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Clarifications, Just Because

After my most recent post on the lifestyle politics surrounding the sex industry, and probably because of the back-links, I have noticed that my older posts on prostitution and the polyamory/monogamy binary have again become popular.  (In my "year in review" entry I joked about making this blog partly about SEX!, due to the popularity of these posts, and it seems that I was not entirely off-base.)  Moreover, I've been forwarded some of the comments made outside of this blog––and have read some dodgy "left" idiot blog posts––about my supposed position on these matters which has caused me to be simultaneously amused and annoyed.

Sometime ago, I complained about the inability of people to read and understand the arguments I was actually making.  I have become convinced that blog frequenters, redditors, and internet self-proclaimed "experts" are generally incapable of properly assessing arguments, especially nuanced arguments, defending a position that might defy their ideological commitments.  This is not surprising: before and outside of the internet this is paradigmatic of political debate––it's the reason why, to paraphrase Fanon, a well-reason argument solves nothing.  People who think their support for commonly held views is courageous really don't like to be told that their views aren't as unique as they imagine; ideological commitment is not solved by sophisticated arguments to the contrary.

In any case, because I have been made aware about the [predictable] complaints about my "sex" posts, and because I find that all of these complaints (some of which recently appeared in the comments string of the old poly/mono post) rely on a failure to read what I actually wrote, I'm going to briefly clarify things so that I don't have to keep writing the same bloody counter-comments.  Well, honestly, this probably won't matter if the internet world continues to crank out the same self-appointed experts and the same one-dimensional thinking that can't account for nuance… But might as well try, no?

First of all, I am not anti-sex.  (And, really, name-calling in an attempt to find my inner puritanism that doesn't exist is not an argument; it's simply red-herring repetition.)  I like sex, I'm not in a relationship that has a puritanical and conservative notion of sex, and I think that anyone who imagines sex in some sort of pure and platonic manner––or who pushes some Aquinas-Aristotelian notion of the-telos-of-sex-is-babies [i.e. the creepy Duggar Family]––is extremely fucked.  Simply because I question the commodification of sex, or the fact that it is popular in some circles to conflate who we fuck with politics in general, does not mean that I think the conservative monogamous family is the way to go.  I just don't think, as I argued in a post that a few idiots have misunderstood, that pushing polyamory as a political practice is by itself a revolutionary strategy.  This is because I'm a materialist and, as a materialist, I think that both polygamy and monogamy are equally fucked under capitalism in different ways.  (And as a historical materialist I know that polyamory-as-revolutionary-strategy was a historical dead-end.)  That is, as much as I think the monogamous nuclear family is problematic, I also don't think that fucking a whole bunch of different people is going to bring about the revolution.  That's all.  Rhetorical question: is the queering of sexual normativity, as important as it is, producing the end of oppression or can it be incorporated into mainstream avenues of oppression?  Sex movementism is still movementism, and a very limited form of movementism at that.

Secondly, and connected to the first point, I am not pro-monogamy.  Read what I actually wrote in that post––hell, even read the title––and maybe you'll understand that I'm opposed to both polyamory and monogamy as political strategies.  Hell, I already accept that the latter is a building block of actually existing capitalism; I just don't think that trying to inoculate ourselves with poly relationships as a dominant primary political strategy solves the problem.  Indeed, my argument was that it simply reinforces the taboo through the binary of fetish––hence the reason I ended that post with a very specific quotation from Foucault.  Is capitalism currently happy with monogamous relationships?  Hell yes!  But can capitalism easily adjust to polyamorous relationships?  Also, hell yes!  Being a marxist I believe in the mode of production, not the mode of sexing.  The former is scientific; the latter is idealist.

Finally, it is not anti-sex to be against: a) the commodification of sex; b) sex that still happens within the taboo/fetish binary; and, most importantly, c) coerced sex.  The fact that I think both point (a) and (b) may also promote point (c) means that I think rape is still a problem, is prevalent in this patriarchal society, and [shudder] may infect most normative expressions of sex.  Nor do I think (to connect to the above paragraph) that non-monogamous relationships will somehow obliterate, simply because they're against nuclear family stupidity, patriarchy.  Sexual coercion can easily continue within these spaces, and sexual coercion is a lever in the sex industry.  And if anyone wants to equivocate an opposition to sexual coercion, to rape, with being anti-sex then they should be reeducated with baseball bats immediately: I believe that any progressive view of the world must begin by associating pro-sex with anti-rape.  And anyone who thinks otherwise is, in my opinion, actually anti-sex because coerced sex is not pro-sex.  Really, my argument here is that sex beyond coercion––which ultimately means sex beyond patriarchy––should be our aspiration.


  1. Thank you for this post... I think the way that you clearly articulated some of these points is really important... especially about rape infecting most normative expressions of sex. It is really difficult to get some people to understand how one can be against how sex plays out within most relationships but not be anti-sex. This comes out most often for me in class when discussing pornography... I am not inherently anti-pornography, I am just not sure that it can be produced in a way that isn't oppressive within racist, heterosexist, captialist patriarchal social relations. Like you said, the mode of production.

    1. Thanks for the comment on my ranty post. Yeah, the whole being critical of how sex is translated under patriarchal capitalism and yet being misunderstood as "anti-sex" (a banal insult that should never be used considering that it is one of the favourite slurs of the "mens right movement") is always a problem. Also: it was fun hanging out with you tonight, and I liked your talk.


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