A Request of the Polyamory Community

I’d like to make a request of the polyamory community. This isn’t a poly-specific issue, but since polyamory and sexual issues often intersect, I think we’d be some good people to be the example-setters.

Can we all, please, stop using terms of disgust for people to whom we are not sexually attracted? If there are body parts to which one is not attracted, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s a long way between not be attracted and thinking someone is disgusting for not being attractive to you.

Do you get the difference?

Let’s say that, oh, people with brown hair aren’t attractive to you. It does not make people who have brown hair offensive or disgusting. It just means that they have brown hair and that isn’t your thing. It’s okay that it’s not your thing.

It’s not okay to get indignant because someone has the temerity not to be attractive to you.

Like curvy chicks? That’s cool. It’s not cool to snark the skinny ones just because that ain’t your thang.

Gay male? Cool. But freaking out about how disgusting pussy is? Gimme a break.

I do get where some of it comes from. If you happen to have a taste that may not be entirely mainstream, you might feel a need to defend it. You might want to emphasize how strongly-ingrained your taste/preference is because you have it questioned so often, and asked why you can’t change it. You might even (justifiably) resent the idea that you should change what you like to suit someone else’s idea of what’s okay.  I get that, and you’re right. You’re under no obligation at all to justify what turns you on or not.

So, while I sympathize with that, I think there may be better ways of dealing with it than trying to use disgust terminology to defend strongly-ingrained tastes.

16 thoughts on “A Request of the Polyamory Community

  1. Silenus

    Something that I think goes along with is the behavior of being focused on finding a specific type, usually a physical type. I know plenty of intelligent people who do this, and there are several “looks” that arouse me much more than others, However, some of the most wonderful, long term (decades) relationships I’ve been and am in are with people who were completely off my radar.

    The food analog is that if I’d stayed focused on finding the world’s best steak, I never would have found sushi. Using limited criteria to decide not only who might be a potential lover, but who might be a potential friend is, in my opinion, self defeating. It doesn’t use up a lot of time to relax and listen to someone to experience them intellectually and emotionally. When I do this, I’m often very pleasantly surprised.

  2. Rainy

    Could not agree with you more. I really dislike that kind of behavior. The other thing I don’t like is the whole, “Real women have curves.” thing. Because, yes, they do. They are also stick thin, apple round, muscular, whipcord and bone, whatever. Just like “real men” are all manner of things as well. It would be nice if we didn’t feel the need to denigrate what we don’t personally dig.

  3. joreth

    What really pisses me off is when someone has the temerity to be whatever it is that one finds unattractive, one then feels justified in declaring that whatever that person is who dared to not be attractive do something similar to people who *are* attractive do.

    In other words… when someone bashes larger-than-Carrie-Fisher women for dressing up as Slave Leia. Just because *you* found Carrie Fisher attractive but don’t find, say, Rosie O’Donnell attractive, it doesn’t mean that Rosie shouldn’t be allowed to also wear the same outfit. Just to give an example I hear often, since I have a Slave Leia outfit and some people seem to think that I will appreciate being told that I “can wear it” and how upsetting it is to them that other women “can’t”.

    As a small-chested person, I am just as often told that I shouldn’t be wearing the outfit because I don’t adequately fill out the top, according to some jackass imaginary Cosplay Rulebook. I don’t care if I am thin enough for your taste or too small for your tastes, I am not dressing or displaying myself *for you* and I don’t care what you find attractive or not. Fortunately for both of us, you can look away if you don’t like it. Nobody needs to hear how strongly you feel about someone else’s appearance. You don’t have to like it, and you can admit to someone not being your taste, but STFU about how “disgusting” it is – because it’s not objectively disgusting, you just happen to not like it.

    *Obviously, “you” here isn’t Goddess of Java, it’s a collective placeholder for “the people who do this”. It should be clear that I’m in agreement with the original post :-)

    1. Bruce

      I have been guilty of this in the past but now try to tactfully corrected people who I have heard doing it, tearing people down for anything just isn’t the way I want to live my life anymore. If you have the confidence to wear a metal bikini, it shows in how you wear it, I don’t care if you are Carrie or Rosanne, that confidence is beautiful.

  4. libractivist

    Was linked here by a friend and loving your blog, but just a quick comment:

    Some men have pussies — only liking men is not equivalent to only liking people with dicks, though I suppose both are preferences people might have. Neither justifies hating on pussies, but “vaginas are gross, I only date men” manages to be trans-phobic as well as body-shaming.

    1. Goddess of Java Post author

      Yes, sex is complex, gender even more so. However, gay cismales freaking out over cisfemale parts is an easy shorthand trope.

      My columns are never going to express in less than 1,000 words every single person’s experience.

      1. mx. punk

        of course you can’t say everything in one little post, but that’s no excuse for erasing trans* people. if you’d actually included the word cis it wouldn’t have been so bad.

        rad article, otherwise. this is something i’ve been working on, actually.

  5. figleaf

    This reminds me of a related point I was telling my children about yesterday afternoon, who are right in the middle of the school-age crush zone at the moment. Specifically my daughter mentioned a friend’s disappointment upon learning that White Collar star Matt Bomer is not just gay but happily raising three children with his partner. My observation was that orientation really matters if and only if the person in question is a direct prospective partner. Which pretty much by-definition Matt Bomer, who lives a continent away, isn’t now and isn’t likely to be. Nor would it matter if my daughter’s friend was a gay-identifying male: Matt Bomer still lives a continent — not to mention a generation — away!

    This post fits in really nicely with that point! Consider the 1990s trope of people joking about then-attorney-general Janet Reno’s lack of conventional/cliche sex appeal. Or the more recent “positive” comments about Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman’s conventional/cliche good looks. Or the ambiguous but unnecessarily derogatory and/or adulatory remarks about nominally conservative performance artist Ann Coulter’s appearance.

    It doesn’t matter because, since they probably wouldn’t sleep with you, their looks, orientation, speculative, or even real talents in bed have no, zero, none bearing on one’s fandom.

    And, as you say so nicely, it even has no bearing if you’re the one who wouldn’t sleep with them! There’s never, ever a reason to say anything more than “not my type.”

    Not least because saying anything more reveals far more about you than it does about the object of one’s scorn.

    And of course the added bonus confrontation when faced with someone’s virulent rejection of, say, Marylin Monroe’s mole or Paul Ryan’s hairline or (my personal bugaboo) the makeup worn by various Kardashians, would be “projection much?” And/or “Trying to pass?”

    Thanks for saying what I’ve only wondered about how to say.



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