"I hope you aren't confusing this with rational behavior!" Image source: WhippedAss.com.
I'd like to start by pointing out that I do not know Emily, executive editor of XOJane, and have not had anything to do with the XOJane website. Emily does not know me at all, and joins billions of other people in being “people who don't know that I exist.” And that's OK.
But I do feel that Emily and I are kindred spirits, mostly because of THIS column where she writes about how totally apolitical her vagina is with regard to its sexual tastes. She likes playing at being a submissive, she likes breast play, she likes rape play she likes being spit on, she likes being tied up, she luuurves breast play involving clothespins, ropes and slapping. (Though interestingly, sexual roleplay, such as Master/slave play, does nothing for her.)
Like me, Emily has thought about her sexual proclivities and found that they are not rational, in fact, they do not originate in a rational part of her mind (hence, her “vagina” has these tastes) and has decided it is pointless and irrational to hold one's sexual tastes to any politically-derived standard of behavior. (Of course, whatever one's sexual tastes, one is still compelled to treat other people in a rational and ethical manner, real life being different from sexual fantasies, but Emily clearly gets that.)
Emily has written that she gets a lot of crap from feminists over her public advocacy of her sexual tastes. I totally believe it. And thinking about that, I realized that that may be the essential dividing line between the sex-positive folks and the feminists and moral conservatives. The sex-positive folks understand that their sexual desires are irrational and that the only rational way to respond is to treat them as such and not try to make them conform to any rational framework -- to totally enjoy them while understanding that they are not something that you can program to behave for some value of "properly."
And that's the part that anti-sex feminists and moral conservatives just don't get. The reason both of them are united in opposing sexual freedom is that they both insist on forcing sexual tastes to fit into the external frameworks they want to impose on them. Feminists have an ideological frame about the proper relations between men and women that they want to fit sexual feelings into, and moral conservatives have a religious/cultural frame they want to fit sexual feelings into. (Note that this applies to Islamic conservatives as well as Christian conservatives.)
And with both groups, if your sexual feelings/sexual culture doesn't fit well into their framework, their solution is to force you to conceal/alter your sexuality so that it fits in their framework, and to fuck with you (the bad kind of fuck with) in various ways until you fit in their frame or die. Procrusteans, indeed!
It strikes me that this may be the new frontier in sexuality, the true place where the good guys will be battling the bad guys. The battle will be fought over this line: people who think it is OK to force sexuality into the confines of ideological/religious frameworks, versus those who don't. The basis of the frameworks may vary, but the mechanisms will be the same: laws, prison, shaming and shunning (and in the Third World, possibly beatings, torture and murder as well) for those whose sexual tastes do not fit the framework (and this is the important part) WHETHER OR NOT they are expressed in a safe, sane and consensual manner.
I particularly like this line of thought because it explains why both anti-sex feminists and moral conservatives are teeing off on BDSM fans. The frameworks are different, but in each case, the problem is, our tastes don't fit the framework, and anyone who openly expresses a taste for BDSM will find themselves in conflict with these types. And probably others, because strangely enough, most people just don't get that irrational sexuality should not be forced to express itself in a rational manner.
Ah, for a world populated with actual grown-ups, instead of what we have now.