Tuesday, November 1, 2016

In Purity Land, Only Straight Men Are Allowed To Have A Sexuality

6 cute winter hats, each one with the colors that represent a different LGBTQIA identity. Image source.
Ever notice how, in purity culture, all of us who aren't married are supposed to pretend our sexuality doesn't even exist? Unless you're a straight guy. Then your sexuality is a SUPER HUGE BIG DEAL and we need to structure all of society around it.

Let me give you some examples:

Every now and then, some Christian site will publish an article about women using porn and how totally shocking it is. The tone is always like "well of course we know men have a problem with porn addiction, obviously, men are sexual like that, but oh my goodness you guys, our culture has become so sexualized and sinful, now even women are watching porn! Can you imagine?! How shocking and unnatural."

The assumption is that men are interested in sex, and women aren't- and any evidence to the contrary is a highly disturbing sign of how, in recent years, the world has gotten so much more sinful. (Studying history and realizing how this is a huge myth will be left as an exercise for the reader.)

And if you're gay, the conservative Christians and purity-culture promoters will tell you it's wrong to see that as part of your identity. Your sexuality shouldn't be important enough to you that you'd go to the trouble of finding an accurate label for it. If you "struggle with same-sex attraction", well, that's a temptation and you should try to avoid it as much as possible. Acknowledging it as an essential part of your identity is scandalous in purity land.

And bisexuals can tell you about the stereotypes that get thrown around- how supposedly, bisexual people just want to have sex with ALL THE PARTNERS, how they're totally having orgies all the time, etc. Yeah, none of that is true- but I believe these myths are especially common in purity culture contexts because it's seen as horrifically sinful to even be aware of your own sexuality. (Unless, of course, you're a straight man. We'll get to them in a minute.) If you're actually saying, out loud, the words "I'm bisexual", you've clearly given it a lot of thought- wow, how sinful and scandalous, to spend time thinking about your own sexuality and your desires. Might as well be having orgies.

It's like purity culture expects everyone to seem asexual. Except, not really, because purity culture doesn't even believe asexuality is a real thing. If you say you're asexual, you're saying you never experience sexual temptation- wow, what arrogance! That's like saying you never sin.

Asexuality is the goal to strive for- but they don't believe anyone actually is asexual. (You know how I said in purity land, no one's really allowed to have a sexuality? You're not even allowed to be asexual either.)

The obvious exception is straight men.

Everyone else is expected to hide all signs that they're interested in sex, but not straight men. When it's time to talk about modest clothes for women, let's bring out some straight guys and have them describe, in detail, what exactly they see as sexy, and all the women will listen and take notes, which they will then reference every morning when they choose clothes.

And when they give advice about dating, the assumption is that the boyfriend will totally try to pressure the girlfriend into sex. Apparently, men want sex so much more than women. Apparently, it's so much harder for men to control themselves. It's the woman's job to enforce the purity rules because, come on, you can't expect a man to do that. They're just not able to. Their sex drive is so huge and out of control, but women don't really have a sex drive, right?

No one else is allowed to indicate they even have a sexuality, but straight men's sexuality should dictate women's clothing choices. Straight men's sexuality is a huge concern that women are responsible for protecting themselves from. Straight men's sexuality is the basis behind the question "can men and women really be friends?" and the rules those friendships need in order to "avoid temptation."

In other words, if you're a woman and you're interested in sex, purity culture thinks there is something terribly wrong with you. Or if you're anything other than straight, purity culture thinks there is something terribly wrong with you. But we're all supposed to structure our lives and our interactions with others around the fact of straight men's sexuality. If that's not a double standard, I don't know what is.

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