What is “Natural sexuality” anyway?08/14/2009 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
Tags: communication, emotions, experts, female sexual dysfunction, Feminism, feminism friday, FSD, language, nature, pain, relationships, sex, sex education, sexual health, Sexuality
I’ve been struggling with an idea I’ve run into a couple of times. Usually I see it mentioned online, but sometimes I’ll hear about it in the media or during a face to face encounter with a close friend… The idea is that of “Natural sexuality.”
It sounds like something that should be intuitive. It’s two very simple words, put together. Something that comes from nature, and nature is good. Something about sex, and sex is good. I feel like should automatically know what natural sexuality is.
But I really don’t know.
I’ve seen natural sexuality mentioned a few times before. I’ve seen well-meaning messages of encouragement online that say we are all naturally sexual creatures. (What if you’re asexual?) A few months ago on another blog, there was an analysis about an e-zine that questions whether kink & BDSM activities are natural or whether they are a symptom internalized oppression & abuse. More recently a comment on Renegade Evolution’s blog addressed a tangent about natural sexuality. I’m struggling with the idea independently, although it turns out that Dr. Teifer, whom for the most part I don’t like and don’t trust, may have beaten me to the question by writing a whole book about it.
And I still don’t get it.
Natural sexuality, what does that even mean?
Is it heterosexual intercourse for procreation? Is it something that forms in a vacuum, and is only tainted by outside influence? Does being naturally sexual mean being driven by instinct? Is it something you just know how to do? Is it eros, a latent drive to act as a sexual creature? If it is a drive, then what do you do when you feel it? What is the natural way of expressing sexual desire? I didn’t automatically know how to express my sexuality. I’m sure much of it has been shaped by the media and teen girl magazines.
Like, I really need someone to sit down and explain to me exactly what natural sexuality looks like. It sounds like it should be so easy, but for me, I struggle with the idea. Am I over complicating things? Am I, still, somehow, doin’ it wrong? Who is to say what I’m doing wrong?
Because so far very few things I have done sexually have come naturally.
I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m still exploring & testing my limits. I’m not sure exactly what I’m “Supposed” to be doing, since I’m getting mixed messages from different sources. Depending on who I’m listening to, certain activities like BDSM mentioned above are either acceptable as healthy sexual outlets to explore, or a sign of major psychological distress & dangerous interpersonal power imbalances and I need to stop what I’m doing and examine my desires and it goes on.
I’m whie, cis, heterosexual, and monogamous. If I was anything but, I’d also have to deal with additional questions, pressure & leers from a big chunk of my surrounding culture.
In my own heart & mind, I have an idea of what I want to do sexually & what direction I’m headed in. The path I’m on is still relatively unexplored, but I think I can carve it out. And maybe enjoy the sights & sensations along the way.
But is what I’m doing “Natural?” Expressing my sexuality sure didn’t come easily, that’s for sure. And what with the pelvic problems, I’ve got some physical limitations built in, preventing me from fully exploring & expressing my sexuality.
When I started doing what I *thought* I was supposed to be able to do by default – enjoy PIV sex – it didn’t work out so well. Like, wow, this is really awkward & painful. I think I may be having a serious problem here. Why does it look so simple on TV & sound so simple when other people talk about it?
I felt pain when inserting anything into my vagina – fingers, tampon, dildo, speculum, or my partner’s penis. It has been my understanding that those activities aren’t supposed to hurt.
The natural remedies alone didn’t make a satisfactory improvement in the pain levels, so I wound up turning to modern medicine for assistance. I even took the drastic step of vulvovaginal surgery to make sex (among other things) more comfortable. Well now there’s something you don’t see happen in nature. No, turning to big pharma, undergoing vulvar surgery – these are paths I’m more used to seeing condemned over and over again. Sometimes I even see the people who go down those paths be worthy of pestering and condemnation. (We’re not really, of course, but I rarely see authors of anti-medicine, anti-surgery writings to treat those who’ve tried such treatments as thoughtful, respectable persons.)
Even now, I use a lot of man-made, artificial tools – dilators, vibrators, condoms, lubricant. (I suppose we could make an argument that I can purchase Green sex toys, which would technically be closer to nature… yet still, someone has to put these things together.)
I have to think about what I want to do sexually. I have to learn about it. I have to read about it, be inspired, come up with ideas, then get instructions on how-to execute sex. I have to construct it out of my surroundings. I have to spend time and some money on it.
I mean, hell, I have to train my pelvic floor muscles to relax – left to their own devices, my pelvic floor muscles’ “Natural” state is one of tension.
In seeking out assistance, and cobbling together my own ways of expressing sexuality, am I moving too far away from what should come naturally? Am I corrupting myself by wanting – and taking – more? Is my growing interest in kink and sensuality unnatural and therefore bad, sine I cultivated that interest only after running into sexual pain? (Does that make me a poseur?) Have I lost part of my humanity & become some kind of cyborg by having my body physically altered under the knife?
If natural sexuality is something with surprisingly rigid rules and strict guidelines , then it is something I will inevitably fail at. There are certain things I can’t do, and other odd things I’d be really good at.
I don’t know where this leaves me with regards to sex being a natural part of life.