Demisexuality and You

According to the Demisexuality Resource Center, demisexuality is:

“a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity.”

So, like most people, demisexuals need to get to know a person before feeling sexual attraction to them, rather than just dropping their pants the second they’ve been introduced.

“Emotional intimacy is a main component, usually, so some demisexuals find themselves attracted to close friends or romantic partners. Other components may include familiarity with the person and knowledge about them (ex: learning about aspects of their personality).”

How unusual! Feeling attracted to one’s romantic partner, and needing to know aspects of someone’s personality before feeling attracted!

“Most people on the non-asexual side of the spectrum feel sexual attraction regardless of whether or not they have a close emotional bond with someone. They may have sexual feelings for attractive people on the street, classmates or coworkers they’ve barely spoken to, or celebrities. However, they may choose to wait to have sex for a variety of reasons: it might not be feasible or appropriate, they want to make sure the person is respectful and kind, it’s against their religious beliefs, they only want to have sex in a romantic relationship, etc.”

Okay, this website is definitely describing everybody. Of course you don’t have sex with every single person you like the looks of! People only have sex when it’s “feasible and appropriate,” as noted above by the Demisexuals.

The reason why perfectly normal people are having to label their perfectly normal feelings as “demisexual” is because the way they are expected to behave otherwise is fucked up, and they need an excuse to opt out of it. The way they are expected to behave is like they are in a porn movie. Due to both porn itself and a porn-soaked culture that turns every last bit of popular culture into a promotional ad for porn, people are going around thinking that they need to dress like a porn star, take off their clothes at random, have sex as an ice-breaker activity, and say yes to any sexual act all the time no matter what. Take for example, this situation witnessed at the University of California-Berkeley campus:

“Groups of girls were clacking along the street in their party uniforms: short skirts, bare midriffs, five-inch heels. One of them stopped and lifted her skirt above her waist, revealing a tiny thong, a flat belly, and some righteously toned glutes. She looked happy and strong, laughing, surrounded by friends, having fun. Then she turned toward a building where two bros, appraising the relative “hotness” of those trying to gain entrée to their party, were posted by the door.”

As Gail Dines always says, you can either be fuckable or invisible. If you’re a woman who doesn’t want to lift up your mini-skirt and show off your thong in order for frat boys to rate your “hotness,” then you’re a boring, old-fashioned, anti-sex prude. Hence women having to label themselves “demisexual” in order to convey to people that they actually want to have a conversation with a guy and determine that he has at least two brain cells and isn’t an asshole before her skirt comes off.

The culture young people are growing up in is a porn culture. Not only are youth watching actual porn starting at age 11, they are also witnessing a consumerist, individualist pro-capitalist culture that sells women and girls as consumer products at every turn. Even before the Internet, young people tended to believe that everyone was having sex but them; now the problem is certainly worse. After spending hours online watching videos in which every woman says “yes” and sex occurs anytime, anywhere, between anybody, at the drop of a hat, anyone who attempts to assert boundaries and pursue a healthy and rewarding sexual and romantic life will feel like a deviant.

Let’s take at look at 17 Confessions From People Who Identify as Demisexual, posted on hellogiggles.com.

  1. It is so hard to explain to people that I don’t feel arousal unless there is a very close bond (I’m demisexual) but am still a very sexual person.
  2. I’m demisexual, but I’m scared people will judge me because I don’t want to have sex with them straight away or have a one night stand.
  3. I’m demisexual and it’s a little frustrating. When I’m with my friends they’ll say “omg he’s so hot” meanwhile I’m thinking “I wonder if he has a good personality.”
  4. I hate being demisexual. Crushes are either extremely rare or they last for way too long. I wish I was normal.
  5. I question every part of who I am. When men find out I’m demisexual, they usually stop talking to me.
  6. I am demisexual and I feel like no one understands that I can’t just give you a try and love you, I really can’t.
  7. As a demisexual, if you ask for sex on the first date, you have no chance with me.
  8. I’m demisexual and an introvert, so casual dating isn’t an option for me…I wish I could be like everyone else.
  9. Dating woes: Being demisexual. Maybe one day I’ll find a guy who understands and respects what I cannot change.
  10. I’m demisexual. All the people I’ve slept with I wasn’t attracted to, they just got me aroused and I’m too shy to say no so I went with it.
  11. Just because I’m demisexual doesn’t mean I don’t want a serious, loving relationship.
  12. I’m demisexual. When I admitted that to someone I thought was my friend, they laughed in my face. I just want to be accepted for being me.
  13. I’m demisexual. Always have been, but when I was younger I felt bad for the guys so I would pretend I wasn’t.
  14. Being a demisexual female in a world where all guys seem to want is sex is really discouraging.
  15. The problem with being demisexual is that I can’t relate when people talk about stuff like dates with random people. I feel like I’m the odd one out and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one.
  16. I’m Demisexual and I love sex with my boyfriend but I don’t NEED it. He just doesn’t seem to understand.
  17. I’m finally being honest about myself. I’m demisexual. I’m done pretending to have sexual desire before I’m ready. If guys can’t handle that, they don’t deserve me.

This article doesn’t name the sex of the writers, but judging by what they’re writing I’d say they’re all female. I say that because they’re writing about the standard experience of being female in a porn-soaked patriarchy. These women think that everyone around them finds fulfillment in jumping into bed with random people they don’t even know. Nope. Even the people doing that aren’t finding fulfillment from it, or at least, the women aren’t. I did the whole casual sex thing when I was younger, and at the time I would have told you that it was fun, but I’m older and more mature now. I know that good sex isn’t based on the “hotness” of the participants, or how “extreme” the performance is. (Speaking of “hotness,” I’m going to quote this article again where the author quotes Ariel Levy:

“As journalist Ariel Levy pointed out in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, “hot” is not the same as “beautiful” or “attractive”: It is a narrow, commercialized vision of sexiness that, when applied to women, can be reduced to two words: “fuckable” and “sellable.”

Like I was saying, good sex is not based on being “hot,” it’s based on connection and chemistry. It’s good when you really want each other, because you know each other and you have developed feelings for each other, and when you’re feeling sexual tension because of your mutual attraction, and when you are excited to know that your partner wants you as much as you want them. This sort of connection cannot happen instantly—that’s impossible. (It can’t be bought or sold, either.) Chemistry and attraction are things people develop gradually through interaction with each other.

What these “demisexual” women don’t realize is that, despite feeling like they’re abnormal, they have actually figured out the secret to good sex ahead of their peers. They are on the path to have satisfying sex, while their porn-addicted peers are going to have to unlearn a whole bunch of harmful beliefs and habits before they can actually enjoy themselves in bed. Getting validation that you are “fuckable” only feels good in a superficial, fleeting way. After putting up with a bunch of disrespectful and ineffective lovers, even the “fuckable” women will get tired of the whole charade and want to find the same sort of relationship the demisexuals are looking for.

Demisexuals aren’t missing out on anything if misogynist sleazebags stop talking to them upon finding out they are demisexual. They should actually breathe a sigh of relief because they have dodged a bullet.

It’s interesting to note that “demi” means half. Does demisexual mean half sexual? It’s like these people believe that they’re missing something or they aren’t sexual enough. This belief is not just limited to the Tumblr Speshul Snowflake community, it’s everywhere else too. There is a thing called “Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder,” which is a medical euphemism for “bitches not putting out enough,” and apparently around one third of women have this “condition.” But if that many people have “low desire,” can that even be called “low”? Perhaps the bar is being set too high. Low desire in comparison to what, exactly?

What women need to learn is that whatever their sexual interest level is, that is the normal level. There is no such thing as being “half sexual” or “hyposexual” because there is no universal measuring stick that everyone has to meet. Women are not responsible for providing their bodies to men to use. Men have their hands and they have tube socks—they are going to be just fine. Women are allowed to decide when and how and with whom to have sex, and we’re also allowed to not want it at all, and this doesn’t require an excuse, a label, or an explanation.

Patriarchy and female sexuality, Part 2

In Patriarchy and Female Sexuality Part 1, I talked about how when women do not want to have heterosexual intercourse, they are thought of as disordered by the male-run medical establishment. In Part 2 I will talk about how female sexuality is actually active, not passive.

A conversation over on Hot Flanks’ WordPress blog illustrates how women with an active sexuality come to believe they have a “male sexuality.” Hot Flanks is a lesbian detransitioner. (There’s starting to be a lot of those women around, isn’t there?) Here are some important quotes, but reading the whole post is a good idea.

“The way that I relate to my genitals and the way I want my body interacted with intimately is something that I have experienced as being the “active” or “insertive” partner and have therefore drawn the easy connections to male sexuality in the past.”

“The more I realize that experiencing my Clit as an active participant and driving force behind intimacy is a healthy female experience, the less disconnect I feel from it. The more I internalize the idea that I am far from the first Lesbian in the world to desire and derive my primary pleasure from interacting with my genitals in the way that I do, the less I want to describe these feelings as “dysphoria” because it has stopped feeling like a “non-female” or disconnected way of expressing myself. If I can wrap my head around the idea of the Clit as an active player in both giving AND receiving pleasure, then I can more easily come to accept the way I relate to my Clit as a healthy way to relate intimately with my female body.”

“I threw out the idea that I was “stone” early in my social transition when I realized I wanted to be touched and to be intimate, but “not in the way that one touches or is intimate with women.”

Another lesbian with dysphoria who commented on 4thwavenow posted this:

“What if the sexual preference for a natal female is for a female, but only if the natal female were male? That is, what if the natal female does not self-identify as lesbian, could not conceive of being a female having an intimate sexual relationship with a female, but desires an intimate sexual relationship with a female as a male? I’ve yet to see this addressed by critics of “transition,” and yet I have seen this expressed by those considering FtM transition. Perhaps this is generally dismissed as “oh this person is just a ‘closet lesbian/gay,’ and therefore it’s not actually examined. But if it is a real issue for someone who identifies in anyway as having difficulty with their birth assigned sex, and such a person does indeed express desire for intimate sexual relationship (not homosexual), then what is a compassionate and logically sound response to such a person?”

The main problem with a female human wanting to have sex as a male is that it’s impossible. I’m not saying so because I’m an “evil transphobic TERF who wants people to die,” I’m saying it because a surgeon cannot construct a fully functioning penis on a female human. The only one who can construct a penis is Mother Nature. I think the “compassionate and logically sound response” to a female who wants to be an active partner in sex with another female is not to perform surgery on her to construct a pseudo-penis, but to help her to become a happy lesbian. As a lesbian, she can be honest about her sex instead of pretending to be male, she can have the sexual relationships she wants (provided she finds compatible partners of course), and she can live her life in her natural body without being made into an artificially constructed member of the opposite sex who is dependent on a lifetime of cross-sex hormones.

Take a look at these two sentences from the above quotes. “I wanted to be touched and to be intimate, but not in the way that one touches or is intimate with women,” and “what if the natal female . . . desires an intimate sexual relationship with a female as a male?”

These quotes reveal some underlying beliefs about female sexuality. These women want to be an active or insertive partner and they cannot reconcile these feelings with the genitals they have. That’s because they’ve been taught that only men are active/insertive partners, and that one must have a penis in order to have this role. This is not true—you can be a woman who enjoys being on “top,” and no male genitals are required.

Our friend This Soft Space commented on the post by Hot Flanks, and said that when her friend found out she was a lesbian, she immediately told her to buy a dildo, but she wasn’t interested in that at all. Her friend likely made this suggestion due to the belief that all women enjoy being penetrated and that female orgasm is universally experienced in the vagina. It will be further assumed that lesbians necessarily have to use a dildo since they are not using a penis. Since humans living in this particular era are primarily learning about sex from porn, it seems likely that they believe “lesbian sex” means two women stuffing each other with silicone dongs. Although it’s possible that somebody out there is doing that—there’s somebody in the world doing just about anything you can think of—that has never been my experience of lesbian sex.

Commenter Kat Outta The Bag wrote, on Hot Flanks’ post:

“I remember reading a forum for trans men where the people there were talking about just this sort of thing, how they had a “male sexuality” and “male sexual responses” because they wanted to penetrate, because they thrusted/humped during sex, because they didn’t have a desire or propensity to arch their back and wiggle around… I think I ate this stuff up totally, hook, line, and sinker, because I became neurotic about it. I believed my desires to do these things were proof of some innate tendency in me that made me less female, and I also started being frightened that any tendency to do the opposite, the so-called “feminine” thing, secretly meant I was a straight girly-girl underneath it all. I couldn’t enjoy solo sexual activities anymore because I developed a self-monitoring problem where I was constantly wondering about the gendered implications of what I was doing.”

Oh, my! This is where endless navel-gazing and gender scrutiny leads us. Its leads to people being unable to even masturbate without considering the gendered implication of their sexual response and whether they wiggle or thrust. But anyway, what I want to highlight here is that groups of dysphoric women are convincing each other that they’re men because they like humping and thrusting and want to penetrate. You can do all these things as a woman.

It’s not just porn that teaches people that female sexuality means being a passive receptacle. Regular sex education materials designed for youth present sex as a mechanical activity where the man is active and the woman passive. This Soft Space made this comment on Hot Flanks’ post:

“When I was a kid my parents had this set of medical encyclopedias, and being a curious twelve-year-old I received a good portion of my sex education from a cross-section diagram within. The accompanying text stated factually “During sexual intercourse the man inserts his penis in the woman’s vagina” and there it was in a detailed black and white drawing. That was how it was done, apparently. That was sex.”

I remember that diagram too. It’s legitimate to show this diagram to young adolescents in the context of talking about how to prevent pregnancy, but this is a very limited idea of what sex is. First of all, homosexuals have sex all the time and it doesn’t look like that at all, and second of all, heterosexuals do a lot more than just that and some heterosexual women don’t enjoy penetration and prefer other activities.

The quote by radical feminist Catherine MacKinnon illustrates that diagram perfectly: “Man fucks woman; subject verb object.” We are never taught anything other than this narrative, unless we are lucky enough to encounter some good quality comprehensive sex education that presents sex as being an activity between two subjects neither of whom is objectified.

Female humans are not passive receptacles—and that includes females of all sexual orientations. We have our own organ of sexual pleasure and we have our own desires and preferences. I will refer you to The Internal Clitoris, published by the Museum of Sex, which I have linked to before, because it provides everything you need to know about the clitoris. The only part of it we can see and feel is the glans—which is the outer button with 8,000 nerve fibers, and is so sensitive some woman cannot touch it directly. The clitoris continues inward where we cannot see it, and it contains erectile tissue that fills with blood during arousal, and it wraps around the vagina.

In my blog post about lesbian lust I quoted a YouTube commenter who said the following:

“When you dont have a dick but you feel like you have an erection (?) Like literal. I’m so serious. Is this almost what you mean. Cause I swear everytime I read porn I feel my no dick rise. I kid you not knowing that I will never get a blow job upsets me.”

This woman has learned that what she feels when aroused is a “male” feeling, but that’s not true. The clitoris has erectile tissue and it fills with blood during arousal. This woman does have an erection, in fact—an erection of the clitoris. This doesn’t mean she is male. She is a normal female. She doesn’t have to lament not getting a “blow job.” She could accept oral sex from a partner who wants to give it and it will feel good on her female genitals. Having her female genitals surgically modified to resemble a penis is not the way to have a satisfying orgasm.

Also worth noting is that the clitoris wraps around the vagina. It’s entirely possible that women who enjoy vaginal penetration are getting extra stimulation to their clitoris that way. Different people’s bodies respond in different ways to stimulation. Some women might only enjoy stimulation of the outer clitoris and some might enjoy stimulation of the internal clitoris. Women can have an orgasm without any penetration, and some women can orgasm without directly touching their genitals, by doing things like crossing their legs or activating their pelvic muscles.

There is no way to experience sexual arousal of the clitoris that is wrong for a female or that indicates that one is supposed to be male. Any sexual arousal a female feels is a female feeling. If her arousal makes her want to thrust or hump or be on top, that is a female feeling. And this is not just for lesbians, heterosexual women can feel this way too.

It’s heartbreaking that women are going around believing that the sexual feelings they get from their female bodies is an indication that they are “male.” The reason women are convinced of this is because our culture is patriarchal, and women are supposed to be sex objects for men. Human sexuality is constructed as men being active and women being passive. A woman’s role in sex is presented as being nothing more than looking pretty and spreading her legs. This is nowhere near what female sexuality is actually like. The fundamental reason that sexuality is constructed in this way is to preserve men’s dominance over women.

Bonus material: An adorable YouTube video of a woman drawing the internal clitoris:

For the love of the female body

So much focus on women who hate their bodies has made me hungry for something that celebrates femaleness. And I have just the thing. Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier, published in 1999, describes the female body with respect, reverence, and joy. This book is hard to classify: it’s full of scientific information, but it’s not a textbook. It’s very entertaining, but it’s not fiction. It’s a fascinating and poignant journey through the female body, from someone who quite loves being female. Angier is an accomplished science writer, and her writing entertains as much as it instructs. She writes non-fiction with incredible skill, using metaphor and imagery with as much artistry as a novelist. I sure wish I could write like she can.

Her introduction begins as follows:

“This book is a celebration of the female body—its anatomy, its chemistry, its evolution, and its laughter. It is a personal book, my attempt to find a way to think about the biology of being female without falling into the sludge of biological determinism. It is a book about things that we traditionally associate with the image of woman—the womb, the egg, the breast, the blood, the almighty clitoris—and things that we don’t—movement, strength, aggression, and fury. It is a book about rapture, a rapture grounded firmly in the flesh, the beauties of the body. The female body deserves Dionysian respect, and to make my case I summon the spirits and cranks that I know and love best.” (p. ix)

I came across this book years ago because it was quoted in the Vagina Monologues. Back in my early twenties I attended the VM on campus several times and that was one of my first exposures to feminism. I was enchanted by seeing women get up on stage and unashamedly talk about living life in a female body. I always came away from the show feeling angry about misogyny yet very proud of being female. I realize that some of the skits have some serious problems in them, but I’m not going to get into that here.

The quotes taken from Woman: An Intimate Geography and used in the Vagina Monologues are some quotes about the clitoris. When Angier is stating that women have never had penis envy, she says “Who would want a shotgun when you can have a semiautomatic?”(p. 58) Later, on the same page, she explains further why the clitoris is the superior organ: “The clitoris is simply a bundle of nerves: 8,000 nerve fibers, to be precise. That’s a higher concentration of nerve fibers than is found anywhere else on the body, including the fingertips, lips, and tongue, and it is twice the number in the penis. In a sense, then, a woman’s little brain is bigger than a man’s. All this, and to no greater end than to subserve a woman’s pleasure.”

I can still remember the sound of the actress’s voice reciting these words in our little theatre on campus. She announced them with joy and pride and well-deserved smugness. She used to repeat the word “twice” several times. “That’s twice, twice, TWICE the number in the penis!”

We women got the body that has an organ fully dedicated to our pleasure, and since that organ has more nerve endings than the penis and can orgasm more frequently, I can state for certain that the female body is the more pleasurable one to have. The reason women hate being female is because of the way females are mistreated; it’s not due to any problem with the body itself.

Now I’m thinking about something I learned in my Vagina Monologues-watching days. The clitoris isn’t just the most fun bodily organ that Mother Nature ever invented, it’s also a metaphor for female sexual self-determination. The woman who believes that her vagina is the center of her sexual life is viewing herself as a vessel for male pleasure. The woman who sees her clitoris as the center of her sexual life is thinking of herself as a sexual agent, the way a man is.

An article by Peggy Orenstein called Our Barbie Vaginas, Ourselves, (which is full of interesting information by the way,) has a paragraph about the effect of women’s genital self-image on our sex lives. Not surprisingly, women who hate their genitals get less enjoyment from sex and masturbate less often. When men treat our bodies like consumer products for them to purchase and use, and convince us that our natural bodies are unacceptable, that systematically reduces the pleasure we can experience. (And of course, it also leads to multiple other human rights abuses.)

The clitoris is fussy and fickle—she can be very sensitive one day and indifferent the next, she can respond with pleasure to one kind of touch and with numbness to another, and she knows which people can please her and which people can’t. At some point around the age of 23 I finally decided I was done having unsatisfying sex with men. No more would I be a vessel for someone else’s pleasure, where the only thing I got out of it was the superficial satisfaction of being deemed fuckable by a member of the male ruling class. You only care about that validation when you’re young. As you get older, especially if you read a lot of radical feminist theory, you realize that validation from men means nothing. Men pretend to be really picky when it comes to women, but they truly aren’t. Men will fuck anything, including women, children, animals, inanimate objects, and holes in the wall. It means nothing when one of them wants to fuck you. What is actually meaningful, for a woman, is pursuing that pleasure which will make her own body happy, and not giving a shit whether the patriarchy approves or not. For me, that pleasure comes from being with another clitoris-bearer. For straight women, that comes from respecting her own body and only being with men who respect it, too. The clitoris may be fickle, but when you give her what she wants, the result is out of this world. Men who think women are just holes to fuck don’t know a goddamn thing about women and have no business being in our beds.

I’m going to dive more into this book, and uncover more beautiful and fascinating things about womanhood, and share them with you. It breaks my heart that some women can’t love their female bodies. I wish they could step into my brain for an hour, and experience womanhood the way I do, with pleasure and delight.

A better way to think about consent

This image is being shared on the Internet and giving us radical feminists a major round of *headdesk*. Although the sex-pozzies claim to care about consent, they consistently show that they have no idea what it is.

consent graphic

Paying someone to make her agree to have sex that she wouldn’t otherwise want is not obtaining consent—it’s coercion. Coercing someone into sex is abuse.

Instead of viewing consent as “using methods to get her to say yes to something I want”, it should be viewed as “finding out what she actually wants and respecting that.” Imagine if men did this?

What women in prostitution really want isn’t sex with gross entitled assholes, it’s money. If you want to “support your local sex worker,” then provide her with rent money and food, without making her submit to sexual abuse. Give her a chance to put food on the table and also the power to decline unwanted sex. Now that would be support!

What this graphic is really trying to do is normalize prostitution and assure men that they can use coercion to obtain a “yes” from a woman and that makes it consensual. It tells us to “support” women in prostitution by pretending that they fully consented to the things that johns do to them. (This is also known as “victim-blaming” and “gas-lighting.”) And it brings us farther away from what consensual sex really is.

Anyone who has actually had consensual sex knows that it would be completely absurd to pay anyone for it. That would be as nonsensical as paying a friend to laugh with you about some hilarious inside jokes. It’s not something you pay for. It’s something that you do together for the joy of it and no money is required.

Rachel Moran explained everything there is to explain about prostitution in her book Paid For, and it would be impossible not to reference her here. In Chapter 16, the Myth of the Prostitute’s Sexual Pleasure, she talks about how women feel a “range between mild distaste and outright disgust” (p162) in their interactions with clients. She says that only two men out of thousands that she met ever pleased her, and these two exceptions actually proved the rule that prostitution is incompatible with women’s pleasure. The first time she met a john that she felt attracted to, she had consensual sex with him and then found that she could not accept money from him. She found it impossible to treat this experience as prostitution, because it wasn’t. The second man seemed pleasing at first until he reminded her she was being paid. At that moment she began to dissociate again, and she was reminded to never let her guard down during an interaction with a client because it is always preferable to dissociate rather than experience the feeling of being paid for and used, even if the man is unusually well-mannered. Moran concludes that “Female pleasure does not belong in prostitution, and both male and female participants intuitively understand that it has no place there.” (p166.)

Sometimes johns will claim that they give the women they buy sexual pleasure. These men tell themselves this because they do not want to consider the truth that the woman is faking it to earn money.

In consensual sex, both partners have freely chosen to be there and are having sex for the joy of it—not to gain an external reward or avoid a punishment. Both partners care about each other’s needs and desires and communicate to each other what they would like. In consensual sex, participants find out what their partner wants, either by asking, or observing their body language, and they avoid doing anything their partner doesn’t like. No one has to dissociate and no one feels disgusted. They feel joy and excitement. This is not at all compatible with prostitution, which is a system that allows men to use their money and power to coerce cooperation from a woman in order for him to get what he wants.

There are many more ways that women are coerced into saying yes to things they don’t want. Wives say yes to their husbands even when they don’t feel like it to avoid having discussions about it. Women are taught that we are responsible for keeping husbands happy and that he will cheat if we say “no.” And husbands do cheat if their wives don’t submit to their every whim.

If sex pozzies cared about making all sexual interactions consensual, they would abolish all the social institutions and cultural constructs that coerce women—such as compulsory heterosexuality, femininity and masculinity, the pornstitution industry, BDSM, traditional marriage, and patriarchy in general. But the sex-pozzies’ real interest is in making excuses for abusive men and trying to pretend that abuse is really okay. If they were actually positive toward sex, they’d join radical feminists in working toward a world where women’s consent is actually necessary and valued by men. When our “no” means nothing our “yes” doesn’t mean much either.

 

Healthy Sexuality

A friend of mine posted this link to a Tumblr post by legalisedlies about how liberal “feminists” say “listen to sex workers” but then they will only listen to the most privileged women in the sex trade because they support sex-pozzitive ideology. (I will not call them “sex-positive” with correct spelling because these people do not support healthy sexuality.) Legalizedlies wrote a fantastic comment response which I want to talk about:

Nah, they don’t. The fact that they call our lived experience “victim porn” says enough. They don’t propose to “listen to sex workers” because they give a damn about us. They do so because their “sex positive” ideology needs some steamy hot propaganda. We can’t let it happen that the trauma of these girls gets in the way of their porn addiction, right?

If they’d fully grasp the trauma of being violated in the sex industry, they can’t fetishise our rapes anymore. We can’t have that, can we?But i do acknowledge that they are victims in this too. I’m getting more concerned by the game that is rigged than the fact that they come back time and time again to lose, so to speak. Can we really blame libfems for fetishising the brutalisation of women if nobody under 30 can even imagine what healthy sex looks like, let alone communicate about it? Like i said: the game is rigged; we live in such a pornified world that at this stage, sex and dominance, submission and violence are synonyms. I can name 0 examples in the real world outside of my imagination where i’ve seen healthy sexuality. And even if we all had seen a few examples, when sexual violence against women is so eroticised, it would strike most as un-erotic. This fetishisation is taught behavior. The only thing that i feel that could change this is an end to capitalism and a complete removal of the sexualisation of dominance, submission and sexual violence against women from society. Untill that happens all we have is each other. I will continue to try to be in solidarity with other women and do damage control. We sometimes get frustrated with libfems, but maybe, just maybe, our work can make their lives less risky too. And that’s what it’s all about.

This is a fantastic summary of porn culture: young people are constantly fed unhealthy sexuality through pornography and pop culture and sex-pozzie “feminism” and they’re not getting any examples of healthy sexuality. It’s worth having conversations about what healthy sexuality is and what we should be striving for as we attempt to cleanse our minds of porn culture. I’m thinking about how I can write more about this topic, but for now, here are a few points about healthy sex.

Sex is not work or a job. It’s a leisure activity done just for the joy of it. I will compare sex to hanging out and spending time with your loved ones. It wouldn’t make any sense to say that hanging out watching a movie and laughing with your friends on a Friday night is “work” or that you could pay someone for it. Same with sex. It’s something you do because you feel like it, because it gives you joy and pleasure. If it feels like work to you, that’s because you’re not enjoying it and are doing it for someone else’s sake. You do not have to engage in sex that you don’t enjoy.

Sex is not a performance, nor is it glamorous. Sex is something private and vulnerable and sometimes messy. It involves real human bodies. Real human bodies are not cookie-cutter perfect, they aren’t always gorgeous to look at, and they do embarrassing things sometimes, like burp at the wrong moment. Orgasms aren’t always loud and obvious, some of them are rather quiet like a sigh or a whisper. Pleasure can be expressed loudly or subtly depending on the person and the situation.

During sex you should feel joyful, happy, relaxed, and excited. You should not feel nervous, bored, scared, or frozen. It’s possible you may feel a bit nervous if it’s a new partner and you’re super excited and hoping it will go well. But that is a nervousness based on excitement and desire, not a nervousness based on fear of the situation or the person. You should absolutely not be in fear.

Your partner should care about you and your pleasure. He/she should listen to you and the directions you give and should be excited to learn what pleases you. You should feel comfortable saying what you want and don’t want. If you don’t know what you want, just take it slowly, you will gradually figure it out.

There should be no consequence for saying “no” to something. If you say no to something your partner should immediately stop without complaining or demanding an explanation and should switch to something else that you like better. Your partner should not continue to do something you don’t like or try to talk you into it. She/he should be happy to switch to something you like better.

During good sex, you will probably smile and/or laugh with delight. You should feel relaxed enough to laugh if something funny happens. Sometimes bodies are hilarious.

Sex should not hurt, and it certainly should not cause injuries that require treatment. If it doesn’t feel good, you are allowed to stop. There is a myth that goes around that your first time will hurt. Sorry about the TMI, but my first time did not hurt, it felt great. I think if your first time hurts it’s because you aren’t actually aware that you are not aroused. I will repeat again: if it hurts, you are allowed to stop.

You should not have an expectation that sex needs to include specific acts. Rather, you should just do things that both you and your partner enjoy, regardless of whether or not you think other people do things that way. It doesn’t matter what everybody else is doing.

You should not have to drink alcohol or take drugs before sex in order to feel brave enough to go through with it. If you do not feel brave enough to go through with it, then you probably don’t actually want it. If you want sex, you’ll be eager to do it even while sober.

Sex is not about seeing how much you can get away with or seeing how far you can push someone. Sex is affection and caring expressed with your body. If it feels like you are “making hate” rather than “making love” then consider that this may be abuse.

You don’t have to feel ready to have sex at a certain age. You don’t have to like sex at all. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Just like you wouldn’t sign up for a photography class if you’re not interested in photography, if you’re not interested in sex you don’t have to sign up for it either. You don’t owe anyone sex for any reason, even if you’re in a relationship. No one owns your body but you.

A note about dominance and submission. One of the main things we learn from porn culture is that dominance and submission are sexy. Sex seems to get sexier according to how much power one person has over the other, and how far they can push the other to submit. This is not healthy. Neither you nor your partner should have power over the other, you should be equals who come together out of your own free will, because you like being together. If you find dominance and submission sexy, I’m not surprised, because most of us do. I do, too—it was taught to me by my culture. There’s nothing unique or special about a person who is acting out exactly what they’ve been taught. It’s pretty predictable, actually. Wanting to act out the sexual abuse we are saturated in is not a sexual orientation—it’s a response and a reaction to what we’ve been trained in. I believe this can be unlearned, although it’s not easy.

In a perfect world, sex is a fun and joyful experience between two equal partners who care about each other’s pleasure. It’s not an obligation or a source of pain. That’s what we’re striving for.