Pansexuality: Solution to confusion?

Wham bam. Coffee rush. Let’s do this shindig.

As I was walking down Yonge street last night (wandering the city late at night as has become my hobby…), I couldn’t help but notice the mannequin in the window of a sex store named “Cupid Boutique”. So we are on the same page, I shall describe it, as I have been taught writers are supposed to do…

T’was of a male form, whether or not it was meant to be a male is questionable, but by the standards of regulated ‘female’/’male’ body types, it was most definitely replicating the figure of a male- broad shoulders, lack of breasts, sharp jawline, some nice penis lines, and was sporting a package of the nether region sort. This man mannequin was clad in nipple tassels, a wig of luscious, long brown hair, and a metallic red thong which was holding it’s simulated man bits rather nicely…

transvestite epicness.

This is all fine and dandy in Toronto, especially on Yonge street, the neighbour to the gaybourhood. It’s almost a given that there should be a scantily dressed transvestite in the window of a sex shop. Perhaps no one has even questioned its presence.

However, as clothing stores advertise their child-sewn goods, one would assume that this sexy time display is of equal advertisement as to what the sex shop has to offer. So our transvestite mannequin, by this logic, is representing the products sold and the clientele it may attract.

Transvestitism is a sexual activity (and a completely different post, we’ll get there), so it is understandable that the sex store would be in support of it. But do you need to be a transvestite to shop at the sex shop? Do you need to have an interest in nipple tassels or metallic thongs? Must you be some crazy fetishist or a nymphomaniac? Must you buy a dildo upon entering? Must you be knowledgeable on the types of sexuality before entering?

No. Of course not. I mean, you definitely CAN be/do any of those things, but the beauty of sexuality is that it is defined in whatever manner you wish to define it. It is never as straightforward as being born with blue eyes or brown, or being born male or female (although, technology these days is advancing so quickly, I am sure both of these things are alterable). The brilliance of sexuality is that it is almost impossible to give it a universal definition.

“The more expert we become in talking about sexulaity, the greater the difficulties we seem to encounter in trying to understand it. Despite [attempts to ‘demystify’ sex and several decades of ‘liberalism’ and ‘permissiveness’ in the West], the erotic still arouses acute moral anxiety and confusion amongst many people […] This is not because sex is intrinsically ‘naughty'[…], but ‘because it is a focus for powerful feelings’.”

(Mind the parantheses – I mostly just summarized the wordy, academic jargon into more understandable sentences. There has been no alteration to syntax.)

Jeffrey Weeks, author of ‘Sexuality’ (how candid), points out that sexuality means different things to many different people: it is a focus of fierce ethical and political divisions between “traditional moralists and liberals, between the high priests of sexual restraint and the advocates of sexual liberation, between the defenders of male privilege and those such as feminists who challenged it, and between the forces of moral regulation and a host of radical sexual oppositions”.

We have each painted this image of what we believe to be the ‘true’ sex, that when it comes to understanding any other definition, we find ourselves stuck within the confines of the rules we have created.

“[Sex] is the basis for some of our most passionate feelings and commitments. Through it, we experience ourselves as real people; it gives us our identities, our sense of self, as men and women, as heterosexual and homosexual, normal or ‘abnormal’, ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’. Sex has become, as philosopher Michael Foucault famously put it, ‘the truth of our being’ (Foucault 1979). But what is this ‘truth’? And on what basis can we call something ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’? Who has the right to lay down the laws of sex?”

Me. That’s who. I am the God of Sex. Bow down to your ruler. *insert maniacal laughter*

I’m kidding… Mostly.

Another anonymous (read: invisible?) friend of mine asked me over dinner:

So, would you consider yourself bisexual?

Where did this question stem from, I hear you ask. Well. As irrelevant as my lesbionic tendencies are to you, dear reader, I occasionally find myself wanting to stick my head between a woman’s thighs. Women are fucking gorgeous. I don’t understand why anyone WOULDN’T be tempted by the fruit of the loom (what!?)…

Bisexuality is also another post, and I will most willingly unfold my terrifying and fearful journey through that label on another day. However, my point here is:

I do not consider myself to be bisexual.
Even though I occasionally sleep with women.

I know. It doesn’t make sense. “Bisexual”, in the nature of its meaning, refers to the sexual attraction of “two” (genders, sexes, whatever). It also deals with some form of half/half. This does not feel accurate when trying to define my own sexuality – I would never seek out a emotional commitment to a woman past a sexual encounter. There is no balance between how I feel towards men (or, how my body and brain reacts to men) and how I feel towards women. The ‘bi’ is thrown astray and we are left with more of a 4/5ths-to-1/5th-sexual.

Then, lo and behold, I stumbled upon the term “Pansexuality”. An ingenious term if I do say so myself. As the Oxford Dictionary defines it:

“not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity.”

Aaand cue celebrity-endorsed advertisement.

How liberating to fall into a label that is remarkably ‘label-less’. To appreciate a body just for being a body (and Oh, how I do love bodies), without needing to define oneself by the act. No need to ‘be’ straight or gay or bi, but just BE. I almost wish the dictionary HADN’T defined the term. That it remained open to ‘all or any’.

A fascinating article was brought to my attention by sex-happy friend of mine regarding a group of teenagers in high school who are all part of a ‘clique’ they refer to as ‘The Cuddle Puddle’. A mixture of hormone-ridden boys and girls who come together and experience forms of sexuality together. How liberating to not feel an intense pressure to label oneself in high school and have a support system of friends to take the ride with.

What I want to leave you with, before continuing on this journey with all you lovely facebook friends of mine, is that before you begin to study anything, the first thing you want to know about the thing are its basic attributes: how do you classify a tree frog from a pond frog? T’would be difficult to study the habits of the tree frog when one cannot distinguish it from any other frog.

Just as I pushed you to re-think the constructs of typical male/female monogamy, re-think the boundaries of what ‘sex’ is.

My dear ol’ mother may harp on me someday for this, but about a year ago she said to me: “You can’t have sex with someone you don’t love and not lose a part of yourself in the process”. The projection of her beliefs onto me took me through a guilt-filled era of loveless sex (something I neither hate nor love, but would never attach the necessity of guilt to).

So take a step back and look at the definition you have created. Perhaps you may be surprised? Also: to go back to a point that seems forgotten, do not fear going into the sex shop because you are not a transvestite…

2 thoughts on “Pansexuality: Solution to confusion?

  1. Yup. Yupyupyup.

    Interestingly, my mother said almost those exact same words to me. My response to her was that I gain a piece of somebody else at the same time. We are always losing and gaining pieces of ourselves and others, not just through sex.

  2. Pansexuality rocks. See there really is no such thing as male or female in the first place, especially when it comes to gender. There are penises and vaginas and the occasional mixing of the two, and all of them are on both men and women. I am attracted to both sexually, and I choose my partner on the basis of attractiveness, not if they have one genital over the other or how they identify themselves. If they’re hot, I’ll have sex with them regardless of other factors.

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