Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Rules of Attraction

                                                                Photo: Indianhilbilly
The fact that voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington all legalized same sex marriage this past election day is great news (same sex marriage was already legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia) but whichever way you cut it, mixing politics and sex always leads to a certain level of fundamentalism. The notion that we are all polymorphously perverse as Norman O. Brown argued in Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History (a 60’s counter culture classic) is an idea that has been lost in the shuffle. It’s understandable that politics should enter into the sexual equation since marriage provides certain conveniences and entitlements legally and economically. But still there is an underlying categorization at work. Instead of just marriage between men and women we now have gay and lesbian marriages, which one assumes also include transgenders and bisexuals. What if we took another attitude towards sex, going back to the notion of polymorphous perversity. Let’s say that sex is an expression of love and that if we weren’t inhibited we might have sex with anyone whom we loved, male, female, bi or transgender. Usually the idea is that one experiences sexual attraction which indicates a certain predilection. If you’re a straight man, you’re supposed to experience an animal desire for women. The animal attraction produces what Rimbaud described as a “derangement of the senses.” When the pheromones die down, you look at the person in front of you and decide whether the initial passion was a expression of love or mere lust. However is this a realistic description of what really transpires? Doesn’t most love begin with a conversation? And isn’t the conversation sometimes cut short before it starts by the labeling that makes people edit their own impulses?

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