(Emphasis is mine.)
Check out Violet Blue's interview with Staci Haines, author of Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma.
She asks the hard questions.VB: Why is rediscovering sexual pleasure important for survivors?
SH: Sex is a normal and healthy part of being human. Having good sex — where you feel pleasure, intimacy, intensity and longing — is one of the most powerful experiences anyone can have. Not having that can be as detrimental as sex can be powerful. Oftentimes, people who have been abused avoid sex so it doesn't bring up feelings about the abuse. To heal, they have to go toward, and eventually through whatever triggers memories of the abuse — that's where freedom is.
I know that this is targeted towards abuse survivors. I am not one, so perhaps I don't have the right to comment. If not...that's unfortunate. Because I'm tired of being told what is and isn't integral to "being human". Saying that sex is part of being human sounds all nice and warm and healthy and progressive-- unless you're asexual. Then it just sounds creepy. Because throughout the ages, there have been quite a varied list of requirements to being human. Among them, being white, male, part of a religious majority, able-bodied, heterosexual, and so on and so forth. Some people are apparently adding "sexual" to this list, and it would scare me to think that A-s are on their way to becoming objects, like the long line of dehumanized humans that have come and gone again and again.
I'm sure that evoking this dismal alterna-future wasn't Staci Haines' intention. I'm sure she is actually a nice, warm, healthy and progressive person, and I'm sure that for many survivors of abuse, these are important things to hear. But all language has power, and language that seems innocuous to some can be dangerous for others.
Let's not forget that at least 1% of abuse survivors were asexual to begin with. While I know that Healing Sex isn't marketed towards that tiny minority, I'd like to think they at least get a footnote somewhere. I don't want to think that these women would be getting advice that isn't good for them, just because they are such a small group.
And that's all I have to say about that...for now, of course. In the meantime, everybody check out Feministing-- it's bang-on. Also, this post just makes me think of that song in The Jungle Book movie where the animals are singing about how they want to be human--you-u-u! I wanna be like you-u-u! I wanna talk like you, walk like you, lalalala dodododo etc. Unfortunately for me, my cats don't have those doubts.