America’s Next Bill Clinton!

Feminism and sex.
August 30, 2007, 7:56 pm
Filed under: equality, erotica, feminist, love, rape, relationships, sex, sexuality

A feminist friend and I had a conversation a few days ago, and the conversation of feminism and sex came up …and the conversation was pretty interesting, as we’re both aware of each other’s penchant for certain sexual practices, and I’d like to get some of your opinions on sex and feminists.As feminists, we stand for equality, justice, and all those things, to include non-oppression.

But as humans, we’re sexual beings and our degrees of sexual practices vary.

Said friend confided in me that while she is against sexual crimes and works at a women’s shelter, she sometimes still gets turned on by fantasies of force and such, especially hearing stories from these women.

While I cannot relate to that, personally, for me, as a feminist, it’s a struggle because on one hand, I am still a red-blooded American male, and on the other hand …I’ve got some adventurous practices and preferences when it comes to intimate relationships (sex and love are different agencies, by the way).

In a recent feminist thought class, the point was made that we are primates and animals when it comes to sex, thus having various thoughts and fantasies and acting them out in consensual fantasies is acceptable.

But then the argument was also made that we have to draw the line somewhere, because there is a slippery slope.

My feeling on that is a confusing one: the personal is political, thus what we do in the bedroom extends to how we treat people in the world. But at the same time, we’re also smart enough people to separate sex from politics and equality, so long as the sex is consensual.

One can still separate one’s sexual fantasies and practices and bed room habits, no matter how “adventurous” from being a feminist, one girl I met argues; I think otherwise. But I also think that we shouldn’t be hypocrites. At the same time, we shouldn’t deny ourselves of what pleasures us, if it’s consensual and a mutual understanding between two people who understand what they’re doing is just “in their head” and confined to their private lives.



3 Comments so far
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I don’t know Marc, this is a very tricky area. Will have to think a bit more and formulate my thoughts a little later but I can relate to your conversation because I can say that a feminist discussion group I once attended, that would have been mostly radical feminist and which was probably almost half lesbian and half straight, all women.. that when discussing sex and compromising your feminism about 3/4 of the group acknowledged a rape fantasty. I was stunned!

But, I think it is worth remembering that rape fantasies are fantasies (full stop, end of story, and do NOT imply a desire for the reality).. plus culturally we have a strong tendeny towards storylines involving male pursuers and the seduction of women, and men in positions of dominance are held in high esteem etc and all this would likely culturally influence the types of fantasies we create – are we trained in a way to have rape fantasies? .. plus the patriarchy punishes women for enjoying and pursuing sex so maybe a rape fantasy is a way for women to fantasize about sex without being punished in their minds for sex, because they weren’t responsible for pursuing that sex, in their fantasy it happened to them.

I haven’t heard feminist-leaning men ever discuss this type of compromise.. perhaps they too have rape fantasies and find them very uncomfortable, just as women might?

Comment by blue milk

“the point was made that we are primates and animals when it comes to sex”
I think we are primates in regard to everything. We’re very intelligent and flexible primates, so we fool ourselves into thinking that because we act differently from other primates in some ways, like how I’m typing on a computer right now, that we can step out of and above our animal nature, but I think in reality we’re programmed by our DNA to be capable of and desirous of doing whatever we do. Not as in we’re robots controlled by our DNA, but as in our DNA allows us to be creative and different and all that; we’re always animals, albeit very intelligent ones. So I don’t think that sex is somehow completely separate from everything else we do. But I won’t say that being turned on by something morally wrong is evidence of a problem; it could be totally normal and healthy. I don’t really know. What I can gather from introspection is that I think it’s possible to have fantasies about things that you don’t actually want in real life, and I think those desires can at least sometimes be traced back to patriarchy (the male pursuing female thing, the men are sex-crazed beasts thing, the women aren’t supposed to want sex thing). It’s possible that there are other, perfectly healthy reasons for wanting less than egalitarian sex, but I don’t have any info on that. I think as long as everything is safe and *completely* consensual (apparently, safe sane and consensual is the motto of the BDSM scene), it’s ok. But I personally would be upset to the point of nausea if I had sex with a man who got off on hurting and/or dominating me.

Comment by judgesnineteen

I’ll admit that I would love for a guy to just shove me against a wall and do it. But thats as far as it goes.

The line should be drawn between partners, and if they engage in violent sex acts, there should be a code word to stop. The rape fantasies should remain that, a fantasy I think at least. It’s dangerous ground, and I ahve seen women act it out with their significant others and theres a miscommunication and it does not end well.

Comment by Natassia

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