Panopticon (humanethic) wrote in postqueer,
Panopticon
humanethic
postqueer

Conform Or Else......

As I have matured in this society I have noticed an extremely ugly impulse among people. It is the desire to destroy other people's self worth and pleasure in order to protect or bolster one's own.

Consider the fact that social conservatives are more concerned and knowledgeable about anal sex than most gay people. They are in fact more obsessed with sex than the people who actually have it. They want to know who does what with who and when they do it, and they want all of that regulated by custom and law.

I believe this desire for control over others' sexual and romantic lives lies within a normative framework which connects a universalist notion of norms to self worth and pleasure. In other words, there's only one way to fuck and love and if people fuck and love differently than what's prescribed by that system they are threatening it. People within a universalist ethical system have two choices in dealing with these non-conformists: they can junk the system thereby giving up their self-esteem and pleasure and attempt to construct a new system, or they can attempt to punish the offenders into compliance with the system's rules.

You can imagine what most people choose.

Still this thinking has always perplexed me because I have never understood the actual causal connection. For example, does gay marriage in any way impact a heterosexual's relationship with their spouse? Does the act of anal sex under the auspices of marriage somehow pierce the space-time continuum and release a special kind of dark matter that alters heterosexual brain chemistry creating a desire for divorce?

Now while most people reading this livejournal would take that as a somewhat banal observation, I'd like to apply this to a different situation, one which is less clear cut to many people: non-monogamy. I hate monogamy, for a variety of reasons that I won't get into here. Suffice it to say it doesn't work for me and I am much happier being non-mono. However, that is not to say that everyone else has to hate monogamy as well. Most people choose to be monogamous and that's fine by me. Your choice to live with one person for the rest of your life in no way impacts my choice not to.

But more importantly my choice to be non-monogamous in no way affects a person's choice to be monogamous. Yet many, many monogamous people seem to think it does. For example, I was recently in a bar with some gay friends discussing romance and sex. At one point one of my friends lunged over the table and screamed into my face,"WHORE!". And another time, several years ago, a different friend informed me that they didn't think gay men deserved the legal right to marry if they refuse to live like the mom and dad from Leave It To Beaver.

Why is having sex with multiple partners a bad thing in principle?
Why is enjoying sex because it feels good a bad thing in principle?
Why is romantically loving many people at the same time a bad thing in principle?

Notice I said in principle. These things can be really bad things in practice but then so can monogamy. Institutional monogamy, for example, can and has resulted in profound physical and emotional abuse for the people within them, particularly women. How many stories and statistics have we read that show the horrors of battered women at the hands of the men they are married too? And yet women have a very difficult time leaving because monogamous marriage is so incredibly difficult to get out of.

This is not an indictment of monogamy. I am simply trying to point out that just because monogamy has fucked over a lot of people doesn't mean that it is by definition always a bad idea. In fact, I'd go so far to argue that for most people its the best option for them. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander and if monogamy doesn't get thrown out because it screwed some people over than neither should non-monogamous relationships.
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