The problem with trying to write about women's sexuality on the internet is that it is either pegged to one newsy event or it devolves into everyone taking one side or the other. Or both. And I hate that.
That's one of the reasons I reached out to the women and men who you've been reading — and many others — to talk about what fucking while feminist meant to them. I didn't just want to skewer the existing obvious dichotomies (casual sex is good/casual sex is bad, or abstinence is terrible/abstinence is great) but I wanted to skewer the idea that any discussion had to devolve into the conclusion that there was only one right way to think about sexuality in a feminist context.
Like the women who identify as feminists (or womanists or egalitarians), there's no singular model. And that's okay — some people's viewpoints can serve as stepping-off points, ideas to contemplate, positions to disagree with, or behaviors to emulate.
But a couple points of view stood out to be as pretty basic. One came from Lena Chen's post:
Here's my definition:
- Consensual, because a good partner won't be pressuring you into doing something you don't want to. If you want to abstain from any or all sexual behavior, that's YOUR choice and nobody else's.
- Safe, responsible, and respectful, meaning that you use protection not just to cover your own butt, but also to protect your partner.
- Fun and adventurous, since there's a lot of different kinds of hooking up and trying them all out is the only way for you to figure out what works for you.
That seemed like a good place for anyone to start: decide what you want, ask what your partner wants, do it safely and respectfully, and then have fun, as you define it.
And, for the something that spoke to me particularly, this line from Angelika at Goddesses Rising seemed about right:
"I don't need to love them to fuck, but I do need to trust them. I need to know that they understand and accept that I am not going to stop being a free spirited pro-sex feminist just because I am fucking them. And that, them fucking me will not change who I am. And if they can honestly and truly handle that then we're fine, but the moment they try to change or control me, the fun and fucking will be over."
There's a whole world of thought about sex and feminism, from the truly academic to the more colloquial. But after a week of reading through emails, doing interviews, reading blog posts and looking at comments, the one thing that strikes me as suspicious at its core is when someone points to a (safe, respectful, consensual, fun) thing someone else does and says, "That's not what a feminist would do."
And with special thanks to Chloe Angyal at Feministing, who sent along this piece, and Sarah Jaffe who sent along a piece she wrote at Feministe and one from her personal blog, that I tried and failed to incorporate but probably should have.
[Image via Amodiovalerio Verde on Flickr]