Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sex Negativity and Hate

     It always upsets me when I am reminded of how sex negative our society can be, especially when I hear it from people I trust and care very deeply for. My fiance obviously knows of my obsession with learning about sex and all things sexy which obviously extends into an interest in human nature and relationships, and to an extent his family does too. He may not understand it and he may even (unintentionally) shame or mock me for my admittedly different obsession but he tries his best to support me in what I do and care about. He even bought me the book Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha (a fantastic book which I'm sure you'll be hearing more about as soon as I finish it) and wrapped it neatly under the tree next to my Mickey Mouse cookie jar and the complete series of Battlestar Galactica on blu-ray (it's true he really does love me!).
     I'm currently about halfway into the book and I'm so excited and fascinated by the things I'm learning that I feel compelled to share this information with everyone I talk to. The book studies human relationships from roughly three different angles, the relationships of our ancestors, the relationships of tribes in less developed areas, and the relationships of our closest primate relatives (the chimps and bonobos) and uses this evidence to question if the standard narrative of relationships and human nature is based in historical, biological, and anthropological fact or if it is a societal creation. Really interesting stuff, although it is a bit of a tough read with a LOT of facts I'd recommend it to anyone, anyway, I got a bit sidetracked.
     This afternoon I was reading a particularly interesting chapter about societies (mostly located in the Amazon) that believe that a pregnancy is the result of multiple sex acts. Any woman who is sexually active is "a little pregnant" as the fetus is simply an accumulation of semen. Based on this principal these women will have sex with multiple partners in the tribe, hoping to imbue the child with the positive qualities of each. Once the child is born it will be nursed by each of the women in the tribe. There is no fight for paternity because the child refers to every male in the tribe as "father" and each female as "mother" while each adult will treat every child as their own.
     The geek that I am was fascinated by this culture so I shared it with both my fiance and his father who happened to be in the room. I always thought of him as fairly open minded although sometimes a bit ignorant but I was shocked by the shameful and hateful language I heard from him after I shared the information I had just read. He began by asking what "idiots- I mean 'cultures'" believed this and when I responded by telling him that it was a common belief in some areas of South America he went on a tirade about it being those "illegal immigrants with too many kids that they don't take care of." I choose not to mention that I said SOUTH America not CENTRAL America, but as I tried to further explain the culture, how the children were growing up much more socially developed and they had less incidence of war he continued with his hateful speech. He talked about them all being "whores" and "of course they have no war they spend all day fucking each other." He even went so far as to say that this was why they were "all diseased and dying of AIDS" because they had "kids sucking on everyone's dirty tits."
     Honestly I was outraged, I'm not blind, I know that his family does harbor some hate, and I've heard it from my fiance himself but I've made it quite clear that I don't appreciate that attitude around me, but this was outrageous! I can chalk some of it up to ignorance but there's only so much, and I won't lie, I was hurt. I didn't say as much as I wish I did, but I must admit, I don't know very much about the topic so I couldn't argue much and I'm a relatively passive person so it's not like me to argue, especially with someone I like and honestly view almost as a father. While it came as a bit of  shock and it was obviously upsetting I should have seen it coming, there's a lot he doesn't understand and comes off sounding a bit hateful towards (ie: people who are transgendered "I understand wanting to be a woman but what woman would ever want to be a guy?!?!?!") but I guess this just hit a little closer to home than all the others. It just reminds me that no matter how far we've come in the world of sexuality there's so much further that we have to go, there's still so much ignorance out there and ignorance just breeds hate; but for now I might keep my plans to get my master's in sex education a bit closer to the chest when around my fiance's family.

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