Saturday, December 27, 2008

All people are sexual beings: summary

Having just finished a two month, 16 part series on the claim that all people are sexual beings, I thought it would be a good time for a recap.

The series began with two introductory posts. The first provided motivation for the topic by giving some examples of assertions that all people are sexual and some quotes about how asexuality raises questions about this. The second post summarized the three major options for addressing the question of whether everyone is sexual in light of asexual experience. No, Yes, and Huh?
Are all people sexual? Introduction
Are all people sexual? Three options

The next two posts addressed the answer No. The biggest problems for this option is the fact that many asexuals feel/do things often considered to be inseparable from sexuality. I discussed two of these and how they can be seen as not necessarily sexual.
How can someone who masturbates not be sexual?
How can someone who falls in love not be sexual?

After this, I moved to the next major option for answering the question: Yes. I had wanted to argue for this option and then present criticisms of that argument. However, I was not able to defend this option because of a lack of source material to work with. I am not aware of any strong attempts to argue for this while taking seriously the experience of asexuals. (The only attempt I know of was written by myself a while ago; I think it was overly simplistic and not worth repeating. I did provide a link for those who would like to read it.) I would definitely be interested in anything someone writes to defend this option. In absence of something to work with to argue for yes, I addressed the major challenges any serious attempt to advocate this position must face. I then examined what I suspect to be a large motivation for the claim that all people are sexual beings--the insistence that certain groups aren't asexual. To the extend that these are a motivation for the claim that all people are sexual beings, I argued that we should reject the claim.
Asexuals are sexual people too
Women aren't asexual
Children aren't asexual.

The next post briefly considered similar claims that the elderly aren't asexual and that people with disabilities aren't asexual. It formed a bridge between the sections on Yes and Huh? In Huh?, I argued that the claim that all people are sexual, rather than being true or false, doesn't make sense.
Huh? I don't even know what that means.
Once upon a time there were three asexuals
I don't think that means anything at all

Having concluded that the claim is neither true nor false, I began to examine how it functions. This, combined with the argument I had developed in previous sections, led me to conclude that asexuals should challenge this claim, and that these debates over definitions are really debates of competing ideologies.
Planned Parenthood says all people are sexual beings
A textbook for sex educators says all people are sexual beings
Is sexuality a natural part of being human?
Debates over definitions are debates of ideologies

This last post is the climax of the argument that I had been developing in this series. In some sense, it concludes the series. The next two posts (and an interim post) were more afterthoughts than anything else. First, satire. With a little modification of sexuality education claims about all people being sexual and some creative reappropriation of analyses typically indented to show how heterosexuality functions as a hegemonic power structure, it turns out to be possible to give a pretty fair "defense" of the claim that all humans are heterosexual. Then I had another post on defining sexuality to conclude the series.

All people are heterosexual
Standing in relation to the Behemoth

I think that this should finish up my blogging for the year. I hope to start the new year off with finally writing about something else.

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