Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another take on sex objects

Another take on sex objects is to look at things from an object-actor viewpoint, a passive-active standpoint.  I know I've read about this elsewhere, but I can't find the essay, so a lot of this may be simply my brain regurgitating someone else's thoughts months later.  I hope I'm adding something to what I've read, though!

Anyway, in my other post about sex objects, I talked about a sex object as a literal object, a person who becomes a non-person in someone else's mind.

And then for some reason I remembered grammar, and subjects and objects; hence, thoughts on sex objects and sex subjects.  In grammar, the subject is the one who does, who acts, and the object is the thing or person who is acted on.  Sally hits Suzy.  Jim kisses Jack.  Sally and Jim are the subjects, the actors, and Suzy and Jack are the objects-- the passive ones.  But what about Jane and Sam shake hands?  Jane and Sam are both actors-- acting on each other at the same time.

In a lot of discourse about sexuality, things are framed with an active partner and a passive partner-- A leads all the interactions, with B following and passively accepting.  Sometimes, the actor switches back and forth, with first A, then B, then A, then B acting, and the other accepting passively.

But human interactions can also be very much like the handshake-- two people acting on each other at the same time.  And I think that, often, it takes that dual action for people to get really comfortable with each other.  If you are a sex object in this sense-- always the passive partner, who follows the lead and desires of the active partner-- then you're not meeting on the same level, and possibly not getting your own wants taken care of (even though in some situations, like oral sex, the one doing the acting is generally doing it primarily for the other's pleasure).

The main thing that it's getting me thinking about now, is that if people do tend to go through the same sexual scripts all the time with one partner as actor, and another as passive recipient, it could be worthwhile for both of them to think about their sex life (as well as their interactions outside of sex) and whether mixing things up in a different way-- or at least talking about why one tends to be active and one passive-- might be a good thing.

2 comments:

ari said...

I've read this quote attributed to Catharine MacKinnon: "Man fucks woman. Subject verb object."

Death Vajra said...

A better question to ask would be: when diid man fuck woman? That is to say, if man is subject and woman is object, which came into existence first?

Does anyone give a fuck?