Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Thoughts on Owning Sexuality

I heard this phrase three times this past weekend and decided to give some more thought as to what “owning sexuality” means.

First, the context – where I heard the phrase:
1) Gene Simmons on VH1’s “When Playboy Ruled the World” special in a discussion of the merits of the magazine and wild parties at the Mansion.

2) A&E’s special “Cleavage.” A burlesque performer listing the benefits of burlesque as opposed to modern day stripping. She said something to the effect of 'women in burlesque are owning their sexuality. They are determining how and when their clothes come off.’ My first thought was that the women who work at Déjà Vu do the same thing but I think she was getting at the difference between burlesque and stripping in terms of class, character, and the art of teasing as opposed to rubbing super-sensitive body parts in faces and against other super-sensitive body parts.

3) In this month’s issue of Glamour magazine. An article on spring break and how the girls in Cancun go insane during the month of March. Some of the women interviewed said their wild, promiscuous behavior was about “owning their sexuality.” They also saw spring break as a rite of passage, something they had to do and experience. (Empress’ note: I like to remember my good times… being piss-drunk on a smelly beach with other smelly people doesn’t qualify. Nor does waking up in someone else’s hotel room and wondering ‘how did I get here?’)

My questions:

1) Is sexuality an object, like a toaster, that can be owned? Does one purchase it in a store? I’ve never seen it in Target.

2) Why is it that in order to own your sexuality, you need to be doing something risqué and promiscuous? Can one be modest and more feminine and still own her sexuality. I’m not sure they really know what it means to own your sexuality. I’m not sure I do – which is why this entry was started in the first place.

3) Do we EVER hear that phrase applied to men?

The answer to question 3 is “No, because men’s sexuality rises up to greet us. It’s quite visible.”

So, what does it mean to own your sexuality? As Elena pointed out in our discussion of this subject (between fits of laughter at the thought of sexuality being available in the toaster aisle), they may be getting sexuality and sensuality confused. Sexuality is determined by biology for the most part, despite what the theorists say. I’m female and am attracted to men. Simple enough. Sensuality, on the other hand, is what I do to make myself attractive to men – looking like a girl as opposed to some freakish uber-frau for example.

Sensuality can be purchased. Make-up, perfume, new clothes, new shoes, more shoes, more dresses, lipstick… oops sorry. The external mixed with what’s in here *points to her skull* creates sensuality. And I am very old school about this. I don’t need to truck down to Daytona, do a handstand on stage and have some random guy eat whipped cream off my coochie (yeah – the picture was in the article. *shudder*) to declare that I’m a woman.

Hear me roar.