Archive | July 6, 2012

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.