Sexuality Categories and Pornified Culture

The 21 comments appended to my post Girl-on-Girl Hookups and Sexual Categories covers some interesting ground by the same crowd which so thoroughly analyzed the issue of independent bookstores and globalization. I recommend you read through them slowly if you’re interested in issues of sexuality, feminism, or the effects of a pornified culture on young people.

Here’s a summary of the discussion:

  1. My post noted the "new trend" of experimental sexuality among young people, so-called "Lesbian Until Graduation."
  2. The comments conclude that the trend is not exactly new. Experimentation in this respect ebbs and flows over the decades. Sexuality historian Jesse Berrett argues that today’s casual lesbianism at parties, for example, may though be new in its  "publicization and serving of male desires as mediated/invented/augmented by porn. I have to say that this sort of performative sexuality does strike me as new, and not as good."
  3. Steve Silberman argues that human sexuality has always been more fluid than the official view suggests. Perhaps it’s the strict bifurcation — straight or gay — which is the fad, since homosexual behavior has been genetically "conserved" for all these years in both humans and animals.
  4. Fluidity acknowledged, Chris Yeh says, but it’s hard to see any large long-term spike in homosexual behavior in the future given that "Homo Sapiens was designed so that a majority of adults would engage in monogamous heterosexual relationships (this is what is required to promote childbearing and childrearing)."

So I think we can be more precise about the trend we’re currently seeing on high school and college campuses: it’s probably not more sexual experimenting or more lasting experimentation (in that a higher percentage of the population in the future will be gay), but rather it’s a different kind of experimentation, perhaps, than in the past. Whereas in the past 20-30 years it’s been true experimentation, one could argue what we’re seeing today is less mutual and more male-aggressive, even if males aren’t involved in the act such as in girl-on-girl hookups.

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