Phallocentrism and bisexual invisibility

This entry (translated from the Spanish original) is based on this video [in Spanish] that was published in the group STOP Bifobia:

Foursome between three men and a woman

The woman in the middle is now asking herself, “Does this make me a gay man?”

In the video a popular Spanish comedian from Seville, Manu Sánchez, explains, on his television show, his particular take on a letter in which a boy explains that he and another boy were having sex with a girl, the girl came and ejaculated on them and ended up very ‘satisfied’, and he and the other boy were still very aroused and so they cuddled up and had sex themselves until they both came also. Now they are asking themselves, and asking Manu, and asking the world: “Does this make us gay?“.

The situation they describe seems so sweet and attractive to me: they eat her cunt, she ejaculates and climaxes until she’s spent and they, poor things, snuggle up together, still so turned on. Sounds lovely. I find it arousing. And all that just to feel shame and regret afterward? What a shame! What a way to ruin a beautiful experience with a stupid ideology. Of course jokes are made out of the issue on the program, and they’re pretty funny. I laughed, at least. ‘Just imagine they were really big clitorises’, and such. It’s clear that in a not insignificant portion of the Spanish male population, homophobia is slowly beginning to vanish. It comes as no big surprise, then, that the neomachistas are beside themselves in fury and terrified panic. There is forward progress. But I found this video interesting because, behind the joking around, I’ve seen some serious premises that are still unquestioned, and I would like to talk about them.

It is very easy to receive the gay membership card if you’re a boy. You touch a cock, and that’s it. You’re gay. Forever. Easiest ID card I ever got in my life. To be honest, I didn’t even have to touch a cock to get it. Before I touched one, all I had to do was to say, hey, I wouldn’t mind touching one. And that’s it. They gave me my membership card on the spot. I didn’t have to do anything else. From then on, I was ‘gay’. From that very moment nobody ever disputed that I could be gay. If I want to be, I can. And even if I’m not, I really am. It’s certainly disputed that I’m bisexual. But if I wanted to be definitively gay – even with all the girls I’ve hooked up with and all the cunts I’ve touched – all I’d have to do is notify the Monosexual Board of Directors. “Look… forget about that bisexuality stuff. I’m gay.” And that’s it. Just one more in the crowd. I would turn gay. My identity would be teflon secure.

I could never be heterosexual. Not that I’d want to, but even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. I’ve hooked up with boys and that disqualifies me. I’ve sucked a cock. He came over my face. I came with him. And I enjoyed it immensely. That disqualifies me from being heterosexual. Heterosexual men want nothing to do with me. Heterosexual women want nothing to do with me. (I’m generalizing, dear. I don’t mean you. I know you’re different.) But whether I’ve sucked on one cunt, or a hundred, or a thousand, it doesn’t matter. That does not disqualify me from being gay. If I request the heterosexual membership card I get the application returned with the stamp: DENIED. REASON: COCKSUCKER. But whether a single cunt, or a thousand or a hundred thousand have climaxed over my face and however much I may have enjoyed it, I will always be elegible to request the gay membership card. In fact, I already receive it, and it says: GAY, FULL MEMBER. REASON: COCKSUCKER. AND A THOUSAND OTHER THINGS. And I constantly have to return it and request the bisexual membership card by special delivery, only to have my application returned to me along with a very polite and well-mannered letter: “Dear Mr. Gay: Given that it would be wholly unreasonable to print new membership cards as this would require us to recognize the validity of an identity that may be labelled, which would be alienating to our members who label themselves queer; validate a binary vision of sex-gender which we homosexuals, as our own name plainly indicates, absolutely cannot abide; exceed the ASCII character limit to which our database is bound by a lack of free memory; and gravely violate the stipulations of the Kyoto Protocol; and as we are certain, good sir, that you would agree with us that protecting the Amazon is an issue of the utmost importance, we should be pleased to formally request you consider yourself and your “bisexuality” already fully covered, included and integrated in the gay community by virtue of this document. You’re welcome, honey.”

The gay male identity is very easy to acquire and you can rest easy once you have earned it: nobody will ever take it away from you once granted, no matter what you do. At most, you can be closeted or a repressed gay. But gay you will remain. I’m aware that a bisexual male, for most people, even if they admit that we technically exist (and many people refuse to admit even that we technically exist), is just another flavour of gay because the defining aspect of us, it would seem, is that we touch dick.

Bisexual feminism

Bisexual feminism: you are badly needed.

Bisexual women, however, also eternal suspects, receive a form of harassment in which the authenticity of their attraction to women is questioned; that is to say, unlike us, they are suspected, not so much of being secretly lesbian, but rather of being undercover heterosexuals. The letters they receive from the Monosexual Board aren’t even half as polite as ours. They do not sweetly appeal to their sense of environmental responsibility nor mention the importance of protecting the Amazon, or any of that cute gayness we get. More often than not they are rather short, blunt texts that refer to them as ‘whores’ or ‘sluts’ and tell them to go straight to hell.

In any case, the defining aspect for them too, then, is that they touch dick. Everything else is unimportant. The anglosaxon lesbian separatist movement has developed a very simple and elegant explanation for why this is the case, which they articulate as follows: “Dick contaminates“. Given that this definition excludes the majority of lesbians it is controversial and generates conflict even within the heart of lesbian separatism itself. The conflict between pure lesbians, who have never had sexual contact with men, called always-lesbians or gold-star, and the ‘contaminated’, known as ex-heterosexuals, testifies to the singular importance of the contamination question in the separatist environment. As a separatist blogger explains:

Glad to have some support for the controvercial belief that dick is about contamination. But I went further and said women who had sex with men were contaminated and I would never have sex with them.

This same philosophy is also followed in the world of heterosexual men – from which it appears to originate. Heterosexual people have a special name by which they call women who are not contaminated by “dick”: virgins, synonym of pure, “unspoilt” or “unused“. Women who are contaminated are known as “sluts” or “whores” and men who are contaminated by dick are known by feminizing names like faggot or poof (contamination being seen intrinsically feminine). In most of the Spanish-speaking world, which is less enamoured of sex-specific insults, we are also known simply as “sluts” and “whores”. That is not a coincidence; it is like this by design.

Method 1 for determining sexuality: Do you touch dicks, or don’t you? If you do, you’re contaminated. If you do not, you’re not contaminated. Easy.

Given this insane panorama, I find it difficult not to conclude that in machista culture – which we all drink from – the sexuality of all people is determined on the basis of their relationship to ‘dick’ and both the entity and sexual relevance of women are denied. Consequently, I believe all of the sexual categories currently considered relevant and most important are phallocentric.

The division between arromantic and romantic sexuality, sexual and asexual affectionateness, as well as the entire invisibilized lesbian identity and its many permutations, are not considered important nor relevant because there is no dick involved. On the other hand, the division between tops and bottoms is not only well known outside of the gay community, but people also become suddenly multilingual and can say it to you in Japanese (seme and uke). But of course. It has to do with dick, that which, it would seem, confers gravity upon things and the gravitational well of which is so strong that there are even supposedly separatist lesbianisms which follow their own surreal and paradoxical orbit around dick, separatisms in which nothing less than dick determines whether you are or are not legitimately… lesbian!

I’ve found, to my amazement, that many people seem incapable of even talking about or imagining sex between males without “tops” and “bottoms”. They get to understanding “switches” – changing roles as you like. But that’s as far as they get. That the role could simply not exist is neither conceived nor allowed. I believe that this is because of the absolute values attributed to the penis in the predominant machista ideology, which I’ve spoken about in a previous entry. I can say, for myself, that I’ve never been a top nor a bottom in my sexual relationships with boys and I’m not interested in playing at being one. Just as there are people who state, with absolute honesty, “I cannot imagine how two women could have sex without a penis“, there are people who state, applying the same ideology, “I cannot imagine how two men could have sex with their penises without a dominant and a submissive. One of them retains his masculinity and the other one loses it.” Both statements share the same premise. With a cunt, nothing happens. Something happens only with dick.

Society does not see as many subtleties as LGTBIA people do. It sees (to use the American terms) men who are “faggots” and who are “not faggots” and women who “let themselves be fucked” and who “do not let themselves be fucked”. There is nothing beyond that. These two boys touched their dicks, and that is the end of it. “Are we gay?” Of course. What else?

All things considered, I think Manu does alright with this. He basically says (once you get past the inevitable joking around): no, not necessarily. But if you are gay, so what? Be gay, and happy. That is a response which is – at first sight – a sensible one. The only sensible one. Yet neither Manu nor the guest escape from the phallocentrism which motivates the original question and the bisexual invisibility it drags along with it. Neither of them think to ask what, for we bisexuals, is a question so obvious in this situation we find it incredible that nobody asks it: “Might you be bisexual?

Let’s see if this makes any sense. “We sucked a cunt. The girl came on top of us and then, as pleased as we were, we started touching our dicks and we came too. Afterward we immediately asked ourselves the following question: Are we gay?”. Only an infinitely phallocentric culture would allow for this kind of ‘logical’ thought progression. For anyone who is not phallocentric the first thing this would make you think is that they are bisexual; but, of course, since a cunt ‘doesn’t matter’ and  ‘doesn’t count’ for anything, how could someone’s relationship to cunts possibly determine anyone’s sexuality and not their relationship to dicks? Thus we can see how male supremacism is related to biphobia.

Threesome hug

Method 2 for determining sexuality: Do you have affectionate feelings for someone with a dick? If so, you’re contaminated. If not, you are not contaminated.

Now it is certainly not any less curious that for Manu and the guest homosexuality, itself, is not sufficient to merit homosexual identity (bisexual identity being completely ignored), but rather homoaffection is also necessary. They say that unless the boys start texting each other and saying, ‘I love you, honey’, they are not gay – although they later clarify that if this were the case, and they therefore were gay, there would be nothing wrong with it either (we can see that this is gay-friendly, modern phallocentrism).

Even this way of determining sexuality, inclusive of affectionateness, exclusively centres the relationship that the boys have with each other. If they are gay, it is because of the affection they feel toward each other; if they are heterosexual, it is because they feel no affection toward each other. Nobody asks about the affection they may or may not feel toward the girl, nor do they state that those feelings toward her may determine their sexuality. The girl in this threesome, in the entire analysis which is done in the program, is totally invisible and notably absent. It is as if she were entirely irrelevant, as if she did not matter, as if, because she is female, she lacked gravity and entity and was therefore incapable of determining the sexuality of the boys or even her own. It is as if, in order to determine the sexuality of any person, it were both indispensable and sufficient to know their relationship or lack thereof to those who have dicks.

In the end it is the boys, and the relationship with boys, that determines sexuality, regardless of the criteria used. Whether it is because whosoever touches a dick is a gay man or a heterosexual woman forevermore, because dick contaminates, or because an affectionate emotional bond between the boys would make them gay or because the lack of such a bond would make them heterosexual. Contact with cunt does not matter; it leaves no mark and has no gravity. Contact with the intellect or inner world of the girl does not matter; it leaves no mark and has no gravity. The affectionate bond that may or may not be felt for her does not matter, nor is it relevant nor does it determine anyone’s sexuality. All of that is invisible. Only the males have entity. Consequently, any relationship which exists with the girl in this threesome is invisible and bisexuality, necessarily and as a direct consequence, is also invisible. Thus, bisexuality becomes irrelevant to the extent that it depends, in order to exist and gain validity, on the recognition of the entity of women. I suspect that something very similar must happen with lesbian invisibility.

The girl in this threesome is missing in action in the entire conversation on what should or should not be considered a defining factor of the boys’ sexuality and that is the reason, the only reason, that bisexuality is also missing in action here. This is a phallocentrism which leads to bisexual invisibility.

They also appear to assume that all boys are potentially bisexual if horny enough, but not necessarily bi-affectionate. Some months ago I heard something like this on Madrid radio. It’s curious. I could swear that, for girls, the stereotype is the opposite – that all are potentially bi-affectionate but not necessarily bisexual.

That’s gender for you.

Egalitarian eroticism and sex

I wrote this entry as a reflection piece on this other one, which is about Andrea Dworkin and pornography: http://basta-ya-de-violencia-patriarcal.blogspot.com/2011/09/la-pornografia-importa-andrea-dworkin.html . Those who know me know that Dworkin is one of the philosophers who resonate the most with me.

Pornography is the faithful reflection of the machista sexual culture of the society in which we live. It is the depositary of the ideology of machismo in its erotic dimension and feeds off of the same culture at which it is aimed. It does not exist in a vacuum; it is part of the culture from which it emerges and to which it returns. It not only educates society, it is Trio with two boys cuddled together in the background and a girl in the foreground with the hands of the boys resting on her chest and neck. All are asleep.informed by society. The same men who say “women are whores” are the ones who say “I will beat the shit out of you, dude”; it is all related. It is often proposed as a definitive solution that we not educate ourselves with pornography. How can we not be educated with pornography if it is all that is out there and merely an accurate reflection of the only model of eroticism that is offered?

On the blog I’ve linked to there is an image of a poster which is part of a widespread government campaign against machista violence in Spain. The poster says (to the omnipresent heterosexual man assumed to be reading it) “When you abuse a woman, you stop being a man”. It is understood that to be a man is the best thing imaginable and that the most degrading thing imaginable is not to be one. The intention is to use precisely the misogynist anxiety of macho men to modify their misogynistic behavior. The poster attempts to convince them that they should never hit a woman because in doing so they turn into what they find most demeaning of all – women! They are made effeminate. That is to say that the act would “reduce” them to the level of the woman they were battering and therefore real men must direct their aggression solely towards other males, which would have the effect of proving their manliness. We are to believe that a man (a real man) does not hit a woman, not because it is wrong, in principle, to beat someone up, but rather because women are weak and men are strong and therefore a man does not measure himself against women, his inferiors, but against other men, who are always his equals and fellows (even if they are actually weaker than he is – it doesn’t matter). When a man assaults a woman it lacks merit, not because the assault is immoral, but rather because of the inferiority of the woman with regards to the man; on the contrary, when a man assaults another man, it is always meritorious and it becomes a moral act because it is directed against an Two people of indeterminate sex, possibly male because their chests are very flat, embrace and kiss while seated on a bed. The one on the left is sitting on over their bent legs and the one on the right is embracing the other with their legs.equal, even if, in fact, the victim is small or defenseless, because even though he may be at a disadvantage, he is not himself an “inferior”. One sees that the determination of inferiority in this case is not made on the basis of the vulnerability or defenselessness of the target of violence (these do not protect the weak male), but solely on the basis of sex. It is thus that the batterer lowers himself if he abuses a woman and “stops being a man”. In summary, this is a campaign that not only does not repudiate violence in principle, it also takes the moral legitimacy of misogyny for granted.

Is this approach to violence coherent with egalitarian values? It is oxymoronic to attempt to fight against male-supremacist violence in accordance with male-supremacist values. It is a project doomed to failure because of its own internal contradictions and I would dare say that it is a misogynist, reactionary, heterosexist and twisted campaign. I mention it because this misogynist culture – on which this campaign depends and which, in this case, is reproduced on a radical feminist website, no less – is not different from the misogynist culture expressed through heterosexual pornography as criticized on the blog. They are the same culture.

If we want to abolish it, we must make a very hard decision that will generate a lot of anger and resistance: to reject altogether the figure of the “real man” and of manhood (and a “manly culture”) and to create instead an egalitarian culture together, among us all, which would be our basic, common culture, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity or any other identities we may have. The macho culture would have to disappear.  Are we amenable to this kind of demasculinization? I ask because it would entail, among other things, such a profound reform of eroticism that it would be left unrecognizable. We would have to be fully honest about all of our own desires and motivations.

The existing sexual-erotic model is based on male subjectivity – that is to say, when “sex” is mentioned, it refers to the male subject and, specifically, to a penis entering an orifice, and women are constructed and constituted as a function of the subjective desire of this omnipresent male subject, a sort of Big Brother. Likewise, it is understood, in accordance with the predominant sexual model – the machista sexual model – that male genitals are intrinsically degrading and that contact with a penis is degrading in and of itself, that ejaculation in and of itself degrades any person it touches and, ultimately, that erotic contact with the penis demeans people. This is the fundamental basis of male homophobia, so deeply rooted into society. Heterosexual men fear being demeaned, seen as “queers”, made “effeminate”, that is to say, being lowered to the female caste, a status they feel should be reserved, by Two boys standing under a shower stream caress one another and their erect penises cross and touch. They gaze at each other with facial expressions showing a mix of tenderness and arousal.rights, to the female class. Women have been objects of desire for heterosexual men without any recognition of women neither as subjects nor as human. The conception of female sexuality itself in this culture is as reconciliation with being used and made to submit during the sexual act because the sexual act itself is defined essentially as an act of domination and submission. Thus, even to the extent that culture now considers female subjectivity, it is generally conceived in terms of a subjective desire to submit. Pornography faithfully and accurately reflects all of this.

And what of the conception of male desire? If we accept that heterosexual men understand that their own genitals demean and degrade people merely by touching them or by their presence – and we know that they understand this, save for a few honorable exceptions, because of their raging homophobia, their terror that another man might touch them, that they may be perceived as “queers”, because of the meaning of the term “to fuck [someone]” along with a host of other evidence showing that they understand it – then the question is, how can they be happy? Shouldn’t it bother them that the meaning of their passionate desire, their eroticism and even of their bodies to their supposed ‘beloved’ is, ultimately, to be humiliated, degraded, stigmatized and to submit?  Shouldn’t this destroy their self-esteem? Sex ought to make them feel panic, not enthusiasm. Nothing less could be expected if the meaning of an anatomically male person’s sexual expression is what is shown in pornography – to morally and physically decimate his lover – which could only inspire horror and shame. And some of us, indeed, do experience it this way.

But the vast majority of males do not feel anything of the sort – on the contrary, they have an inexhaustible sexual self-esteem that contrasts surreally with the disgust and unease that they usually cause both to other heterosexual men and to women, even to heterosexual women, who one might think would be the most attracted to them and who, nevertheless, as the machistas themselves insist, they must generally compensate in some way for tolerating the displeasure of their “company”. They are also demeaned, as predators. Yet, paradoxically, their self-esteem remains wholly intact, as if they do not even realize it, or they do not care.  How is this possible?

How can a person maintain their sexual self-esteem when the effect of their sexuality is to provoke apprehension, fear, repulsion and disgust? I can only think of a single way: by becoming a sadist, because the sadist delights in the suffering they cause to others and it actually makes them feel better. Only a sadist would feel pride and satisfaction at causing fear and disgust. Any other person would feel horrified and depressed. To be a man in this society is either to be a sadist, or to be depressed. That is what I believe.

A man lying on his side caresses the vulva and kisses the breast of a woman lying on her back, whose head is thrown back and whose back is arched.So we have a culture which is meticulously fine-tuned to produce sadistic men who celebrate the disgust they cause and the fear they provoke as they are accompanied by a whole culture which celebrates the same with them even when purportedly denouncing them for their excesses. If not, then how else to explain this poster reproaching batterers that they should feel more ashamed to be thought effeminate than to be thought cruel?

I have read female eroticism written by women and it does not improve the panorama at all; it is essentially the same as male pornography. It is a more palatable domination, conquest with sweetener, but in the end almost all androphilic eroticism is based on the same fundamental concept: The irrepressible male marks his prey (generally female, occasionally a gentle male), his hormones cloud his judgment, he feels he must possess his prey, he harasses it, traps it, conquers it, takes it, forces himself on it, his prey resists, he pushes, he imposes himself, he possesses, and finally his prey complacently relents and “lets him have his way”. It is this that is considered “erotic” and “attractive” about the male, whereas what is considered erotic about the female is her passivity, which in heterosexual eroticism essentially amounts to the woman liking whatever it is that the man wants to do to her, or hating it, as preferred by the man in question. Let’s face it, heterosexual eroticism in particular, and androphilia in general, is an eroticism of rape.

Of course, there are no real people harmed in written eroticism, even if the content of it is still violent – but that is not surprising. To abuse real people to feel sexual pleasure is something sadistic people would do. It is something you would expect from people incapable of understanding sexual desire itself except through sadism. And that is what all of society wants from its males, after all, who are then shipped out to kill “faggots” abroad – that they be sadists, above all else.

How long will we continue with this model? If this model does not change, nothing will ever change. The attractiveness of a man can no longer be his “virility” or his “power”, nor can the attractiveness of a woman be any longer her “pretty face” or her girlish manners. Let’s just say that all of that is over. We would have to redefine absolutely everything and create a new sexual ethics, from the ground up, from which a new egalitarian eroticism would then flow.  What is egalitarian sex?  What is it like? If people approach one another mutually as subjects and equals, what happens? What is it that we want if what we want is egalitarian sex?

I want there to be another model and other erotic images that promote an egalitarian vision of sexuality with which to educate ourselves, with which to culturally define ourselves and with which to inspire ourselves. But at the moment the only things that are made are those centered on pain and suffering, degradation or humiliation and domination and submission as erotic devices (which, in heterosexual culture, is nearly all that exists, and in the majority of the lesbian, gay or bisexual cultures, which ape the heterosexual culture, likewise). The egalitarians of the world would have to exhibit and develop in the open this alternative that we desire. Wouldn’t we?

Fighting dogs

This is a translation. Original post: http://mikiencolor.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/perros-de-pelea/

They want soldiers, not companions.

They want men, not humans.

Violent, rough, brutes, not lovers, manly men in a perpetual search for blood and submissive female to mount. Implacable to compete, violent to war, fierce to triumph and make proud.

Warriors and conquered is that they want, not citizens. Warriors to invade and subjugate. Sociopaths to execute without a second thought, dead from the waist up to do what needs to be done, not empathic beings with whom to share. Love is conquest, they say, which is consummated by invasion. Conquest, invasion, occupation.

Rough, harsh for working is how they want us, and productive. Disgusting, repugnant, vomitous, repulsive, that’s how they want us. Frightening, terrifying, not sweet, not fearful. Dangerously handsome they want us, not impotent and ugly, soldiers in reserve forever ready for a fight.

Warriors to war with other warriors they want, survivors to initiate future warriors, executioners to educate future executioners, an endless cycle of tyrants, experts in pain and cruelty, they want. Fighting dogs, that’s all they want. What shame gentleness causes them. What contempt they feel for tenderness. Fighting bulls, they want, not docile. Fierce bulls for the ring, bread and circus and unappealable insanity, that’s what they want.

Where are the objectors? Where are you? This is some hell.