relationships: (abstract)
2009-11-14 11:45 pm

A Sociological Perspective

I truly do not think homosexuality, or heterosexuality, is natural.

I believe the behaviors are natural, the identity is not. The identity is socially constructed.

Society has made this odd determination that we define people by sexual preference.

And really, aren't there a million traits we insist on having or not having in our partners? Things aside from presence or lack of external genitalia and tits? Yet society does not define us as "blondsexuals" or "frecklesexuals" or "leggysexuals"...we have some loose colloquial terms to define us as such ("ass man" or "chubby chaser" or "rice chaser"), but nothing that is steadfastly slammed into our identity as our genital preference.

I find it so peculiar. Of all the arbitrary sexual preferences to include in our identity, why penises? Why vaginas? Why breasts?

And really, in a society in which sex is generally pretty taboo, why is anything about sexual preference included in our primary identity structure? I mean, we label ourselves in fairly widely known terms like "masochist" or "sadist" but these are generally not considered part of our primary public identity (unless any individual one of us makes the choice to express it as a primary facet of who we are).

I guess the truth is, I think sexual orientation is so arbitrarily important, and it really bothers me to see what I view as a massive inconsistency in social identities.
relationships: (sexual)
2009-09-26 11:55 pm
Entry tags:

Homosexuals exist in a very isolated number of cultures--and it's largely a recent trend.

Before you leap up and scream about how I'm lying to you and tell me all these ancient cultures in which people engaged in homosexuality...read EXACTLY what I'm saying.

The identity of homosexuals is a relatively limited concept.

Homosexuality itself exists in plenty of cultures--and animal kingdoms. But the idea of pigeon-holing sexuality is not so universal. Homosexuality used to be considered a behavior--and in many cultures, it still is. Instead of being part of who the person is, it's a behaviour sie engages in.

In many cultures, people aren't labeled for their behavior. It's intrinsic in the language even. In many cultures, there is no literal translation for 'doctor' or 'homosexual'...instead, they describe the person. "He practices medicine," or "She sleeps with women." In fact, this is a point we discussed in my justice department ethics class...in this society, we treat the offender as the crime, and punish hir instead of punishing the behavior. But, that's a tangent.

It wasn't until around the 19th century that it became common to label the people engaging in same-sex sex as homosexuals. Prior to that, homosexual behavior was a sin, and perceived as wrong, but it was a sin, it was not the person. An adulterer, for instance, may be labeled and stigmatized, but it's not nearly as interlaced with the personal identity as homosexuality has become.

Hell, the word homosexual didn't even exist until Kerbeny coined the term sometime in the mid 1800s (and yeah, I know, concepts can exist before they're named--not presenting this as ultimate proof).

We are a society that likes to label. We like things in nice neat little boxes. It's comfortable to us. So we as a society create and impose labels, because to name something is to know it. Not all societies, now or historically, have such an innate need to pigeon hole its people--to many of them, behavior is how a person acts, not what a person is.
relationships: (romantic)
2009-09-13 11:38 pm

On jealousy and fulfillment

When a good friend finds hirself leaning on hir other friends and getting the support sie needs, do you find yourself jealous that you weren't the one to fulfill hir needs?

Why, then, would you find yourself jealous when your partner gets hir needs fulfilled elsewhere?

What is it about romantic relationships that implies absolute priority?

If I'm out of town and my lover find hirself wanting some action, feeling very dissatisfied with masturbation, should I be happy about that, about hir loyalty to me? Or should I be glad if sie finds fulfillment with another person?

And this is why the concept of a strong monogamous relationship bewilders me.

I am a strong and independent woman. I demand a strong and independent partner. That means neither I nor my partner should flex to meet the other's desires...if my partner wants a girlfriend to watch football with, that's too damn bad, I hate watching football. If I'm a night owl, I shouldn't try to change that to suit my partner's morning schedule. If he hates the idea of rough sex...well, I won't get that fulfilled with him.

This desire to not have a malleable partner leaves me sort of stuck if I find any needs not being met...if my partner accommodates the needs against hir desires, then I feel like I'm in danger of hir becoming codependent, which I would be irresponsible to allow.

So, how's my partner to feel, if I have unmet needs sie won't meet? Should sie be thrilled that I'm loyal to hir even though it means giving up some strong desires of mine?

To me, it makes more sense that sie would be happy to fulfill the desires sie can, but would also be happy if I went to another person (or people) to meet other needs. After all, I'm making myself happier; why shouldn't my partner be glad?

I do not believe jealousy is important to a relationship--quite the opposite, it hinders both partners' ability to become happier.

If an action taken by one partner would cause the other partner distress, the issue should be addressed...say the third person had been romantically entangled with one partner, and the other partner would become jealous upon renewed intimacy, then that could be a legitimate concern, and must be completely cleared up before any action can be taken.

If there is an issue of safety, that must also be addressed--say the third person has an STD, this must be discussed and precautions agreed upon, possibly even including sexual abstinence with the third person.

But I believe a truly secure, loving relationship would allow for nonmonogamous activity, to allow for greater fulfillment of each partner. Jealousy that a partner's needs are being fulfilled outside of the primary relationship is a very backwards concept to me--I'm usually unhappy if my partner's needs aren't being met.
relationships: (friendly)
2009-09-06 12:23 am

Soul Mates

I do not believe I have a soul mate--one person I'm somehow destined to connect to and spend my life with.

In addition to seeming far-fetched, the notion is downright depressing. If my soul mate gets in an accident and dies, or is pushed to marry the 'wrong' person, I'm left in the cold. Well, that just sounds fantastic, doesn't it!

But I believe that all humans are like colors...that is to say, some colors will strongly resonate together to make a beautiful complementary connection--others will clash, even to the point of straining the eye. Likewise, I believe humans will have people with whom they feel a very strong bond. To me, that is what the word soul mate means. And it's certainly not restricted to romance.

I know I have many soul mates...and I have met and connected to at least a few. For example, B, whom I mentioned in my previous post. He and I have such a strong resonance together. We intuitively know one another's feelings, we support each other, we are better for our interactions. B is the only person who lives near me whom I feel so completely comfortable with. I have loved B for a long time, and I will continue to love him. That isn't to say I want him to be my boyfriend; I'm sure we'd make a fairly awful couple, in the traditional sense. But he has forever changed my life, and I will never be able to forget him and the influences he has had on me. Likewise, I know he feels similarly about me. We have bonded in many ways. For years, we have been friends, and for much of that time we were in similar relationships and we were able to grow in our relationships together as we experienced the same milestones. When I found my life change during a break up, I didn't grow away from the friend I had made; instead, he supported me, helped give me perspective, allowed himself to be available for me when found myself in need of emotional intimacy. And when we both found ourselves desiring physical intimacy, we were able to bond through sex--his girlfriend and I also bonded through the experience, I should add, and it was with her consent and encouragement. Even now, I still find myself drawn to this lover. When my boyfriend and I had an argument, I found myself heading to B's apartment. Even though I did my best to compose myself before I went in, he instantly knew something was wrong. It only took a light prod before I cried into his shoulder and told him what was going on. He knew precisely how to make me feel better, and within only a few minutes, I was smiling again--we spent the rest of the evening with his roommates, who never gave a sign that they had an inkling that I'd been upset when I came over.

Yet I find myself not attaching the term soul mate to the people to whom I have been a girlfriend. The term soul mate is, to me, far more permanent than the fleeting experience I have found romance to be. I have never loved falsely--each of my boyfriends have been given my heart (and I have had it broken more than once, I have mended it more than once). I have loved fully each of the men who has not been a soul mate, though not one of them has been a person who resonates so thoroughly with me that I know we will share an unshakable lifelong bond.
relationships: (Default)
2009-08-29 01:57 pm

Labels--more confining than helpful?

It's amazing how fast we are to label things that...really don't matter. Gender, sexual preference, varieties of relationships, race...why do any of these things mean anything?

I recently read a fascinating book by Wendy-O Matik. The book was called Redefining Our Relationships. It dealt with the emotional aspects of non-monogamous relationships, including even discussions about friendships.

Wendy-O used one term in a steadfast light--her partner. All other terms were interchanged. Lover, friend, sex buddy, family, soul mate...and it got me wondering. I've often pondered the culturally-imposed black-and-white perspective on relationships of the romantic variety, and to a certain extent also thought about friends whom I'm intimate with...but this brought to mind a new concept. Even with the freeing up of concepts within boundaries, I was still imposing boundaries on my relationships--romantic or not. And truthfully, why? They're all lovers, and some are soul mates. Like B, whom I have slept with, and whom I continue to flirt with, who sometimes holds my hand or massages me. Or R, whom I live with, share physical and emotional intimacy with, and the majority of my time. Or S, whom I have slept with in the past, but who now is someone I see or speak to only on occasion, when we have something to say to the other, or we happen upon one another in a given setting.

Why distinguish these people's relationships with me by confining them to labels? Yes, S is my ex boyfriend; but he is not merely that. And R is my boyfriend, but he has also been a friend for nearly a decade before we began dating. These relationships simply don't exist within a definition...they are each unique. To define these relationships within society's narrow ideas would be to cheapen and limit the ability to interact with these lovers, to share the natural love every human has for another.