Category Archives: Female Sexuality

On feminist movement, at “its peak”…

“it was also important to claim the body as a site of pleasure… We had all-girl parties, grown-up sleepovers. We slept together. We had sex. We did it with girls and boys. We did it across race, class, nationality. We did it in groups. We watched each other doing it. We did it with the men in our lives differently. We let them celebrate with us the discovery of female sexual agency. We let them know the joys and ecstasies of mutual sexual choice… We reclaimed the female body as a site of power and possibility…”

hooks goes on to talk about a reticence on the part of revolutionary feminists to engage with mainstream media on the topic of sexuality because of the inevitable distortions that occur. She challenges the stereotype of antimen feminists:

“… Heterosexual women turned on by feminist movement learn how to move away from sexually dead encounters with patriarchal men who eroticize exploitative power and domination scenarios that in no way embrace female sexual agency, but these women do so not to give up sex  but to make sex new, different, liberatory, and fun…

She speaks about the need to publicise this shift in sexual attitudes in a positive way.

 

“… Were many more of us documenting our sex lives in art, literature, film and other media, there would be an abundance of counter-hegemonic evidence to disprove the popular sexist stereotype that women in feminist movement are antisex and antimen.”

– bell hooks in ‘Talking Sex’ published in Outlaw Culture , 1994

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Illicit Kisses In The Lady’s Room

I’ve recently been flirting with women who are in some way unavailable.  When I interact with these women the locations are varied, but when they are in public I find myself fantasising about private places in public locations where I could try to steal a kiss from them, or something more.

In a very public location, such as a pub, the one guaranteed place I can think of as a location away from prying eyes is the toilets of the establishment. Since the interaction is a girl-on-girl fantasy, I observe that I can imagine our kiss occurring in the public areas of the bathroom, ie near the sinks, by the mirrors, in the lobby section that many toilets have etc. It would only be an extreme need for privacy that would send us into a cubicle (well, for a kiss anyway).

When I have feelings of taking a girl off in private, the door of the female toilets becomes the safe zone. If the bathroom were a unisex one, then I would definitely retreat further into a cubicle. This is the first time I’ve considered the single-sex toilet as being a “safe space” for women. I have allowed discussions about unisex toilets happen to around me, and I am broadly in favour of unisex, since many problems are solved by this approach.

Being a girl who moves outside of “girl” stereotype somewhat, being more interested in games than clothes, programming than makeup, feats of strength than social graces, and boys more than girls, I rarely encounter the benefits of all-female spaces. I don’t feel actively alienated from these spaces and there are some that have strong positives, such as feminist groups, but overall I find my experiences neutral.

It is thus a surprise to find comfort in the idea of the female toilets as a safe zone, in order to be with other women. In addition to feeling more private than a large room such as a pub, I feel I can rely on social norms practiced by groups of women. These include the idea that I will not receive unwelcome attention (in the form of stares or spoken intrusion) from whoever might also be in there. Similarly, any reproach for my activities will be easily brushed off, since women reproach each other through social punishments like exclusion, (rather than, say, physical bullying) which is no threat from strangers. I even feel that if another woman from our mutual social circle should happen to see my illicit encounter with a “taken” woman, that person would have at least a 50% likelihood of keeping the tryst they’ve observed a secret.

I also reflect that the female toilets are not a universally safe space. The toilets at a lesbian club are an entirely different beast to a mainstream establishment. I have heard stories from my friends of women busting into cubicles and feeling them up even while they were pissing. But broadly, generally, as a cis-gendered woman the female toilets feel like a safe zone that can be sought out almost anywhere.

This means I’ll have to think in more depth about women-only and “safe” spaces, but I thought I’d share this little part of my sexuality with you. If me and another woman have disappeared at a party, you might be able to guess where we’ve gone.

Female Sexuality Series

I have added a new category for posts on the blog: female sexuality. I highly recommend reading The Hite Report, it is a summary of the findings from surveys of thousands of women about their sexuality, conducted in the 1970s by Shere Hite. It is a rich resource for stories about the nature of female sexuality. In that spirit,  I plan to post a series of entries here on my own sexuality. I will try to note the similarities and differences between my own sexuality and women I know, have read about, and things I’ve assumed about famous women, particularly writers.

In its own small way, this series of posts will contribute to the body of stories and experiences of female sexuality that comes directly from women, rather than those aspects of the sciences and media that are produced by men about women or have questionable aims.

ps I have retroactively categorised a few existing posts with this new category, so there are already a few things to read. Just click on the category to the right to read them all.

Wild

This post may be more of a winding rant than a structured argument.

I have just added “Work” as a category for posts on this blog. I worked a little throughout the year off travels, but of course I’ve been static and working for some months now.

I work.

Perhaps it feels so revelatory because I don’t feel that I work. A testament to the habit I’ve gained of only doing work that I enjoy. A habit I can cultivate only because I’m lucky, have kind friends and I’m good at being very poor.

But this post is actually about feeling wild, and being in love.

Partner A and I have been together for about a year and I’m in love with him. It feels different to other times I’ve been in love. It smacks of static and the smell of ozone. It has caught us by surprise. There is an immanence to every aspect of our relationship, but I think it will not get a sudden release. The constant threat of leaving forever brings the present moment into sharp, painful, glorious focus but the assurance of a few more months on the horizon, that have been on the horizon, ever since we started, which softened the present with small consolations, can now be counted in years.

Imagine living in a heightened present for years.

In these past weeks we have been trusting each other increasingly. Behind me is a past within which I was constantly “present”, growing with and straining against this other person. Now I feel wild in this connection.

As if I now know there is a year long bond fusing us together, such that nothing will dislodge it for now. I can be unrestrained and our fused limb will take no damage.

Wildness expressing itself through sex, of course. And it feels new. New things with a new person, but I am new as well. Last time I fell in love I wasn’t this that I am now. I am a year or so further down the line of growing in strength, security and self-knowledge. And now I am surprised to find I am able to dive deep, desiring to inextricably tangle my animus with theirs.

Let this be a testament to those people who think that poly cannot produce the intimate relationships of monogamy. Monogamy only has time on its side, and it is not necessarily time that cleaves human beings together.

Partner A has recently been dating someone new, heightening his sexual needs. This is perfect timing, right as myself and him were ready to start forging deeper into sexual abandon.

Poly can speed things up as well as slow things down.

I’m feeling his absence very strongly this time. When things become quiet in the night, I can hear myself keening for him. This is why I like being premenstrual, I love actually feeling things, with minimal intervention from that ego monologue.

I hate being interrupted when I’m writing blog posts, it makes it impossible to think of an end.

Sex and imagination

No.

I want to invest this act with romance, with feeling, with emotion, with story, with magic. I want to screw everything up as tight as possible. I want to curl my toes, to cross my arms, to squint my eyes, to clench my pelvic floor and to go inside of myself, to that dark, deep universe. To go to that nameless endless cosmic space that is inside me and profoundly outside of me,  because it is outside of space and time. I want to be taken to that place, to be held and rocked, my body in comfort so that I can disconnect and journey there, to that expanse of dark power, glorious beauty, endless triumph. I want to forget I am observed, I must be able to feel wild, unrestrained, to use the intense pleasure of my body to escape my body, to abstain from this reality, just for a minute, just for a moment.

This is the seat of my power. This is ecstasy.

And for it I need complicity.

The denial of the story, the dismissal of the she-magic, has broken my heart.

Orgasm

Warning: this post uses cis-biased language.*

In the circles I move in (20 somethings, quite a few queer folks) it is considered correct, necessary and even polite to realise that sex is not simply the act of penis-in-vagina-until-male-ejaculation-and-sleep. This is all to the good. However I was in conversation with someone at BiCon  about how, in one male and one female sexual encounters, it now feels like it has gone too much in the other direction. In the loose narrative framework of how one can expect sex to go down these days, there seems to be too much emphasis on the female orgasm. Suddenly sex is all about foreplay and massage and dextrous fingers for as long as it takes (hours… days?) until the female orgasm is achieved. Maybe more than once.

[At this point I can feel some kind of disembodied rational voice over my shoulder shouting sarcastically “first world problems!” but since we have started, let us, with due knowledge of our privilege, continue]

This expectation that sex is largely about taking the time to stimulate a female orgasm leads, somewhat ironically, to a strong feeling of pressure to perform. Performance anxiety is not something I would have expected to feel in 21st century sex.

I understand that the intentions are positive, but I find it disempowering that someone might think that, with enough foreplay and given a long enough amount of time, an orgasm will occur. The assumption that orgasms are achievable or even desirable, is also somehow offensive to me.

I find it somewhat rude to be rubbed, rolled and “stimuated” and if I do manage to come have my partner declare “I gave her an orgasm”. You did nothing of the sort. I did my orgasm. My orgasm is inside me, in my mind, my brain, my spine, my nipples, my guts and most especially in my secret imagination. It is a process like dreaming, felt through a shifting combination of emotion, imagery and mental synaesthesia, all supported by a narrative mesh. Physical stimulation is useful but potentially (and actually) optional. For the most part I am attempting to ignore the outside world as much as possible when trying to orgasm and having someone fucking around with me (even if it is in awed, reverent, interested or even joyful enthusiasm) is at best distracting and at worst infuriating. The process of my orgasm is hard work that takes effort and concentration. It has taken me many years of practice to switch into a mind/body state whereby I can orgasm at all, let alone to run through my ‘process’ with any speed or finesse. My orgasms are mine, they are private and part of their charm is that they are in some way unknowable.

Afterword

This post made me think a lot about how I “do” my orgasms, (at the moment I have one technique with myself and another technique for orgasm with penis inside me – I have very rarely had an orgasm from non=penis-but-someone-is-there scenarios). I’ve decided I would like to develop non-penis-but-someone -is-there scenarios, not least because I now have fairly regular sex with women (and all people have hands, figners, tongues etc.) Perhaps I shall get back to you.

* I’m assuming a binarised gender because I’m describing interactions between cis males and cis females. Other types of gender, sex and sexuality exist, but this orgasm-prejudice is for me situated within the aforementioned framework. Throughout this post I refer to female orgasm to mean not-male or not-penis orgasm. I would have used ‘vaginal’ orgasm but this implies a type of orgasm, ie not-clitoral rather than vagina-haver orgasm.