Saturday, 22 February 2014

Is asexuality about disgust? / Holding the USA accountable

The more I think about asexuality, the more it seems to be people who identify as asexual choose not to engage in sexual behaviour because they find something abhorrent in it. Maybe they find the practice of being sexual with the self or others disgusting on some level, and so make a conscious decision to avoid it. I don't think anyone (or hardly anyone) is born without the capacity to experience sexual attraction. What do you think?

Finding a balance in viewing the USA

I'm reading 'The Snowden Files' right now, and it's becoming clear to me that the individuals in charge of NSA reacted in a disproportionate and corrupt way in response to 9/11. The decision to collect extensive data on its own citizens and people from all around the world shows blatant disregard for the right to privacy, a right that we didn't even know was being abused until whistleblowers alerted us to the fact.

The question is, how do we place this abuse of authority within a balanced perspective on USA? The last thing I want to resort to is knee-jerk anti-Americanism, aware as I am that America has also contributed in many constructive ways to world/Western culture. I am currently considering whether to visit New York City and some other nearby locations in the next few years. My goal is to be better informed about the kind of cultural content I'm consuming everyday by exposing myself to Boston and Washington DC, and yet I also find boycotting the US a good idea - choosing to visit places like Buenos Aires or Ireland (which have their own spheres of influence) would be a different kind of education, one I can value no less.

I haven't visited North America since 2005, and I'm not sure what to make of this. Am I missing out by not having set foot on the streets of NYC? Or was eight months of living in the San Francisco Bay Area more than enough to experience American culture?

Knowing as we do that environmental activists are perceived as a threat akin to terrorism over there, and that NSA employees have repeatedly spied on ordinary people for personal reasons, I feel I need to be vigilant about the kind of subconscious (and, sometimes, conscious) messages I'm absorbing from the States. Would it be best to boost my levels of insight by making myself familiar with a new culture (such as that of, for example, Finland or Iceland), or is some more recent exploration of the USA in order?

One thing's for sure - nothing's black and white. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

CTO (Poem)

I've been required to obey
Not much room for defiance
Temporarily silenced
But surface I shall

If rhyme is my organising theme
How dare I do without?
If freedom is the lack of pills
Can I read my whereabouts?

If my opinion is entirely unsought after
Will I still refrain from sharing?
The most radical act right now
Is the act of caring

Feeling the vulnerability
Experiencing the pain
And going out there anyway
Knowing there's something to gain

To myself I seem feeble
To others I seem strong
Trudging along, I feel,
Is something of which I'm barely able

Out of practice at finding equilibrium
My quota for it too low
Seemingly stuck in a world of opprobrium
Oblivion is the thing I know

All those scary studies
Confirm my knowledge that it's not right
But I have no other insulation
Against my built-up fright

Friday, 7 February 2014

'Truly Devilish'?

Our collective 2014 approach to sexuality is a bit on the schizophrenic side. Most of our daily experiences (everything from office etiquette to our Facebook experiences) are wiped clean of any unwanted traces of sexuality, whilst an underworld filled with all sorts of pornography, from the loving to the degrading, flourishes both online and off.
I recently bought a vibrator from Australia's Groupon, a site which offers deep discounts on quality products. The piece was only about $30, about half the price you'd usually have to pay for this lifestyle product. Unfortunately I find that the brand, despite its best intentions, fosters a sense of negativity towards its female customers, and therefore doesn't aid in creating a sense of confidence or pride in one's sexuality.
Let's start with the name, Little Hussy. The word 'little' can imply ridiculous, contemptible or dismissable - I get the impression of someone who's not to be taken seriously through its use. As for hussy, my online dictionary defines it as 'an impudent or immoral girl or woman'. How is that supposed to make me feel good? I resent the implication that by getting in touch with my sexuality I am somehow 'disrespectful' towards patriarchy or 'evil' - that is exactly the kind of thinking that inhibits healthy, safe sexual practices rather than enables them. The brand aims to take a humorous approach to make sensual fulfillment a fun practice, but the VIP card they gave me features the byline 'Truly Devilish' - which I feel undermines that very intention.
In their About section, Little Hussy claims to offer a broad range of sensual toys that 'ease tension, provide relaxation, and boost confidence,' and that 'all products are based on the notion that sensual wellbeing is core to human health and happiness.' This is all very well, but it's not the message I get from their marketing. When I use the product I do my best to forget about the discourse around it, otherwise what should be a fun experience can turn into something a bit negative.