Saturday, 14 January 2012

A small rant about agency and what's not your fucking business

Before I start this post, I'd just like to say: Mum - I'm sure there's something much better you could be doing than reading this. Go on, get lost. Nothing to see here.

Yesterday I wrote a post for the F Word about the problems with people telling women they are 'wrong' for liking sexual acts that the teller-offer thinks are inherently 'degrading'. It's called Your nose has no place in my bedroom (unless it's invited). It was meant to be a short, off the cuff post, but internet commenters are a funny old breed* and so I'd like to add a few things here.

  1. Even if you think I like something for the 'wrong' reasons (OH EHM GEE BRAINWASHED BY PATRIARCHY) - it's none of your fucking business if I'm enjoying myself.
  2. I don't spend my life psychoanalysing why anyone wants to have missionary sex under the covers with the lights off, because IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
  3. If someone DOES like something and you think (or fucking hell, even if they think) it's for the wrong reasons this does not make them doing that inherently bad.
  4. Handwringing men - please STOP trying to deny my sexual agency by saying that I *must* be brainwashed by the patriarchy. You are not so fucking big and bad that I do not know my own mind. 
  5. Not all men are evil sex-beasts determined to make women degrade themselves. Please trust me to identify these men and allow them appropriate access to my knickers if I so wish.
  6. There are SEVEN FUCKING BILLION people on the planet. Do you really think your rules apply to everyone and every sexual act ever?
  7. Can we just stop pretending that every person who likes some submissive acts is a supine individual who just can't say no to the big bad patriarchy? BOUNDARIES. THEY EXIST. WITH GOOD PARTNERS, THEY ARE ADHERED TO. IF THEY ARE NOT ADHERED TO, THE PARTNER MAY BE GOTTEN RID OF.
  8. Not every person who likes some submissive/degrading acts all the time. The facial is not an entire sex 'act', it is part of a sexual encounter. It is entirely possible for partners to switch roles DURING a sexual encounter, or to vary between sexual encounters. Put simply, how do you know that just before my partner came on my face I wasn't fucking him up the arse with a strap-on and calling him 'fucktoy'? Is he brainwashed by the patriarchy, or is that bit OK? 
I'll end this with part of what I said in the comments on Marina's blogpost response
 we have a hell of a way to go before we can find an unfettered-by-patriarchy-and-other-surroundings expression of sexuality, and the best way to go about that is to promote communication between sex partners, destigmatise female sexuality and keep educating people to talk about GOOD consent.
Not by sticking your nose in my knickers and telling me I 'just don't know any better', unless I explicitly invite you to do so. (HINT: The odds of this happening are not in your favour)

(*spunkwaffling dickwits)


  1. I can see this is/could be an issue for some women, who are possibly submitting to degrading activities for the wrong reasons, but the fact that many men also enjoy being 'degraded' should be a pointer to it not necessarily* being a construct of patriarchal attitudes. Though, thinking on it, 'rôle reversal' would have no meaning in a truly equal society, but we deal with what is, whilst also working for what we hope for at some future time; such proclivities exist within the present framework, and can't be just wished away.

    *Or even often, though how you'd get decent stats for such is beyond me.

    ("Spunkwaffling dickwits." I'm so glad I'd put me coffee down before reading that…)

  2. "I don't spend my life psychoanalysing why anyone wants to have missionary sex under the covers with the lights off, because IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS."
    It's cold out and it saves electricity.

  3. Actually Alex, I think you'll find Foucault says that it's because you're a big stupid girlpants with no brain or independent thought.


  4. Alex, are you saying that two people can heat as cheaply as one?

    I'll get me coat…

  5. I've read the critical comments by bedroom-policers on the other blogs, and it strikes me that there's virtually nothing they say that couldn't equally be applied to all forms of heterosexual sex. And of course, some radfems do argue that women should stop having sex with men for those reasons, but (these days) most don't.

    I find it hard to take their arguments seriously because it always seems to be "why you shouldn't do the things that turn you on" rather than "why I'm refusing to do the things that turn me on". I suspect that most of the practices they vocally object to are ones they would have no interest in in the first place.

  6. @WendyLyon I completely agree. And no one yet has answered my question about if it's OK to 'degrade' a male partner in the same session, so... that's interesting!