One thought on “Week 6: 7/12 Discussion Board

  1. Cat says:

    Erotic Integrity

    I’ve been thinking and feeling a lot about erotic integrity. It feels inextricably linked to integrity in all forms. The crushing blows of state-sanctioned, racist violence in the last week wreaked havoc on my entire being, despite the fact that the violence did not happen to my body directly. Anger floodgates opened. I will not try to close them.

    I just finished listening to last week’s class. I was sitting on the back deck in the warm sun. Three dragonflies have been humming overhead in the clear blue sky. I am sweaty. The final story about the cunnilingus nosebleed brought back warm memories of my last long term lover, an Italian American who LOVED going down on me. He loved the way I smelled. He loved my hair — down there. He was so turned on by all of me. This should not be the exception to the rule. The last lover I had made me feel ashamed of my body and its profoundly sensitive ways. How to understand this shame (and the reality of life that lives in beauty beneath the shame)? And how to find the link between the intoxicating anger I’ve been feeling all week and the intoxicating pleasure of dragonflies and orgasm (or orgasmic memory, in this case)?

    Erotic integrity validates my existence. It validates the sensations in my gut, chest, throat, clit, and uterus. The pulsations of knowing transmitted through celestial waves. How could these entities operate separately? Through mechanization (as opposed to sacralization). Capitalism. Through boldfaced lies: “Actually the vagina is not a highly sensitive area and is not constructed to achieve orgasm.” I did NOT know this. This changes everything! (I see you Naomi Klein, http://thischangeseverything.org/.) “Although there are many areas for sexual arousal, there is only one area for sexual climax; that area is the clitoris.”
    “Men have orgasms essentially by friction with the vagina, not the clitoral area, which is external and not able to cause friction the way penetration does. Women have thus been defined sexually in terms of what pleases men; our own biology has not been properly analyzed. Instead, we are fed the myth of the liberated woman and her vaginal orgasm – an orgasm which in fact does not exist.” !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    “Freud contended that the clitoral orgasm was adolescent, and that upon puberty, when women began having intercourse with men, women should transfer the center of orgasm to the vagina.” Cunning cunt-hating man.
    The clit surgery commentary (moving the clit closer to the vagina) is INSANE (whose psychoanalysis? who gets to define sanity?). Horrifying.

    “It seems clear to me that men in fact fear the clitoris as a threat to masculinity.” This is seeming clearer and clearer to me too. AND, listening to Michelle’s story about childbirth made me hyperaware of the POWER of the female body, and how men are likely threatened by childbirth as well. AND, one of the best ways to oppress is to condition the oppressed to be their own oppressor: cutting my own body and my whole person down to size to make my fullness palatable to men does NOT feel erotically integral (as in integrity). I did learn to feel disgusted by many elements of my body – and, dare I say spirit? – prior to social conditioning: I aided my own oppression and I am angry about this.

    I am not okay with this author’s imperialist language around “backward nations” as though the U.S. sits on any sort of moral high ground. Not to diminish the magnitude of this piece, but it doesn’t feel good to stomach that sentiment.

    I AM, however, okay with this: “The recognition of clitoral orgasm as fact would threaten the heterosexual [heteropatriarchal] institution. For it would indicate that sexual pleasure was obtainable from either men or women, thus making heterosexuality not an absolute, but an option.” Imagine being taught this from conception – not even birth, but if your mama somatically KNEW this. Game changing. Liberating.

    Erotic integrity. I am so angry about white supremacy. I have a piece I wrote along these lines I may like to share if/when it seems right. And it’s interesting: in the last week I kept wanting to lay my body on the line, in protests, rallies, marches, but I chose to physically be in other places (at the radio station, dance studio, getting sleep, at a training on internalized racism and sexism, at a [different!] consciousness raising circle about sex, celebrating a dear friend and new mother’s birthday… in part because I had made the commitment to show up at all these places). I kept noticing myself getting angry, “How can I be doing ANYTHING other than laying my body on the line demanding systemic overhaul now? Especially as someone racialized as white. Why do I have to keep talking about my sex?” I can go on and on about the histories and nuances of where this is all coming from, but I am sharing this because it seems to point to the same kind of imagined separation I had that fueled the naming of this course: JUST PLEASURE. To learn to live with erotic integrity, for me (so as not to generalize), seems to be intimately necessary to BE THE CHANGE, as Gandhi said, that my anger is clearly demanding. Change that will render white supremacy, heteropatriarhcy, and extractive, Gaia-threatening capitalism senseless.

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