23/12/2017

SEX ED | all sex talk but no "real sex"

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photo from my series "No Penetration" exhibited at Soft Within's art show Leftovers

it’s happened quite a few times: the surprised look when i tell someone how long i haven’t had sex. the shock when i say that the number of sexual partners i’ve been with could literally be counted on one hand. and then there’s me saying something like “lol yeah, i know, my work’s all about sex but i actually don’t have that much experience or sex per se, guess that’s life, haha, oops, um well” (yes, sophisticated speech isn’t one of my strengths). and then i talk about my demisexuality (feeling sexual attraction to people only once you’ve established some sort of bond/relationship with them), my own body limits (vaginismus), and inability to have one night stands or purely casual sex. “oh wow, aha.” then, when i’m alone again, i get into these long debates with myself about the authenticity of my ~art~ – maybe i’m just not as much of a sexual human being as i present myself to be… am i a hypocrite? am i just pretentious? am i trying to monetize (if i ever got some money off of my art, that is) sexuality? nah, because quite recently i realized where the real problem lays, and it’s definitely not my sexual experience.

one thing is that we are accustomed to think of sexuality only in connection to another person—but only to one; sex with more people is twisted and sinful and what not, of course—so whenever we say sex, we think of two people having the intercourse. sex is a union, a collaborative act, it’s two pieces forming one. only that it’s not. let alone threesomes, foursomes, i-don’t-know-how-many-somes, gangbangs etc. etc., we also completely disregard sex that is most likely to please the majority of people – masturbation. or, as i prefer to say, solo sex, to get rid of that stupid shameful stigma attached to the word "masturbation." and, as those who joined my talk at Alt*Pride in Prague this summer already know, i think that’s a) bullshit, b) a real shame.

of course, now when you take a step back and think of it, it is extremely apparent that the force at play here is the religious anti-masturbation discourse, the holy unity of marriage, the carefully executed and maintained heteronormative system. masturbation is disgraceful and unnatural, it is something to be ashamed of, yet pretty much everyone does it, right? and why? because it’s fucking awesome. it feels amazing, it makes you relaxed, it releases happy hormones,… it’s a way of self-care, of survival tactics, of systematic rewarding and nurturing.

(hetero) sexual experience doesn’t validate or signify one’s sexuality. being (or feeling) sexual isn’t determined by one’s sex partner count (which is a really offensive practice in its essence anyway). you can definitely be a-/demi-sexual, or have trauma that makes your relationship with sex difficult, or anything else, to be interested in and openly discuss sexuality and sex as a topic. sex isn’t only about the act itself, it’s about the power dynamics, the relationship of those who perform it, gender roles, kinks, and so many other things, which can perfectly be examined quite separately.

to conclude, the visual work i do predetermines nothing about the kind of sex i have, and therefore everyone should cut out on that surprise. embracing sexuality doesn’t mean being promiscuous (which i’m not trying to bash, of course), and, what’s more, there’s no such thing as “accurate amount of sexual experience” or something like that to qualify you for talking about sex.

so, can you be interested in sex and be sex-positive even though you’ve never done it, not with someone nor solo? of course, hun!

30/11/2017

LUV | that’s not romantic, that’s fucked up

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earlier this year, i was in what could be called as an emotionally manipulative, abusive long-distance relationship (which, i’m only now finding out, fucked me up way more than i expected). now i don’t wanna go into details of this particular story, but ever since that happened to me, i’ve been really interested in reading articles about emotional abuse in relationships, and in re-examining the way relationships are constructed in our society.

i don’t think i could really practice polyamory myself, given how difficult it is for me to even feel comfortable enough around one single person, let alone more (plus jealousy plus anxiety etc. etc.), but i really like the whole way polyamorous relationships are constructed – that is, as relationships of people who are equal and still remain independent and “themselves.” all partners still keep a lot of freedom and their own identity, yet the bond between them seems to be way more intense and in a way friendlier than in many mono relationships (another great thing polyamory praises is open communication, which i think is crucial in maintaining healthy and fair relationships—and not only the romantic ones—and i am actively learning and trying to practice that, but more about that in another article, perhaps).

compared to that, many “normal” relationships have a very controlling nature, which is seen as absolutely ok in our society. we are told that jealousy is in fact a sign of deep love, that excessive neediness is too, that those who blindly chase an unrequited love are the pure romantics (like, hey, this whole “always” Snape storyline in Harry Potter is actually incredibly creepy, isn’t it?). all the “i don’t wear this kind of clothing anymore because my partner doesn’t like it” or “i would like to cut my hair but my partner thinks it’d look horrible.” people neglecting their friendships because their partner doesn’t like them. giving up hobbies or starting new ones just to make the partner happy. you’d think that it would be better with the younger generation, but when you think of it, it might be even worse – stalking or demanding to see candid pictures of partners to “check on them” are seen as regular practices, which is really crazy. all of that – that’s not love, that’s possession.

jealous scenes, consuming relationships that don’t leave you any time or space to see anyone else, partners trying to “advice” you on your looks or life decisions (which is, simply, just a form of manipulation)… how can we see that as romantic? obviously, our society is not approving of this in all forms and levels, but when you think of it, such control is unhealthy even in a small dose. what i want to say is that we disguise a lot of abuse and manipulation under the cover of romance and “true love,” creating a very unhealthy environment for pretty much everyone.

i wish i could say that my life, my relationships, and, most of all, my mind is free of all this control and manipulation, but, unfortunately, of course it isn’t. and i am not even sure if it’s really possible to entirely get rid of this mindset so deeply ingrained in each of us thanks to our fucked up society, but one can still try and fight against it by analyzing their own thoughts and behavior, assessing whether it’s fair or not to treat someone that way, and whether they would like to be treated like that themselves. it’s like that with many fucked up things our society tells us to do or be from the day we are born – sometimes, we just have to acknowledge that these ideas will maybe always stay creeping in the corner of our mind, but that doesn’t mean we have to act upon them; by actively challenging them and refusing to perpetuate them, we can fuel the much-needed change, and that’s what matters the most.

love shouldn’t be about control or possession, but about compassion and mutual respect.

24/09/2017

GENDER | open queer library

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it's no secret how much i hate how elitist queer academia is. i think it's a bunch of bullshit that these highly educated academics preach about how we need to destroy class and gender and all other unfair structures prevalent in our society, but make it virtually impossible for anyone without a university degree to be able to read those revolutionary works they take so much pride in writing. posh language is one thing, but it's also about access to those works; which is often very rare.

and i say, what a crap. i'm sick of information being available only to those who are approved by the academic circle. and because i don't wanna end up like those dear academics, complaining about this and that but staying in my educated bubble without actually doing anything to change it, i've set up a lil online open queer library for anyone interested. it's all the PDFs i have saved on my computer, some real classics of queer studies, some more niche studies. i've done PDF giveaways on my Instagram before, so why not make it available for everyone all the time?

it's not much, but it's at least a little step forward to making the stupid academia a bit more accessible, isn't it? so just click the link below and read, read, read, my dears, there sure is a lot of interesting stuff!

online queer library open to all

here's what you can find there so far (will keep on updating):

Sandra Lee Bartky – Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power

bell hooks – Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

bell hooks – Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics

Simone de Beauvoir – The Second Sex

Leo Bersani – Is the Rectum a Grave?

Judith Butler – Bodies That Matter

Judith Butler – Gender Trouble

Judith Butler – Undoing Gender

Judith Butler and Performativity for Beginners (worksheet, summary of Butler's theories)

Tim Dean – Mediated intimacies: Raw sex, Truvada, and the biopolitics of chemoprophylaxis

Michel Foucault – Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Michel Foucault – The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction

Jack Halberstam – Gaga Feminism

Annamarie Jagose – Feminism & Psychology

Toril Moi – From Femininity to Finitude: Freud, Lacan, and Feminism, Again

Laura Mulvey – Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema

Juana Maria Rodriguez – Queer Sociality and Other Sexual Fantasies

Gayle S. Rubin – Thinking Sex


have fun, educate yourself, and make academia queer again!