On the Origins of Our Sexuality
So it has come to mind lately that sexuality begins with responses to someone else’s arousing actions. Completely dependent on the first occasions of sexual excitement, sexuality also stands before us freely, not committed to hetero or homo orientations. When we talk about molestation and refer to it as a crime, we talk about adults that pervert the innocence of a child; or applying similar words, we talk about adults that interrupt a child’s normal path to sexuality, while sickly achieving easy sexual satisfaction. Contrasts between deviant routes to sexual activity (molestation) and normal routes interest me because, if I think about it, sexuality is never individualistic. We cannot think about our sexuality without the encouragement of other people to use our bodies in ways suitable for privacy. At best, our disgust with molesters prefers that children develop their sexual personalities with others that are equally impressionable and curious, but they cannot avoid being acted upon.
Although I myself hold molestation in contempt, I disagree with the Black normative practice of using molestation to demonize homosexuality. Much too often, I witness people automatically reduce gays/lesbians’ childhoods to sexual harassment. Molestation discussions contribute to the abnormality of homosexuality in the Black community: “it takes some sick people to turn these boys and girls gay.” Some stories make it to mainstream media, for instance Todd Bridges’, helping to create a network of validation for the hatred toward same-sex orientations. Yet, notice how Todd Bridges testifies to the free spirit of sexuality, “I suffered, from eleven to twelve, I thought I was homosexual” (00:42-00:46).
Granted, his publicist deprived him of experience with womyn and formed a lie (there being no difference between men and womyn) Todd still enjoyed sex with men. Anyone watching this episode would accept homosexuality as having “dirty [and] horrible [feelings],” when that is not the case. These negative emotions don’t describe the experience, but express Todd’s shameful relationship with his childhood publicists. Again I bring up contingency and response: who’s to say that Todd would have said no, later in his life, to a boy that offered to perform oral? We know now that Dana Plato, through freer sexual context (in contrast to the publicists’ forced context), could have beat this hypothetical boy to Todd’s sexuality, but bisexuality is a possibility also. A friend of mine told me the other day that oral sex is neutral, skillful execution doesn’t depend on gender. All this I say only to stress the need to critically engage the discourse of sexuality, because it can easily influence our actions, including the persecution of people; something that Black people know a lot about.
Reflecting on my own sexuality, I classify a time with my babysitter/removed relative as the beginning. At a young age, I remember, playing spin the bottle with my cousin who was about 13 when I was 6/7. There was no resistance, never even felt the need to tell my parents. But, from then on, my sexuality has been a project of mine, staying with the order started by my female cousin. Satisfaction by other males never crossed my mind, because womyn were sufficient. Many of my friends, and I’m sure most of you, have the same story: sexuality revealed itself for the first time through someone (either your age or older) inviting/forcing you to perform “grown up” acts. It has no other order, unless the occasion never arises and curiosity takes command, but this is beyond childhood. After that we’ve become to conscious social norms, which is a whole other subject.