Less food analogies. More poop analogies.

I’ve been low on the juice that fuels these posts as of late, but here’s something I’ve been thinking: it probably would have benefited me (and would still benefit me) to be told more often that there’s no one way to be sex-repulsed.

What I’ve seen a lot of, when people talk about sex-repulsion at all, is emphasis on not wanting to personally have sex or disgust at the thought of personally being in a sexual situation, sometimes with the caveat “but as long as it doesn’t involve me personally, I’m fine with it.”  And while that’s a valid experience… I don’t know how much it would take, but I haven’t seen enough “I’m repulsed with sex, beyond just the immediate and personal, oh please don’t talk about it around me at all” to counterbalance that in my head and to dislodge the anxiety of being, ostensibly, even more sex-repulsed than the other sex-repulsed people.  There’s still this grain of “Being Uncomfortable with Sex is Bad” lodged in an old wound, irritating it and not allowing it to heal.  There’s still this shame that I tried to articulate here but is also well-expressed here.

And with that in mind… I wish talking about sex were treated more like talking about poop.

Not exactly the same, since defecation is a medical necessity in a way that sex isn’t, but more similar than they are.  It wouldn’t need to be completely forbidden; I just wish I could feel entitled to react with disgust when a person brings it up in conversation.

If someone tries to tell you about their experience in the bathroom and you give them a weird look and say, “that’s gross, don’t talk to me about that,” no one thinks that you’re the one being rude.  No one assumes you’re anti-poop or want that person to never poop again.  No one even assumes you don’t think pooping can be a pleasurable experience sometimes.  It’s just that, for a lot of people, it’s a gross thing to think about another person doing, and it’s easy to understand and respect that.

So add that to the list of reasons why a lot of food analogies fall flat for me.  Even setting aside the assumption that everyone respects different food preferences, I and plenty others can’t easily relate to a person who just “doesn’t have an urge to eat the donut.”  Not that it’s impossible to imagine, just that it doesn’t have the same emotional immediacy.  But a lot of people can relate to not wanting to hear about other people pooping, without any moralizing element associated.

I expect this comparison would raise more hackles than the food analogies, though.  Perhaps for some valid reasons.  Oppressed bodies (and by extension, their sexualities) are already targets of devaluation and disgust.  I don’t know how to account for that.  But at the same time, I don’t think I’m oppressing anyone by trying to feel less ashamed of myself — and by not always consenting to listening to people talk about sex.

And yet, for all I’ve been mulling this over, I can’t shed this nagging feeling that it might be wrong for me to say that.  As if — sure, you can be sex-repulsed sometimes, that’s fine, as long as you’re not actually repulsed by sex.  Or as long as you don’t talk about it.  Or as long as you don’t express that sentiment in any way.  Even abstractly, even anonymously, even directed at no one in particular.

Am I missing something?


6 responses to “Less food analogies. More poop analogies.

  • Silvermoon

    I’m trying to think of an example where there’s a remotely comparable level of revulsion- which I can- and which people always respect the boundaries of- which I can’t.
    But I definitely agree that the food ones fall flat. It’s not like people absolutely don’t want to hear of or see the food they don’t like.

  • epochryphal

    Mmm I think there’s neurotypicality again infecting our ideas of appropriate food behaviors (folks with selective eating disorder or other food disorders, or autistic folks with certain food texture/etc hatreds — or even *allergies*, are never ever considered or accommodated systemically; it’s more important to be able to constantly diet-talk and fatshame? Ugh.)

    I like what you’re getting at and yeah idk about the ramifications for marginalized folks esply poc (esply qtwoc). But I guess I also think there’s sooooo much room for Better food analogies and food is complicated (and *can* revulse, trigger people) but we never get to that level?

  • Raven

    I get your point about food analogies not working, but, er, poop has some really unfortunate health/disease connotations.

    This is likely as lame as food, but how about a weather analogy? Rain is great if you are a farmer, not to much if you want to get a tan, etc. Still…it lacks the element of extreme distaste. I’m sex repulsed to a very large degree myself, and have also never really related very well to how other people have described their experience of it.

    Being a middle aged woman, I can usually get a handy pass by using the phrase: “I’m sorry, but I am not an appropriate person for you to talk about this with.” But I realize that won’t fly for everyone.

    I could be missing the point, in terms of why analogies are used, but I also mostly think of this in terms of consent. I don’t consent to being (even second hand) involved in other people’s sex lives. It’s a boundary issue for me, rather than a question of preference or taste. ..if than makes any sence…? And, if I feel disgust, well, that is also a boundry in that my specific feelings about sex aren’t their business any more than their sex life is mine.

    • Coyote

      “poop has some really unfortunate health/disease connotations.”

      Wanna expand on that thought? Sex also has some unfortunate health/disease connotations, and I assume you meant to differentiate them.

      “I could be missing the point, in terms of why analogies are used,”

      Well, in this case, I was using one in a personal post about what I wish wasn’t socially unacceptable.

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