True story: I am a fourth-generation November Scorpio.
Yes, you read that right: my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother were all Scorpios before me, and while I do not plan on having offspring of my own, you can believe that I would try my damn hardest to continue the Scorpio tradition if I did. I deeply resonate with the intensity and passion associated with my sun sign; it’s a point of pride for me, so much so that my friends love to joke, “Wait, Nori – you’re a Scorpio?!” whenever the subject of astrology comes up.
Maybe I’m a little too proud of my Scorpio sun. But to be honest, I’m also a little tired of the “sexy slinky kinky Scorpio seductress” trope that the Internet can’t seem to get enough of.
Don’t get me wrong, sexuality is an undeniable part of the Scorpio archetype. Double-ruled by Mars and Pluto – the planets of passion and transformation, respectively – we scorpion children are an intense bunch. Our sun sign is deeply concerned with the mysteries of life and death, and that most certainly includes sex. As a Scorpio, and as an out and proud bisexual womxn, I consider myself a very sex-positive person. Sex is one of the most wonderful perks of having a human body, and it’s important to me – not just because of my sun sign, but because I’m a human being with a body and soul that craves pleasure and connection.
I was also celibate for three years. I didn’t want a sexual (or romantic) partner during that time. And honestly, I didn’t need one: my first sexual relationship as a teenager was abusive and manipulative, and when I moved into early adulthood, I needed time to process and heal from all that had happened. I started to build a real relationship with my body for the first time, which meant developing my own sexual self-care practice. I realized that I didn’t need a partner to validate my body or make me feel good. So when I finally did start having sex again with my now-spouse, I felt much more confident setting boundaries and asserting my needs.
Around the time my partner and I got together, I confided in someone who I considered one of my best friends. This person (who, ironically, was also a Scorpio) was heavy into kink. They were also intimately aware of my history with sexual abuse, trauma, and growing up in evangelical purity culture. Since we were very close, I was excited to share the new things I was discovering about my sexual identity with them. Their response — delivered with more than a hint of snark — was: “Hah, you’re so vanilla.”
It was like a huge slap in the face that threw me into a bit of a panic: Should I be doing things differently? Am I boring in bed, and is my partner too nice (or too uncomfortable) to tell me? Am I less of a feminist because I’m not really into kink? While I know that none of that is actually true, hearing that comment from someone who I trusted I could be vulnerable with was hurtful.
In all honesty, my tastes do lean more towards the vanilla end of the spectrum: I’m all for getting creative in the bedroom, but what really gets me going is romantic sensuality and tender emotional exchanges. (Did I mention that Scorpios are deeply emotional creatures?) I also live with the highs and lows of bipolar disorder, which means my libido is prone to waxing and waning in ways that I can’t always control. Sometimes I’m content to romp with my partner several times a day (I mean, quarantine, right?) and sometimes we go a few weeks at a time without being intimate. Like so many things about living with bipolar illness, managing a fluctuating sex drive can be a challenge, but I’ve come to accept it as a part of my reality.
So it’s a little off putting when astrology blogs and online magical communities confront me with image after image of the smoldering Scorpio seductress with a penchant for BDSM. Scorpio sexualities – as with any other sign – run the gauntlet from the pop-culture image of the steamy succubus to the completely asexual, from super kinky to ultra vanilla. And while some Scorpios do feel a strong connection with the Sexy Scorpio trope – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! – the heavy-duty emphasis on the sexual side of Scorpio in witchy circles can also be unintentionally harmful: how can anyone be expected to create a healthy and satisfying sex life for themselves if they feel pressured to “perform” sex a certain way, or live up to an image they may or may not connect with? Our sexual tastes are influenced by many different factors, our astrological profile being only one of them. There’s nothing wrong with good old fashioned vanilla sex, and there’s nothing wrong with consensual kink, regardless of your signage!
The Sexy Scorpio stereotype also reflects a larger, troubling pattern I’ve noticed in the astrological community. Personally, I don’t believe that sun-sign astrology is the strongest personality indicator. After all, we’ve all known a lazy Capricorn, a shy Leo, or a dishonest Libra. I believe that it’s more useful to think of astrology as a blueprint to understanding our soul’s evolution, as well as our purpose in this lifetime. Astrology is a rich, ancient art, and while I love me a good zodiac meme as much as the next witch, reducing the complexities of our birth charts down to our sun sign erases centuries of metaphysical study and discovery, to say nothing of our individual preferences, tastes, and experiences.
So allow me to paint an alternative image of the Sexy Scorpio: the scorpion’s primal connection to the mysteries of life, death, and renewal manifests in many ways, including the strong desire to create a healthy, fulfilled sex life that they define on their own terms. Scorpio is happiest when they reach a place where they do not feel the need to apologize for their sexuality, however conventional or kinky they may be.
To all my fellow Scorpios: I want you to know that whether or not you resonate with the Sexy Scorpio trope – whether you have a sex dungeon in your basement or prefer to keep it sugary-sweet – whether you’re polyam, monogamous, have slept with 100 people or none – wherever you may fall on the rich rainbow of human sexuality and gender, your sexual identity is 100% valid. All that matters is that it’s consensual and fulfilling for you and your partner(s). Anyone who says otherwise is out of orbit.
Feature image: Leon Ferrari
Article by Nori Rose Hubert