Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On Pornography and Sexual Athleticism

image is from here
[Added to at the end, on 9 March 2012.]

It is often argued by pro-pornography consumers and sexxxism industry producers and investors that the actors in pornography films are amazing human beings demonstrating a kind of Olympian ability to have sex over and over and over again. Below is one such comment that appeared here: http://nextgenjournal.com/2012/02/inside-pornography-a-rational-feminist-critique/

It is the first comment offered following the article by Larisa Manescu.

Jim Graham [writes:]
It is true that since the mid-90's, BDSM-inspired power play has become the dominant style of sex act portrayed in mainstream pornography. There is quite a bit more slapping and choking in the porn scenes released from the mainstream porn industry over the last 20 years, but this is not just because of the porn industry's traditional misogyny (though there certainly is that).

Porn stars are sexual athletes who demonstrate advanced sex play for the viewer's pleasure. Anal sex and threesomes are advanced sex. These (and most) porn sex acts are activities that many sexual beginners hope to experience one day, and as they become more sexually advanced these men and women (swingers, poly, kinky sluts, and other monogamish people) often live out their fantasies, with or without integrating elements of power play. The extreme acts that you mention (ATM, gagging, DP/DV/DA, etc.) are much dirtier than regular sex, and porn stars make their money by pushing boundaries, but not unusual at a private sex party.

While the women in most pornography are portrayed as submissive, please keep in mind that there are thousands of porn scenes where the man is dominated, cuckolded or otherwise made to submit in the same ways.

All modern sex scenes include more spitting than ever before, which you and I probably agree is much less appealing, but for most porn watchers sloppier is dirtier and indicates that the actress is putting some effort into it, and that is exactly what the average porn watcher is looking for - a woman who they find attractive pushing her sexual boundaries while devoting her attention to her sex partner(s) until everyone is satisfied. That is the porn I watch, from studios like Elegant Angel and Belladonna Productions.

"The thought is that pornography, in the late 20th century, could have adopted entirely different sexual practices, ones more intimate, realistic and yet still erotic and stimulating. However, at the expense of the woman, it spiraled down a more intense, risky, and demeaning path."

Various people (most famously Candida Royalle) have tried to convince the porn industry that they should produce erotic imagery that women would also enjoy, but I don't believe that there was ever a time where the industry would have adopted different sexual practices, or had the talent to portray the more subtle sex play that you wish porn provided, until today. As more women and couples purchase porn for their mutual enjoyment, then the now internet-diversified industry will produce a wide range of videos that are intended for more than just male masturbation.
This is my response:
Julian Real replies:

I want to respond to this statement specifically (but also to the whole of the comment): "Porn stars are sexual athletes who demonstrate advanced sex play for the viewer's pleasure."

From all the people I know who engage in or have engaged in casual-sex-for-money, within or outside systems of prostitution and procurement, within or outside systems of sexual slavery, I'm not hearing that "advanced sex" and "sexual athlet[icism]" are the most accurate, appropriate, or pertinent terms to use, any more than someone working twelve to fourteen hours per day in a sweat shop ought to be considered an "income athlete", or someone who is showing the rest of us how to do it (work-for-pay) better or more maturely. Your analysis leaves out (curiously and completely) the trauma involved in being physically invaded and assaulted by many people over many days. For empathy-building, I'd suggest you go out and engage in the kind of "sex" that is promoted by corporate pimps and let me know if you find it untraumatic. But as someone who might potentially be your friend, I wouldn't advise you do so.

There is a rather cynical and callous assumption built into an argument for valuing such sexual athleticism that there are, in fact, some people--some peculiarly abuse-immune class of human beings--who can and do manage to engage in serially physically, emotionally, and spiritually abusive and exploitive "sex acts" and *not* be traumatised by them. We might note that if the acts weren't abusive, drug abuse as a requirement for getting through a day or night of them might not be so ubiquitous.

If you could only have body-pummeling sex by being drugged or drunk, your dearest friends might question whether the sexual behavior was good for you. (As well as the excessive daily drug and alcohol consumption.) If the performance of such sexual athletics necessitates dangerous levels of drug abuse and often unconscious dissociation to simply be part of it, ought we not demonstrate at least occasional compassion for those of us who are inside systems of sexual exploitation, abuse, and slavery? Every person I have known who has willfully engaged in these forms of sex were either grossly sexually assaulted first, learning at a young age that they ought not have some basic and fundamental sexual boundaries that perhaps you enjoy, or they were bullied, battered, threatened and terrorised inside the systems after being part of them. If it is shown beyond question that pre-existing or on-site sexual, physical, and economic trauma is a de facto requirement for being part of the systems of procurement and slavery, I'd argue that we ought to condemn and organise against the owners and financial investors of such systems of terror and horror and, through available avenues of jurisprudence, throw the serial rapists and corporate pimps in prison.

As for this: "While the women in most pornography are portrayed as submissive, please keep in mind that there are thousands of porn scenes where the man is dominated, cuckolded or otherwise made to submit in the same ways." 

We must keep in mind that when men are submitting to women, it is always their choice to submit: they choose to do so because it is their sexual fetish or desire to submit. This demonstrates to me only that men maintain control of sexuality however and whenever they wish to. Het men being a sexual submissive in no way means he's not in charge of the whole scene being acted out. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On White and Male Privilege and Power

image is from here

First up, things for me to be grateful for today:

I have food for the day and for tomorrow too.
I am not worried about starving or dying from ingesting unclean water.
I have easy access to clean water and to shelter that is relatively safe.
I live in a region of the world that isn't being bombed (or militarily invaded) by the US and NATO.
I live in a place that white male supremacist society doesn't designate as an appropriate place to bury nuclear waste and other highly toxic, cancer-causing chemicals.
I am not considered a failure for not having children and a spouse by now.
I am not physically immobilised.

When we consider that most females are not safe in their own homes, and that most people of color are under assault by whites and their police forces, we may conclude correctly that based on this and on the implications of what's written above, I am white, male, able-bodied, and class-advantaged. The additional facts of me being ethnically and sexually marginalised and stigmatised by dominant society isn't central to what follows.

With thanks to Kathy Miriam for getting a particular conversation going, I have been re-assessing the prolific use of the term "privilege" in some self-defined progressive to radical circles. What I have been thinking about since pondering her perspective on this (see *here* for that), isn't only the individualism that can be woven into the use of the term "privilege" (which Kathy addresses).

I'm also thinking about how such a term, such as "privilege", can alienate or be off-putting to non-blogging, non-academic people (aka, "the majority"). I'm thinking at this moment of my family-of-origin, and how the only time they'll likely use the term privilege is to acknowledge that something is a pleasure to be part of, as in: "It's a privilege to be at this event." But to be honest, that's not likely a phrase that'd come out of their mouths. They'd more likely say, "I'm thrilled to be here" and leave it at that.

I'm also thinking about how the term is often a linguistic cover for something more broadly pernicious that I do believe ought to be regularly and plainly named both on the interpersonal front and on the institutional front as well: abusive power, oppressive power, and unjust advantages and entitlements afforded to some classes of people and acted out against other classes of people.

"Privilege" is frequently used to bring attention to how oppressive behavior and practice is acted out interpersonally. When this attention obscures or eclipses larger structural and systemic realities, it can leave us with the impression that if we only attended to the interpersonal realm more, we might achieve something radically better than what we now have. I do see the term used primarily to give a name to the many ways individuals aren't mindful, accountable, and responsible in the ways they act out structural position and power against oppressed people.

It might be good to investigate why this is too often necessary. One huge, on-going, decades-long critique of the white male Left (especially but not only radical environmentalists, Socialists, and anarchists) is that they declare what is radical and revolutionary in "political action" while ignoring the interpersonal realm almost completely as a site of oppressive (read: structural, political) behavior. How many white male progressives and radicals tell sexist and racist jokes or center whiteness and maleness as "just human" without questioning this as anti-radical, anti-revolutionary (harmful, hurtful, insulting, oppressive, status quo) practice? How many times do whites and men behave in racist/sexist ways without challenging one another? How do whites and men reduce horrors like the international trafficking and enslaving of poor girls of color to one system of harm only? In my experience, whites and men usually and typically do not call each other out on our racist/white supremacist and sexist/male supremacist behavior, when it occurs in words or other non-verbal actions.

The assumption that whites and men can and ought to speak for all people has not shifted much in the last forty years, although I do notice a few more men these days using less sexist language. (Police officer instead of policeman, for example.) Anthologies by and about oppressed people, when edited by whites and men, still presume that anything written by a white or male person can be relatively universal, addressing the whole oppressed group, for example. Meanwhile the voice that is female, Black, Brown, or Indigenous is structurally presented as only ever able to speak for that group only. (So, the chapter or few chapters in which the writings by women of color are predominant are not likely to be presented as addressing the larger universal themes of the book--even when they do.) Find me the book edited by whites or men that presents the views of Indigenous, Brown, and Black women as "universal" and addressing the whole of humanity, with whites and men in the same volume only speaking about white and male experience as particularly white and male, and I'll be surprised: I've not seen it.

When oppressed people call out oppressive behavior in their oppressors, I believe it is important to heed the counsel of Pearl Cleage, expressed in Deals With The Devil and Other Reasons to Riot: listen in a posture of non-defensiveness. Too often oppressor-class people, especially whites and men, in my experience, move instantly and reflexively into a posture of self-defense, defense of our allegedly good name, our allegedly good political work, our allegedly good group. We resist knowing how we are being hurtful and harmful because we are invested in a sense of ourselves as "Radical" and "Good". Radical and self-identified good people, if white or male, are still positioned to act out oppressively against women of color on all fronts: interpersonal, social, and institutional (whether religious, economic, or otherwise). And our efforts to be responsible, accountable, and conscious don't mean we stop being positioned to be oppressors every minute of the day.

Irresponsible, non-accountable, and unconsciously oppressive actions come into sharp, cutting focus in online communities, which, in the comments sections especially, are one realm of the interpersonal. I suspect that is why "privilege" shows up there as a concern.

All of that said, social-political advantages and power when exercised by speakers against those they/we structurally oppress, are reflecting and reinforcing larger social-political realities. Regardless of the thoughtfulness and sensitivity of our micro interpersonal actions, it is usually the case that many other aspects of our lives support the more macro systems and institutions that are murderous to women, to the poor, to people of color, and to Indigenous peoples globally.

Radical political change requires attention to multiple realms of human existence, not in an either/or way. My political practice ought not consist of detailing anti-status-quo analysis of race and sex while doing so in ways that are unconsciously white-splaining and man-splaining. Rendering my own racial and sexual position, location, and advantages, and power irrelevant and invisible in a radical political conversation is one form of white-splaining and man-splaining, after all.

At this blog and away from it, I work to support radical practices in myself and other people that refuse to accept the expression of whiteness as being unraced, irrelevant, or universal, and the exercise of manhood as being just human, not gendered in politically harmful ways.

When whiteness and manhood is acted out visibly as such, it often does oppressive harm. And when it is acted out while also rendered invisible, it does at least as much oppressive harm.

I want the institutional power and systemic destructiveness, not just the interpersonal "privilege" of whiteness and manhood to be made conscious, to be challenged, and to be overthrown.

After being asked several questions by interviewers on topics they wished to hear her discuss, Andrea Dworkin was asked if she had anything else she wanted to say. I hope those of us who are white, male, and class-advantaged who are working for radical social change take notice of the explicitly intersectional and pro-activist answer she gave:
AD: I want to say more than anything that the Women’s Movement has a chance to do something miraculous, which is to really tear down these hierarchies of sex and race and class. We can do it, but the way that you do it is not through rhetorical denunciations of injustice. You do it through attacking institutions of injustice through political action. That hasn’t changed. That’s what we have to do. The other thing I would like to say is, do something. You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be pure, do what you can do. Do it. Life is short and you don’t know when it is going to end for you, so do it, do it now. [Source: here]

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Voice is Silent: Whitney Houston (1963-2012) dies too young at age 48

photograph of Whitney Houston is from here
I'm very sad that Whitney Houston is gone. My prayers are with her family and friends, especially her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and her mother, the gospel singer Cissy Houston.

Below are two classic songs she popularised that I most associate with her.

"I Will Always Love You", written by Dolly Parton:

"The Greatest Love of All". From Wikipedia:

"The Greatest Love of All" is a song written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and originally recorded by Jane Olivor & then again by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. The song was later popularized by Whitney Houston. Creed wrote the lyrics in the midst of her struggle with breast cancer. The words describe her feelings about coping with great challenges that one must face in life, being strong during those challenges whether you succeed or fail, and passing that strength on to children to carry with them into their adult lives. Creed eventually succumbed to the disease in April 1986 at the age of 36; at the time her song was an international hit by Whitney Houston.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest post by Itoro Udofia: "Shedding Tears, Looking Back, Moving Forward"

Below is a cross post from Itoro's blog, Thoughts of My Mind (published Jan. 7 of this year). She has welcomed me to re-publish it below as a guest post. I am very grateful to her and am honored to have her voice and perspective as part of this blog. I hope this is not her last guest post. I also hope you take a lot from what follows. The wonderful artwork is by activist Catalina Nieto; I got her permission to reprint it here. Blessings to Itoro and to Catalina.


It's the New Year and I am well aware that a thoughtful post has been a long time coming. Much happened in the 2010-2011 year to leave the very core of my spirit shaken। To ring in the New Year I want to use this space to begin having more of a dialogue about, naming the unnamed, articulating habits and actions that often remain hidden in our circles of safety, community building and radical organizing. I am glad to know that there have been a flurry of articles and activists courageously addressing the many types of violence, violation and abuse we oppose so valiantly in the presence of our obvious enemies, and then practice those same habits in more subtle ways, sheltered in the safety of our homes, our places of organizing and our personal relationships.
My reasoning for wanting more of these conversations have been propelled by the painful experiences I went through trying to organize from the past couple of years, and finally 2010-2011 was the year that broke my heart and made me look at things as I had never done before. I had found that somewhere along the line, I allowed myself to become everything I did not want to become. When advising me on this situation, one of my close friends said, “You have to be there. And whatever you do. Don’t let them win.” By my actions, I had…let them win. I became profoundly silent and debilitated. I had internalized many of the harsh criticisms, cutting eyes, controlling gazes and all the denials, silence and betrayals that accompanied it, all of that had been stored inside myself. Finally, something deep, that thing that somehow held me together, broke. In the end, I spent most of my time in tears and confusion.
I began to believe that I did not deserve genuine relationships, honest answers and even so much as a civil conversation. More insidiously, especially in White radical spaces, I began to feel that I only existed to help others with their own liberation and that it was my job to take those risks for them. Any destructive habits or actions was “just a part of their process” and needed not to be taken so personally. If I dare uttered that I was tired, then it was a selfish gesture and I better be careful because clearly I did not have enough love for the people. In the end, I truly believed that I was a problem that needed to be fixed and perhaps the contempt was well deserved.
Therefore, any type of humiliation, bullying or downright ignorance experienced must have been warranted somehow, because after all, don’t people who often experience the worst of what humans have to offer deserve this anyway? Isn’t this the way the world is? After all, we’re not so bad, the world is much worse! And besides, White people are trying! They’re getting it, they’re moving…at their own pace, I mean so what if they talk too much! You should talk more. So really, there should be no support, no structures, no anything because this is the world anyway. Nasty. And I’m sure not gonna do anything to make it better. Better yet, I’ll watch. And besides the way I treat you isn’t really the big issue here, the issue is actually about this, so the way you are feeling is simply just that, a feeling that has no merit here. The list of the ways we annihilate one another goes on.
Never mind the sarcasm (and the speaking of bitterness), but please hear this. You can tell the type of inner work and reflection one does by the way they regard you the next morning. That’s the part of decolonization I’d like to talk more about. How far we’re willing to go in the action (or inaction) that is soon to come afterward, because when it comes time for us to really fight the more “relevant” issues, I simply want to know that you’re going to have my back and take that risk for us, rather than just try to save yourself. That’s a principled decision, and even indecision becomes a principle. The issue of how we regard one another is not mutually exclusive from the “real” issue.
I feel like so many of us have been saying this in so many ways and it still doesn’t get through. If issues of power, privilege and dominance are not addressed, or remain compartmentalized isms simply to be addressed at one’s convenience, there is a way these missing links begin to reflect the organization, its principles, its problem solving skills and analysis. Often, when particular links are carefully left in exchange for immediate comfort, the complexity of the conversations that need to be had are swiftly flattened, and entire histories and knowledges of many different people are left out only to be further forgotten as we move forward on the “real” issue. But who’s left picking up the slack later? And exactly who do we often find ourselves picking slack up for? …After all, doesn’t this economic system rely on such supreme tendencies and relations to strengthen itself? Class is fundamental, but it does not exist within a vacuum.
And this was the greatest contradiction I experienced in 2010-2011, that need. That conditioned need that has been essential to saving this system. It’s that need to hoard and save oneself, and rely on carefully guarded supremacies and secrets to do it. And let’s not play around, we often know who is allowed to get by with this type of behavior unscathed. And not to say I didn’t try many times to bury myself in silence, often because I was tired, painfully uncomfortable, afraid and at times downright cowardly. But even despite all those things, I never had the luxury to escape. I had to learn real quick how things were. The system was not built on us escaping or as Audre Lorde puts it, us even surviving. But, we’re still here to tell the tale. For 2012-2013, I want us to continue to be brave enough to tell the tale and strengthen ourselves. I want us to speak out and just say it, because we know the lies that are there to explain reality, and we also know that for some reason not enough people are being honest.
So I’ll end the story here, because many of us have lived through these stories in many ways, and hurt in many ways because of them. So this is for us who cannot simply get up and walk away, escape, and remain willfully ignorant. For us who have made mistakes and are doing the work necessary to undo the lies the master taught us. For those of us willing to risk in solidarity, risk for unity and think beyond immediate comfort. Time and energy is of prime importance, and it is often something stolen from us as we fight daily for our humanity, bread and full development. I have been weighing how I want to spend my time and energy, and have decided that there are certain things I am no longer willing to negotiate for the New Year.

  1. I am worthy of a loving community that wants to work for the full development of all human beings, and yes, this also includes some level of “emotional” support
  2. No more compartmentalizing! No more escapes! No more selective listening and speaking! We need an analysis that includes us all।
  3. No more disrespect, nastiness and violence towards people we claim we love and/or support। Yes the world is nasty, but we certainly don’t make it any more sustaining or accountable by letting things go on as they are and remaining silent when we see someone we love hurting. We should try to lessen the suffering, not exacerbate it. Since when is it okay to begin looking at each other through the same eyes our greatest exploiters and beneficiaries on this earth do? We already know all too well what it is to hurt, however, it is clear we need to do more work on what it means to love and truly make a world where all our basic needs are met. We do not deserve the worst of everything!
In 2012-2013, I will be tender towards myself and those I love, I will not espouse words and phrases without practicing them to the fullest extent of what they mean, I will be honest and forthright, disciplined and resilient। I am not a problem to be fixed, this system and the ways in which we regard one another needs fixing and it has to be a people effort. By no means, is this a fluffy, kumbaya type of sentiment, or something that can be simply theorized into abstraction for the comfort of not truly practicing it in reality. This is quite material and concrete. This means, that the power has to be laid down, the hoarding has to be laid down, the lies have to be laid down, put on the table and directly talked about. The ability to imagine everyone there as equals also has to be put on the table so we can say it is a true possibility for us.
Happy New Year! Happy Blog Space! And Happy many spaces we are creating to do the work that needs to be done!

The beautiful artwork featured here is from fellow warrior and activist Catalina Nieto. Her work has been featured here in previous posts. I am happy to say that many people have taken notice of her amazing work! Re-posted from Thoughts of My Mind, http://thoughtsofmymind-itoro.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living a Public and Private Life as a Profeminist

image is from photobucket here
With my next post being my 1700th, I thought it was about time I shared with my readers a few thoughts about being a socially advantaged white male and an anti-racist pro-feminist.

I've been blogging for coming up on four years (well, three and a half at this point, although to be honest it feels like seven or eight). Few of my posts are about me... I mean really ABOUT ME. There are several reasons for this. One is that I feel and think there's far too much "white males talking about ourselves" happening habitually offline and on. Also, this blog, increasingly, has become woman of color-centered and woman of color-focused, with some posts about white women's work and men of color's work, and a few tossed in about work being done by white men.

I've seen so many white males develop political agendas and perspectives that assume that what happens to white males is happening to everyone--the way it happens to white men. Not only is this false on many levels, but something happens when we make men and whites the center of our viewpoints and political agendas. What happens is, by effect or by intent, women of color's lives get invisibilised, distorted, or subsumed in the assumptions about humanity that go along with centering white men as the standard of being human.

Also, though, there's the issue of what happens when white males speak out about anything at all. People listen to us differently, often enough. And the way that white males insinuate ourselves into history books and academic journals, in Western religious teachings and secular law-making, in global affairs and sports, in medicine and music, as the heroes", "the great ones", "the experts" and "the geniuses", I am left feeling a bit reluctant to promote or communicate much about myself here.

I won't publish photos of myself for many reasons but one reason is that once a white male has a public face, that face may then be associated with all the things that are typically and habitually afforded white men in racist patriarchal societies. I also won't appear on radio or television even though I've been asked. I won't become a public figure "in person" because I think doing so ends up promoting the person at least as much as the things the person is addressing in media. I've gotten into some trouble with this. Some people think I should be far more "out there" and "public" about myself.

I've also been asked to co-lead some feminist groups. Not gonna happen. I don't believe males should do so. I've seen it happen and the way it usually works is this: white women work with white men to promote feminist practices, or men of color work with white men to promote anti-racist political perspectives. What happens time and again ad nauseam is that women of color are left out and left behind, in the work of whites and men.

What also happens a lot is that white men earn money for promoting feminist ideas and for teaching Women's Studies courses (I am on record as believing that under no circumstances should white men teach Women's Studies courses--there are too many out-of-work women of all colors with the training and education to do so). And there are white men who earn a living on their anti-racist views while people of color--especially women of color--generally earn nothing at all for promoting and advocating anti-racist practice and political work. Enough members of the liberal and progressive side of society adores the white men who do this work and public and private institutions rewards them much more than they reward women of color who do this work--far longer than the white men have been doing it. It is also the case that I can do my work not-for-money and still pay my bills. So I acknowledge that economic privilege being a factor in my refusal to be paid for any political work I do.

My whiteness and maleness shows up in my work, hopefully in self-critical, transparent, and responsible ways. That's my objective. Along with all the other readers, I want white males to read this work and see what it means to value the work of women of color--to witness an example of that happening. The fact that I know of no other white males who do this alerts me to the emergency of white males ignoring the lives and theories of politically active women of color. Not that we're surprised.

I have an emotional life. I have a private life. Each is shaped by my social and structural advantages and disadvantages. My life straddles many hierarchies. Most of my political work, by far, is done offline and most of my readers don't know about that work because that's how I've organised my life. I live privately while also fully accountable to all the women in my private life. I've welcomed the women who know me well (meaning: not just someone who I've exchanged a few emails with) to make public anything that they experience as misogynistic or a form of mistreatment. My friendships with women go back a long time from over twenty-five years to just a couple of years; thus far no woman in my personal life has found it necessary to publicly report on my behaviors as being harmful to them personally or to women generally.

This certainly doesn't mean I haven't triggered or upset women in my private life. I have--far too often. While I believe there's no way to be emotionally involved with someone without that happening, I'd add that I've also taken way too long to "get it" about some of the ways I've been emotionally triggering, to one woman in particular. Our friendship has survived my too-slow pace and fortunately that triggering hasn't happened for many months. I work hard at being accountable, which for me means being present, empathic, caring, responsible, and responsive. I don't value mind games and emotional coercion. I detest meanness and cruelty. I'm not a physically aggressive person, I suspect because I didn't grow up in homes that were that way: I didn't learn how to be physically aggressive and when picked on and bullied, I never fought back. I'm glad I've never punched or hit anyone, not that the bullies didn't deserve to be stopped. But I doubt my punches would have stopped them.

Most of my friendships are with women and I've arranged, with sufficient health care coverage in place, to bring most of my own inner and difficult emotional work to a health care professional not to my women friends: we all know how rapidly and readily men and males use women as their emotional care-takers.

I've let most of my friendships with men lapse. But there are a few that are in place and are meaningful to me. (That means you, Katlego.) One of the reasons I'm not just asexual but also celibate and non-romantic is because I know that were I to get involved with a man it would steer too much of my life towards him and away from women. It's also the case that PTSD and other personal struggles rule out me being intimate (not meaning 'sexual') with men. There's nothing especially self-effacing, altruistic, self-negating, or noble going on here in my life, just to be clear. And, also for the record: I'm gay and am not bisexual; I do not get romantically or sexually involved with women. Another reason for me being celibate (which is not a given for asexuals--we are conditioned, after all, to believe we ought to be sexually active in some way, shape, or form), is that I've seen how pro-feminist males fuck up other people's lives in fleeting or longer-term sexual relationships, heterosexually and homosexually. I won't be "that guy".

The deep and long-term friendships I have with radical and feminist women serve me well and I hope serve them well too. I am grateful for each one of them.