Does being a RadFem mean that you can't like anything to do with males and PIV?

(85 Posts)
TheFeministsWife Thu 09-Feb-12 14:21:53


I would class myself as a Radical Feminist, (but now I'm starting to think I may have been deceiving myself). But after reading this blog post now I'm not so sure.

I'm married and have been for a long time. I like PIV, I love my DH I don't think I'm trauma bonded to him. hmm He's never forced me into sex, or made me feel guilty if I don't want it. I enjoy it, I like the intimacy and also the orgasms of course.

I don't want to ridicule what the blogger has said, (I read a lot of her blog posts and like them) but I'm struggling with this one. Am I fooling myself to think I can be a RadFem and in a happy het relationship? I've commented on the blog a few times (under Angela) but still can't fathom the whole thing. One commenter has said PIV is unnatural. confusedhmm I thought basic biology would prove it was the most natural thing in the world. And another commenter has said things won't be safe until all females live in colonies like we used to. confused

SinicalSanta Thu 09-Feb-12 14:29:21

You can get a range of opinions under one label.
I suppose there's a radfem spectrum also.

Like you, I guess I'd be at the wishy washy end of radical feminism.
I define radfem as wanting to reorganise society to put female experiences & preferences on a par with male, but personally I'd keep things like het pairbonding and PIV. More people like them than not, and there should be no value judgement placed on what way you organise your sex and emotional life.

SinicalSanta Thu 09-Feb-12 14:32:57

Though very interesting article

<mulls over>

BasilRathbone Thu 09-Feb-12 15:14:38

LOL great article.

Wht's missing from it, is an acknowledgement that for most PIV sex (I hope) what women don't feel is terror, but lust.

I think she's falling into the old trap of believing the cliche about women becoming emotionally attached to men after sex. That assumption is just wrong I think - women are every bit as capable of having meaningless uncommitted PIV sex as men are and then moving untroubled onwards afterwards. If there is any truth in the cliche, then I'd argue it's because of patriarchy's demand that women be the gate-keepers of sex and the shame and guilt and loss of good reputation that it has imposed on women who have PIV sex outside of patriarchy -sanctioned circumstances - a much more likely scenario IMO, than trauma bonding.

However, I think when it comes to rape, she has a point - many rape victims are trauma-bonded to their rapist - but again, I'm not sure if that's an inherent response re PIV, so much as an emotional/ social response re not wanting to self-identify as a rape victim.


ForkInTheForeheid Thu 09-Feb-12 15:41:45

Hmm. I think there's a fair bit of conflating going on in that post. Yes, you can see the act of PIV sex as "endangering" towards women, but putting oneself in a vulnerable position without fear is part of an intimate relationship isn't it? Further, women taking part in PIV sex with a fleeting partner, in a one night stand for example, providing they are fully consenting are doing so out of lust and can do so without forming a close "war-buddy" like attachment.
The blogger also seems to deny that there are situations where men are more attached than women (other than as an owner of a possession). I would disagree with this position.

I mean, letting someone else drive you around is putting you in more danger than PIV sex (I would have thought) and while we may trust our partners more in this regard we also let many other people do it (e.g. taxi drivers, bus drivers etc.).

FarloRigel Thu 09-Feb-12 15:47:10

So... by extension... does that mean my DH only loves me because of becoming 'trauma bonded' to me each time he samples my cooking grin?

Sorry to lower the tone <slinks off>

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 09-Feb-12 16:25:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MoreBeta Thu 09-Feb-12 16:41:02

"you see, any man who demands PIV or engages in it for that matter is making himself dangerous to women, by definition. and when a woman trusts a man to keep her safe…if that man demands or engages in PIV with her, he is exploiting that trust.

....... because the sad, sick truth of it is that every single man with whom we have ever had intercourse is just some tool who laid pipe, at our expense.."

I'm taking a wild guess here but I surmise she has never experienced a loving relationship with a man. What she said may be true of her experience but cannot be generalised to the vast majority of relationships.

SardineQueen Thu 09-Feb-12 16:43:09

Dittany used to say that liberal feminists wanted to work within the current system to effect change gradually, while radical feminists believed that the whole system at the moment is inherently rotten and it needs to be swept away and replaced with something new.

I haven't read the article (yet) but I wouldn't have thought that having heterosexual sex means you can't be radical. I guess the blog is one person's opinion, as opposed to an official rule!

SardineQueen Thu 09-Feb-12 16:44:17

I mean IIRC that was how dittany said the definitions worked, how I have phrased my post looks a bit funny there somehow.

SardineQueen Thu 09-Feb-12 16:45:09

We had a thread about this same blog post before I think. I will see if I can find it.

Dworkin Thu 09-Feb-12 16:47:26

No of course not but this from that link does sum it up for me because I too have had this experience (along with the same lightbulb moment).

"Collective trauma bonding: YES. I found myself at work the other day in a distressed state and when one of my older, more senior male colleagues spoke soothingly to me and asked “is there anything I can do to make things easier for you?” I felt an inexplicable sexual tenderness toward him. I wanted to curl into his protection and despite the fact that I had never had a sexual feeling for him before (in fact the very idea horrifies me) this feeling was inextricable from sexual connection. The sexual bonding happened specifically because of my distressed state and was triggered by him speaking soothingly and offering to alleviate my suffering. I couldn’t make sense of this til now, but these posts have clarified it for me. I am trauma bonded to men as a group because of patriarchy and my own experiences of hetero relationships and PIV."

My bold. Just because you have a trusting relationship with a man doesn't mean that you can't be RadFem - Andrea Dworkin had a trusting relationship with her second husband but her first was abusive to her and she also spent time in Holland as a prostitute.

what is PIV?

To say that any man who engages in consensual sex with a woman is a potential risk is ludicrous. It is also essentially saying that i can't be a feminist if i also enjoy sex with a man.

or am i missing something?

Dworkin Thu 09-Feb-12 16:55:58

PIV is Penis in Vagina. Also there was a quote from Tom Gunn, who decided to remain celebate rather than risk his life with anal sex during the AIDS epidemic in America in the 80s. I think that actually puts it into perspective.

However, no one is saying that RadFem's are bitter, dried up old hags and lesbians who need a real good screwing to 'fix' them (well except MRAs and lefty doods who love their pornified 'liberal' society. No PIV is just an alternative viewpoint.

OnlyANinja Thu 09-Feb-12 16:58:00

There's no official definition that I know of...

Anyone who says "I am an X" without clarification should expect at least 20% of the people listening to think that they said something that they didn't. (depending on the audience, of course)

sonicrainboom Thu 09-Feb-12 17:20:18

Does being a RadFem mean that you can't like anything to do with males and PIV?

No. However if you aware of radfem analysis you might not find sex and relationships with males under patriarchy as unproblematic anymore. That blogger points out all the things that are dangerous and problematic about constant/compulsory PIV as standard for het sex, and I think it's very important. Never see anyone talk about that anywhere else. More here:

lollygag Thu 09-Feb-12 17:40:54

Stick to your RadFem principles and cut off any PIV sex.If he loves you he'll understand.

callitwhatyoulike Thu 09-Feb-12 18:04:58

Does being a RadFem mean that you can't like anything to do with males and PIV?

pretty be a radfem, from my extensive reading of blogs and websites on the subject, you just need to be a bigot and prepared to ostracise yourself from the rest of society.

sonicrainboom Thu 09-Feb-12 18:13:12

lollygag, I know you're joking, but...
There is alot of women who do not enjoy PIV. They might not find it pleasurable, or they might even find it painful for one reason or other. Their husband might demand it constantly and they feel obliged to do it. It's a pretty common problem actually. If PIV is giving you more problems than pleasure, you have the right to give it up even if you are in a het relationship. A man who loves you should - maybe not understand - but not want to harm the woman he loves.

sonicrainboom Thu 09-Feb-12 18:14:44

That said, there is no reason to give up something that only gives you pleasure.

There is no check list for being a radfem.

gothicmama Thu 09-Feb-12 18:23:23

Radfem has not been defined its boundaries move dependent onglobal mores as with anything
Until there is equality for all any organisation will cast ifrom those in control those who have the power and this way sucessive waves of fem have failed to make a significant impact on society

lollygag Thu 09-Feb-12 18:40:16

Sonic: Yes,and that's perfectly reasonable,but op seems to be coming from a philosophical rather than a physical standpoint.

gothicmama Thu 09-Feb-12 18:51:35

Are the two not interlinked lolly
It would be interesting to see what society would look like if the matriachal influence had been maintained rather than the need to know who was a true male heir

MooncupGoddess Thu 09-Feb-12 19:18:35

It's odd that this post doesn't acknowledge PIV carried out for the purpose of procreation - it sees pregnancy as a horrid affliction involving puking and possible premature death. Now obviously unwanted pregnancy IS terrifying and pregnancy does carry risks, but it's only one side of the coin.

sonicrainboom Thu 09-Feb-12 19:22:34

But how often do you think PIV is carried out strictly for procreation these days? With condoms and the pill, couples can have it constantly with minimized risk for pregnancy. However, using the pill has A LOT of health risks.

MooncupGoddess Thu 09-Feb-12 19:51:29

Oh I agree - the assumption that women should gulp down hormonal contraceptives at the drop of a hat is awful, and I agree with lots of her points re PIV being much more of a risk for women. I'm not sure about the traumatic bonding thing - there are other possible causes (social and biological) for why women seem more likely to feel bonded to their male sexual partner after sex than vice versa.

I just think her argument is only part of the story (partly because I enjoy PIV myself, and am sure I'm not alone in that!).

gothicmama Thu 09-Feb-12 20:10:04

So piv is not the real issue it is the issue of contraception and control of that. I thought about this issue after hearing abouyt girls being given implant but no education for either gender on stds or emotional side of relationships so very wrong

toptramp Thu 09-Feb-12 20:33:32

I thought that the reason why us women feel more bonded is partly to do with oxytocin the bonding chemical released on orgasm surely? But then I guess men must feel it too. It is within our interests to feel more bonded in case we concieve.

I don't see what is so anti feminist about having a bloody good shag though. Surely we don't need more of life's joys stripped away from us. I do agree that the partriarchy rubbishes women for having sex whilst men get applauded for it. Double standards. I ignore them and keep shagging around recklessly grin.

toptramp Thu 09-Feb-12 20:48:03

I just read that article properly and whilst I think that most of it is bollocks and totally sucks the joy out of life and sex I do love the last line and think it is spot on;

'if we made PIV more traumatic for men, would they have the common decency to pick up the fucking phone the next day, but without going all stalker?'


I don''t think that most women fear pregnancy in fact many women welcome pregnancy. Without sex we would die out and pregnancy does not result in death normally does it? Rather a new life. having said that it does effect us much more than it does them. Men can get stds and therefore sex is also dangerous for them but imo most of the best things in life carry an element of risk.

sunshineandbooks Thu 09-Feb-12 21:09:50

I define myself as a radical feminist. I get what the blogger is saying and relate to some of it, but I don't agree with all of it, will continue to enjoy PIV and do not think an anti-PIV stance is necessary to be a radical feminist.

I relate very much to her take on the risks of sex. As a woman who is determined to never use hormonal contraceptive again, I worry about pregnancy and although I use barrier methods I tend to enjoy PIV most at points in my cycle when I know conception is unlikely.

Thinking about my sexual experience, I've had some fantastic PIV but I've had far more great sex that didn't involve it. My ideal would be about 25%PIV/75% other sex I guess.

I do feel that PIV is often presented as the only form of sex worth having. Everything else seems to lead up to it. I think this is very much a patriarchal construct and is due to greater degree of importance placed on the male orgasm - which signifies the end of the act in many encounters. I can't help but feel that many women's sexual satisfaction would increase if less PIV took place and more oral sex/touching was involved. Of course, a considerate male lover means that this isn't a problem but I wonder how many women seem to have one of those...

BasilRathbone Thu 09-Feb-12 21:10:32

Well before the advent of modern medicine, the mortality rate from pregnancy was incredibly high.

Before she went into labour, as well as getting the swaddling clothes ready, a woman would also prepare two shrouds, one for her and one for the baby, in case they both died. The odds of which, were good.

So maybe the fact that PIV sex can result in pregnancy, meant it could also result in death? Maybe that's what she's getting at?

BasilRathbone Thu 09-Feb-12 21:11:29

Sorry cross posted with sunshineandbooks

sunshineandbooks Thu 09-Feb-12 21:11:44

Also STDs are transmitted more readily from man to woman than from woman to man. I think it's double the likelihood, but I'd have to check.

sunshineandbooks Thu 09-Feb-12 21:14:19

Incidentally, now I've stopped using hormonal contraceptive (for 5 years now), my cycles have become increasingly reliable and I find it very easy to tell whereabouts in it I am.

AyeRobot Thu 09-Feb-12 21:14:46

Still does for immense numbers of women across the globe.

There's a fascinating discussion to be had about the politics of PIV sex but not one that ever ends very happily on-line. Or IRL, to be fair.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 09-Feb-12 21:25:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Molasses Fri 10-Feb-12 00:11:54

I think that at least when it comes to sex education, more emphasis should be put on non-penetrative sex in order to combat unwanted pregnancies etc. At the moment, in most media and in schools, use of condoms seems to be the 'responsible' angle when teaching young people about sexual safety. This puts girls at risk not only of physical disatisfaction, but also through their experiences they may become accustomed to male pleasure being more important than female pleasure.

In some publications aimed at young men I've seen oral and anal sex advocated to prevent pregnancy (not oral from boy to girl, mind). There needs to be a change from such a focus on the penis and 'losing one's virginity' should surely not still mean piv. Are all lesbians virgins in that case?

Young women, and men, would be sexually and emotionally empowered and liberated if they were not taught simply to 'remember to use a condom'. PIV should be presented as one of many sexual experiences, but the risks involved for the person being penetrated must be conveyed.

Molasses Fri 10-Feb-12 00:13:29

When I say lesbian in that context, I meant a woman who had only had sex with women. Just to clarify.

sakura Fri 10-Feb-12 00:55:35

I don't think any of the radfems in that article said that sex (PIV) isn't pleasurable did they...
If you go there, you're definitely missing the point.

What they're asking is.. is it worth it ?

For women, that is.

Of course it's worth it for men! There's zero risk of pregnancy for them!

But when there's a risk of pregnancy for the woman, you have to ask yourself why so many men are doing PIV. If I knew that sticking my finger in someone's ear might cause them to have an (unwanted) blood clot in the nose that would need to be removed via an operation, I would think long and hard before sticking my bloody finger in someone's ear.
Men, though, don't think sticking their dicks into women is a problem at all. Which really makes you wonder how women are seen in men's eyes.... FOr them, the pleasure is always worth it insofar as (STDs aside), they're not going to experience any painful side effects.

No contraception is 100% effective. The pill has horrible side effects (thrombosis, blood clots, cancer) .
Abortions come with risk of hemorrhage. Pregnancy comes with risk of death (don'T believe me, check out the maternal mortality rates. The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world after Kenya, because of its obsession with C-sections)

sakura Fri 10-Feb-12 00:59:10

Basil, "modern medicine" caused a lot of deaths for women. The men who pushed the midwives didn't even know that you were supposed to wash your hands!! So "doctors" would go straight from cutting up a corpse to delivering a baby. Hundreds of women died from infection this way. And all the while these doctors of "modern medicine" were claiming that they were better at helping women than those "dirty midwives." They invented all sorts of unecessary and humiliating procedures, such as the lithotomy position, which hindered birth and caused many deaths.

sakura Fri 10-Feb-12 01:00:41

ETA: the men who pushed the midwives out , that was

Truckulentagain Fri 10-Feb-12 08:09:54

I spent a happy couple of hours reading the Radfem blogs.

Very interesting reading. A lot more strident views than on here, but definitely thought provoking.

I thought the comments policy was interesting, and you'd be a brave man to post. (or trans) but I didn't quite get what :

'carnivorous and necrophiliac behaviors of men' was?

Any clues?

sonicrainboom Fri 10-Feb-12 08:39:04

Well, your quote has no context.
But I have seen discussions of what Mary Daly calls Biophilia (love of life) vs necrophilia (love of death.) So a culture that promotes violence, war and domination over others can be called necrophilic in this way of thinking.

BasilRathbone Fri 10-Feb-12 09:14:31

Yes point taken Sakura but by modern medicine, I mean post war - IE when doctors did know they had to wash hands etc.

I'm referring to pre-industrial society when talking about high mortality rates. Even when midwives were in charge rather than doctors, giving birth was an immensely dangerous undertaking.

I'm not saying what we've got is anywhere near satisfactory atm btw - the death rate is still too high and many women's birth experiences are horrific thanks to the conveyor belt approach to labour.

samstown Fri 10-Feb-12 10:47:28

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

The feminist section on Mumsnet has really given me food for thought on many issues in the last few months, particualrly wrt to issues such as rape, the sex industry and women's place in society in general. I think that is fantastic.

However, the very fact that the above article is being given more than a second's thought before being discounted as a load of absolute baloney, makes me realise why most of Mumsnet steers well clear of this section.

The woman writing that article has major issues and is obviously incredibly pissed off she was born a woman. For me, feminism should be about celebrating women being women, and creating a place of equality for them alongside men, without putting down either sex. PIV is just biology, you cannot change the fact that men have a penis. Of course, PIV is not the be all and end all and a healthy relationship can consist of all different kinds of sex, but that is not what is being said here is it? She is saying that PIV is a terrible, dangerous act and that you are not a real feminist if you engage in it.

The horrible language and generalisations in that article tell me that the writer has had some horrible experiences and has obviously never been in a loving relationship which is very sad. However, to put across her thoughts as some sort of ideology (and for people on here to accept it), is just a whole load of crap and really does give 'feminism' a bad name.

OnlyANinja Fri 10-Feb-12 10:51:02

Anyone who says "You are not a real feminist if..." and ends that sentence with anything other than " think men are better than women" or similar is automatically taken off my list of people whose opinions are worth listening to.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 10-Feb-12 10:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

samstown Fri 10-Feb-12 11:07:31

I rest my case.

BasilRathbone Fri 10-Feb-12 11:11:41

Look if you think it's all crap and not worth discussing, that's your choice.

But there's no need to get aerated about the fact that other people are happy to shoot the breeze on this one and discuss it.

Sorry we can't just be kneejerk "this is all a load of baloney" for you. You have the option to take that POV but this is the feminist section and it's valid to discuss anything here from a feminist POV even if it's only to throw it out as not worth while. But we prefer to have more interesting discussions than just "this is crap" "yeah it really is" "oh man, that's such rubbish" "yeah, you're so right". That would be dull, no?

Why get so irritated that people want to discuss it?

FWIW I don't think anyone has said that they accept the premise of the article without question. But the thread has moved on from the original article and we're discussing related issues.

Your outrage is misplaced. It's OK to discuss things. In the rest of the world, we don't discuss stuff like this, so it's interesting to take what is not a generally promoted view and see what's what in it. If you don't find it interesting, I'm sure there are plenty of other threads which will interest you.

I find it preposterous that people discuss hideous winter boots in such detail wiht such a lot of links. But that's fine, I don't have to join in. I'm happy to leave them to it. One day, I might even click on one of those boots links myself (but if I do, take me out and shoot me because it will mean I have given up on life and joy).

OrmIrian Fri 10-Feb-12 11:16:52

Agree with your last paragragh sunshine.

"I do feel that PIV is often presented as the only form of sex worth having. Everything else seems to lead up to it. I think this is very much a patriarchal construct and is due to greater degree of importance placed on the male orgasm - which signifies the end of the act in many encounters."

PIV sex is the gold standard to which all other sexual experiences have to measure up and towards which all sexual encounters have to move. if you don't want it regularly you are a freak. As the MN relationship board points out regularly. And the fact that most sexual encounters are not intended to lead to pregnancy makes this even more absurd.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 10-Feb-12 11:37:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dworkin Fri 10-Feb-12 14:15:15

To those that think that the author of the post in the OP's link has never had a relationship or a 'shag', or is in emotional distress, or is mentally ill should check this out.

Dworkin Fri 10-Feb-12 14:19:40

In 'biological' terms it's not the most natural thing in the world, if at say 20 you have four kids and what seems as a lifetime of PIV in front of you, the outcome looks grim. Unless you take, YES YOU WOMAN, precautions to prevent pregnancy, or know the tricks to get rid of it. It just seems like monotonous monogamy.

TheFeministsWife Fri 10-Feb-12 14:58:59

Dworkin have just read your link, interesting reading. Her relationship obviously wasn't a very good one though was it? If it was her that was doing all the reaching out emotionally and trying to make them "connect". If he's putting in no effort at all and she's doing all the work it's bound to go tits up at some point.

As for being emotionally dependant on your partner, well I am, in my relationship, as he is on me. He's my best friend. I'm also financially dependant on him. Her choice is admirable one, but I find the thought that every het relationship is down to trauma bonding and that PIV is dangerous for every woman, a little patronising. I like PIV, I have no desire to give it up. I also don't find PIV dangerous, never have. There is no reason for me to find it traumatic. I don't fear pregnancy, (have 2 dds, although don't want anymore it won't kill me if I end up pregnant again). I don't use hormonal contraception either. I'm not in any danger of STDs either. I've never felt coerced or bullied in to PIV. ALso get plenty of none PIV sexual action to.

Truckulentagain Fri 10-Feb-12 16:19:53

What's a Nigel?

I'm trying to find out but I can't.

Dworkin Fri 10-Feb-12 17:04:14

A Nigel is a man.

TheFeministsWife - good name btw I like that it's both sarcastic and oxymoronic - I know that in a western, priviledged society it's good to be safe and cosy in a relationship because you both put so much into it you couldn't possibly destroy that. But that's not everyone's position. Certainly I was once in your position and it lasted 18 years but suddendly he turned nasty and said that once the first child was born things changed. He went off to his affair partner and still remains with her. She has no children and that's how he likes it hmm.

I had five pregnancies and three live births with him. I never felt my life was in danger but my first live birth was fraught after it was discovered she had pooed in the uterus, and hence was in danger of swallowing meconium. Her life was in danger and I would have been despondent had she died (which could have happened).

We aren't all so privileged to have a life like yours, happy that I am for you. I thought FCM's post was an honest appraisal.

BertieBotts Fri 10-Feb-12 17:39:33

I found it really difficult to get my head around the PIV argument until I really got what it was. Which is that it's problematic that only PIV = sex in our society and any number of other mutually fulfilling sexual options are dismissed as merely foreplay. That PIV is seen as the "goal" of sex and that "foreplay" exists in order to get one or both partners "ready" for the "actual" sex part. It is problematic that so much importance is placed on it, for example, if you met someone who didn't like oral sex, that would be slightly unusual, but not really worth commenting on, yet if someone did not enjoy PIV they would probably be regarded as odd, could be the subject of some concern or even have it suggested that they might have a medical problem.

But I haven't read the article, perhaps it's a case of the argument not being fully explained, or perhaps she really does have a skewed view of it. I would have thought that PIV which involves no coercion and is just as important as any other aspect of a couple's sexual practices, is not the problem, but this does not stop the pervasiveness being problematic. You can enjoy something while acknowledging that there are problems with it.

For example, it's like objecting to people who say porn is degrading, because the film you made, willingly, with your husband last week wasn't degrading at all and was empowering. It doesn't stop it being degrading for someone else.

MooncupGoddess Fri 10-Feb-12 17:45:42

Well, that's great TheFeministsWife, but you're in a tiny minority, globally speaking.

This discussion clarifies my view that PIV, for women, is a risk-reward balancing exercise. For me, really good PIV is worth the risks (which obviously I mitigate as best I can) but mediocre sex isn't. It also reinforces why men should ensure that their female sexual partners are enthusiastically rather than passively consenting (and why men who whinge and pressure for PIV are twats).

KRITIQ Fri 10-Feb-12 17:50:02

Coming back to the opening post, in my experience over the past 25 years or so, there are massive variations between women who describe themselves as radical feminists. I fine it a bit hmm when I see either those who don't describe themselves as radical feminists saying "but this is what radical feminists believe," but equally hmm when I see a radical feminist saying the same thing, or insisting you have to tick this, this, this and this box or you aren't a "genuine" radical feminist.

I'm not big on labelling people anyhow - ideas, streams of thought, political perspectives, yes, but not people.

I have heard the "nigel" term used a few time and I have to confess, I don't particularly like it. On one hand, it reads like a feminist attempt to find a counterpart to "her indoors," or "the wife," to describe male partners, with a feminist twist (and using one silly term to counterbalance another silly term is still silly, in my book.)

I think the idea though is that "a nigel" is supposed to be a man who's the "exception to the rule," a sort of, "well, yes men are sexist, but not my Nigel." While it's true that sometimes women can fail to recognise or even excuse the exertion of male privilege by their own male partners or men close to them, that doesn't mean that any woman who has a male partner or man who is close to them is living in denial. Unfortunately, I've seen the term used in blogs and such in that way - what comes across as a means of dissing or at least making fun women for not being "good enough feminists" because they maintain connections with men in their lives.

I had a cat named Nigel once though, so actually, that's what I think of most when someone says, "your Nigel." He was a fluffy ginger tabby, btw.

Dworkin Fri 10-Feb-12 20:22:24

Your Nigel sounds lovely!

toptramp Fri 10-Feb-12 21:58:40

I do agree that PIV carries a greater risk for women than men. A recent lover wanted to fuck me without a condom and I point blank refused as I wasn't on a pill. He preferred it without; as do I. We then had the best oral sex ever; much better than PIV and more intimate. I think I converted him! TMI sorry!

However, I do enjoy PIV sex despite the risks and don't think I am less of a feminist for wanting it. I do think that as women we get more bonded and potentially have more to loose by having PIV sex however I am more likely to be totally gaga over someone for giving me great oral. Unfortunately biology has dealt us women an unfair blow as far as the sex fallout is concerned rather than a social construct such as patriarchy I think.

TeiTetua Fri 10-Feb-12 22:55:22

I don't agree that oral sex is more intimate than PIV, because it's sex where you can't see your partner's face. But there are different kinds of "intimate".

And that lovely Nigel--did he have all his parts?

KRITIQ Fri 10-Feb-12 23:11:21

Nigel Duncan Gingercat, RIP 10 October 1984.

No, actually I don't think he was neutered, but I think he was in a committed relationship with the next door neighbour's black and white tom.

SardineQueen Sat 11-Feb-12 09:06:50

Tei equally PIV does not mean missionary position. Many couples prefer positions which do not involve being face to face!

TheFeministsWife Sat 11-Feb-12 09:35:17

MooncupGoddess I wasn't trying to be smug, far from it. I think that if that is what the blogger thinks then that's her complete right to do so. It's the inference that ALL het relationships are based on trauma bonding and not romantic love, in fact that according to the blog romantic love can't exist between a woman and a man, and that PIV is dangerous for ALL women. I find that patronising. The reason I posted the thread was because I struggle with that notion that because I consider myself a RadFem who happens to be very happily married to a man and I enjoy PIV I'm somehow letting the side down. Which pissed me off!

BasilRathbone Sat 11-Feb-12 10:13:21

Why did it piss you off and why did you get that feeling?

I'm a heterosexual, I like PIV sex and I don't know if I'm a radfem, I probably am in that I don't believe that the current way we organise society can ever delivery women's liberation from systematic oppression and we have to go back to the drawing board with regards to reorganising society, so I prob do count as a radical feminist, but I didn't feel even vaguely as if this blog was an attck on me "letting the side down". I just felt that the blogger was raising some interesting points more with regard to rape than with sex tbh and that I broadly disagree with the overall thrust of the post. I don't think she's trying to make me feel bad though.

I also thought the second link was slightly more interesting, in that it talked about the fact that because she could become pregnant, she felt more needy of her Nigel. That's a really interesting conundrum in that what's worth examining there for me,a) do women feel that they are more bonded to men naturally, inherently, when they are having regular PIV sex with them, because as someone else mentioned, they might need them to help raise any potential child, or does the fact that patriarchy ensures that pregnancy and childbirth means a loss of power for women (completely the opposite of what it would mean in a sane society), mean that they need the man they're with more if they become pregnant?

BasilRathbone Sat 11-Feb-12 10:24:00

I found that second point particularly interesting partly because of my own experience and partly because of the very stark figures about domestic violence - 75% of actual physical violence starts, when a woman is pregnant or within a year of her giving birth.

That tells the story of men who know at a gut level, that the power balance in the relationship has changed because of the pregnancy and child. Is it because the woman is more bonded to him so will allow him to get away with stuff she wouldn't have had pre-pregnancy, because she is more emotionally dependent on him? And if so, is that primarily because she is having/ has had a child with him, or is it because having had that child, she is more dependent on his goodwill, in a society which makes it extremely difficult for women to function fully in that society, once they are mothers?

It is difficult to disentangle how much of that emotional dependence comes from the simple biological fact of creating a child together and how much comes from the deep down knowledge that having a child in a misogynist society, represents a real loss of power for a woman.

MooncupGoddess Sat 11-Feb-12 10:58:46

TFW - as you'll have seen from my other posts, I don't entirely agree with her myself. But surely part of radical feminism is exploring seriously, er, radical positions like these, and I think that's an enormously valuable thing to do and brings many insights even you don't sign up to the whole argument.

I suppose I also get slightly weary of feminists saying 'well, that's nonsense because I'm in a lovely relationship with a lovely man so there' (I'm not saying this is what you said but there is an undercurrent like this in some posts on here). The point of radical feminism is to analyse the relationship between the sexes systematically, yes? So it is generally more helpful to look at the overall dynamics rather than get hung up on individual examples.

sunshineandbooks Sat 11-Feb-12 11:34:06

Basil - really thought-provoking link you've come up with there about DV. Certainly that was the case in my relationship. Prior to becoming pregnant, I guess you could argue that I was the one with the power in the relationship (primary earner, independent means, own friends and social life, etc). My abuse started when I was pregnant, starting with emotional/psychological abuse and culminating in physical abuse at the point where I'd told him I'd had enough of the former and was leaving him. Looking back on that period - the whole of which lasted about 10 months - it was the most vulnerable I've ever felt in my life and I certainly tolerated behaviour from him that would have seen me leaving had I not been pregnant/a new mother.

BasilRathbone Sat 11-Feb-12 12:33:37

Yep, same for me sunshine.

At the time I got pregnant, XP didn't have his own bank account (only building society) and couldn't get one as he didn't have a regular monthly income. So I suggested that I convert my bank account to a joint one and once he had a joint bank account with me, he could get his own one with the same bank (they would automatically give you a joint and/ or individual account at that time).

So we did this. Almost literally the first thing he did, was take a bank loan out on that joint account so I was legally liable for it, without telling me and then he hid the bank statements so that I wouldn't know about it (this was just before internet banking had become the norm).

It was something that if he had done before I was pregnant, I would have recognised as being proof that he could not function as a real partner and I would have thrown him out. By the time I found out about it, I was about 6 months pregnant and felt I couldn't go through my first pregnancy and experience of motherhood, alone.

The thing is, he knew that the odds of me throwing him out at the most vulnerable time of my life, were vanishingly small, which is why he did it. He would never have done it prior to my pregnancy unless he actually wanted the relationship to end at that point.

BasilRathbone Sat 11-Feb-12 12:34:15

The lack of support for motherhood in our society, facilitates abusive behaviour by men.

PamBeesly Sat 11-Feb-12 16:10:16

You know I see how that article is relevant in certain situations and to those women affected by it its so bloody inhumane BUT for example in my circumstances PIV sex belongs to me. I feel that I am the active (or at least equally active) participant, I don't think of penetration as being 'done to me' but of enveloping the penis and recieveing joy and intimacy from it. I do think the blogger has a point but it doesn't apply universally. I'm pregnant at the minute and have actively tried to become pregnant so for me PIV sex is a beautiful thing. I do realise my position is privileged (even though it SHOULD be the standard norm)

WidowWadman Sat 11-Feb-12 18:30:13

I find this blogpost fantastically patronising towards women who enjoy penetrative sex. Yeah, I know, there's plenty of great sex to be had without penetration, but that doesn't mean that it can't be really really enjoyable to do it either.

The blog actually reads like it's a satire, drawing an extremist point of view to ridicule feminism. Certainly it's not a brand of feminism I could identify with.

SinicalSanta Mon 13-Feb-12 09:59:48

I don't think it's patronising at all.
It's great that people look at ordinary things from a fresh perspective. Even if you don't agree, a new challenging viewpoint is a Good Thing.

PIV predates man and woman, so for me the question is how were our notions of wo/manhood formed by the act/dynamics of PIV.

sunshineandbooks Mon 13-Feb-12 10:40:00

Good point SS. If we look at higher primates, then PIV tends to result in a pregnancy about once every 5 years. The mother does not resume oestrus until her baby is weaned at about 4-5 years. Also interesting is that although there is a lot of social fluidity in chimp groups, mothers with children tend to bond together as a group.

That's all very different from modern society isn't it, though anthropological evidence shows that the mother/child grouping is quite common in pre-industrial societies. It seems to have a lot of benefits (arguably one being no pressure to engage in PIV wink). Thanks to contraception, PIV is about much much more than procreation obviously, but I sometimes wonder if contraception has been a double-edged sword in terms of women's ownership over their sexuality. I also think it would be interesting to see what would happen if contraception become 100% responsibility of men, with the back-up that they would, without fail, end up paying child maintenance to its full extent. I think a side-effect would be a plummeting in STIs and a decrease in sexual assaults.

Truckulentagain Mon 13-Feb-12 10:44:42

And a decrease in pregnancies.

WidowWadman Mon 13-Feb-12 17:24:23

Fresh perspective? I for one like doing it, because it feels good. That "fresh perspective" is saying that it shouldn't feel good and it's only coercion and lack of information that makes me think it feels good.. That's not a fresh perspective but just a very negative and sad outlook on life and relationships.

BasilRathbone Mon 13-Feb-12 17:47:02

It's not saying that at all WW.

It's saying, in a very challenging way, that this is how things are. The writer is throwing out an argument and she knows it will be discussed.

WidowWadman Mon 13-Feb-12 18:22:52

So it's not saying that, but is saying that? Sorry, can't follow your line of argument at all here. Can you elaborate?

BasilRathbone Mon 13-Feb-12 19:03:22

You used the word "shouldn't"

That has a different meaning to the word "is".

I can't help it if you don't get linguistic nuances and their implications. I read your post as being similar to the OP's in that you felt the post was saying how you should feel.

Feminist polemic isn't about telling other women what they should feel. It's laying down an idea as a fact so that we can all argue about it and decide how far we agree/ disagree/ what else is related/ what comes out of it.

If you're not interested in participating in the debate because you like PIV and you can't see anything else interesting to discuss, no-one is forcing you to discuss it. Those who are, will carry on shooting the breeze about it as long as they are still interested.

WidowWadman Mon 13-Feb-12 20:13:04

I find the idea that "it doesn't feel good" even more patronising than the idea that "it shouldn't feel good". But then English isn't my first language, so I might get the nuances wrong confused

Also, I don't see why disagreeing with the ideas on PIV in the originally linked post means not engaging with the debate.

BasilRathbone Mon 13-Feb-12 21:06:05

But you're not adding anything to it.

You've made it clear that you like PIV sex and therefore you disagree.

Your point has been noted.

There's nothing really more to elaborate on that, is there?

Finding it patronising, is taking polemic a little personally IMO.

WidowWadman Mon 13-Feb-12 21:17:42

Ah, so the point that it could be patronising is not worth debating in your view? Or the idea that not every woman feels the same for the same reasons? Why is that not adding to the debate?

It's not about whether I personally like a certain sexual practice or not and therefore disagree. But about getting away from the idea that every woman feels the same as part of a homogenous faceless group without any individuality.

You may argue that it's an oversimplification to make a wider point, but even if it's just oversimplification it's getting too far.

I've got no problem with accepting that some women don't like PIV, or some women have all the fears described. I also think that if someone doesn't like it, there's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is to argue that it is the same for every woman from every social background in every context.

toptramp Mon 13-Feb-12 23:23:12

IMO the emotional and physical risk associated with PIV sex makes me closer to my partner. I don't think it is traumatic bonding though. I think it is bloody nice bonding. Always feels good to me. Having said that other types of sex feel great too but I always feels slightly frustrated if it dosn't end with a good old fashioned PIV shag.

BasilRathbone Tue 14-Feb-12 00:39:29

Feeling patronised by it is a personal response.

I disagree with the article, but I didn't feel patronised. <Shrug> We will all have our individual responses to it.

I'm not really interested in how it makes me feel, I'm interested in what it makes me think. The article has generated some interesting discussion here, even though most people have broadly not agree with the substance of the article.

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