You know what you can do with your dumb pop-psych theories about sexuality…?

16 Apr

I was all ready to write a long, rage-filled post about the latest idiotic “Women are all submissive” blog post from Psychology Today. It was really quite the target-rich environment – it’s even called Why Feminism Is the Anti-Viagra. C’mon, really?

I’m not going to quote the post itself, because it’s Saturday morning and I’m in a good mood and I don’t need a ragestroke. But essentially, the point is that all women really want a strong, dominant man and all men want a meek submissive woman. They know this because female rats assume a sexual position that makes penetration easier (those female rats, always topping from the bottom!). And … somehow feminism has ruined this. They don’t explain how, exactly, but trust them, they’re scientists! With a blog! And then they sort of offhandedly refer to the fact that there are submissive men and dominant women, but since that fact isn’t convenient to their argument, it’s brushed aside. For science.

Anyway, before I had a chance to dig in and really go to town on these guys, the smart and faster-than-me Charlie Glickman beat me to it, quite handily. The entire post is actually a great guide to how to argue with people who would like to believe that all women are submissive and all men are dominant. He makes one of my favorite points, that these silly dichotomies miss the obvious point that many people like to switch:

I suppose these guys have never heard of switches, or folks who like to both top and bottom. It might vary depending on who someone is with, or what activity they’re doing, or what mood they’re in. A lot of people enjoy that fluidity, at least some of the time. And I guess they’ve never heard about how many professional dominatrixes have clients who are high-powered CEOs, airline pilots, or lawyers who need to take a little vacation from being in charge every so often. It sure would be tidy if everyone only had “one of these circuits [linked] to the arousal system” but it simply isn’t how it works.

It’s also no secret that many sub women are pretty confident and independent in their everyday lives (I know I am), but correlation does not equal causation.

He also makes another good point I’d never thought about too much – sexual fantasies are complex and mean different things to different people:

Further, they also seem to be unaware of the vast range of meanings people make of their fantasies. In his book Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies, clinical psychologist Michael Bader points out that we each have different motivations for our fantasies, even when the narratives of the fantasies might be similar. As one relevant example, he describes two women, both of whom have rape fantasies. One woman had internalized the “good girls don’t” message, so for her, the fantasy allowed her to experience sex without being a slut since she “had no choice.” The other women was been very multi-orgasmic and many male partners had been intimidated by her sexual response. For her, a rape fantasy meant that she could let go of worrying about her partner‘s reaction because he was simply doing whatever he wanted to do. Both women had fantasies that sounded similar and would play right into the ideas behind the Psychology Today article. And when you look a bit deeper, you see that it’s much more complex than that. In fact, in both cases, it wasn’t about submission as much as it was about each woman being able to be sexual without being slut-shamed for it.

Read his whole post here.

To take a stamp that says “all women are submissive” and put it on both those women would be obnoxious and, frankly, somewhat dehumanizing. And I think that’s what pisses me off the most about people who try to say that “woman=sub” and “man=dom” – it robs us of our humanity. It takes human sexuality – that extremely complex and deeply humanizing force – and tries to make it fit into a neat but uncomfortable box. I think Elodie at love, sex, feminism and cats said it best, when addressing people who try to do this:

You are so wrong that your wrongness cannot be calculated by any known measurement. You ignore not only dominant women, switches and “vanilla” women, but lesbians, bisexual women, asexual women, and every other woman on the planet. You ignore submissive, switch, vanilla and non-hetero men, among others. You ignore humanity. You make me embarrassed to be a sexually submissive woman, because I hate hewing to sexist stereotypes…

…I choose to submit. I’m not forced to by my biology, my socialization, my heterosexuality, my monogamy, or my femininity. When you claim that I’m born submissive because I’m a woman, you are trying to take the vital core of choice away from submission. What do you have left? Nothing at all.

Ah, ragestroke averted. I think I’ll spend the rest of the morning fantasizing about being dominated by a big, strong man. Because that’s my choice.

4 Responses to “You know what you can do with your dumb pop-psych theories about sexuality…?”

  1. kytten April 17, 2011 at 11:47 AM #

    Thank you – both for this post and for your blog. I’m so glad I found it! The article you refer to did annoy me as well, though I note that the author does manage to distinguish between social and sexual domination at the end…at least that’s something? Take care, and keep writing, please! -kytten

    • feministsub April 18, 2011 at 11:55 AM #

      Glad you enjoyed it – and the rest of the blog as well. I love the encouragement.

      Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure where the authors were going with distinguishing between social and sexual domination – I suppose they were trying to say that this doesn’t mean women want to go back to the pre-feminism days, but it wasn’t totally clear to me.

  2. theramblingfeminist April 21, 2011 at 9:36 PM #

    Stumbled onto this post by accident, and I’m not complaining. Thanks for the link to Elodie’s post. You’ve both said some really awesome things, IMO =D

    • feministsub April 22, 2011 at 9:15 AM #

      Welcome, and thank you! Out of curiosity, do you remember how you stumbled on this post?

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