WTF for the Day: “All Pornography Is Homosexual Pornography”

As you may have heard, Michael Schwartz, the chief of staff for Republican senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, has announced that the best way for parents to keep boys from looking at porn is to tell them that it’s “homosexual.” He figures that this makes sense because “boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people,” so it’s the best way to shame them for their curiosity.

First off, Mr. Schwartz, thanks for using intolerance and hate to foster sex-negativity. You’ve won the  erotophobia trifecta! There’s nothing like reinforcing your prejudices and fears by inflicting them on a new generation. Good for you!

But sarcasm aside, what I find more interesting about Schwartz’s comments is this quote from Jim Johnson, an “ex-gay” friend of his:

He said, ˜all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.’

First off, I’m not entirely sure what he means by a “sex drive turned inwards” but it sounds like some sort of allusion to narcissism. There have been many folks over the years who have claimed that homosexuality is narcissistic. For example, there’s this gem:

There are grounds to believe that most narcissists have a strong latent homosexual component in their psychosexual makeup. Conversely, there are grounds to believe that many homosexuals are repressed or outright pathological narcissists. At the extreme, homosexuality may be a private case of (somatic) narcissism. The homosexual makes love to himself and loves himself in the form of a same-gender object.

Of course, there are homosexual narcissists, just as there are heterosexual narcissists. And in a world that pathologizes and demonizes queers, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about research showing a higher rate of mental health issues among queers, just as racism has a negative  impact on health. But that doesn’t make homosexuality the cause of it, any more than being Black causes hypertension. It’s the social context, which is influenced by homophobia and racism, that does it.

There’s also the fact that there’s nothing inherently wrong with having your sex drive turn inwards. Yes, it’s likely to be a problem if it’s entirely turned inwards, but it’s just as likely to be a problem if it’s entirely turned outwards. As is often the case, healthy sexuality (if I can use such a loaded term) is one that meets both internal and external needs and desires. It helps us connect with ourselves AND with other people, whether they’re sexual partners or not. It explores our relationships with our bodies, psyches, and hearts, as well as other peoples’ bodies, minds, and hearts. So not only don’t Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Johnson understand homosexuality, they don’t understand sex. And yet, Mr. Schwartz considers himself an authority who can offer sex and parenting advice.

So for all of these reasons, I’d like to offer Mr. Schwartz my official WTF of the day. SRSLY.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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