why do YOU have sex?

I accidentally came across this article. I skimmed as much as I could so I wasn’t ranting about something I hadn’t read. Now my head hurts. (though it does acknowledge cultural constraints on women’s sexuality)

My biggest problem with the article is that I don’t understand why we need such a study. Or rather, I DO understand why we need such a study and I think ugh.

I know why I have sex. so I’m guessing this article isn’t for me. Who cares why women have sex? oh. MEN. (and maybe lesbians but I’m pretty sure society still thinks that they only exist for men to fantasize about.)

Plus the whole article goes on and on about how women have sex to get back at people, or they are trading favors, or “simply to “keep the peace” at home.” (Um rape culture anyone? 84% of women report this. If saying no was easy and respected this wouldn’t be an issue…)

The article has a tone that implies that this behavior is female in nature. Men’s sex drives are mentioned briefly a couple times, but usually to uphold that men have sex for pleasure or because they are in love, (both in the top 20 reasons men have sex). See it’s those complicated women that make sex complicated!!

Actually, it is not the study itself I cringe at but how the analysis is used. if we looked at how sociologically we are programmed we might find that these results are consistent and indicative of a problem. but the patriarchal lens looking at this study could never make those connections: “More than half of women under 60 still suffer from low sex drive.” Low sex drive in women is a problem for whom? Who is suffering from it really? if I don’t crave chocolate one day am I suffering from lack of interest in chocolate? I mean eating chocolate does bring me pleasure when I do it. so isn’t this the same problem? no. why? because chocolate is just a preference.  And who decides what a “normal” sex drive is?  “Low” is BAD!  why???? If women aren’t interested in having sex whenever a male is, this is seen as problem. Why isn’t that just a preference?

And they only have what people report. People do things all the time without thinking them through, then piece together why. Also there are societal constraints on how we are expected to answer these questions. and women are not supposed to feel pleasure. We are supposed to lie back and think of our country. would that color how people report their reasons for sex? I think so. Its that whole ontological reality thing. we don’t have access to it.

When you have a relationship with someone, no matter how brief, is what 64% of the people do important? no. It is what you and your partner think and communicate. It is how you feel, about how you’re partner feels. Because no specific person will match up with the “general” person on everything, so you must still listen and react and be honest.

Or maybe I’m just being reactionary because this study shows I am in fact a freak of nature because I believe sex should be grounded in consent and pleasure. Plus I think that my body should never have to be used as a bargaining chip because I want to be seen as a whole person, even though I acknowledge that I don’t yet live in that world.

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defining sexuality

so. I generally identify as straight. but I’m at a place where I’m attracted to my good female friend. am I bisexual? maybe. And I know that people are going to be pissed with me, but I don’t think so.

I know there is a lot of bi-phobia out there, and I’ve seen a lot of reactions from people who feel betrayed by people who have relations with people of both sexes but don’t identify as bisexual. It is not my intent to distance myself from the queer community. In fact I’d feel guilty if I identified as bi.

I have straight privilege. I know that when watching movies or whatever that people will have relationships that have the gender make up of the relationships I’ve had. I’ve never dated a woman, and I’m not really interested in most women. I know, I know, that’s like labeling all virgins as asexual. Obviously you can have sexual feelings and know who you want to date even if you haven’t dated them. but this is different. I’ve always wanted to date men, with their hairy faces and penises. It is not just a response to being programed by society and not being true to myself. (Yes I have had people argue my sexuality with me before so I’ve thought about it and had to deal with this argument). I don’t want to co opt a culture and movement with my mostly straight voice.

I would be okay with being called my-specific-best-friend-sexual. because that’s what it is. I like her specifically. not that when I date boys I don’t like them in specific, but a large range of men stimulate me and the same doesn’t happen around women.

It feels like I should have this sorted out by now. not my entire love life, but my sexual orientation identity. I don’t even like that sexual orientation should be be part of my identity. I identify with much more important things. Thing I’m super passionate about. I’m a math educator, I’m a subverter of the dominant paradigm, I’m a feminist, I’m a nudist. but that’s part of straight privilege. I’m “normal” so I don’t have to deal with my sexuality as my identity as a part of me that others me from society. if I did date a woman then society would label and identify me. I would have to respond to that, or at least live with that, unless I moved to a cave.

in the post-everything-bad world the label would be meaningless. everyone would just date who they like. And what their genitals looked like wouldn’t be a big deal. but that is not where we live. sigh.

what will you do for a gender free tomorrow?

I’ve always been a huge proponent of gender deconstruction. But I don’t know if that is really the right phrase. People talk about hetero-normative culture, I believe it is only part of a larger problem of gender-normative culture.

What is “straight” but a gendered expectation on who we should want to fuck or raise a family with? The patriarchy thrives on the gender binary system. It sees Masculine and Maleness as good and anything outside that as, well, not good. We can not live freely as womyn if we are living in the confines of “femininity”. But we cannot change what it means to be a “woman” without affect what it means to be a man. If we take away the strict definition of “man” the patriarchy has no legs to stand on.

Men also cannot live freely withing the confines of “Masculinty”. But while womyn have risked their lives, careers and families for the ability to wear a pantsuit, most men do not stand and fight for their right to wear pink frocks. That would be fighting for something that is doesn’t fit into the male= good paradigm. So the few men who do fight for equality in gender relations are cast out and punished (including physical assault) by the dominant system as a warning to those who would question the status quo.

And the Pantsuit is no salvation. It is women taking on a masculine costume to gain the power that masculinity brings. It does not change the “male=good” definition. This is not an unreasonable plan since no true revolution has come yet.

Gender-normativity is so built into our culture that we don’t have the words to adequately describe the world without dividing it into “girl things” and “boy things”. And English isn’t even the worst at it. In most romance languages every noun has a gender. But even though English isn’t the “worst” it is still completely deficient.

We need a singular pronoun that is gender neutral, because “it” isn’t cutting the mustard, and “they” gets really confusing and difficult to decipher for some people who insist it is plural.

Gendered expectations control lives, oppressing our true autonomy. I say no race, no economic conditons, and no government has the right to take my autonomy. (They do. All the time. But I’m talking about my dream of the post patriarchal world here) So why should I let gendered expectation control me? there aren’t always options, (esp for children.) Many Schools in NZ have uniforms that require skirts for girls and shorts or trousers for boys. from day one we are told we either belong in the cult of pink or blue.

I know it seems I am not offering solutions. I don’t think that a world free from gender-normative expectations will happen overnight. So here’s what I’ll do:

1. I will speak out against destructive gender-normative impositions as I see them in everyday life.
2. I will encourage and support those in my community who act outside of gender normative expectations to live the life they choose.
3. I will respect and support those who live in fear of coming out as not wanting to live within gender normative expectations (this includes not outing anyone).
4. I will proudly not fit into rigid gender roles when I don’t feel they define who I am.

Join me. What will you do to support a gender free tomorrow?

hope for tomorrow

I had a suprising and wonderful conversation in passing last night.  I was at a video rental place talking to my friend who works there ( ok I concede, sometimes life is like clerks… but in a much less annoying way.)  I was gossiping to my friend about my date on sunday night and how it ended in a “wait, what? huh?”  sort of way. 

and this customer joins in our conversation.  a bloke with a motercycle helmet.  he also had gone to the movies on a date the previous night, and he mentioned he was feeling morally conflicted about having kissed the girl because she was leaving the country in 8 weeks and he wasn’t sure that he wanted to have a relationship when as he felt he would be hurt when she left.  he was also afraid something might not go well and he would ruin the rest of her time in NZ. 

Yet again we see that gender stereotypes about how people should act are totally bogus.  he was a MAN! (GASP!) he should only want sex, but he has emotional needs and vulnerabilites and was concerned for the girl’s emotional needs and vulnerabilites. 

also there are posters everywhere promoting wearing white ribbons to stand in solidarity against violence against women.  the posters feature men wearing the ribons and are aimed at men to take a stand against violence against women.  exactly the type of thing that Dworkin suggested in I want a 24 hour truce.

I feel awesome!

speaking of my date I helped participate in the yes means yes and no means no culture and instead of attacking my date with my lips asked him EXPLICITLY, “can I kiss you?”. that’s when things got a bit “huh, whut?” but we’ll see. I’m so glad i asked. I don’t like people to physically impose themselves on me and don’t want anyone to feel I do that to the. It works well and doesn’t kill the mood, (especially if it’s an awkward date moment to begin with) So I suggest to all men and women and people who do not identify as either man or woman, ask!

personal experience of the male libido

We all know men are only after 1 thing.  Sex. Sex. Sex.  right?  I’ve posted on the fallacy (heehee… “Phallus-y” ) of this statement before.  But recent events are bringing it to mind once more.

 the last Two guys I’ve made out with have not wanted to go all the way.   Fellow A it was a mutual sort of agreement.  Fellow B was being a damn dirty tease.  Well it’s not his fault.  People go at there own pace, and “their own pace” is even subject to change at different points of their life.  but man, when you are in that moment and don’t get satisfied…it messes with your head. 

 At least he was honest with himself and me.  As far as I know at any rate. 

 I guess I’m anxious because there are deadlines with everyone I’m meeting now.  People are travelling and moving on.  A month is not a long time so I want to make the most of every frickin’ minute.  Everything happens as it does.  once it has happened there is not changing it.  So I can choose to enjoy someone’s company with a big “maybe” hanging around but no promises.  or I can be bitter and push the situation which will make him uncomfortable and distant.  

 yeah the first option sounds better, but it is difficult to do.  Lessons in patience are definitely one’s I need to learn, so it will not be a useless endeavor.  grumble…grumble.

I don’t want laura sessions stepp in my fucking head!!!!

I’m on the other side of the world and things here are the same as everywhere (western). I am ashamed to admit the the patriarchy is messing with my head. I hooked with a guy. that’s not so bad. but It didn’t quite go as I hoped and I feel like I wasted that hook up. like I only have so many before I think I’m slutty so I better get as much satisfaction out of each as possible so I don’t have to cross over to the slutty side.

goddamnit patriarchy get out of my head.

it’s so frustrating. I want to be enlightened and believe it’s ok. I’m still happy and healthy. I’m not knocked up. So why is it a big deal?

there is no immunity. at least I recognise that I have these feelings and instead of succumbing to it I realise that it shouldn’t matter. That it is external (and unfair) societal influences/ pressures creating this feeling. Empowerment is not easy. Shedding my own misogynistic preconceptions is not over.

aaaagggghhhhh.

They are only after one thing!

So I was listening to Stroke9’s “Latest disaster”  The chorus is the supposed song that some girl wrote about him.  (I think he thought of the chorus and was all like, “oh snap, this would work better in this gendered society of a girl sang it, I’ll write a song about a girl writing such a song and I can still use it!” (yes I am feeling a bit silly)).

 Anyway the chorus goes thusly:

Get out, get dressed,

you’re just like the rest,

there’s only one thing you’re after.

You’re still the same self-centered bastard.

You stay out all night with your shady friends

just getting plastered.

This relationship’s just my latest disaster.

So of course I try to relate. “oh yeah, guys are only after one thing,” I think to myself. and when I think back on my relationships, it is mostly true. not 100% but a fair many guys I’ve known in college and recently are after only one thing: Marraige and stability. ok that’s two things, but they are related.

There was Tim who wanted to find a wife before graduating from college because, “where else will I meet some one.” David had a similar view if I recall.

Then of the ones I dated. Terence wanted to marry me, kind of. He was odd. Then there was Steve Who didn’t date me because, “I like you too much and you’re leaving” (in 7 months… ) Apparently the heartbreak would be too much. or Alex Who I thought I was having a fling with. When I got stressed I broke up with him. It was right before my semester abroad. his response, “but I’m ok with you having no time for me, I’m ok with you going away for a while” EEEK! run… I thought it was clear when I left we’d break up. Well I’ll have to be more clear next time. Dougie wanted to follw me to the ends of the earth. I had to break up with him, or I would never escape. He was so sweet otherwise though.

I’m being a bit sarcastic. Very few people are only always after ONE thing. I’m sure lots of these guys had flings as well as relationships. I’ve done both. Oh.. wait a minute.. it’s like, PEOPLE want different things at different times of their life and it isn’t necesarily related to their gender. What? My goodness that’s like gender deconstruction.

I’m done being sarcastic and snarky… no really.

Reinforce your second class status

I really believe that in order to progress as a society that promotes equality we need to deconstruct gender stereotypes.  I think that this will be beneficial to both men and women.  However, men probably have more to lose and women have more to gain. 

 Inherent in the way we veiw the two genders that society accepts, men tend to come out on top.  

It’s not just that we should break out of the idea that all women or all men fit into nice little boxes and no one is an individual.   Male qualities are seen as good while female qualities are seen as bad.  If we deconstruct what it means to have masculine or feminine traits, the inherent power and goodness of being “male” will diminish. 

This is good news to those men that embody more historically feminine traits, and good news to women everywhere.  But how can we convince men to give up the power that comes with conforming to these standards?  Otherwise if women want power or influence we must rely on becoming masculine. 

 I’ve been genuinely complimented on my own masculine behaviour: being direct and expressing my ideas and concerns on projects.   Why is that masculine? IMHO: Historically women were not allowed to either be direct or even have ideas.  In order for any women to exert any influence she would have to be very indirect so her owner husband wouldn’t lose face.  Culturally this trait has been passed down mother to daughter.  (and in many cases is still part of many individual’s experiences with marraige and society) 

Cultural brainwashing should not constitute what it means to be female. 

This puts me in a frustrating place when it comes to talking to women who support/accept gender stereotypes wholeheartedly.  I have a friend who is a chef.  I remarked to her that she shouldn’t “work” on her day off when I saw her at a bbq cooking up some veggies.  Her response was, “well it’s ok, it’s not like real cooking, I mean, even men can do it!”

other golden comments include “well it’s just a male ego thing” and various references to how men are “just that way” differing depending on context.  So to her, it’s ok for guys to be jerks and uncompromising because that’s just they way they are and they can’t help themselves.  It drives me nuts as she is such an individual thinker in other areas.  She complains that we have all been brainwashed by the american food culture that is so unhealthy, but here she is totally consummed by the patriarchy.  But can I blame someone for not breaking free of the “values” her parents taught her?  is that blaming the victim? 

I would say, yes she is a victim of society but that is not an excuse.  no more than it is an excuse for someone who thinks raping someone is ok because society allows it. 

At the same time, am I not also working toward her freedom?  It’s like the matrix, at anytime the people we are trying to save could become Agent Smith. 

It’s just so frustrating.

Published in: on September 4, 2007 at 4:20 pm  Comments (4)  
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College boys can’t “keep up”

I followed a link from Feministing to this article. 

In response to some guys who may have genuine “problems” 

We need to (say it with me) deconstruct gender stereotypes. Not all women are like those described in the article, likewise not all men thrive on casual sexual encounters.

However men are expected to thrive in such an environment, so they have a hard time saying no, or admiting that they are not up to it.  Now when a woman is pressured into having sex, you can just use extra lube if her body is not responding.  they can be pressured into sex even when their body is saying no.  Men don’t have that option.

The big issue is respect.  It is a human thing.  We should respect eachother and if we do not find someone who’s boundries we are comfortable with, move on. 

 No one should be put into a situation where they feel they must do something sexual.  It should be a giving and pleasurable experience for both people.  (or “all people” if you are into that sort of thing.)

The problem is not that women are become more assertive sexual beings, it’s that men are not allowed to not be assertive sexual beings.  If a woman’s sex drive diminishes for a year or two that’s “normal female behavior” so why should anyone get so uptight about it happening to a guy?

 My issues with the rest of them. 

These guys with problems are complaining that women all want sex on the first date.  Well I’ve only recently emerged from academia and there are lots of women who like to wait.  (in college I was definitely one of them) Where are they meeting these people?  Maybe they need to find different types of people instead of just chasing a skirt that their body is telling them they don’t really want. 

 In terms of Conquest.  Ew.  I do believe there are some guys who get off on it.  if that’s what they are getting off on, and it’s lack of conquest causing their impotence, good riddance.  Who wants that anyway?  I’m supposed to feel sorry for a guy because he can no longer assert his power over me physically since i actually want to have sex?  that’s gross.  Impotence is not the problem in this situation.  

If a guy get’s off because he is able to pleasure his partner.  that’s cool, but because he tricked her into sex at all?  give me a break.  I concede pressure is different than force, but for someone to want to have to pressure me?  that seems dangerously close to them wanting to force me.