Gender, Social Conditioning and Sexuality


I’ve been talking a lot about sex and intimacy lately. This recent outlet of thoughts and feelings is a reflection of my personal account with my gender: the society-dubbed female, and this construct’s relationship to sexuality.

I’m at a point where I can look back on the scope of my life, and clearly see where things were damaging. There were probably several aspects that were equal culprits, but for this passage I’m diving into my experience as a female: an animal born by chance with one style of reproductive organs, placed in a pink blanket, and given dolls when I was clearly able to communicate that I’d rather play with dinosaurs.

I was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s pretty awesome in a lot of ways. I stick around because I genuinely like it. As I grew here, one can also bare witness to the soil which fed me.

It’s probably unnecessary to say this, but my city is more or less dripping with sexuality. The concept of sex, the coveted forbidden fruit, is plastered on every facet and so over-hyped, that it becomes blasé to its locals. So, I’ve been numb to all that shit since I was seven or eight.

From there, it is important to note that in 99% of the things I was exposed to in the city, sexual or otherwise, were being marketed to a male audience, with the traditional female archetype used as the tool of persuasion. Females were and are still all over the place. From my perspective as a kid, women were clearly a powerful icon indeed, yet I could also feel that something was off about this. Even as a child, I knew this was a false power.

The female form was the undisputed champion in representing sexuality. Women are sexualized EVERYWHERE here. The reality that I can’t unsee now, is that in truth, no one gives a shit about the female relation to this sexual headspace… or their experience of it. It isn’t spoken, but it is felt none-the-less, that whatever is being sold, isn’t being sold to us. It’s being sold by us… and therefore, isn’t ours. In the realm of sex, I grew up silently believing that I was the product.

Throughout my early years of sexual activity I assumed a performative roll in intimate situations, as though my experience of the account was inconsequential. I site this in my post from a few weeks ago [The Tell of Arousal], where I started piecing together my own head space regarding my current body of work (the sex stuff).

After thinking a lot about why I defaulted to this strange role in regard to intimacy, I see that it had a lot to do with social norms and the expectations of the society around me. On a deep bedrock level, I now realize I was sold that sex wasn’t for me, it was about me. What’s crazy, is that I didn’t even realize that I had this relationship with my own intimacy. My upbringing defined my perspective so completely it took me most of my life to zoom out and see around it.

While responding to this weight from my past, I’ve started writing (like I’m doing right now). My relationship with sexuality is less rage inciting and traumatic if I can at least try to make it relatable through the things I create. So, with art acting as the tried and true ointment its always been, I’m creating SHE BON among other things.

The SHE BON project is about the expectation vs the reality of arousal. This, which I’ve just told you about is at its epicenter.

In the past, my arousal was merely an abstraction. It was a concept that again, was created for the sake of my partner to heighten their enjoyment of sex. Creating big obvious electronic and mechanical indicators of my excitement is my way of making a joke out of this truth from my past. Yes, it is somewhat mocking. It’s suppose to be. But I’m mocking myself.

I’ve encountered dudes who have worn my arousal on their sleeve like its theirs to own- so I’m taking it back. My arousal is mine. Even if you had some part in it, I am feeling it for me, not for you. <3

I don’t want to put anyone on the defensive, but I do want to get people thinking… and more important, talking to one another. Social conditioning gives us a whole shit circus of false preconceptions, many of which are never checked because they’re things no one talks about. Just like the forbidden fruit: no one bothers telling you it was never an apple.

my thoughts on...

Our Most Basic

We should all talk about sex. Guys… gals… guys with gals. Everyone should feel comfortable talking with one another casually about sex and sexuality. Not out of perversion. Not out of lack of morality. Not in abandonment of social tact or the construct of “class”, but because our inability and unwillingness to normalize our most basic human right as animals is damaging to our relationship with one another.- and with ourselves.

Damaging. Yes. When I grew up, no one talked to me about fucking. The only cue I received from the world was that I should avoid engaging in sexual relations with guys. The world insinuated that if I did let another person enter my body, I was losing some loosely defined game; I was giving something up, or rather… that something was being taken from me by the other person. It was impressed upon me that my role in regard to sex and sexuality was that of victim. So I avoided it.

This underdeveloped concept of intimacy and sex eventually lead me into a slew of highly abusive, and outright heinous relationships with other men. I found myself with them, accepting their way of relating to me because I didn’t know any better. How could I? Their way of treating me became my base-line… one that has slowly been dragged into a better place over time. But you can still see the marks in the sand as a clear indicator of where it was dragged from.

It needs to be said. I never enjoyed sex physically until I was 24-years-old, the day I accidentally had my first orgasm in the bathroom of my college dorm while using a tiny bullet vibrator. When it happened, I had no clue what had happened. I was completely confused but pleasantly excited for the rest of the day because I had finally discovered what all the fuss was about.

Up until that fateful day with my “Adam and Eve” vibrator (that I only brought with me to college because my boyfriend expressed an interest in watching me use it), I believed that when I became aroused, this meant I was climaxing. I thought I was getting off, when in reality… I was just getting on; for the vast, disgusting percentage of it all, I didn’t even experience as much as that. Sex was primarily performative. Expressing enjoyment was not for myself, it was for the other party. It was to heighten their experience of me… like I were a ride at a theme park. I did this because I was afraid of the truth only I was aware of: That when I was being fucked, I felt nothing, it came to mean nothing, and that I hated it. I hated sex.

So there and then, at the humble age of 24, I begun my journey. I started to slowly understand who and what I was as a sexual being. I’m not that much older now, and I see that I have a long way to go until I feel better. “Better” being a vague term, used purposely.

A byproduct of this unengaged relationship with sex has been an almost radical denial of my biology; as if I were a mind-brain functioning in a vat of fluid, rather than a human. This is something that has flipped almost entirely 180 degrees in the past five years. I have a new wonder for my body and its desires; the ones I notice that I can’t control, and the ones I feel but can’t understand. They are my new favorite qualities about my self.

A 30-year-old woman now, as much as I despise babies and the concept of motherhood, I feel this overwhelming need to choose the right mate to produce a genetic flesh cocktail with. I see the men in my life differently, and this is good. Where as young Sarah chose her boyfriends and lovers for their intellectual merit alone, adult Sarah seems to gravitate towards the guy that smells good in just the right way, and causes the right neurons to fire when they touch me (I realize this is usually the opposite for most).

I have to point out that my current position isn’t all bad. Coming into my own sexual awareness so late in the game feels as though I’m binge watch a really good TV series that everyone else had to experience one episode at a time, once a week. This clearly defined and vibrant energy is something I can harness and use as inspiration to create things… and do things. It’s an awakening and it feels wonderful, if only in the same way we enjoy a rainbow after, and because of a storm.

I do think that if society, people, humans knew themselves enough to normalize an open discourse with one another regarding sex, I would have found myself in a better place when I was young. Since I can’t change anything about the past, the most I can do right now is enact the change I would like to see take place.

SEX. I talk about it. With people I know. With people I don’t know. During the night. During the day. In private. On my streams. If it comes up in conversation, I wont dance around it or talk in code. I think this is doing the younger generation a better service than to insinuate through uncomfortable silence that our most basic right as animals is a tabu.