Final Reflection: A Post on Society & Sex

Upon being asked the question of what the most important and influential concept to understanding the relationship between sex and society covered in this semester, I began to think about all the different concepts talked and read about in class. When thinking about everything, I began to see connections between different terms that came up throughout the semester that were discussed that I had never seen before. The concepts are all fairly different, yet are all still related in some ways because of the manner that society has been formed over the years. Agents of socialization, sex education, social constructions, and heteronormativity have all become interconnected, creating an environment of hostility towards people who do not identify as heterosexual.

The agents of socialization people are exposed to impact their views on everything in life. However, their views on sex are affected more so than some other aspects of life are. The socialization of sex and sex education has a more prevalent impact on how a person forms their ideas and views on sex. The environment a person was raised in, their religion, schooling experience, family, friends, and the media all heavily influence the formation of what sex means and should mean to a person. But, this can be dangerous- with the amount of societal constructions (such as what “good” or “normal” sex is, gender, etc.)  that exist today, it is easy for the manner in which a person was socialized to negatively affect their views on sex or gender. For example, many religions do not condone homosexuality, so if someone is raised in that environment, it is likely they would judge and discriminate anyone who is homosexual.

SInce gender is a social construction, it easy to stereotype and discriminate against those who do not fit into the gender binaries that exist today (boy and girl). So, those who appear as  lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, or transgender are easily stereotypes and judged. The heteronormative ideals that are held by the majority of the people in this country also lead to stigmas and discrimination. When people who have other sexual orientations other than heterosexual, they are often mistreated by society and can even be susceptible to violence, sexual violence in particular (as seen in the video of the transgender man who used the bathroom of a New York McDonald and was beat for it by the manager, yet was charged for a misdemeanor when in actuality he was the victim ).

Over the years, this problem has perpetuated. It has become easier for discrimination and violence to occur without any repercussion on the perpetrator. The connections between these terms and these societal constructions and manifestations all lend to why society is as it is today and why people discriminate, act violently toward, and outcast nonheterosexual people. Having a good understanding of all these terms allows for a person too see the interconnectedness and understand why these horrible things occur. It allows for people to be aware of  the problem and not lend to it or be an enabler.

What’s sex have to do with …Baby Making Music?

Everyone likes to have sex to music right? Music makes the sexual pleasure better?

Sexual pleasure is the satisfaction a person gets when sexually pleased. Part of reaching these satisfactions are through attraction, techniques, and body connection. Social construction of sexuality is defined through pleasure. Understanding sexual pleasure means understanding sexual norms. Knowing what stimulates a male or female is based off the cultural norms. Over time, generations have changes the cultural norms in relationship, in particularly, marriage. The purpose of marriage isn’t based around love anymore.

In the “Change and Continuity in American Marriage” article by Erica Hunter, she explains how marriage has changed over generations. As child, we dream of eventually falling in love with someone of the opposite sex, marrying them, and raising a happy family of our own. Sociologist argue that marriage is becoming deinstitutionalized, or that the institutional roles of marriage, such as creating household units, having and raising children, and providing a basis for learning gender roles, are increasingly being replaced with a model of marriage as an institution designed to fulfill personal development (312). Meaning that love isn’t agreed upon for love, but for purposes that will help a person benefit personally.

Here is a link to a few “baby making songs”.

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/crossfade/2011/07/nine_songs_sexy_enough_to_get_a_lady_pregnant.php

You ever heard the term “baby making music.” This is a term that many African American adults use to describe a song used during making love. It is usually referring to a couple that is making long, slow, intimate love trying to learn each other. Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Barry White are the best at making slow jams. Their music from the 1960s is what a lot of 90s baby’s listen to, trying to feel the feeling that their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents felt when in love. Marriage to them was at first a bond. A relationship where love was the foundations and sexual pleasures were an extra. The love songs were about learning and getting to know each other. In today’s society, love songs are all about male sexual pleasures. Females are supposed to be the submissive. Marriage isn’t done for love. Today, marriage is done for money, reputation, or personal goals. Divorce rates are increasing due to these reasons. Everyone dreams of their fairytale story but doesn’t know the proper way of getting it.

How has society changed relationships and marriages? Does love even exist anymore? How can music help change today’s cultural norms of sexuality?

Sexual Socialization Gone Wrong

“He says ‘I don’t get it, why are you still a virgin at 24?’

He says ‘I don’t believe you, I’ve seen you walk, virgins don’t walk like that’

(…)

He asks ‘Why though? No offence though.’

I ask ‘When was your first time?’

He says ‘I was 12’

He says ‘I know what you’re thinking, that’s too young.’

(…)

He says ‘She was older than me.’

I ask ‘How old?’

And he says ‘It’s better that the girl is older, that’s how I learnt all things I know’

He licks his lips.

I ask again ‘How old?’

He says ‘I could use one finger to make you sob’

(…)

I ask again ‘How old?’

He says ‘Boys become men in the laps of women, you know?’

(…)

He says ‘I’d look after you, you know?’

I laugh, I ask for the last time ‘How old?’

He says ’34.’

He says ‘She was beautiful though and I know what you’re thinking but it’s not like that, I’m a man, I’m a man, I’m a man. No one could ever hurt me’.”

  Warsan Shire, Crude Conversations With Boys Who Fake Laughter Often

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The “O”

What do we know about orgasms? Do both males and females experience them? Are they purely physiological? What social stigmas and implications do orgasms hold? …And why are they such a hot topic of discussion??? Here they appear in a medium of pop culture:

 

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What’s Sex Got To Do With… Angel Haze?

Some people were frustrated when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came out with “Same Love,” a song that was designed to promote the passage of R-74 in Washington State. Macklemore gained respect and popularity for the song, but those who were against it were irritated by his reference to his uncle being gay as an explanation for his understanding of peoples’ struggle with identity. Later on, a small NYC artist, Angel Haze, came out with a freestyle over the music to “Same Love,” which both explains her struggle with identity and coming to terms with how other people see her.

“No, I’m not gay/ No, I’m not straight/ And I sure as hell am not bisexual/ Damn it, I am whoever I am when I am it/ Loving whoever you are when the stars shine/ And whoever you’ll be when the sun rises”

The number of non-heterosexual music artists, especially in the hip-hop industry, is very small. Angel Haze not only breaks this barrier, but her music is raw and honest and her lyrics don’t follow anybody else’s agenda. She is open about her history of abuse, growing up in a cult-like religion, and understanding her sexuality (today she identifies as pansexual). Beginning at the age of five, Angel Haze was repeatedly raped by an extended family member. Angel Haze grew up in a house where people knew she was being sexually abused, and she never felt safe in her own skin. In her song, “Cleaning out my Closet” she discusses her experience growing up and coming to terms the psychological effects of her abuse.

“I was extremely scared of men so I started liking girls/ I started starving myself, fucked up my bodily health/ I didn’t want to be attractive to nobody else/ I didn’t want the appeal, wanted to stop my own growth/ but there’s a fucking reason behind every scar that I show/ I never got be a kid so that’s as far as I grow” (Angel Haze, Cleaning Out My Closet)

 

According to the theory that identities are constructed socially, Krista McQueeney says that sociologists believe that “identity is not idiosyncratic: it is shaped by the cultural and social conditions of our lives” (NSS, 293). Although I don’t necessarily believe that sexual identity are completely socially constructed, I do believe that they can change. “Identities are fluid: they can change over time and across situations. Who I am or who you perceive me to be, may not be who I say I am (or who you perceive me to be) five minutes, five months, or five years from now” (McQueeney, 293). Angel Haze’s bravery in expressing both her story and allowing people to understand her sexuality gives us a window to learning about changing sexual expression and identity and how someone doesn’t have to stay in the same place—or even participate in—the LGBTQIA alphabet.

 

It’s not easy to discuss Angel Haze through her sexuality, because she is clear and confident that she doesn’t desire to be labeled by how she does or does not identify, and that we should choose to understand her through her music. I hope you all will listen to the three songs/music video that I added to this post before commenting. As we study sexuality and different kinds of identities, do you think we should be more cautious to label? I believe that the alphabet allows us to expand and learn about the different kinds of recognized identities, but what about those identities that aren’t recognized by the alphabet? How do you thing Angel Haze and her music could influence the way we see sexual socialization and the danger of labeling identity?

Not Every “Disorder” is Created Equal

Not Every “Disorder” is Created Equal

HSDD, Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder; FSD, Female Sexual Disorder – how many acronyms do we need before we understand that maybe the problem isn’t with women, but something large enough to leave 43% of women with this “disorder?” In our society, there is always a one-stop-shop, a little pill, cream, or treatment that will fix any disorder. But what if this “disorder” isn’t a disorder to begin with?

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