Queer: Again (Desire)

My therapist tells me I will regain a normal sex drive.

I am not sure I know what she means.

Revision One: I once claimed that desire could be political. If memory serves, the statement was that articulations of desire were political. At the time, it was an attempt to register my discomfort with the hurtful ways desire was articulated.

But I wanted, at the same time, to keep a notion of desire as essentially irrational.

Today, I would amend my earlier statement by saying that any true articulation of desire has the force of exploding shrapnel.

I have yet to understand the implications of this statement.

Revision Two: I have often disparaged a certain kind of man, call him white and older, who, later in life “discovers” the desirability of otherness. So many “old” white men with “young” ethnic lovers.

One cynical reading might be that, ostracized from what Dwight McBride terms the gay white marketplace of desire, these men turn to the “black” market.

Increasingly, I am uncomfortable with what such a reading may suggest about the pedagogy of desire. These men demonstrate an engagement with the racial politics of sexuality. Put another way, rather than seeing them as opportunists, we could imagine them as ethical subjects engaging the radical politics of raced sexuality.

But I am still bothered by the mail-order bride sensibility of these relationships.

Sianne Ngai might name my sensation “irritation.”

As an aside, we might want to analyze the blend of narcissism and masochism with which gay white men receive critiques about themselves.

Revision Three: I continue to cite with approval Samuel Delaney’s contention that one should have a statistically significant number of partners.

As I misunderstand statistics, I would insist, wrongly, that one may be statistically significant.

I would insist, still, that coupled monogamy should not occupy a place of cultural and legislative privilege. Enshrining heterosexual monogamy as the holy grail of adulthood and civilization is ideologically and materially violent.

Note One: We have yet to grapple with pornography as the most significant source of embodied empathy. Our ongoing ambivalence, anger and delight, may have less to do with the politics of its production and consumption, and much more to do with its ability to make us feel in our body and our bones, against will, against volition, against desire.

We dislike the nakedness of enforced vulnerability.

Note Two: Queer is a neighborhood of adjoining fences, often with little to no shared spaces. Against itself, it replicates the structure of the suburbs, even as it purports to be otherwise.

Occasionally one slips in through holes in the fence.

Note Three: At stake, and the importance of queerness, is the continual affirmation of revision. Here, the radical (at the root, to the root, in the root) sense that thinking should and does change the most private and deeply held beliefs about intimacy and the world.

2 thoughts on “Queer: Again (Desire)

  1. Let me attempt to put some opinion of sorts together.
    -First of all I didn’t know you had a lowered sex drive even though I did remember you saying that you were abstaining some time back. Plus most people do have the opinion that most gay men have raging sex drives.
    I have always wondered how to write about the fascination of older white men, 40s onwards with ethnic women.
    Anyway mumblings aside, I am posting on how religion and sex are the two areas where racial segregation is most apparent and not even hidden. I’ll put it up on Thu, some input would be appreciated since you have a better understanding of race and human sexuality than I do.

  2. I might have written this before: the intimate domain remains the one most untouched by racial progress. As you might know, some Christian colleges, up until very recently, had policies against interracial dating. I don’t follow religion so much; Larry Lyons (on my blogroll) has a better understanding.

    My sense is that the gains of the civil rights movement, as they were recoded during the black nationalisms of the late 60s and 70s, paradoxically enforced separate but equal rules, especially in the arena of sexuality. But I am no expert on this period.

    I think the fascination of older white men with ethnic women is mostly about power; it manifests itself in other ways. Increasingly, as I pointed out, in mail order brides. But you might also think about the trend of highly educated immigrants who “import” wives from rural areas in their countries. It seems like a similar economy. Instead of marrying the woman who sits next to you in your Ph.D. class, marry one who can never challenge your intelligence or authority.

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