Let’s talk about sexy

Spencer Janyk

Bodies are sexual and rhythmic, they sing and laugh and talk. Sometimes bodies ache or hurt. Sometimes they get drunk or fall asleep.

Bodies can keep secrets: bruises, marks, tattoos, holes.

Bodies can tell stories.

Bodies do: writing, screwing, dancing, eating. Bodies can be unruly: they can have shapes or colors or functions or smells or pasts that make them subject to the cruelty and violence of others.

Sex isn’t dirty or gross or bad. Some people want to have sex, and that’s okay. There’s no “right kind” of sex just like there’s no “right kind” of person. One of my favorite feminist additions to our cultural lexicon is “slut-shaming,” loosely defined as rhetoric that marks others as wrong or bad for having sex or being sexual.

I’m sick of slut-shaming. Not only for my friends and family, but for celebrities, children and queers.

One of the main arguments forwarded by conservative intellectuals is that our sexual culture is too promiscuous. This is just another way to police peoples’ behavior. People should be able to have sex whenever and maybe even wherever they want.

I was not 18 the first time I had sex, and I expect many readers had sex before they were 18 as well. I also remember being strongly attracted to older people. It is for all of these reasons that when Miley Cyrus takes sexy picture of herself that my reaction is one of support.

Sometimes I feel sexy, and for me it’s a good feeling. Maybe not everyone has that feeling, but I don’t think we should try to limit the way that people can express themselves.

Forcing someone to adopt sexual behaviors that they don’t like or find offensive is obviously violent and it’s clearly something that should be avoided, but media depictions of such sexuality certainly don’t force anyone to do anything.

Celebrating Disney for slut-shaming its female representatives falsely contributes to the idea that we should be censoring and stifling the sexuality of young people as if its something dirty or bad.

People of all ages explore their bodies and others’ bodies, and that’s not something to be afraid or ashamed of. Far from being responsible, I think the images of sexuality (and race) that Disney presents are overwhelmingly harmful. I mean, c’mon, Song of the South? Aladdin? Mulan?  

Lindsay Lohan is making space in popular culture for the existence of lesbian relationships and she should be celebrated, not attacked, for doing so. Maybe she’s a “skank” for having sex, but I prefer to think that just means she’s a “person.”

Yes, this can also be taken to mean that sex work is okay, that intergenerational, interracial or even interclass relationships are okay, and that children should be allowed access to information about sex and sexuality. Gripping tightly to conservative sexual moralism doesn’t help anyone, but it does help shame a lot of people who just want to have big, toe-curling orgasms with the people they like.