Museum of Sex

I’m finding that my sexual attitudes are changing. I’m growing older, and I’m changing, too, so naturally my attitudes towards, well, everything likewise change.

Sex and love always have been (and probably always will be) prime motivating factors in my life. I think that this is natural, and, in fact, that’s what drives the human species to be dominant on this planet. However, as a young woman, the fact that sex and love (and not just love) are central to my life has been pathologized. I am sick because I crave sex and love in a society that puts work and family first.

Modern feminism has opened up the option for women to enter the workforce. This is something that has benefited me personally as I have the liberty with which to support myself, and my sexual and romantic decisions are not motivated by a need to survive, or the need to have a man financially support me so I can eat and have somewhere to live and wear nice clothes. Unfortunately, the flip side of that philosophy is that an emphasis on the importance of sex and/or love in a young woman’s life is in some ways frowned upon. We, as women, have decided that we are going to professionally and financially dominate this world. Getting distracted by something like sex is weakness.

I resent that. I’m coming out of the phase in my life where I would use men as sex objects for my own satisfaction. That was fun while it lasted, but it was also dangerous, and it was also not very emotionally fulfilling. But I have grown emotionally, too, and I used men as sex objects because I wasn’t sure how to handle my own emotions by myself, let alone with someone else in the picture.

The reason that I bring all this up – and the reason this post is titled ‘The Museum of Sex’ – is because I went to the Museum of Sex in Manhattan yesterday. It was very interesting. I got to see videos of animals masturbating which made me feel weird. But more importantly I saw their exhibit called ‘Hard Core’ which looked at pornography throughout the ages in America and Europe from the 16th century onwards.

What struck me in this exhibit was the statement under an illustration that said the artist used writing about sex as “an act of subversion.” Talking about sex was a way to talk about all the things that were taboo in society. Throughout the exhibit, there was this common theme that sex workers were the only people who both knew the true nature of man and were also willing to talk about it.

As a female writer who is trying to find the true nature of man, let me tell you: this is no longer an act of subversion. This is no longer intended to be the document of some girl doing bad things. This is an act of assimilation. This is an act of no longer wanting to be pushed to the margins because of what I say or do. I know that people think I am pigeon holing myself to writing about one topic because of this blog. I can write about anything I want – and I have, and I have been paid and I have been published for it.

Although – no. I know I can say that this isn’t an act of subversion, and I can feel brave while saying that. But we all know that no matter how much I want what I say to set a new cultural norm for our society, it’s not. In fact, if anything, the things I believe and say and do are being even further marginalized by society because of the current regime in power.

And it’s not that I don’t want to be subversive. I have been subversive this whole time. It’s that I’m scared to be subversive, and I’m scared of what that will do to me and my friends. I’m fucking afraid. None of us want to have targets on our backs. But we do. Which is why we are learning to run in the night and duck from the fire.

I guess what I want is for this to not feel like an act of subversion. I don’t want to feel like I’m being pathologized. I don’t want other people to tell me I’m distracted. I don’t want to feel like a feckless rebel pinned to the wall of a museum, ogled by others like a freak among freaks. I want to soar. But I am not soaring.