and what do I want?

The other day, I was on an ‘alternative lifestyles’ forum and came across a post asking members to talk about our sex lives – wanting to know the key elements, what gets us off the quickest, how we process those desires, and the rest. I thought awhile, then made a post that captures much of the angst I’ve felt about my sexuality in the past, and how I’m wrestling with it now.  Here it is; green text are things I’ve edited just now.:

“It’s hard for me to imagine having any sort of sex that isn’t infused with power. It’s the key element of my sexuality; I simply can’t get off without feeling humiliated, violently ‘taken’, or forced in some way. (..or even better, all at once.)

…and if it isn’t happening during the sex, I’ll psychologize the hell out of the experience just to get off. My ex was incredibly submissive, for instance, and whenever we’d have sex and he insisted I take charge, I’d either imagine that he was forcing me to pleasure him by ‘taking charge’ (really, I don’t think I could get off on being dominant unless it were a ‘topping from the bottom’ experience) or I’d fantasize about something else entirely disconnected from the sex I was having. It was actually a big part of why we eventually split. Picture it: two young and (then) shy bottom-oriented people lying in bed together, each waiting for the other to instigate something. I just couldn’t do it.

These sexualized ideas of power impose themselves (without my conscious control) everywhere, on all sorts of sexual acts/habits – penetration, specific positions, pet names, dirty talk, yadda yadda. My love of being fucked, of being spanked, of being held down and forced to submit, of being told to ‘shut up and give me that ass, you little bitch’. It’s all constituted of power.

…but I sometimes feel conflicted, especially around doing these things with men. I like to tell myself that what gets me off doesn’t take anything away from my feminist politics and that it’s completely reasonable to expect a man to be a ravenously toppy fuckbeast inside the bedroom and a sweet, progressive egalitarian outside of it; but I often wonder if I’m being realistic. ”

…and I still do. The ‘sex-positive’1 girl in me keeps thinking that it’s completely possible for a man to treat me the way I want inside the bedroom without it being some sublimated expression of hatred against my sex, even though I really don’t like the phrase ‘in the bedroom’ because I think it implies a false division between the power play that gets us off ‘inside the bedroom’ and the hierarchies that exist outside of it.

I’m under no illusions. I know why being smacked and shoved around makes me wet; why it makes me so weak in the knees to struggle. Hierarchy is inscribed on our bodies; it’s the air we breathe. I don’t reject the ‘MacKinnon/Dworkin-esque’ notion that if power structures ‘outside the bedroom’ weren’t as they are, my desires would be completely different, also.

…but I do reject the idea that there’s something wrong with my desires, that I can be some sort of feminist superheroine by stifling my (seemingly) unfeminist desires. I don’t think sexuality oozes out from the bedroom onto the streets, into office buildings, into drunken frat parties on a college campus. My opinion is (closer to) the opposite, actually – it isn’t that what gets us off is keeping us down; but what keeps us down is getting us off.

..and in the end, what am I supposed to say, besides, “Thanks for giving me a side of hot sex along with the massive helping of oppressive shit, patriarchy!”? Opting for egalitarian, vanilla sex over a violent, deliciously humiliating fuckfest isn’t going to overturn any oppressive power structures; so, I may as well enjoy myself, yes?
…ah, but there’s the rub. See, I don’t have sex with misogynist dicks, ever. If I know a boy is anti-choice, I’d sooner give him a hefty combat boot to the balls than a handjob; and I don’t screw conservatives3, either.
…and as I said above, I’m incredibly suspicious of most straight male tops/doms, on principle. In my worst moments, I suspect most of them are just losers with bundles of neuroses instead of personalities, hoping to work out their insecurity on some woman’s backside.
..but I want to fuck them.
..but I often suspect they’re pigs; and I don’t fuck pigs.

Lord, what a massive human headache; I need a drink.

1. I actually don’t identify as “sex positive”, even though my politics tend to mesh well with those of people who do. I have a few gripes with ideas (or lack thereof) often put forward by people who ID as ‘sex positive’, which I’ll talk about later.

2. I don’t reject the possibility that someone can have sex that’s free of power play; I just don’t think it’s the norm, even in situations where neither person is aware that they are getting off on power.

3. Not that left-leaning men can’t be sexist dicks, too. (I’m wagging my finger at you, Bill Maher.) But there are plenty of left-leaning men who aren’t sexist dicks; and all the men I’ve ever met who aren’t sexist dicks have been quite left-leaning, whereas all the conservative men I’ve met have been…well, sexist dicks.


~ by fistfulofsunshine on May 8, 2009.

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