Is a Banana Still a Banana When It’s Stripped?
So much is made of the choice not to have sex.
Why is that choice seen as harder or more
complicated than the choice to have sex?
Isn’t the choice to have sex, when you’ve made it,
always one that comes with its own kind of emotional
and psychological weight? Have you made a decision
to have sex which didn’t have consequences both
positive and negative?
Public conversations about the choice not to have sex
often feel as if they erase the crucially important fact
that choosing to have sex is always a choice.
If it isn’t a choice, that’s what we call sexual
assault or rape. Consensual sex is, by definition,
always a choice.
It’s true that the narrow way sexuality is constructed in western media has an impact on the choices we understand ourselves to have and the ones we make.
We aren’t all affected in the same way. The weight of this difference is felt more heavily for anyone who can’t (or won’t) try to conform to its skinny, white, straight, non-disabled, cis-gendered form.
The ways our options are limited by systemic oppression and violence doesn’t negate the fact that each of us can still make our own choices.
When the conversation is about choice, as opposed to what one’s sexual life is like with or without sexual activities, the differences between choosing to have sex or not aren’t actually so great.
When you strip away the generalizations and actually talk to people about their sexual lives, you usually find that in a culture that is so punitive and unjust, every choice we make about sex is a choice worth talking about.
I’m not suggesting choosing to have sex feels the same for everyone, or that the choice to have sex is the same as the choice not to have sex.