While gender has innumerable aspects as pertaining to semiotic investments throughout the body is the question of intimate anatomy an important one as well.
What does it really mean to have a certain intimate anatomy in social and functional terms? First is it important to point out that intimate anatomy as other surface areas of the body are subjected to more or less psychometrically individualized collective-structural social construction. This means that the surface of the body is invested with semiotic markers of culture, including structural sentiments of variously irrational shame, honor and guilt.
Yet it would be ridiculous to try deny that anatomy, biology, genetics and zoology in social terms exercise significant non-deterministic influence over social construction. Social construction does indeed fashion material living sentient, aware organisms in having a distinctly malleable physical basis. Intimate anatomy may thus influence gendered walking patterns just as it may influence other gendered behavioral patterns as well. Despite this is there no relationship of biological determinism as regards the relative cultural influence by intimate anatomy over socially constructed gendered walking patterns.
Yet intimate anatomy is also differently fashioned in morphological terms and that certainly has implications for experiences of sexual arousal, sexual desire, sexual enjoyment and sexual interaction. As feminist genius Luce Irigaray points is the cisfemale intimate anatomy one of no single sexual organ but rather multiple ones (vagina, clitoris, four labia etc.) and how could that not have consequences both in terms of both individual experience and in variously psychometrically individualized collective social construction? This is however not an argument of gender essentialism but rather one of pointing out the neurological fact of experiences of the two humans brains being connected to nerve reactions throughout the body.
There is in fact tremendous morphological and to some extent also neurological differentiation between gendertypical cisfemale intimate anatomy and gendertypical cismale intimate anatomy although those “types” are clearly social constructions indeed. This is not to deny that human intimate anatomy forms a statistical continuum of degree in morphological differentiation but rather that the body matters and so does functional variation of the human body matter as well. Desiring becoming penetrated in coitus is in fact functionally quite asymmetric to desiring to penetrate in coitus and this at least reproductive morphological asymmetry is most likely an important underlying historical reason for the typically highly gender-asymmetric character of the social construction of erotic genders; e.g. butch/femme, Domme/sub, Dom/sub, older/younger, heterocismale/heterocisfemale etc.
We simply cannot ignore the influence that socially constructed functional aspects of the body in practice exercise over the experience of sentience/cognition and so need we strive to overcome ableist bias in feminist theory that deliberately and wrongly so ignores the influence of the socially constructed body over socially constructed, yet psychometrically individual cognition/sentience.
Cisfemales in many cultures experience shame over relative humidity in their respective intimate anatomy whether pertaining to arousal, menstruation, incontinence or even relative degree of anal hygiene. While for heterocismales is the the vagina typically psychological destination of subconscious Oedipal return to the womb is the vagina for heterocisfemales typically a certain defensively vulnerable potential for absolute hospitality towards the phallic absolute other (French toute autre). The cognitive/sentient experience of intimate anatomies (whether one’s own or those of others) is both individual and collectively socially constructed yet we cannot ignore that relative bodily differences of many different kinds do matter despite structural Para-Christian semiotic-discursive phantasmic desire for “becoming disembodied” as if that was even possible.
While the average neurological difference between stereotypically gendered anatomies are insignificant are there significant functional differences in varying social, psychological and sexual contexts and not only as pertaining to coitus and desire thereof. None of this is to imply that there is something called “biological sex” other than of course as a byproduct of discourse since desire for interpersonal intimacy is not only or even mainly sexual and is certainly not limited to intimate anatomy.
What then is “intimate anatomy” and is that really a culturally neutral term and why should only a small section of the body become culturally designated as “intimate”? Discourse is certainly not culturally neutral and that certainly applies to scientific/academic terminology as well. Yet, why should we seek terminology that is disembodied from particular social construction of human zoology? Is not that precisely expressive of the reactionary search for the Holy Grail of biological determinism?
Practices of disguising human intimate anatomy in public space has never been anthropologically universal although Western missionaries made great efforts to compel non-European peoples to cover themselves up as indeed similar to how contemporary Islamists seek to compel females to cover themselves up. The intimate “character” of “intimate anatomy” is thus a social construction as “intimate anatomy” is typically not perceived as more private or intimate than any other part of the body while in nudist summer camp. Intimate anatomy “being intimate” is thus entirely and fully performative indeed, yet the term “intimate anatomy” is certainly useful in describing the socially performative aspect of bodies in cultures that irrationally seek to disguise this particular section of human bodies although typically more so in perceived “female bodies” than in perceived “male bodies” such as forcing women but not men to disguise nipples in public space.
It matters not only how we experience various aspects of our variously morphologically shaped and socially constructed bodies whether those of our own or those of others, but our individual neurological experience must not be ignored in there being tremendous difference in experience on the spectrum of hypersensitivity vs. psychopathy as well between various degrees of sensorial sensitivity to touch. The neurological experience of one’s own socially invented intimate anatomy is hence multifaceted in transgender people having individually highly divergent experiences of respective intimate anatomies. Although many transgender people famously experience gender dysphoria also with respect to morphologies of respective intimate anatomies does this vary greatly among transgender people and so a transgender female may experience her otherwise socially phallus-perceived intimate anatomy as simply a pussy and reversely may a transgender male experience his otherwise socially pussy-perceived intimate anatomy as a phallus. This is certainly not to imply that this is a delusion of some kind but rather that sentient/cognitive experiences of various aspects of our own bodies are highly individual and divergent indeed.
The question of what is socially constructed as “intimate anatomy” in Western culture is thus one of social construction but importantly also one of psychometric differentiation in individual sentient/cognitive experience, including socially constructed self-experience.
There is thus simply no such thing as biological sex as gender (i.e. performative gendering of bodies) is not one – just as erogenousness and interpersonal desire for physical intimacy certainly is generally not reducible or limited to any particular section of the body. The notion of “biological sex” constitutes an unscientific lumping of innumerable gendered aspects of human bodies and is simply not valid as a generalization in submerging so many different aspects of the performative gendering of human bodies.
Academic gender, Advertisement gender, Age gender, Alcoholic gender, Anal gender, Arm gender, Behavioral gender, Body breadth gender, Body hair gender, Body length gender, Brain gender, Breast gender, Bureaucratic gender, Buttocks gender, Ceremonial gender, Child gender, Chromosomal gender, Civic gender, Civilian gender, Class gender, Clerical gender, Clothes gender, Cohabitation gender, Communication gender, Consumer gender, Cosmetic gender, Criminal gender, Cultural gender, Dating gender, Decision-making gender, Drug abuse gender, Ear gender, Eating gender, Economic gender, Educational gender, Emotional gender, Entrepreneurial gender, Eschatological gender, Essentialist gender, Ethnic gender, Exercise gender, Eye gender, Facial form gender, Facial hair gender, Foot size gender, Friendship gender, Functional gender, Gaming gender, Generational gender, Genital gender, Hair gender, Hand size gender, Head form gender, Head hair gender, Health gender, Hearing gender, Household gender, Identity gender, Ideological gender, Infant gender, Initiation gender, Insight gender, Interactive gender, Internal organs gender, Interpersonal gender, Intuitive gender, Jewelry gender, Knowledge gender, Learning gender, Management gender, Marital gender, Marketing gender, Medical gender, Metaphysical gender, Military gender, Military uniform gender, Motivation gender, Mouth/lip gender, Muscle gender, Nail gender, Naturalized gender, Neurological gender, Nose gender, Occupational gender, Odor gender, Online gender, Parental gender, Participatory gender, Pedagogic gender, Perceptual gender, Performative gender, Personality gender, Photographic gender, Piercing gender, Plastic surgery gender, Political gender, Power gender, Procreative gender, Professional gender, Promotional gender, Prosthetic gender, Psychiatric gender, Psychoanalytic gender, Psychometric gender, Psychotherapeutic gender, Racial/Species gender, Rationality gender, Reasoning gender, Recruitment gender, Religious gender, Residential gender, Retired gender, Ritual gender, Role gender, School uniform gender, Scientific gender, Seductive gender, Self-concept gender, Self-control gender, Sex work gender, Sexuality gender, Shoes gender, Situational gender, Slavery gender, Spiritual gender, Sports gender, Stomach gender, Subconscious gender, Submission gender, Surgical gender, Temperamental gender, Temporal gender, Temporary gender, Thigh gender, Transportation gender, Vacation gender, Verbal gender, Virtual gender, Vision gender, Visionary gender, Visual gender, Voice gender, Waist gender, Work gender, Workplace gender; etc. in different cultures.
The Eurolect – Politics of the Para-Christian documentation project
The Intelligence Entrapment Methods documentation project.