So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

18 July, 2010

Unsaid Things

In the comments on this post on Figleaf's, Clarisse Thorn posted a link to this post, in the comments to which there was a fair amount of discussion of, basically, the whole "well, kink comes from abuse", that's in part fed by stories in which people link their kink with their childhood abuse experiences.

And of course there was the usual, "No, actually, I wasn't raped/molested/abused, so my kink doesn't come from rape/molestation/abuse" stuff in there, but here's a thing that I don't think people talk about.

I was the victim of attempted rape.

My emotional response to that left me reluctant to trust people in sexual situations, extremely cautious, unlikely to seek out new partners, and basically extremely sexually conservative, a trait that, believe it or not, has persisted for the following eighteen years.

So there exists, in at least one case (and you know by Ugol's Law there are more, even if you don't know that some of that "more" have been in my comments in the past) a link between highly risk-averse non-promiscuous sexual behaviour and sexual assault.

But, you know, you don't see a lot of "Sexual assault causes sexual conservatism" stories. Because my sort of low partner count and wariness to get involved with people is a desired outcome, after all, so the default social response to it is more likely to go in the "Well, uh, good for you" then than to consider my preferences the sort of problematic that makes a crashing good tale. (Though I have run into a couple of assholes who were of the opinion that I should try some sort of desensitisation therapy - read, have a lot of casual sex - in order to burn out my sensitivity to sex so that I might consider fucking them. There's a whole lot of wrong there, to say the least.)

And as I think about this, I think about one of my little political bits of Discordian ju-jutsu around orientation. A while back I was regularly running into people who would say something to the effect of, "I never hear straight people saying they knew about their attractions before puberty, so gay people who say that must have had inappropriate sexualisation as children." I have, at times, taken some glee in pointing out to these people that I had my first crush at the age of seven or eight, and was quite aware of it as linked to "grown-up stuff" that I would figure out later, and that I am painfully straight. Somehow, they had managed to fail to register my perfectly ordinary and very common story - the elementary school crush, for crying out loud, have they never heard of Judy Blume? - as being relevant to the question of whether ordinary and very common children have any connection to the concept of attraction.

(I so much marvelled at these people for their ignorance of the constant threads of heterosexuality that is imposed on children - when a mixed-sex pair of children starts rough-housing, the declarations of puppy love, for example. Or the creation of gender-segregated classrooms where associating with the Other Side is fraught and charged with inexplicable but oddly adult tension - I can recall my crush standing on the far side of the fifth-grade classroom, talking with another boy, on the far side of the uncrossable gender line, where it would take a braver girlchild than I was to venture.)

How many perfectly ordinary stories do we forget to hear? Because the perfectly ordinary flows so seamlessly into the world that we want to know that it vanishes, invisible, like so many lines in the game of cognitive Tetris, racking up the points for what we think we know but disappearing into the imaginary as soon as we register them. How many perfectly ordinary stories don't register in our mental statistics because their mundanity - the puppy love, the losing adventurousness due to a trauma, the marriage that doesn't end, the kid who never causes trouble in school, the high school athlete who doesn't join the big leagues and make millions of dollars, the brilliant mind who doesn't cure cancer after all - makes no impression?

How many stories do we just not hear?

(ETA: Here's another relevant link to a story we don't hear, explicitly talking about the stories we expect instead, even!)


Clarisse Thorn said...

Excellent post. I'm guessing that you've seen the Heterosexual Questionnaire, but just in case you haven't:

mamacrow said...

yeah, the 'children never think of sexual things except if they are divergent' thing is odd.

and massivily phsycologically incorrect! Most development works will identifuly 5 as well as puberty as sexual surge times...

and in past times it was normal for 12/13yolds to be marrying and starting families!

Rosemary Cottage said...

The number of times in AP community type things I see that "don't smack your kids because then they will be all ZOMGPERVERTED!!! and be all into spanking!!! and worse!!! when they grow up" shite, like, even if that was the case, I mean, seriously, that's a reason for not smacking? SMFH.

And, sigh, yeah, when I was about five I remember vividly fancying (in a five-year-old kind of way, hard to describe) both a boy called Matthew Cranham and a girl called Jennifer Gillespie. But of course, as I grew up, I learned that you either fancied boys, or girls, but not both (and besides, gay was Teh Ev0l) and as I fancied boys, well, clearly I must be straight. Sigh.