I was speaking with someone a few nights ago about sexuality, gender, the whole gamut of sexuality really. It was a playful conversation as much as anything else, I can't even remember why or how it came about, it just did. The conversation turned to things like cross-dressing and transvestism. I made some joke about how every British man is secretly a cross-dresser but today I came across an article in The Daily Beast about men who secretly dress as dolls.
I am fascinated by the rise in things like fetishism, bdsm, cross-dressing, perhaps I should say the continuing mainstreaming of what would have been viewed as deviant behaviors not so long ago (and perhaps is by some). An example perhaps of the complexity of sex and sexuality and a reflection of how it, like every other aspect of what it means to be human morphs and changes as the world conforms to new horizons.
I also watched a show on HBO called SEX//NOW-it's the latest in a long-line of voyeuristic and designed-to-titillate-as-much-as-inform shows produced by that network. The creator of the show, Chris Moukarbel, said something quite interesting in an interview about the show, "Any conversation about sex is also a conversation about technology. I'm eager to see how the public feels about these things that they're dealing with every day anyway." I am inclined to agree with him on that front. And of course digital technology and the Internet has changed the game when it comes to sex. It is both a positive and negative issue--there are losses and gains. Sex can be incredibly exploitive and exploited and most of the time media offerings tend to dwell in that domain, but there are other positive issues around sex and sexuality that I wish got more airtime.
If you are interested in a view of the cultural through the lens of branding, marketing, advertising and design in regard to its use of and exploitation of sex, Rick Poynor's, Designing Pornotopia is a must-read. It's a critique and largely takes a negative position, which will appeal to some more than others, but it is insightful, thoughtful and well-written.
Bjork's video for her song, All Is Full Of Love, directed by Chris Cunningham, takes a provocative look at technology and sex by featuring two love-making robots-the mix of fluid and technology is beautiful and prophetic in many ways I think.
Zizek, of course, has much to say about sex,
"What kind of sexuality fits this universe? On August 6 2006, London was hosting the UK’S first “masturbate-a- thon,” a collective event in which hundreds of men and women pleasured themselves for charity (raising money for sexual and reproductive health agencies), and to raise the awareness of, and dispel the shame and taboos that persist around, this most commonplace, natural and safe form of sexual activity. The formula was invented at Good Vibrations (a San Francisco sex health company) as part of the National Masturbation Month, which they founded and have been hosting since 1995, when the original San Francisco M-A-T took place. Here is how Dr. Carol Queen justifies it:"
the rest of the essay can be found here...
I'll be writing more about sex in the coming months, going to make it part of my theological focusing this coming year.