Monday, April 17, 2006

Sibling Rivalry

Last episode, we played with some of the similarities and differences between these two strategies of mindful sexuality: the ethical slut and the sensual prude. In this post I want to show some of the starker contrasts between the sister philosophies: their sibling rivalries of method.

Please, pardon any unintended snark. Nobody gets along perfectly with thier sibling. It's formative, dammit. Even only-children have to practice not getting along with themselves every now and again.

So, The Ethical Slut says:
“We have been taught by our culture that when our partner has sex with another, we have lost something. Not to sound dumb, but we are confused. What have we lost?”

and the Sensual Prude says:


Yeah, here is a place of parting between the philosophies. I think the Ethical Slut would say you have lost nothing, and that the things you feel you have lost are things that you should be providing for yourself. Fair enough. The Sensual Prude would say there is an essential vulnerability that is sacrificed, and a trust rooted in our biology that is nearly impossible to regain. Plus, ouch.

I appreciate all that the Ethical Slut has to say about overcoming jealousy. Having consensual non-monogamous relationships, as it describes, sounds like a very intense and direct method towards overcoming the Ego. Of course, so is the old monk trick of hitting yourself on the head with a board. They are both useful lessons in pain management. Between you and me, I’d choose the board.

The Ethical Slut says:

"_ A ring around the finger does not cause a nerve block to the genitals."

The Sensual Prude says:

"Granted, granted. Though hopefully a tingle in the genitals does not cause an aneurism to the forebrain."

Time for a clear distinction between the slut and prude: What to do when you get all tingly?

Ethical Sluts are happiest when pursuing all sexual attractions. Clearly the tingles mean they must now fight the jealousies and social conventions that prevent them from doing so!

Sensual Prudes are happiest when forming a lasting, meaningful sexual relationship. Clearly the tingles mean they must now fight the cultural pressures to be distractible and insecure in their boundaries!

>Sigh!< So much work, these tingles. Luckily, it seems whichever you practice, it gets easier every time.

And here we are, at the fork in the road. From here on out, the methods are no longer mutual.

There. After five long posts, the Sensual Prude is finally fully defined. Now we can turn our attention to the real matters: working out the nuances of fighting those distractions, methods of examining and affirming our chosen boundaries, and
most of all, of supporting each other in our goal of fabulous, satisfying, and oh so sensual monogamist relationships.



Anonymous Gobez said...

I like very much what you've said here today. I think that what's coming up for me right now is the fact that, when defining sluts and prudes (ethical, sensual, or otherwise), we find ourselves defining them in terms of a norm or status quo that is very hard to tease apart in this postmodern, technological, self-referencing & rapidly accelerating world. The old ways are being laid to waste! And what's taking their place? Retreads of safe, time-honored (though not necessarily helpful or sane) habitual patterns? Iconoclastic breaks from a perceived norm? Hopeful clinging to what once was? Utopian or apocalyptic visions? Man, it gets complicated pretty quick. And so my point is that the prude should maybe consider defining her/himself in terms of his/her own goals (Spiritual? Social? Purely personal - i.e. characterological? Etc., etc.), not independent of the social order, but as the living, breathing monad of that order that happens to be aware of itself in the moment at hand. Because I am a one-human core sample of my clan, I don't gotta describe myself purely in terms of it. I exist in terms of it! Instead, I'll just be the thing itself and grow into the New Form. It's assumed that you fit into the scheme of things. And so, we can talk about Sluts vs. Prudes as a means of defining the terms, but we gotta be careful, because I think that the fact that there's an eroding norm (eliciting from me, personally, both a "yikes!" and a "thank G_d!") is maybe a causal event for the conversation to even be taking place (i.e. the birth of the sensual prude) to begin with. Therefore, the definition/discussion, if limited solely to terms of normalcy and deviation, is gonna peter out into pure theory, instead of being grounded in guts and nerve endings and personal revelations about Self, Other, and the world. And that wdn't be bad, just...not sensual. Thanks for the forum. It's a delight!

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog. I've been looking for something like this for a long time. I just wish I had found it years ago, before I confused and wrecked myself from cultural pressures, even within (or perhaps especially because of?) the radical political community. There is so much about non-monogamy and perhaps that is healthy for some people, but for me, and maybe for others, a sexy, loving, pleasureable, commited partnership is the only healthy thing for body/mind/heart. it is not default, is is choice, it is reclaiming, it is beyond marriage and beyond sex-positivism. you write wonderfully and i am thrilled by this. truly a revolutionary act. publish a book. or suggest books. this needs to be respected within the alternative, queer, feminist communities. thank you again..

10:33 PM  

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