The Gustavian Weekly

Cloudy with a chance of musing

By Kelly Dumais Staff Columnist | April 19, 2013 | Opinion

The AVEN triangle is a symbol of asexuality, the grey gradient representing the spectrum of sexuality. <em>Creative Commons</em>

The AVEN triangle is a symbol of asexuality, the grey gradient representing the spectrum of sexuality. Creative Commons

The secret life

Kelly_DumaisABC Family has a show called The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Whatever your views on the show, if you love it or hate it, you can agree that they talk about sex a lot.

In season 2, episode 12, they say the word “sex” a total of 70 times in the 45 minute episode. While the overuse of the word might seem excessive, it is frankly not surprising.

Sex is in our entertainment, in our news, in our politics, in our language, in our science, in our education, in our music. There are a lot of people who really like to talk about sex. While the title of the show may be The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the fact that teenagers have sex is not really a secret.

What is a secret is that there are people who do not experience sexual attraction, it is called asexuality, and it is not really talked about much.

We have come a long way from the Victorian era of sexuality where even thinking about sex was practically obscene. Openness about sex and sexuality has done many great things for society. Openness leads to education about sex, information about how to have safe sex, and it has broken down some of the stigmas about sexuality.

Last November, Minnesotans decided not to enshrine marriage inequality in the state’s constitution when they voted against the amendment proposing that Minnesota define marriage between one man and one woman.

While marriage equality is still not law in Minnesota, there is a lot of political momentum in favor of it, suggesting that Minnesotans are becoming more open about the legitimacy of other forms of sexuality. There are a lot of people who have become very comfortable talking about sex, in both their personal and public lives. However, our conversations about sexuality remain very limited in scope.

Sexuality is actually a more nuanced topic than gay/straight. Heterosexuality is when someone is sexually attracted to someone of the opposite gender. Homosexuality is when someone is attracted to someone of the same gender. Bisexuality is when someone is sexually attracted to both women and men. Polysexuality is when someone is sexually attracted to more than one gender. For some, this might sound a lot like bisexuality, but bisexuality implies that there are only two genders that one could theoretically be attracted to, male and female, but gender is actually much more fluid than that.

Some people say that there are in fact three genders, others say five, I have also heard seven genders as well as nine genders. Don’t believe me? Take a GWS class. Polysexuals do not want to apply the two gender framework to their sexuality. Next is Pansexuality; pansexuals are sexually attracted to people without regard to gender, this is also known as omnisexuality. This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the many ways in which people can be sexually attracted to each other, but additionally, people can also be asexual, where they do not experience sexual attraction to anyone.

Some of these terms might be new to you. For many people the idea that there are people who do not have any desire for sex is practically blasphemy, whether because of one’s own personal perspective of sex or the media’s representation of sex. But the reality is that there are.

I do not think that we should stop talking about sex. But I do think that we should change how we talk about sex. The dominance of media messages can box people into identities that deny why they actually are and it can shame people into closets.

The continuation of those pressures in our own conversations does not help. Sexuality manifests in many different ways, and the conversations that we have about sexuality should do the same.


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  1. Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui says:

    Same-sex marriage disregards the natural order of procreatory responsibility, not only confusing the natural disposition of parental authority; but undermining the legal principle that children have a right to a relationship with their biological parents, depriving a child access to their biological parent’s genetic, cultural and social heritage, not for extraordinary circumstances, but as a matter of routine. Same-sex marriage amounts to institutionalized adultery through a hostile takeover of civil society by the State. Children will no longer be entitled to their biological parents, as the transitory wants of same-sex adults will have taken precedence over a child’s best interest.

    Children are not pets one purchases from rescue shelters(adoption clinics) and puppy mills(insemination and surrogacy). Children are human beings endowed with a natural desire to be procreated from an engendered act of love between a husband and a wife. Same-sex marriage is adulterous by nature and thereby destructive to not only children, but to our civilization.

    Here are two truths regarding marriage: (1) A man creating a family with another man is not equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.

    Same-sex marriage proponents demand “Marriage Equality”, yet, in return, they offer less-than-equal protection of the child’s happiness than can be afforded through the presence of both biological parents.

    Same-sex proponents profess that it is love which gives the right to join the institution of marriage, yet, in doing so, they selfishly violate the principle loving objective of this noble institution; to protect a child’s Natural Right to be raised by both biological parents.

    Same-sex marriage is not justice in the eyes of a child. Same-sex marriage is an abuse of power, a tyrannical subversion of the fundamental principles of marriage and the duties which it enjoins; contrary to the nature and state of man, same-sex marriage is merely the unwarranted whims of an ignorant and selfish generation whose conduct is nothing less that an embarrassment to the dignity of mankind.

    In fine, same-sex marriage is an unnatural extravagance which the supporters most ignorantly claim to be a “right”.

    “No one has a right to do that which, if everybody did it, would destroy society.” —Immanuel Kant

  2. Lexy Hudson says:

    “same-sex marriage is the unwarranted whims of an ignorant and selfish generation whose conduct is nothing less than an embarrassment to the dignity of mankind.”

    Well, there are a hundred ways I could put a troll like you in place, but for now let’s just take out “same-sex marriage is” from that sentence and replace it with “the attitudes of those against same-sex marriage are”.

    “The attitudes of those against same-sex marriage are the unwarranted whims of an ignorant and selfish generation whose conduct is nothing less than an embarrassment to the dignity of mankind.”

    Much better.

    In the meantime, you ^ can kindly exit this solar system.

  3. Jennifer Halloway says:

    “No one has a right to do that which, if everybody did it, would destroy society.”

    With respect to Immanuel Kant, I disagree. That is a philosophy that may very well apply towards using finite resources (after all, if Group A overuses Material X, then Group B has less, and suffers as a result) but there is no sign–none–that heterosexual sex or human propagation is decreasing. If anything, it’s the opposite: in a few short years we have gone from under 6 billion to over 7 billion men, women, and children all living and breathing on this one planet.

    In the meantime, there is no indication that the percentage of homosexuals among the total population has changed at all. Nor is there any reason to believe that greater acceptance of homosexuals or homosexuality will give rise to global underpopulation. Heterosexuals have sex, and will continue having sex, regardless of what their neighbors do behind their own curtains.

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