You guys, Holly is being totally brilliant again.
As with the consent culture post, THIS is the world I’m trying to build, where we all use our words and we all get to want things and ask for what we want.
This is the truthiest truth.
I believe it was Naomi Wolf who said that our culture needs to learn to, to user her phrase, “eroticize consent.” And when she said that, I was like, holy shit, that’s a great way to put it. I knew what she meant. I find it a HUGE turn-on when the person I’m with wants me, wants to be here doing this thing with me, and is thoroughly enjoying it.
For those of us who like that, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would enjoy fucking someone who didn’t want it. But the patriarchal mode of sex is about power, about the man owning the woman, possessing her and defiling her through the act of sex. So he has to be in control, and if he gets to take sexual possession of her despite her not really wanting it, he gets to feel even more powerful.
Obviously the conscious attitude isn’t always that extreme (though, depressingly often, it is), but that’s basically the model of sex our culture inculcates. That’s why rape culture exists despite the fact that most men aren’t rapists.
Holly is awesome!
This is pretty relevant to my life right now; a close friend is coming into town next week for a few days… it’s kind of a “is our mutual attraction going to turn into some sort of long-distance relationship thing?” fact-finding weekend, and I’m really excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to negotiate sex with a new partner and the last time I did, I wasn’t great at Using My Words at all and things did suffer a bit for that. I’m in a long-term relationship where our communication continues to improve, so I do have practice, just not in a new partner situation. This article really stood out to me as a good example of what I’d like to see happen.
We’ve been talking about this over email some, and the last thing he wrote to me ended with “But yeah, we should figure out whatever is fun at the particular time, and do that.”
I feel like this is a perfect distillation of the situation, and reading that from him made me feel even better about the entire situation than I already was.
It’s really sad for me to think back on my experiences with my first sexual partner; there were a few times that were pretty great at the time but mostly it was not very fulfilling and full of the classic “how much can I push my partner to do?”/”I don’t really understand my own sexual response or feel confident enough to voice my real desires or push back against this sexual pressure” conflict.
Thanks a lot for this link! Not only did it clarify a lot of thoughts that I’ve been having, it also brought the spotlight on some of my own less than stellar behaviour. I’m not very good at vocalizing what I need, and having some physical problems that makes sex somewhat problematic (and not only PiV sex) it does make my sexual relationships more awkward than they need to be.
As an aside – where does that gif of the applauding man come from? I think I recognize it and it’s driving me nuts not being able to figure out who it is!
It’s Orson Welles!
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