Won’t someone please think of the children?

23 Feb

Apparently, ABC News did a segment on my porn boyfriend James Deen and his appeal among teenage girls. The piece is predictably sensationalist and pearl-clutching. They don’t actually say “won’t somebody please think of the children girls?” (because boys will be boys but girls watching porn is a Serious Problem) but they might as well have:

http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/0_p4wxdnn1/uiconf_id/6501231

I thought Deen held his own pretty well, even though the producers seemed intent on making this a story about Sleazy Porn Man leading your daughters into sin. I liked his main point, which is basically that kids will want to learn about sex, one way or another, and pretending that teenagers aren’t sexual is just silly.

And you know, I have a preteen cousin. I certainly don’t really like to think of her as a sexual being (she’ll pretty much always be 5 in my eyes) but if she is watching porn, I would much rather she watch a performer like Deen, who as I wrote before, is active and vocal in seeking his partner’s pleasure. And who makes sex look fun for everyone, not scary (well, some of the kink.com videos might be scary, but that’s another ball of wax).

Incidentally, you know where the vast majority of my readers come from? Google searches for James Deen. Even months and months after my one and only post about him.

Also, that girl they interviewed is right! James Deen is definitely the Ryan Gosling of porn.

More on objectifying language

16 Jan

Funnily enough, my internet friend Discerning Dom posted a piece on almost exactly the same time last night on the same topic as I did, objectifying language (although he phrased it in terms of “insults). His post is a great take from the other side of the coin – you should go read it.

It reminded me of a few points I meant to make in yesterday’s post. First, I’ve realized that I really only like this talk when it refers to sexual things. “Dirty, perverted whore”? Yes please. “Ugly, worthless, stupid whore”? Hell no, and get out of my house. I understand that some people do like the latter, and I can intellectually understand the appeal: having someone call you things you’re afraid of being called, and seeing that the sky doesn’t fall, that they’re still there. Lifting the rock and seeing what lies under there.

But for me, it just doesn’t work. Worthless? In most areas of my life, but especially in sex, I like to please, I like to be put to good use. Stupid? Well, that just makes me roll my eyes – I’ve always been The Smart Girl. I’m insecure on a lot of fronts, but my intelligence is not one of them. Ugly? Well, like 99.99% of women, I’ve struggled with my body image over the years, so I can’t say I’m totally secure there – but I don’t want to feel, even in play, that my partner thinks I’m ugly and is there anyway. I want to feel sexy and beautiful and desired.

Second, I don’t actually receive words like “slut” as insults. I think this is partly to do with my upbringing. I really was raised to feel that there was nothing wrong with a woman having lots of partners, or enjoying sex. Yes, there was a gap there, because I thought the kind of sex I liked was “wrong.” But the word “slut” has never really had much of a hold on me. If anything, I felt not sexual enough for most of my life. I wanted to be a sexual person, but there was a disconnect – I didn’t seem to be “into” sex in the way that other sexually liberated people seemed to be.

So to be called a slut, now that I have embraced my submissive sexuality, is actually very liberating. It’s a sign that I do now own my sexuality, and that my partner is celebrating it.

Objectifying language

15 Jan

Slut.

Whore.

Cunt.

These are all “bad” words, doubly so for a feminist. Not only are they insults, but they are insults based on sexist ideas about what women should be, what gives a woman her value as a person.

And yet, I love hearing them used to describe me, by the right person, in the right context. I love it. I also love having my partner “remind” me that I’m just there for him to use, or that only his enjoyment matters. Nothing sends me into that submissive headspace (which is a very happy, very aroused space for me) quicker than some good, objectifying dirty talk.

I’ve been thinking about this lately for a few reasons. One, the sadistic gentleman I’ve been playing with has quite a way with the dirty words, and I’ve been marveling at how just a few minutes of that can get me so worked up.

And then a reader that I’ve been emailing back and forth with expressed surprise at how I could be so glib about my love of objectifying language. After all, isn’t that anathema to feminism?

I responded by pointing out that the difference, to my mind is context – and, specifically, consent and specificity. I used a vanilla example to explain: if my (hypothetical at the moment) boyfriend grabbed my ass, I’d probably grin and grab his back, because I would view it as a cute, flirty move. If some guy on the street grabbed my ass, it would be assault. What’s the difference? The guy on the street knows nothing about me and certainly does not have my consent. My boyfriend knows I like that sort of thing and obviously has my consent.

As for objectifying dirty talk, to me, it’s the difference between me being his sex object because I’m female and women are supposed to be sex objects for men – and being his sex object because it’s a shared fantasy that we both find really hot. Gender may inform the choice of words, but it’s not why we play like this – if our genders were reversed, or we were the same gender, we would still play that way.

So that’s why I don’t find this kind of play unfeminist. But why do I find it hot?

Now, when I ask why, I don’t mean, “what made me this way?” I think that’s an unanswerable and fairly useless question.

What I mean is “what does this do for me?” I think it comes down to being in the moment. In my day-to-day life, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and an over-thinker. I think that, in a strange way, being cast into this role is a wonderful way of releasing myself to be present in the moment – to at least come closer to being a totally sexual being for a little while.

It’s also exciting to feel like my partner is losing his everyday persona for a while as well. To have a normally respectful, intelligent nice guy let loose with a barrage of vulgar terms like that – well, it makes me feel perversely powerful and extremely sexy.

What about you? Do you like this kind of language – why or why not?

I am not “broken” – and neither are you

28 Dec

Over the last few days, I’ve gotten dragged into an internet conversation about the “health” of kinky sex. I’m always loathe to get into these debates, because it’s a little bit like answering the question “when did you stop beating your wife” – once the discussion has gone there, you’ve already lost.

To be honest, I’m still always shocked when I come across people who believe kink is inherently unhealthy/degrading/antifeminist/otherwise fucked up, but I guess I shouldn’t be, because that’s how I used to feel on some level.

So I guess it bears saying: there is nothing inherently unhealthy about BDSM activities. And there is nothing inherently unhealthy about people who are into BDSM. It doesn’t mean we had some sort of trauma in our childhoods (of course, if a kinkster does have childhood trauma, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be into BDSM, either). It doesn’t mean we have some sort of mental illness or other pathology.

And I’m not just saying that, either! The research that has been done on this topic backs me up. The excellent blog Kink Research Overviews has a great roundup of research regarding kink and correlation with psychological disorders – and basically finds no evidence. The literature review I linked in my post on rape fantasies also shows that there is no evidence for a correlation.

But you know what? I’m not happy simply pointing out that I’m not “broken.” Because it’s not just that my sexuality doesn’t hurt me – it actually makes my life better! So much of my life has improved since I decided to accept my sexuality. Obviously, my sex life has improved – but so has my career, my health and my relationships.

So, no, I am not broken, and neither are you. Anyone who says differently is, frankly, ignorant.

Oh, Amazon.com, you know me better than I know myself …

15 Dec

I was just placing some orders on Amazon.com. Nothing kinky or sexual, just some DVDs I’m buying for a family member.

When I noticed that Amazon has a new “Pay Phrase” function. I’m not entirely clear on how it works, but it seems to allow you to have things billed and sent to you without having to go through a bunch of steps.

But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part? The default phrase they created for me:

“[My name]’s controlling assertion.”

I almost fell over laughing.

Maybe it doesn’t have to do with all the BDSM erotica I’ve purchased on Amazon over the last year – but I really kind of hope it does.

 

(In other news, my libido seems to have picked back up again, and I’ve found a deliciously evil and sadistic online play partner [yes, I know I said never again, but I’ve got needs] and I think I’m going to start dating again after the holidays. So I’m expecting to have more things to blog about again soon.)

Oh … HELL No

25 Oct

When I started this blog, I swore to myself that I would not spend my time picking fights with radical feminists. The real enemy is the patriarchy, no? And mostly, I’ve kept to that, with a few exceptions.

But I just read something on I Blame the Patriarchy that made me say “oh … HELL no!” and well, what is a blog for if not to share those “oh … HELL no!” moments with the world?

From I Blame the Patriarchy:

Today’s feminist, empowered by all those articles on vibrators in Bust magazine, chooses choices of her own free will. These choices mirror her own unique sartorial, sexual, and philosophical personality. That these unique choices happen to align precisely with standard male porn fantasies, and that they are therefore rewarded with positive attention, is purely coincidental.

Note the smug sarcasm dripping from this passage? “Oh how adorable” reads the subtext. “You think you’re making a choice for yourself, but really, you’re just kidding yourself, girls. You’re doing what they want you to do!” Or: “aww, look at it wear a miniskirt! It thinks it’s feminists!”

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I really believe that one of the things that made me repress my submissive leanings for so long was the fear that, by acting them out, or even just admitting them to myself, I was giving Patriarchy what it wanted. I was playing into its game.

But now that seems so silly to me. Partly because who the hell really cares what I do sexually with a partner of my choosing? But also because, well, so what if my sexual identity and fantasies happen to complement the sexual identities and fantasies of some or even many men? I mean, assuming she’s right (which is a big assumption, but whatever): I’m a heterosexual woman – isn’t it a good thing for my sexual fantasies to complement those of the very people I prefer to have sex with? Doesn’t this mean better sex for everyone?

I think this, right here, is why I have never really felt comfortable identifying as a radical of any kind. Because this is what happens to most of the radicals I’ve known (and I’ve known a lot): they take these, often correct, ideas about the collective forces that are harming society (whether it’s deeply ingrained sexism or out-of-control capitalism) and they make it personal.

And that’s what Jill is doing here. She’s not just saying that sex-positive feminism plays into what patriarchy wants – she’s saying this plays into what men want. And that’s supposed to invalidate it. Because one can only be a true feminist if one is making men unhappy, I suppose.

Incidentally, this post seems to be an oblique reference to a post by Holly at Pervocracy, which in turn was a reference to an extremely frustrating thread on one of my favorite time-wasting sites, Metafilter. Something that came up in the thread on Metafilter, and that Jill seems to be implying here, is that sex-positive feminists are unreflective about the complexities of gender and sex and that we’re resistant to be challenged on these complexities.

Now, obviously, I don’t speak for all sex-positive feminists. I do think there is some truth to that assertion, sometimes. But I think even reading a few posts on my blog will show that I have certainly not spent too little time thinking about the complexities of gender expectations and how they relate to my sexuality.

But you know what? All that thought is only so helpful. Honestly, I will openly concur that my submissive sexuality has been at least partially shaped by my gender socialization. No shit. Does that mean I should go back to ignoring it? Just lock it away?

Oh … HELL no.

I miss you all!

11 Oct

Even the lurkers! I miss writing this blog, and having the conversations around the writing, and yet, I haven’t been feeling very motivated to post lately.

Partly it’s just life getting in the way – work and other things have been insane (in a very, very good way). I barely have time for things like cooking food and hanging out with dear friends. So finding the time and mental energy to write a thoughtful post about sexual politics has been … difficult.

But also … I think a part of me finds it difficult to always be writing about sex and relationships I’m not having. It doesn’t always feel that way. When I was really rolling with this blog, it felt like a great way to connect with this part of myself and others like me. Even if I couldn’t find a partner to express it with, at least I have this forum and the wonderful people who have been participating in it (yes, that means you).

But lately I suppose I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated about the whole thing. I haven’t even logged on to OKCupid or Fetlife for weeks. And I know that doesn’t get me any closer to finding someone, but I think I just needed a break. It’s hard to keep pouring your energy to something that’s not giving you energy back.

Anyway, for the time being, I do really need to keep my eyes on the prize with the work stuff. And that gives me energy back in spades, so it works out. But that won’t be forever, and I know I’ll be back. In the meantime, I’ll lurk on your blogs and wait for my mojo to come back.