A while back when a girlfriend and I were walking by a billboard for
the Vivica Fox-hosted reality show, "The Cougar." I made some snarky
comment about this not exactly being the equality feminists dream of, and the friend gave me a cheeky grin and said, "You know, that
older woman is only 39."
That's less than five years away, folks. Apparently I don't have long
before I go from flirty thirty-something sexual adventurer to predatory
over-the-hill sexual adventurer, at least in the eyes of TV producers.
I should probably call ahead to see if they can line up some callow
youths for me. But the problem is, I'm not particularly attracted to
young men. In fact, I already know I would just plain suck at being a
I have three little brothers who range in age from 23-18. The little
brothers have friends. More than once, the friends have hit on me, and
some of these guys were--objectively speaking--pretty hot. But while a
college athlete's body is a thing of beauty, I wasn't all that tempted.
First of all, I knew that even just a fun roll in the hay would condemn
my brothers to years of "Yo, Sharper, I fucked your sister!" I couldn't
do that to them. Second of all, as I recall from my own experience,
college guys are fairly lousy in the sack. Energetic and enthusiastic
maybe, but their technique usually needs a lot of refining.
Granted, there are some women who like that. Madonna, when asked about
her predilection for very young men, once said: "They don't know what
they're doing, but they can do it all night long." Yikes.
From the reader mailbag: Can you please talk about sex while you're on your period? Should I be offended if my boyfriend would rather not? Shouldn't he be willing to accept my body no matter which phase of the moon it is?
Well, this is one we've all dealt with many, many times, right?*
I think responses to menstrual blood vary widely. I personally have no problem getting busy during my period--throw down a towel to preserve the sheets, and I'm good to go. I was lucky that my first serious boyfriend was completely unfazed by my period, so I didn't get any negative messages about it early on. I've had a few guys say "No thanks, I'll wait," and I just took it in stride. Everyone should be able to say no to sex if there's something about it that makes them uncomfortable, including mensturation. While that was occasionally (sexually) frustrating, it wasn't a big deal. And plenty of men don't mind at all, especially since I use condoms pretty much 100% of the time, so it's not like he actually comes nto contact with the blood anyway.
Where I did have problems was on the very rare occasion I got an "Eww, gross!" response. Those men received the Feminist Lecture Series about how my vagina does not exist solely for their pleasure--it's part of my reproductive system, and if they couldn't handle that, they could get the fuck out.
Earlier this week we talked about the joy of no sex. Today, I'm singing the praises of casual sex.
I've simply never bought into the idea that all sex must live up to the shining heteronormative ideal of candlelight and roses and true love (which, of course, will progress naturally to an engagement ring and a poufy white dress.) Now, I was always told growing up that "sex is what you do when you love someone." Well, yes. But also...no. Fun sex with your friends has its place too, and for me, having fuck buddies is one of the most enjoyable perks of being single, especially during dry spells between relationships, which is why my friend Jill often refers to them as "the dick in the glass case" (imagine a fire alarm: In Case of Horny Emergency, Break Glass and Grab Dick.)
I wanted to let readers get the last word on the "Is No Sex Sex-Positive" post--between Bitch, Facebook, Harpyness and e-mails I received, it was clear that everyone had an opinion about not having sex, and why/whether conscious celibacy is an inherently feminist or sex-positive decision. Once again, people thought of aspects to the debate that I hadn't, including discussion of non-intercourse sex acts and asexuality. There was much back-and-forth over what constituted "sex" and "being sexual." What about all that fun non-penetrative stuff? Are you really celibate if you're giving/receiving oral sex? How about mutual masturbation? It was clear we all had just as many opinions about the feminist implications of NOT having sex as we do about the many different ways we have it.
A brilliant and counter-intuitive comment from reader jordanb in the "Rear Ended by Porn" comment thread is the inspiration for today's post. Check it out:
Becky I'm interested to know if you've ever thought about abstinence from a sex positive feminist type of perspective. I mean, in some ways it seems like "not having sex" is an option that has been completely co-opted by the abstinence only sex ed types, and exists only as a purely moral decision. I'm struck by the absence of discussion of abstinence from a sex positive feminist perspective. But isn't it also important to reframe not having sex in sex positive terms? In strange way,though, in all of these discussions you've started (at least on Bitch) about sex, it seems like you've revealed the most taboo option in the minds of many sex positive folks is not to have sex.
Can you be sex-positive and still choose or advocate celibacy? Or are the two things mutually exclusive?
The reader response to "Rear Ended by Porn" was big and vocal, and frankly, pretty awesome, with plenty of you bitches bringing up aspects of the debate that I didn't write about in the original post. There was hateration, too, but I chalk that up to the fact that when you encourage women to take a critical look at their sexual behavior, they're going to resist. Our society feeds us a constant diet of shame and negative messages about sex, so a lot of women automatically default to feeling judged as soon as you suggest that their sexuality might be influenced by something other than their own very special personal free will. But I loved (nearly all) of the responses that I got, especially the one from our righteous feminist sister Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon. Read on...
Since I wrote some posts blaming sexual behavior trends on porn--including the new enthusiasm for facial cumshots and FFM threesomes--I've gotten multiple reader mail requests to discuss one more staple of mainstream hetero porn: anal sex.
A disclaimer before we start: I am not arguing against anal sex. There's nothing wrong with it. It can be pleasurable and enjoyable, and--as with any sex act--if two consenting adults want to engage in it, I don't judge and neither should you.
Recent scientifc data--which we'll get to in a minute--suggests that heterosexual women, and especially young women, are having anal sex more frequently than ever before. For our mother's and grandmother's generation, anal sex was just about the ultimate taboo, a perverse act that couples rarely did or at least, never admitted to. Not anymore.
As with any trend in women's sexual behavior, I think it's fair to examine what cultural influences might account for this change. People are more likely to engage in a formerly taboo sex act if depictions of it are widely available, even celebrated. And where is anal sex eroticized, and depicted as not only normal, but totally hot?
Why porn, of course.
After I posted about threesomes over the weekend, a bunch of comments came flooding in. The responses—both on Bitch and on Facebook--were smart, expressive and even witty. Kudos to those of you who shared advice and stories about threesomes gone right—or wrong! Readers also posted comments that touched on some very relevant issues about female sexuality that I didn't mention in the original post.
Read on for more on threesomes, hetero privilege, "why can't I just be heterosexual?", and why porn has led to straight women feeling pressured to act bi.
From the reader mailbag: Curious to know what you and Bitch readers think about threesomes. I tried a threesome, and feelings got hurt just like I'd feared they might. I think you gotta be very sure there's no competition between the three, and everyone really is into it (probably obvious, but you know...)
She's certainly not alone in her curiosity. In my dating life I seem to encounter a lot of guys who are not shy about hinting—or just plain asking outright—that they would like to have a threesome with another woman. And apparently they are in good company:
"Threesomes are undoubtedly the new 'Holy Grail' of sex," says Vicki Vantoch, author of The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to Sleeping with Three (Thunder's Mouth Press). "Most people have either had a three-way or thought about it. Yes, even women." (ed: because all women are vanilla and only men have kinks? FAIL.) A recent ABC poll ranked threesomes as the most popular fantasy in America."
We have an endless fascination with tales of women and revenge, from cheating husbands forced to grovel in public to a little well-executed arson in an evil ex's home. But while schadenfreude makes for fun reading, does the media's rush to cover stories of public payback help perpetuate stereotypes of women as victims and men as wrongdoers? Or is revenge just really that sweet?