Partnership and desire are mutually exclusive?

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It has almost come to be accepted that queer individuals and couples in the media need to be desexualized. Jules and Nic are portrayed as a couple that is unable to and/or refuses to have sex. The fact that Jules goes outside of their partnership in order to have sex with a man reinforces the cultural idea that heterosexual sex is right and homosexual sex is wrong. Armand and Albert from The Birdcage are also displayed as desexualized characters. They are not shown as an erotic coupling once throughout the entire film. This idea of the sexless queer partnership clearly caters to the straight audience. While they may be able to get used to the idea of queer folks being married, the concept of that same couple having sex is either perverse or incredibly erotic. This hetero audience has no interest in seeing that which disgusts them and has equally little interest in seeing that with terrifies them (finding queer sex attractive).
I agree with Jack in the sense that stability is not necessary to all lives or desires. However, it is also true that survival does not necessitate passion. The decision between which is more important is up to the individual that deals with the body attached to that decision. In fact, why is it deemed necessary to see the two as mutually exclusive? Why can't individuals in a long term relationship have hot passionate sex?
Buying into this ideology that one must choose between love and sex builds a binary: the committed vs. the self-centered, the stable vs. the promiscuous. This binary eliminates the visibility of any alterations to a standard long term relationship. For example, how does an open relationship fit into this social construction? It is, if you will, a combination of perpetual devotion and hedonistic sexual fulfillment.

1 Comment

I love that you talk about the ideology of "the committed vs. the self-centered, the stable vs. the promiscuous." This film does have a very narrow look at sex and sexuality within relationships might be. The desexualization is very true, too. Especially when we notice that there are several explicit sex scenes involving men (Paul and the two porn movies) and then one half-hearted attempt at lesbian sexuality with Nic and Jules.

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This page contains a single entry by Kelsey P. published on February 22, 2012 7:33 AM.

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