Thursday, April 13, 2006

That girl. No, THAT (kind of) girl. "Oh."

So over at Bitch | Lab, we had been starting to examine a question originally posed by Twisty, namely,

"“What I want to know is, who among us hasn’t been forced or shamed or guilted or brainwashed into fucking someone we really didn’t want to fuck? Does such a woman exist? Are you that girl? Gimme a holler.”

As you can see if you go there (please do), there are some distractions along the way, but on the whole some interesting answers come up. Among them the clear notion that the whole "sexual pressuring=male to female" is overly simplistic, and tends to shut out a lot of, say, gay and lesbian experience. Which has been my complaint for a while now, the overwhelming heterocentricity of the way these discussions often seem to play out in the Big Feminist Blogs (for instance).

So now, though, I read a piece by the inimitable Biting Beaver, Radical Feminist (tm). As is her wont, BB here extrapolates from her own experience to the entire rest of the world. In this case: patriarchy-brainwashed bisexual gal pal kept trying to rope her into a threesome, once she (BB that is; bi galpal remained single the whole time, apparently, the way oversexed bi folk tend to do perhaps) got a Man. And so we learn:

Heterosexual females are bombarded with the male desire for bisexuality. We are steeping in this bisexuality pressure.

From Heterosexual women are sometimes called ‘Vanilla’ and even ‘Uptight’. Mary thinks there is nothing wrong with a straight woman being pressured into bisexual sex with her boyfriend or husband. She wouldn’t see this as rape, or as sexual harassment, or even as wrong. Rather, she sees it as a woman “doing something she may not want to do, but love is all about compromise”. From thinly veiled pressure from men in the form of “Girl on Girl action is so HOT!!” to rowdy bars where men pressure otherwise straight women to tongue kiss for their viewing pleasure, all the way down to the sexualization of bisexuality in a teen magazine, there is intense pressure.

And heterosexual women are being caught in the crossfire
.

I gotta say: I must have been hanging out in the wrong circles all these years. Anyway I don't remember any pressure to be bisexual, especially. Of course, I was kind of busy with the whole pressure to be straight thing. Maybe that comes first, and then the bi thing. After you get a boyfriend, I mean; maybe that's when all the insidious bi women start slithering after you. I, like, wouldn't know.

So I open this up to you, Gentle Readers: has this ever happened to you? Have you been pressured to make out with your gal pal for the benefit of a drooling hetboy? Have you pressured a gal pal to make out with you or another gal pal for the benefit of a drooling hetboy? Are you a hetboy who pressures gal pals to make out with each other? Do you drool?

I figure after I get four, maybe five responses I can publish the study. Research is important, you know.

35 comments:

Amber said...

Great post, Belledame. I've been meaning to write about this myself, but haven't had time yet. I've never had sex with anyone I didn't want to have sex with, nor have I pressured anyone else into having sex when they didn't want to, so I guess that makes me "that girl." I realize that I may be in the minority, which is unfortunate; but for anyone to claim that this type of sexual pressuring only happens to straight females by straight males is extremely simplistic and downright insulting.

And, can I just say...

Heterosexual females are bombarded with the male desire for bisexuality.

Bombarded? Holy hyperbole, Batman!!

belledame222 said...

Caught in the crossfire! between straight drooling males and their to-be-pitied-but-not-excused bisexual female accompliceseseses!

I always love it, too, when a straight person prefaces a story like this with how she never gave it a second thought (at first), when the friend informed her of her non-hetness. It makes me feel a lot better about anything else that might follow. After all, I now know that this is a Tolerant Person, Not Homophobic In The Slightest, who obviously knows lots and lots of other non-het people and is comfortable in their presence and passing familiar with some of their own discrimination issues.

After all, non-het people are rare creatures, and it is important to acknowledge to one's (we presume straight) audience that They exist, and talk about what They are really like (most of them *not at all* like Miz Boundaries here, we learn).

Sage said...

I'm stuck on the word "pressured."

If a guy tells he thinks watching me with another girl would be erotic, is that pressure? What if he directly makes a request? There's still no threats involved, so I'm not sure I'd feel pressured then either.

If he brought a woman home with him, and he said, "Hey honey, I found one you can get it on with for me!" I, personally, still wouldn't feel *pressured*. However, I have no problems saying no to requests, no matter how boldly made.

I think there'd have to be some threats to physical safety or some serious intimidation for me to feel pressured. And then, why would I be with that guy?

So before you start your 4-5 person study, I think you need to clarify your terms.

Anxiously awaiting the results.

belledame222 said...

Hey, don't look at me for clarification. Beeb said it, I believe it, that settles it. Whatever it is.

Going back, this leapt out at me as well:

>She helped me through my separation with my X husband, staying in the house and even in the same bed as me when I needed her help. I am a heterosexual female and Mary never, ever tried to flirt with me...<

Study question #2. How often does "needing someone's help" require sleeping in the same bed as one's galpal? Just wondering.

Blackamazon said...

Oh there are days when i think it's not possible to like you more than I already do and then you post stuff like this.

Sexual pressuring is what exactly when does it stop being the " pressures' pressure and teh need for teh pressured to grow a spine or five?

Rey said...

Just to throw some excitement into your study...

Alex and I have been asked a few times by our friend (a het woman) to make out in front of her for her pleasure. We said no. Life went on.

Was there "pressure" involved since neither one of us were dating her? I suppose our friendship could have been at stake, but then I wouldn't want to be friends with someone as ridiculous as that.

All I know is - as you said - I'm sick of these "Battles of the Sexes" not taking in the queer perspective or denying that reversals exist. I do still love that L&O:SVU episode where the three women tied a male stripper to their bed and claimed in court that their f*cking him one after the other wasn't rape because he stayed hard the whole time. Now that's one to grow on.

belledame222 said...
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belledame222 said...

Oh my. Women who find the idea of guy-on-guy sexy. Well, I'm not sure how that fits into the Patriarchy, but I'm quite sure that it must do, somewhere. Hold on; I'll get the manual.

Yeah, you know, ultimately I'm thinking analysis as well as activism breaks down after a bit if you don't include at least a teeny bit of assertiveness training 101, all-round. "Die, patriarchal rapist swine!! I Blame You! I BITE YOU!!" is fun and all, but it's not really sufficient for actual, you know, change. I find.

That and: while many many things in this world are probably gender/orientation-specific and can only be examined as such, being an unsocialized asshole with poor to nonexistent boundaries isn't one of 'em.

kactus said...

Does giving into pressure to fuck a guy so you can (what you really want) mess around with his girlfriend count? Or is it just unbelievably sleazy behavior? Cuz if it's sleazy, then I'm talking about a friend of a friend, not me, you know.

eponymous said...

I'm stuck on the word "pressured."

It would seem, from your post, that you have a different perception of the term than, say, RamFem might. Namely, simply the suggestion of a threesome would form some amazing, undenialbly powerful pressure upon one partner that would the same as, y'know, rape. Or something like that.

Being a het guy I've been asked out, cajoled, and generally been made aware of the fact that certain gay and bi men really want to fuck me. I've also dated a girl who really wanted me to fuck her gay friend while I watched. Was that pressure? Well, nothing changed when I didn't do it (except he was disappointed), but were I a more insecure person who was so completely co-dependent on this person that their disapproval meant more to me than my own ideals I can see where it might.

My conclusion, therefore, is if you feel pressure on par with rape with the mere mention of some sexual act that you do not want to partake in, you need to re-examine your relationships. First the one you have with yourself and second the one you have with your partner.

Or am I just totally reading pop-psych into all this?

eponymous said...

Oh my. Women who find the idea of guy-on-guy sexy. Well, I'm not sure how that fits into the Patriarchy, but I'm quite sure that it must do, somewhere. Hold on; I'll get the manual.

Yeah, I used to mess with a radfem friend of mine with that one by kissing one of my gay friends and shouting "look at us, we're raising the patriarchy to the second power!"

belledame222 said...

epon: Well, not to pick on the author--oh, who am I kidding? if I can't grind an axe here, then *where*, I ask?--anyway, the author in question is currently with a (male, het, apparently Very Large) partner who also self-ID's as a radfem. Nowadays. He has a number of theories on kicking the porn habit and the patriarchal evils of BDSM and high heels and I don't know what all, and is not shy about telling you, at great length and with much passion and spittle, on feminist boards. which is how I first became aware of these two's existence.

anyhoo, author reveals recently on her blog that the Ess Oh *also* "raped" her, by her definition (and his), back in the early days of their courtship. but, I gather, he trains well, without too much backsliding. anyway they're still together. fighting the good fight side by side. It's kind of sweet, really.

Aishwarya said...

Great post.

I'm bisexual, but D does not like the idea of me making out with/having sex with another woman any more than he likes the idea of me with another man...and for the same reason - he'd be jealous.

Hmm. Many (most, I should think) men dislike the idea of the woman they're in a relationship with being physically intimate with another man. I presume this is at least partly because they view the intimacy that could result as threatening? Then why isn't bisexual sex viewed as threatening?

belledame222 said...
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belledame222 said...

Well, for some people, because it doesn't count if there's no (non-silicone) Phallus, I guess. doesn't count, hell; probably doesn't exist. That is the traditional patriarchal view, anyway. wasn't it Queen Victoria who refused to believe in the existence of lesbians at all?

Thinking about it, that is probably what's most annoying, to me, about the classic hetboy "oh, BOY, LESBIANS!!!" thing. Like, it's just so, you know, KINKY. EXOTIC. "Do women actually DO that????? WOWIE ZOWIE!!! w00t."

Well--sometimes, I mean. The more clueless ones. I guess one could be more empathetic--hey, we're all subject to bad or nonexistent information in a sex-negative society, more or less--but coupled with really poor social skills, it can, you know, get tiresome.

Susie Bright has some interesting speculations on why (some, other) het men love lesbian porn; it's also a fantasy of BEING one of the women. anyway I have witnessed some confirmation of this. not that even fantasy tranny-ism necessarily precludes lots of unconscious sexism. But: it definitely isn't as simple as the Beeb would have you think, ime.

I do, or did, know other quasi-poly couples where gender was the dealbreaker in some other way (newly-discovered bi guy who wanted to explore, wife was okay with other guys but not other women).

or sometimes it'll be, like, playing with others at a party or specifically as part of a triad is okay; private one on one nookie, No.

It's whatever works (or doesn't) for you, I guess.

eponymous said...

belledame222 pretty much nails the point of why pseudo-lesbian activity isn't viewed as "cheating" by some guys and touches on something else that I find fascinating. For me, though, I've had a number of bi girlfriends over the years and I most certainly would have considered their lesbian experiences "cheating," if we hadn't been in open relationships at the time. Similarly, my current girlfriend has expressed interest in "experimenting" and was, at first, upset that I would consider it cheating unless I was present. When I explained my rationale that penetration isn't required for cheating, she seemed to catch on and when she took her first Women's Studies class in college, she really got it.

Being a het guy and a big fan of porn, I was exposed to "lesbian" porn at a fairy early age. And by that I mean Hugh Hefner and Bob Guicionne's idea of lesbian porn, which is to say, women having sex with each other for a man's enjoyment. It wasn't until years later when I started meeting and spending time around lesbians that I realized the two were very different.

eponymous said...

It's whatever works (or doesn't) for you, I guess.

Such a radical concept in this sex-negative world, innit?

eponymous said...

He has a number of theories on kicking the porn habit and the patriarchal evils of BDSM and high heels and I don't know what all, and is not shy about telling you, at great length and with much passion and spittle, on feminist boards. which is how I first became aware of these two's existence.

Why do I get the sense that his spittle-flecked commentary is along the lines of what you might hear from a teetotaling, ex-alcoholic prostheletyzing about his "sinful" ways and how's changed? I mean, I get that the way you perceived women was bad and that you had this great conversion, but the fact that you can't see past your own sex-negative views on BDSM or polyamory/polyandry or high heels doesn't mean the rest of us are stuck in the same rut you are, y'know?

I made this comparison on a crazy, anti-BDSM thread on Twisty Faster's blog, but it never got addressed and I was curious if it's totally off-base:

I completely agree that the origins of BDSM are the fetishization of the inequitable power structures inherent in the patriarchy.

Does the fact that the Patriarchy creates the fetishization of power in BDSM necessarily make it a tool of the patriarchy? I mean, does that mean that because Jazz originated out of segregation, slavery and Jim Crow laws in the early 20th century South that Jazz perpetuates these things today?

Does the fact that hip-hop originated out of urban decay, low socio-economic status and the muted racism of the early 80s mean that those things are celebrated in the genre today?

Basically, just because two people grew up within the patriarchy and had their sexuality molded by it, does it mean that they are perpetuating the patriarchy while getting each other off in freaky ways?


I didn't get an answer. Anyone here care to proffer one?

belledame222 said...

Great questions. Not surprised you didn't get an answer over there. "Does not compute." I mean, for a lot of the posters in those threads (I wrangled my way through at least two or three of them), BDSM *is* rape/abuse, period; no disntinction to be made. So comparing it to jazz isn't gonna fly; would you compare jazz to abuse? 'Nuff said.

For the slightly more sophisticated, I get the strong impression that they see BDSM as pretty much all "story of O" all the time, or something. Twisty wrote a typically dyspeptic dismissal of the whole sordid scene. I must say I do love a radfem's problem with BDSM being that it's too conformist. Pot, latex, black, mm?

but again, it all gets squeezed into a deeply het-centric worldview; lots of arguments about how female tops must needs be doing it for the benefit of the man, because...well, Because. That's The Way It Is. They've seen pictures. They've been in the Scene; or they know someone who did. They know a thing or two about a thing or two. and anyway, women aren't *really* that way, without the brainwash of the Patriarchy. all lusty and aggressive. Not *really.*

oh, and Dim claiming that gay men and women always imitated patriarchal-type male-over-female dyads in their play, which I'm sure a lot of leathermen bottoms and femme dyke tops (and their bois) would be very interested in hearing all about.

and yes, the Formerly Known As Dim reminds me of nothing so much as Brother Jed, complete with a very very angry Disco Cindy in tow. (She used to stand in the middle of the quad and shout at bewildered freshwomen: "SPERM EATERS!!!")

belledame222 said...

I baited the BeebDim in its lair, a while back, after one such crazy anti-BDSM thread where the Dim half was prominent. I was appalled to discover that Dim was a dude, although in retrospect it wouldn't have been much better had they indeed been a nice crunchy Micihgan Womyn's couple, as I had thought. anyhoo I basically told Dim to go drum in the woods or something, what he was doing was neither helpful nor particularly wanted by the female folk (of course I speak on behalf of all wimmin everywhere; like Whitney, I *am* Every Woman). Trolling: okay, not suave, but. he shouldn't have been wearing that short skirt, you know? anyhoo a couple of other BDSM-sympathetic women chime in, one rather impolitely (not as much as me), the other not at all. Beeb pokes her flaxen head in and lashes out wildly, swinging the Ban Hamma of Doom about, and calling us all "shrieking harpies," which is a fine stalwart radical feminist flame I say. so, you know: no love lost. kind of entertaining, though, in an aggravating sort of way.

eponymous said...

BDSM *is* rape/abuse, period; no disntinction to be made. So comparing it to jazz isn't gonna fly; would you compare jazz to abuse? 'Nuff said.

Too true. And yet, this is the same thread in which after I raised the point that if a woman (or a man) consensually releases pornography featuring then the ensuing commodification isn't necessarily bad. To which I received angry comments stating that women in porn (no idea about men or bois or twinks) were SLAVES and even those that did it themselves were still slaves of the patriarchy. Unsurprisingly, when I pointed out that there were real, live slaves in the world and if white, het, radfems could pull their heads out of their collective asses they would see that, I didn't receive a response, either. Odd, innit?

but again, it all gets squeezed into a deeply het-centric worldview; lots of arguments about how female tops must needs be doing it for the benefit of the man, because...well, Because. That's The Way It Is.

The het-centric and the subjective worldview of these radfems. That's what I would postulate about that attitude, as it seems the only way they could imagine themselves as a top (or a bottom) is if they were internalizing the patriarchy somehow. And, since other people are engaging in sex acts that challenge their worldview of perfectly equitable and feminist sex*, they MUST be tools of the patriarchy. Or, something like that.

oh, and Dim claiming that gay men and women always imitated patriarchal-type male-over-female dyads in their play, which I'm sure a lot of leathermen bottoms and femme dyke tops (and their bois) would be very interested in hearing all about.

Yeah, it reminds me a lot of how the white, upper-middle class feminists always manage to antagonize and alienate the feminists melanin by failing miserably to grasp their problems. "But darling, if your boss is a sexist pig you should simply quit, that's what I did and I've never been happier staying home with the kids."

Gah.


*Speaking of which, will someone tell me, then, what a radfem conception of hetsex is? Please? Because, as I understand it, it can't exist.

eponymous said...

Beeb pokes her flaxen head in and lashes out wildly, swinging the Ban Hamma of Doom about, and calling us all "shrieking harpies," which is a fine stalwart radical feminist flame I say.

Or a stalwart flame of the patriarchy.

so, you know: no love lost. kind of entertaining, though, in an aggravating sort of way.

Yeah, kind of reminds me of the Spanish Civil War with the anarchists fighting the communists fighting the bourgeoisie capitalists until they forgot to fight the fascists and, OOPS!, now Franco's in charge.

Though, I take a special kind of pleasure in trolling radfems by comparing them to the Taliban or the Evangelicals in the way they want to control and define human sexual behavior. It's like throwing gasoline on a hornet's nest it is...

Alex Barreto said...

I've been bombarded by het females who want me to have sex with them. The whole, "oh if only you were straight/bi." What bugs me about the comment is that it makes a huge assumption about my sexuality (i.e., the fact that I might not be bi because...I have a boyfriend? or because I'm too girlie to be bi? Not sure of the reasons for the assumption, but a huge assumption it remains. More huge than this parenthetical). But also it makes a huge assumption about my taste. As if being bi or straight automatically means I'll fuck a rude ignorant person.

EL said...

All I can say is: boy, I wish I'd been pressured to be "bisexual" as a teenager. Would have saved me a lot of struggle, confusion, and worry. :)

This all goes back to this idea that men are endowed with so much power by The Patriarchy that anything they say or do carries with it all the power of all other men (all the Presidents and Prime Ministers, Professors, Psychologists, Five Star Generals included) that they might as well be tying a woman to a chair and raping her because that's how little she can resist.

I am completely in sympathy with women who are raped and assaulted, threatened, or even feel trapped into doing something they don't want to do sexually, but het guys being turned on by two women doesn't amount to that to me.

I mean, maybe when you're a hetero 13-year-old with your first boyfriend, you feel like you have no choice but to do what turns him on. But, by 14 or so, I'd think you'd get that it's possible to turn someone on in ways that turn you on.

Sexuality isn't an easy thing to negotiate, especially when it comes to disconnect between one's desires and the desires of one's partner, but that's what relationships are - gender-regardless.

Like, the other day, someone said (as I talked about my affection for scratch-and-sniff stickers): "I never would've thought you'd be a girly-girl." I immediately thought: "Is this some kind of comment about my sexual orientation?" In two seconds I realized that, even if it was sexist, it wasn't about queer/straight, it was just a thing this guy said. I feel like a lot of these Radfems (not all, but those of this ilk) see everything difficult that happens to them in their hetero relationships as being because their partners are oppressive men pulling patriarchal rank, when it's just the way it is.

A White Bear said...

I think the pressure is there for a woman to be "kinkier" than she is, whether gay, straight, or bi, but that's a part of the sex-pos subculture. You're a better person if you take it up the ass, have threesomes, etc. There was a time when I felt this pressure was scary and overwhelming and often a product of misogyny. What I came to find, though, was that everything about sex can seem compulsory and misogynistic if you don't trust the people around you. In a way, it's because of sex that I started demanding better friends and lovers whom I could trust.

I've had a lot of bad experiences with female friends who've pressured me to have sex with them. In almost none of the cases did I feel like the woman was actually attracted to me, but instead was expressing some kind of jealousy of my calm or sense of direction for my life. When I (nicely) rejected them sexually, the friendships went into a tailspin. The one female friendship I've had that did lead to sex was one of mutual appreciation that lasted years beyond the sex.

To sum up, I'd say that, yes, I've been "pressured" to do things I didn't want to do sexually, but only by people whose opinions mean fuck-all to me to begin with. I also get "pressured" by construction workers and random losers on the subway and television and advertisements and a lot of other things I'm pretty good at tuning out. I join the chorus and say, "Have threesomes and take it up the ass but only with people who really want the best for you, sweetheart!"

belledame222 said...

>What I came to find, though, was that everything about sex can seem compulsory and misogynistic if you don't trust the people around you.<

Yes.

And of course, if one has a history of abuse, one has very good reason to not trust the people around one. And if one has had one's boundaries eroded from years of abuse, chances are good that one is going to find them violated again and again and again, albeit perhaps in slightly varying ways, in a variety of settings. Sadly, it's difficult to break that cycle. Not impossible. Thing is, for me anyway, no sociopolitical cant--or sex, for that matter--is a substitute for good therapy.

belledame222 said...

>Yeah, kind of reminds me of the Spanish Civil War with the anarchists fighting the communists fighting the bourgeoisie capitalists until they forgot to fight the fascists and, OOPS!, now Franco's in charge.<

Oh God, don't even get me started on the whole People's Front Of Judea thing.

I mean, yes, irony, I am participating in it as well. Thing is, though: for the most part, I read a lot of anti-porn arguments from smart, sane feminists, even some who might style themselves radfems (not sure in a couple of cases); and I read sex-pos theory from smart, sane feminists; and I start to think, you know, a lot of this actually may very well boil down to

"TASTES GREAT!"

"LESS FILLING!"

...really no need for acrimony at all, if we could just hear each other for a bit.

But then, of course, you get...well, not to put too fine a point on it, the frootbats. And the ignorant (willfully?) asshats. And the drama queens. On all sides; and of course the thing is the squeaky wheel does tend to get the grease. Drama and passion is much more entertaining than nuance, after all. And so it goes. Lather, rinse, repeat.

then again it is true that I have an allergy to a certain type of...personality, so it may just be my thing to some degree.

belledame222 said...

> You're a better person if you take it up the ass<

http://www.goodiebag.tv/video/do_you_take_it.htm

eponymous said...

Thing is, though: for the most part, I read a lot of anti-porn arguments from smart, sane feminists, even some who might style themselves radfems (not sure in a couple of cases); and I read sex-pos theory from smart, sane feminists; and I start to think, you know, a lot of this actually may very well boil down to

"TASTES GREAT!"

"LESS FILLING!"


In a way, perhaps, but my perception of the difference between sex-positive versus sex-negative feminism has been more like:


"THIS IS THE WAY TO DO THINGS AND HERE IS WHY!"

versus

"WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO IS OK AS EVERYONE CONSENTS AND NO ONE GETS HURT (UNLESS THEY WANT TO)!"

But that's just me. I don't think that sex-positive feminism assigns any values (or necessary) to anal sex, oral sex or BDSM. However, sex-negative feminism does assign values to these acts and judges those that partake in them.

belledame222 said...

epon: I agree, at the poles of the two positions.

But I do read a lot of feminists who seem to be saying, more or less:

"I find a lot of this stuff --porn, prostitution, BDSM, what have you--problematic and troubling, personally and politically, at least in its current expressions, and possibly at all. Still, I don't think criminalizing porn or consensual BDSM or effectively punishing the sex workers solves anything; and after all there are areas of all this I just don't know about, but I'm good at least talking about it."

Some of these people ID as "sex-positive," some emphatically not. These are the people I'm trying to talk to, here.

People who are all like, "Dworkin said it, I believe it, that settles it"--naw, I really don't have a lot of time or patience for attempting dialogue at this point. Anyway I don't dialogue with people who only monologue, regardless of their ideology. And I do at least try to dialogue with people who seem like they're able to actually have a back-and-forth discussion with someone who disagrees with them, more often than not.

trin said...

"I think the pressure is there for a woman to be "kinkier" than she is, whether gay, straight, or bi, but that's a part of the sex-pos subculture. You're a better person if you take it up the ass, have threesomes, etc. There was a time when I felt this pressure was scary and overwhelming and often a product of misogyny. What I came to find, though, was that everything about sex can seem compulsory and misogynistic if you don't trust the people around you. In a way, it's because of sex that I started demanding better friends and lovers whom I could trust."

White bear: One of the things that I often find sets me apart from other people who do feel this intense pressure to be kinky (and please don't take me as saying that pressure isn't real, I'm not): I've always felt more pressure in vanilla sex.

With kink, at least with most of the people I knew, there was a lot of emphasis on discovering what YOU want, what makes YOU tick. Is it being fucked up the ass? Great. Is it flogging cute boys? Woo for you. It was also very accepted that not everyone was a good match for everyone else.

But when I had vanilla sex, this egalitarian whoozit didn't really exist for me. It became, when I was with a man, "ah, the domination is done, and now I climb on you and put my penis in you and you swoon, that's how it's done" and no matter how I protested that I didn't WANT heteronormative, PIV sex... he couldn't comprehend.

And when I was with a woman, we did wonderfully fun kinky stuff that involved negotiation and understanding one another... but when she wanted vanilla cunnilingus, she pressured me into some stuff around not using protection that really was uncomfortable to me, and justified it with thinking that people like Beeb would probably be shocked to hear from a woman: Baby baby, I NEED blahblah, don't deny me foo bar. Eww.

So for me... I find it kind of strange when people talk about kink as misogynist pressureland. I've always found that subculture (offline, at least) to be one of honoring women's boundaries. I understand teh ideal of teh prfect vanilla, but why is it then that so often when the sex becomes vanilla for me, it turns into Objectification City? It boggles me.

figleaf said...

I've argued, successfully I think, in the past that radical feminists like Andrea Dworkin created the possibility for women to say "no" in a meaningful way (remember, it really *was* legal for a husband to rape his wife, and I don't mean consensual rape-rape, I mean rape rape. Or, more to the point, the possibility of spousal rape was considered a legal impossibility!) And by creating the possiblity of no, they also created the possibility of an affirmative *yes.* So a major hat tip to them.

But good points in comments here that crying "patriarchy" disregards an awful lot of pressure that isn't initiated by heterosexual men.

I've felt pressure to have sex with other people. I've tended to resist, and I've also tended to feel pretty badly on the occasions when I've succumbed.

The best just-say-no moment was when I declined a three-way with a woman (who I'd had sex with before and had a desparate crush on) and her bisexual boyfriend. He seemed passingly interested but she definitely initiated it. When I realized that even under those extremely attractive circumstances I wasn't attracted to men I also stopped being homophobic. So that was pretty cool.

Other times, with other partners, I felt pressured to engage in make-up sex after an argument. Arguing takes a huge bite out of my libido (am I really the only person who feels this way?) and so that's the last thing I want to do, especially if the conflict isn't particularly resolved.

Anyway, in none of those circumstances would I say the patriarchy could be invoked, unless you could switch poles and say that by being withholding I was still patriarchially dictating sexual access to the people who were, er, suitoring me.

Though provoking post, Belledame, thanks.

figleaf

belledame222 said...

Oh, yeah, definitely, I mean: Susie Bright is/was very clear about the debt she felt to Dworkin, and how much she had valued her, still valued her. Unfortunately Dworkin never returned the sentiment. To put it mildly. Which is really the heart of the problem, here. It's one thing to say "whoa, wait a minute, I didn't mean THAT, I can't go there." But the demonization that happened to the women who started breaking away from the party line...yeah. Dorothy Allison (among others) writes about the hatefulness of that time pretty movingly. It's hurt feelings on all sides, sure; but the damage went a lot farther than that.

belledame222 said...

btw, we were also discussing "hetlez pr0n" over at B/L (http://blog.pulpculture.org/2006/04/09/hetlez-pr0n-2/#comments) (once again this is also something the Beeb has weighed in on). anyway, as I said there:

Yeah, most hetlez porn is pretty bad. But it has little to do with whether or not the lesbians in question like *gasp* penetration or *GASP!!* spanking, dirty talk, etc. Or whether there might indeed actually be real! live! lesbians! who are classically femmey-looking and like making porn (does she actually know any gay people?) Shar Rednour, anyone? Tristan Taormino? Zille at Cyberdyke? Bueller?

Of course Ms. Radical Fem and her boyfriend leave out the #1 complaint Real Lesbians ™ have about faux lez porn:

The Nails.

jack (aka angrybrownbutch) said...

Good stuff here, as always, both in the post and the comments.

I took a look at the "Den of the Biting Beaver" (!?!). Can you get more annoying than those two? Sheesh!