Female Sexuality

Decent or Degrading Sex?

I’ve been seeing this man for about four months.
Our sex is definitely degrading and rough. Don’t
get me wrong. It was completely my choice.

Also we both get really into the whole ‘slut/whore’ thing.

It doesn’t leave the bedroom (except sexting),
but it definitely feels all-encompassing.

Is it at all possible to transition from a relationship
based in large part on pretty dehumanizing sex to
one that’s an actual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship?

Perverse Sex

‘Deviant’ Sexual Behaviour

Academics have always wanted to get more attention for their research.
What could be better for attracting readers than a sleek, comprehensive,
finely illustrated book on sexual perversion? It’s The Pleasure’s All Mine:
A History of Perverse Sex, by Julie Peakman.

This seductive book traces changing attitudes
to a dozen different sexual perversions from t
the beginning of Western civilisation to the present day.

From onanism to sadomasochism, from necrophilia to incest, Julie Peakman reveals how attitudes to illicit and “deviant” sexual behaviour have shifted over the centuries, and must be understood in their cultural contexts of religion, medicine and science.

Submission: Escape from the Self

Sexual pleasure for the masochist is not necessarily the physical pain, but rather the psychological experience of escaping and erasing the self through humiliation.

Humiliation allows us to shed the tiresome age-old constructs of the Self. When we live a life in which our future and success is determined by what we say and do with others, we construct our own cells with pride and self-respect as the prison bars.

In our daily lives we belong to many groups and thus act out many roles. From commitments to obligations, social and interpersonal roles, personal values and goals, our conceptualization of our identity vs. our potential, not to mention the never-ending struggle to control our environment in order to get what we want — all of this adds to the weight of being ourselves.

Humiliation serves as a release from tensions caused by the constant need to maintain our identity and defend our dignity. We finally give in and admit our shortcomings and limitations, the repression is thus lifted and we feel lighter because of it. Masochism, when exercised properly and in a healthy manner, can be therapeutic and spiritually cleansing.

Whip It to Me

The spanked-into-subordination fantasy is nothing new but its contemporary popularity reflects women’s increased power.

Power in the workplace, power in the bedroom. Apparently we women are nostalgic for the heyday of patriarchy. We’re reminiscing through bedroom oppression.

Fantasy is the flour from which we make the bread of sex. A high-flying businessman will occasionally pay for a spanking because it’s role-play and titillating.

Women who might normally feel powerful and authoritative have the luxury of obtaining through sex the thrills that life rarely offers.

Sadomasochism is not a phenomenon exclusively experienced by the modern woman. It is a very real facet of the human sexual condition that has existed as far back as one can imagine.

What the growing presence of sadist fantasies in the media really shows us is an acceptance of something inherently present in at least a part of the female psyche.

A feminist’s concern lies with the destructive idea that a woman’s sexual desires only exist to serve the needs of a man.

The new attitude towards feminism is less about singling out one factor that may be contributing to female suppression, and more about a woman’s ability to choose for herself what she wants.

Sexually, this has come to mean anything from proud celibacy to bondage fetishes.

Feminists aren’t grappling with why women have submission fantasies. Women, liberated by feminist ideas about equality on many fronts including, but not limited to shame-free sex, are openly consuming sexual stories that interest them.

There are still a number of feminist activists who are firmly against the S&M fantasy. And this is OK too. What is not OK is failing to acknowledge that women have the right to decide for themselves what turns them on.

Feminism is not about arguing for or against one specific facet for all women. It is about the freedom of the woman to choose for herself. Every career woman isn’t seeking a little S&M on her day off, just as every liberal-hearted feminist isn’t shunning it.

Some women are turned on by being submissive. We need to respect that their choice for themselves is not degrading or sexist.

There’s so much shame and negativity around sex already. People need to feel positive about their desires.

In fact, many powerful feminist thinkers throughout history have proven that freedom to choose takes precedence to fulfilling the generalized or stereotyped feminist agenda.

It’s perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination doesn’t submit to politics, or even changing demographic realities.

When it comes to sex, things aren’t always politically correct. There is no one group of women that hones in on the S&M fantasy just as there is no specific group that shuns it.

What the forward-thinkers of feminism have realized is that when it comes to what women want, the freedom of choice takes precedence above all else.

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