It is time, she said upon waking up this morning, to blog about sex at Feministe.
I talked about falling in love, falling wildly in love, but I didn’t really talk about sex. Because they’re two different things, obviously, but maybe I was a little bit afraid?
I used to blog about sex all the damn time. Back on my personal blog which has been largely unupdated other than links to things I’ve written elsewhere for over a year, sex is still the first subject in my tagline (which, if you don’t feel like clicking over to look at my pretty design that I worked hard on for a blog I don’t use, is “sex. politics. rock’n’roll. film. comics. lipgloss. monsters”).
That’s still a fairly accurate description of what I write about, except you could possibly put in “Pop” for rock’n’roll because, well, y’all read my pop music post, right?
So, sex. Sex and guilt. Because guilt is still such an issue for most people when dealing with sex, and I’m not just talking women here. Or religious reasons.
I’m still searching for completely guilt-free sex. There are so many layers of baggage, some of which are particular to women. Some of which are particular to feminists. I’ve seen far too many blog posts in which we are told that certain sex acts are wrong, unfeminist, etc. To which I say: No. The only sex that is unfeminist is sex that any of the people involved don’t want to be having. There is no particular meaning in a blowjob. You are not sending a political message by having anal sex. What I do in my bedroom is not preventing the Revolution from happening.
For me, personally, this issue has been loaded even more by a relationship I had where guilt colored all of our sexual interactions. I’m not going into details, but it did an absolute number on me. It killed my desire for that person, and while it wasn’t the only thing that killed our relationship, it was a huge part of it.
Talking to a brilliant friend the other day, I said that I think my particular feminist project is getting to a point where women (and all marginalized people) are able to fully articulate their desires. You can’t always get what you want, as the Stones sang, but just being able to identify what you do want can be incredibly liberatory.
Many of us know what we DON’T want, but I think guilt often comes in from the gray area between what we know we don’t want and what we aren’t sure if we do want–and external cues from the world that tell us what we should want or do. The things you feel guilty about come from your family, your religious background, your friends and peers, your past relationships and current, your promises and commitments.
I want no guilt in desire. Sometimes the things we want, for various reasons, are not things we should actually have/do (see above promises and commitments, etc), but there’s nothing wrong in the wanting.
The last time I took on this subject at my blog, I wrote:
Sexual desire isn’t the only thing that women have been limited on. We’re expected to be restrained about food, about power, about love, about friendships, about everything. Even I worry constantly that I’ve crossed a line, that I’m bothering someone if I call too much or email too much, and I think that stems from the same place: feeling that I’ve made the fact that I want something too clear, too obvious.
One of the things that bothers me especially is the “He’s just not that into you” framing for women, particularly heterosexual women: we are supposed to worry about whether we are desirable, not what we want. The “No means no” model works the same way: we are consenting to something, not desiring it. The “she wanted it” rape excuse: our wants are not our own to define.
There are lots of feminist projects, but this is mine. Looking back at what I’ve written about, much of it fits into this frame. Desire. Getting rid of guilt. Learning to articulate those desires and not compromise on them or let other people’s baggage color them. Making space for our pleasures as well as fighting the good fight. After all, what do we want a just world for if not for space for all of us to be happy, to have what we want?
The Yes Means Yes model–I like to think of it not as enthusiastic consent, but as pursuit of desire. Mutual desires.
And what do I want? I want to be excited by someone again.
And what I want to do with said person who excites me? None of your business.