of the introduction, but I don’t want to give away the whole story when we’ve just only met. Let’s get to know each other first, eh? This blog is my attempt at broaching the diverse, intimate, often controversial, and seldom discussed topic of sex(uality). My word choice and formatting is quite intentional, and hopefully will continue to provoke such head-scratching moments as you are now experiencing- “what does he mean by ‘sex(uality)’? Why doesn’t he just say ‘sex’?
The answer, like many things, is complicated. As a researcher and generally well-meaning participant in our society, I view sexuality as a socially constructed notion falling somewhere in the space where history, identity, biology, politics, psychology, and theory intersect. The result is a pretty darn messy Venn diagram, but you get the idea. Over the lifespan of this blog, I will do my best to sit down with each of these intersecting ideas and have a sometimes serious, intelligent conversation. My goal is to explore the many ways that our ideas about sex and sexuality impact us on a micro, meso, and macro level. There is no sex(uality)-related topic that is out-of-bounds (until I stumble into it, anyway), and you will hopefully find yourself nodding in agreement at times, as well as questioning my ideas, and jumping at the opportunity to proffer a new or alternative idea. I welcome those comments, and look forward to the opportunity to engage you in dialogue on these topics, while also sharing resources, new research, current events, and doing my best give voice to marginalized groups in this discussion.
In many ways, most people in our society have been silenced around issues of sex(uality). It is a form of oppression that has many faces, and is often misunderstood. With that being said, our discussion and discourse around issues of sex and sex(uality) has historically been very White, middle-class, European, like many other aspects of society. The result has and continues to be a gap in the understanding of and education for historically marginalized populations, which is saying something considering the generally poor (but optimistically improving) state of sex(uality) education in this country. I approach these discussions from a feminist multicultural perspective, for reasons which will become clear as time goes on. I am guided by and motivated by my background, my identity, and my educational pursuits.
So, if you’ll indulge me, I invite you on a journey. This journey will chronicle my research endeavors, my ever-changing understanding of my identity, and hopefully some unique and interesting discussions on the topic of sex(uality). Together, let’s explore just why sex(uality) matters. Let’s have “the talk”.