Tag Archives: female

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


Modelling For Photographers

This is a statement for anyone interested in working with me as a nude model for their photography.

I’ve noticed nude/art photographers tend to want a very particular “feminine” look in their work and I do not necessarily represent that. I have an excellent, very “feminine” figure but I am also a person.

I have an unusual hair cut, it is shaved at the sides with a long section in the middle and it is often dyed pink or blue. My sense of style is varied but often tends towards the tomboy. I am a very active person. Myself and most of my friends live our lives with alternative ideas about gender, sex, sexuality, relationships and social norms.

I previously had little idea that these things could affect nude photography but they very much do. I am unlikely to be a passive subject in your work.  I will desire to be expressive, and in ways that may seem unusual. I will stare into the camera. I will want to talk to you. I like being happy, and find it a strain to act demur.  I do not sit, stand or walk in a “feminine” way, although I am able to. My mannerisms and the way I occupy space with my body are not feminine in a traditional sense. I do however love being female. I am in touch with my body and celebrate its femaleness, it is simply that my female expression is far from the more popular cultural norms.

I would be interested to work with photographers who would like to explore this set of elements in their practice and I know it can lead to extremely interesting photographs.

Please also let me know if you have read this and are no longer interested, I much prefer to be told “no, thank you” promptly than to be waiting on a reply that never arrives.


My Reproductive Choices

Being bi and poly, I always have an interesting time at the sexual health clinic.

The health practitioners who conduct the interviews have always been accepting and sympathetic when I have to reel off a list of partners that were a mixture of new and long term (or all long term) and (mostly) bisexual men and I had sex with them on the same day or at the same time and there’s not enough room on the form to go back six months (both myself and the health person seem to tacitly agree to stop at three people). And despite all this information they are forced to conclude that I’m actually leading a relatively safer sex life.

Anyhoo, I recently had cause to visit the clinic for the emergency contraceptive pill. The person doing the interviewing was friendly as always however something too subtle to put on a complaints form happened to me with the nurse who was dishing out the pill.

She gave me the pill and the associated leaflet, then said “and if your period is more than five days late then you should take a pregnancy test” and smiled a tight smile. I said, smiling, “oh dear, don’t say that” and she continued to stare at me with a tight smile. Uncomfortable, I made a joke about how annoying it is when condoms break, and in the same tight fashion she said “or get other contraception”. I explained that I dislike hormonal contraception and she finally gave me a leaflet about the coil.

I can’t be certain that what I felt with the nurse was something that was actually being transmitted, but I felt I had been negatively judged for not doing enough to prevent myself from getting pregnant. I felt as though there was an ultimatum: if you’re going to have so much sex, you should be pumping yourself full of hormones or unnatural objects so as to not get pregnant.

I’ve thought about having a coil fitted and as a menstrual activist I have read some reports on their functionality, as well as having first hand accounts from friends. I have made an informed decision not to get a coil because I feel it will interfere with my menstrual cycle as well as being painful to have fitted/removed. I also secretly suspect my womb will be one of those that likes to force it back out again. Since I have to use condoms with every single partner anyway, so as not to get sexually transmitted diseases, I feel using “just condoms” (and female condoms!) every single time to be an appropriate choice.

This, though, is not the point.

It is the second occasion in my life that a condom has broken and I have taken lengthy and costly steps to get hold of a method of contraception available to me as fast as humanly possible in order to prevent pregnancy and this is the second time the nurse has made me feel guilty while I was doing so. This also seems to be a frequent experience reported by my female friends.

This is a tiny, minor, trivial story in the context of what is happening with reproductive rights worldwide but this is one more example of someone making (and expressing) a negative judgement about someone else’s reproductive choices even though the person was in fact ensuring an unwanted pregnancy was being prevented and even though the person expressing the opinion was a medical practitioner in the business of helping people be informed and confident enough to make appropriate choices for themselves. These attitudes are not helping.

Also, women hating on women really bugs me and it needs to fuck off.

Reproductive rights 101: give people access to every birth control technology and every STI prevention technology that exists, for free, for ever. Help individuals make their own informed decisions and do not behave as if one choice is better than another. Do not believe that your opinion has greater value than a person’s own opinion and do not interfere with an individual’s bodily sovereignty, even when they are pregnant.

These are the starting baseline assumptions. We can talk about exceptions but they are exactly that: exceptions and there have to be good very reasons to make them. Looking down on someone when they take the morning after pill is not one of them.






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.


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.