"All PIV is rape" - why I don't think this is helpful in giving women control over their sexual destiny

(97 Posts)

Ok.
Bear with me.
I am writing this down to get it right in my own head.
I would love it if somebody who knows more about RadFem theory could explain it to me.

I don't disagree with 'All PIV is rage' statement as an almost philosophical argument - I think I do get it.
But - it is such a radical statement for most 'normal' people who will see PIV as part of their every day sex lives and therefore as a statement is quite alienating and potentially off-putting rather than inviting debate or encouraging self-reflection.

I feel very strongly that women, particularly today's young girls/women (say, younger than 30 or so), are under terrible pressure to be sexually active very young and do things as a matter of course that would have been considered quite hard-core in my adolescence. I'd much rather somebody's first sexual experiences included nice gentle PIV rather than deep-throat oral or anal sex. If all PIV is rape, what on earth is some of the other stuff that goes on?
And I appreciate that there is no such thing as a 'better' or 'worse' rape, but it seems to minimise what women who survive abusive relationships or sexual assault go through.

I'd rather see young people to be encouraged to be respectful to each other, to fully expect to enjoy sex (I know - there's a radical concept! wink) and to not be made uncomfortable with whatever their choices are (whether that is to say 'No' or to swing from the chandeliers).

Be gentle with me, I don't post here v often and I am not well read on feminist theory. I suppose I am actually asking more about the 'practical' side of how this statement is helpful to the cause.

lougle Sun 01-Jun-14 11:11:03

Who says all PIV is rape?

ReallyFuckingFedUp Sun 01-Jun-14 11:12:02

I always wonder about this too, but just stepping out. Look forward to reading other's replies. Personally I think PIV sex is an instinct and maybe a bit fetishised by people, but basically one of the few things all heterosexuals would "figure out" if left to their own devices and no outside influence. But how can I prove that?

this is what I think happens when we encourage teens out of PIV NSFW!

JustGrrrrrreat Sun 01-Jun-14 11:12:30

I agree. I find the statement distasteful, false and it also minimalises actual rape.

i realise I am hugely lucky that I have never been in a position where I felt that if I said NO or STOP I wouldn't be listened to. I have never felt that if I said NO it would affect a relationship in any way. I have never felt that I had to have sex for any reason. I have never been hurt by sex, I have never had an std or an unplanned pregnancy. How can anyone reconcile equating my experience of PIV with someone who has been forced or coerced?

YellowStripe Sun 01-Jun-14 11:13:07

It was a theory mentioned on a different FWR thread yday.

scuttles back to lurking

lougle Sun 01-Jun-14 11:13:19

Within any group of people who share a general philosophy, you'll meet people who have an extreme view of that philosophy and people whose view of it is so loose that other people may question their claim to sharing that philosophy. Surely any extreme statements should be viewed in that context?

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 11:15:59

I have nothing of any real substance to add to this other than to say all PIV is not rape and to say so makes us sound like a bunch of idiots who deserve to be ignored.

After hearing the comment "All PIV is rape" I can image the next time a man hears a plea form a feminist they might walk before they listen thinking "those loony feminist are at it again"

If all PIV is rape that must mean that feminists seek the extinction of the human race. There is a reason why men and woman want PIV!

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 01-Jun-14 11:18:42

I'm not familiar with "All PIV is rape".

I am familiar with the argument that PIV has extremely negative consequences for women and that it is only due to living in a patriarchy that means it is seen as both an essential and in fact, most important part of having sex.

I would agree with the negative consequences part, but think that stating women only have it/enjoy PIV, due to patriarchal conditioning is a much bigger stretch and very difficult to prove conclusively.

OMG that song grin - is the brunette Rajesh's girl friend from a season to two ago (BBT)?

Oh, I am not saying the PIV is the be all and end all of all sexual relationships, but it is what primates do. Mainly.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 11:21:05

Hi pacific

Stating it the way you have is too simplistic. From wiki:

Intercourse (1987) is a radical feminist analysis of sexual intercourse in literature and society, written by Andrea Dworkin. Intercourse is often said to argue that "all heterosexual sex is rape", based on the line from the book that says "violation is a synonym for intercourse." However, Dworkin has denied this interpretation, stating, "What I think is that sex must not put women in a subordinate position. It must be reciprocal and not an act of aggression from a man looking only to satisfy himself. That's my point."[1]

It is flagging that PIV is inherently more dangerous for women than men (pregnancy, higher rate of STD transmission) and that decisions about PIV should be made in that context.

It was not just mentioned on a thread yesterday, it is part of RadFem theory.

A bit more here

I agree it makes feminists sound 'nuts' and therefore dismissible.

Ah, thanks, Bill - I did wonder whether it was some kind of simplification of a more complex statement.
I had no idea it originated from something AD wrote.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 11:23:45

Thanks for the link. I disagree with pretty much all of that!

Yeah, I struggled too!

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 11:24:54

(The blog post, not you pacific!)

grin I got that.

keepyourchinupdear Sun 01-Jun-14 11:34:34

What does PIV stand for?

<apologies for being a bit thick>

Penis in Vagina - penetrative vaginal sex

Don't worry, I only learnt the acronym on MN wink

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 11:38:17

Saying all PIV is rape, oversimplifies the theory. I understand why some think this is the theory, as some women on the net new to radical feminism theory, also say that all PIV is rape. The theory is more nuanced.

First off all, the theory only refers to PIV under patriarchy. It is not inherently about PIV itself, but about PIV under patriarchy.

PIV is problematic under patrirachy because:

1. Few women really give meaningful consent to PIV. PIV is an expected part of the sex act in a relationship. So if you are in a long term relationship, the expectation is you have PIV.

2. PIV is more dangerous for women than men. Unwanted pregnancy, abortion, the side effects of birth control pills and STD's all make it risky.

3. Women's bodies are not built to enjoy PIV as much as men. Indeed survey after survey shows that most women enjoy other sex acts more than PIV.

So women are brought up to expect to do a sex act in a long term relationship that is risky to them, and that they don't enjoy as much as other sex acts.

If you give consent by default i.e. you have PIV because that is what expected when you have sex, then your consent is not real. You could describe that as rape, but we all know that being raped is a different experience to this. Personally I don't think we really have the words to describe it accurately.

Greythorne Sun 01-Jun-14 11:40:19

Penis in vagina.

Greythorne Sun 01-Jun-14 11:40:33

Sorry
X pist

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 11:40:42

Witchwind IMO doesn't really understand radical feminist theory, and way over simplifies it.

Greythorne Sun 01-Jun-14 11:41:21

Ignore me.

MatildaWhispers Sun 01-Jun-14 11:45:35

I have been wondering about this same issue pacific. It's interesting to read others responses.

Thanks, calmet, that makes sense.
Her blogpost was the first thing that came up when I googled 'PIV' <hardcore researcher, me>

I found your discussion about meaningful consent v interesting, and by that definition no doubt many of us don't give meaningful consent every time we have PIV.
My issue is though that in a loving, respectful, mutually pleasurable sexual encounter that would not matter (as in I agree to PIV which does not bother me but gives him pleasure and he'll go whatever it is I want that might not pleasure him that much), so the emphasis should be on demanding loving, respectful and mutually pleasurable sexual encounters and relationships.

It's about status in the relationship rather than whatever sexual act - I think I find PIV being 'picked out' as almost the cause of what's rotten in the state of Denmark misleading.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 01-Jun-14 11:48:12

I don't agree with statement but I understand it.
Piv sex is an act which puts women at great risk. Pregnancy can mean death and it always means physical trauma and a huge change in their life. Also women catch STIs much easier. It is also less sexually satisfying for women too. It is an act which men enjoy but is one that very few women can climax from. So basically it is putting women at risk for men's heightened sexual satisfaction. Society sees piv sex as the only 'real' sex so it is completely accepted that women must do this, it's an unavoidable part of heterosexual relationships. So with all these factors as they are it is difficult to say that anyone can truly consent, it is as though all women are coerced.

Hm, yes.
Society sees piv sex as the only 'real' sex
an unavoidable part of heterosexual relationships
That is certainly true.

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 11:55:58

Pacific - Nobody would argue that the only issue in respectful sexual relationships is PIV. I suspect PIV was written about specifically, as it applies to so many cultures under patriarchy. But radical feminists have also written about the influence of porn on sex lives and how it is distorting young peoples ideas of what is a respectful and fun sex life.

Also an analysis of PIV is not about saying, to be a radical feminist, you should never have PIV. Do what you want. But be aware that PIV shouldn't be an expected part of sex. It should be just another sex act that you might choose or not choose to do.

And there are some Het radical feminists in relationships with men, who have never had PIV, as well as those that do.

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 11:57:17

itsbetterthanabox - You have got the theory in one. Although I would add, under patriarchy.

Ok, I understand it a lot better now, thanks all.

I need to go out now - back later smile

keepyourchinupdear Sun 01-Jun-14 12:00:54

I can't agree that all PIV sex is rape. There are many instances when it's completely consensual -eg. when ttc, when both partners are 'in the mood', etc

Unfortunately the vast majority of males feel entitled due to perpetual patriarchy that is dealt out and blindly accepted from generation to generation. Therefore men are conditioned to not believe/realise, when a women says no she means no.

CrotchMaven Sun 01-Jun-14 12:01:22

You can download Intercourse (and other Dworkin works) here - radfem.org/dworkin/

keepyourchinupdear Sun 01-Jun-14 12:02:48

Oh, thanks to the poster who enlightened me on PIV.

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 12:06:17

OP sorry I didn't really answer your question. How is thsi theory helpful to the "cause". I personally see radical feminism theory as being about describing the world as it is, rather than how we are taught to see it. So the radical feminist theory of PIV describes the real situation in terms of PIV under patriarchy.

But it is then up to feminists what we do with this theory. For example, I went to a day where Gail Dines spoke about talking to others about porn. She is a radical feminist with a radical feminist analysis of porn. But that doesn't mean when she talks to a mixed audience of people about porn, that she will go into a full radical feminist analysis. She talks about the things that are a problem with porn that she thinks her audience will listen to.

So I wouldn't talk to a group of young people about PIV and meaningful consent. I would talk about how sex is supposed to be fun, that you dont have to do anything you dont want to including penetrative sex, blow jobs etc. I would talk about couples I know who don't have any PIV but have a sex life.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 01-Jun-14 12:10:16

I think the issue of consent and PIV is very interesting.

It's bad form to bring up one thread on another, but I read this:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2091543-A-theoretical-argument-Im-having-with-DH-about-if-a-woman-gets-pregnant-and-the-man-doesnt-want-it

And I find it frightening that there are women out there who believe a man is absolutely entitled to PIV on his own terms and that this lack of consequences for him is actually "equality.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 12:36:47

Gosh I'm glad you did link that thread.

Keep, I think when TTC is an exception even in the most extreme analysis, but my guesstimate would be that 5% tops of the PIV had in the UK last night was TTC sex.

grimbletart Sun 01-Jun-14 12:38:52

I think the PIV is rape is a misreading and a misunderstand of Dworkin's context in a similar way to the statement "there is no such thing as society" was a misreading and misunderstanding of context.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 01-Jun-14 13:25:16

I've often on threads on mn suggested people don't have piv when they have posted about intolerance to contraception or pain during piv etc. It gets laughed at and scorned. People feel 'sorry' for men that don't get to do it. It literally doesn't cross peoples minds that maybe it's a risk not worth taking. Women who are terrified of pregnancy or for whom pregnancy would be catastrophic health wise still feel they have to perform piv sex hmm

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 13:32:46

(I'm extra glad you linked it, Gosh, as I've just hit my limit with it and am going to try not to post again!)

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 13:33:47

I agree with you completely Itsbetter. But what about those women in good relationships who enjoy PIV? I really like PIV, not because the 'Patriarchy' tells me I should; I just like it. I feel physically better, I feel less stressed the exact opposite to what the PIV is rape idea says I should feel.

If ALL PIV is rape then it only takes one woman to stand up and say they like PIV to prove the argument wrong.

I like PIV therefore all PIV is not rape. QED.

MostlyMama Sun 01-Jun-14 13:36:30

Wait a minute, so normal sex is not putting a penis in a vagina?

So thats wrong and all now is it?

ReallyFuckingFedUp Sun 01-Jun-14 13:40:04

Says who mostly confused

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 13:40:04

Keep up to date Mostly!!!

You're letter the side down if you have PIV. It's just totally abnormal (apparently)!

ReallyFuckingFedUp Sun 01-Jun-14 13:41:35

Also what constitutes normal sex?

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 13:45:47

Consensual PIV,among many other thing, constitutes normal sex.

RhondaJean Sun 01-Jun-14 13:47:22

Marking place, have lots to say but on phone on m6 with dodgy Internet connection.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 13:48:09

You're letter the side down if you have PIV. It's just totally abnormal (apparently)!

^^no one on this thread has said this.

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 13:52:32

That was a bit sarcastic I admit but if some feminists think PIV is rape (and some clearly do) then it follows that those feminists will view PIV as abnormal as it is surely abnormal to want to be raped.

Of course PIV is normal.
My question is not what any of us get up to in the bedroom - I implore you to keep it to yourselves wink!!

It is about stopping and thinking about what we all accept as normal.

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 13:57:50

Sorry Pacific but the principle of "All PIV is rape" is not about what we all want as normal but about a few people, probably a very few, deciding on everybody else's behalf what is normal.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 14:12:06

AICM, it's a philosophical position, with which most people disagree, which can stimulate debate.

It's also a misquote of dworkin, just as "there's no such thing as society" is a misquote of thatcher, which stimulates debate.

"Why is PIV the default for established couples whether TTC or not, especially when so many think a woman should deal with any resulting pregnancy to suit the man involved" might be a broader question.

Do you know, the more I think about it the misquoting of the concept seems like an attempt to make it sound so ludicrous that everybody goes 'WTF?", dismisses it as mad and all debate is shut down…. hmm

Yes, it's not a practical instruction on how to conduct your sex life, it's a challenge to perceived ideas. That's how I see it anyway.

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 14:19:22

Bill

I can deal with the broader question you ask at the end. That seems a good starting point for philosophical debate.

I accept that all PIV is rape is a misquote. But a misquote that some people have taken to; so the principle of all PIV is now out there.

As a starting point for debate its pretty poor. Simply because it is so obviously untrue, it makes us look a loony and, as so many feminists have children, not even feminists go along with it.

As a starting point for debate its pretty poor

That's my feeling and that's why I started this thread.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 01-Jun-14 14:33:52

AICM have you had mutual masturbation, oral sex without piv? It would probably give you the same stress relieving relaxing feelings without the risk.

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 14:37:55

Yes I have and no it didn't.

Gripneededfast Sun 01-Jun-14 14:52:11

Desired and consensual PIV is normal, but accepting PIV as a necessary part of any sexual encounter and relationship is not normal and should be challenged.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 01-Jun-14 15:07:30

I'm surprised because the release of orgasm is know to have relaxing stress relieving results but I'm not sure what particularly about piv would do that more so.

Beingfrank Sun 01-Jun-14 15:17:14

AICM I agree with you. For me, penetration is a vital part of sex and I find an orgasm without it quite frustrating. Perhaps I am unusual?

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 15:19:00

I orgasm through PIV. I'm well aware that not all women do.

However I must respect that fact that you clearly know my body better than I do and you clearly now what makes me orgasm better than I do.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 01-Jun-14 15:20:25

I wasn't saying that. But you can also orgasm through oral or mutual masturbation yes? There's the clincher. Same result without the risk.

BertieBotts Sun 01-Jun-14 15:29:55

For me it's not the same. Sometimes not-PIV is adequate, sometimes I want PIV. It is a different level - possibly I'm socialised to think this, but it feels that way to me. I remember as a teenager having a conversation with my cousin and she described it as the feeling of wanting to be close to someone, which magnifies until you want to be so close that they are literally inside you. And I have related to this very much since I started having PIV sex myself.

For me sex is about being close to someone and/or stimulating good feelings and nothing to do with stress relief. PIV is closer than other forms - it's pretty much the closest thing you can do, in my opinion. MM is a step removed, oral is pretty much give or take, you can't do both unless you're talking about 69 (but even then I don't personally find it as close) anal isn't close IME. There's something about facing each other, holding each other, bodies pressed together, moving at the same time about PIV which makes it feel closer than other things to me, and the closeness of sex is very important to me.

If you're going pure good-feelings wise then it's not necessarily better than anything else, it depends what you're in the mood for.

I do think it's a big deal that it's seen as "real" sex whereas "everything else" ... isn't? It's generally thought of as the end goal. I like that this can be challenged, I like that this isn't always the case in my relationship - and it was looking at articles about PIV where the titles made me feel uncomfortable which made me feel more comfortable/happy to express this at times when I felt it. So I'm glad that the sentiment is around but the quote, especially if it's misreported, isn't really getting this across which is a shame.

MostlyMama Sun 01-Jun-14 15:32:25

Sorry but thats how sex works sweetheart. You sound like you are saying even consensual 'PIV' is rape? Correct me if I have misread.

MostlyMama Sun 01-Jun-14 15:33:10

Oh wait I have read another comment, reads as 'you aren't a real woman if you can't get yourself off?

CrotchMaven Sun 01-Jun-14 15:41:53

If no-one wants to read the whole book, radgeek.com/gt/2005/01/10/andrea_dworkin/ gives a summary, part of which is below.

"If I had to try to summarize what Dworkin is saying while standing on one foot, I’d try this woefully abridged summary of her major theses:

(1) that patriarchal culture makes heterosexual intercourse the paradigm activity for all sexuality; other forms of sexuality are typically treated as “not real sex” or as mere precursors to intercourse and always discussed in terms that analogize them to it

(2) that heterosexual intercourse is typically depicted in ways that are systematically male-centric and which portray the activity as iniated by and for the man (as “penetration” of the woman by the man, rather than “engulfing” of the man by the woman, or as the man and woman “joining” together—the last is represented in the term “copulation” but that’s rarely used in ordinary speech about human men and women);

(3) that the cultural attitudes are reflective of, and reinforce, material realities such as the prevalence of violence against women and the vulnerability of many women to extreme poverty, that substantially constrain women’s choices with regard to sexuality and with regard to heterosexual intercourse in particular;

(4) that (1)-(3) constitute a serious obstacle to women’s control over their own lives and identities that is both very intimate and very difficult to escape;

(5) that intercourse as it’s actually practiced occurs in the social context of (1)-(3), and so intercourse as a real social institution and a real experience in individual women’s lives is shaped and constrained by political-cultural forces and not merely by individual choices;

(6) that, therefore, drawing the ethical lines in regards to sexuality solely on the basis of individual formal consent rather than considering the cultural and material conditions under which sexuality and formal consent occur makes it hard for liberals and some feminists writing on sexuality to see the truth of (4); that

(7) they therefore end up collaborating, either through neglect or endorsement, with the sustanence of (1)-(3), to the detriment of women’s liberation; and

(8) feminist politics require challenging both these writings and (1)-(3), that is, challenging intercourse as it is habitually practiced in our society.

But, while I hope this helps clarify a bit, you really should just read the whole book for yourself to understand what’s going on."

I can see that many women probably have a lot of bad sex in the course of their life-times, and agree with you PD that we should help our young people expect sex to be mutually enjoyable.
But just thinking of for example the times when my partner and me were trying for a baby - we have two DC now - to say that all PIV is wrong or is rape seems quite offensive to many really.
It's more radical a statement than I'd want to be making, especially as I think the concept of consent is pretty crucial to women's well-being. I get that the issues are made more difficult in terms of whether that consent is always freely given in a patriarchal society, with often less than ideal relationships between women and men and within relationships.

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 16:01:13

Only a small number of people who have probably not read Dworkin, or don't understand her, say that all PIV is rape. Dworkin herself did not say that. Crotch has given an excellent summary.

Try to think of in relation to medicine. You get a lot of blog posts out there that misunderstand medical research and so give the wrong information, or misleading information. So if you want accurate medical information, you go to a reliable site.

It is the same with radical feminism. You get a lot of women new to radical feminism who start a blog, without understanding the theory. So what they say may be their own beliefs, but it has no basis in radical feminism theory. You need to go to trusted authors and sites to read about radical feminism.

AICM Sun 01-Jun-14 16:11:12

Calmet

I agree that only a small of feminists are saying this.

But that does mean that some feminists are saying this.

"PIV is always rape" IS now part a of feminism and it's very damaging to feminism. The only phrase that is more damaging is the phrase "All men are rapists" and to be honest the two are really not that far apart.

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 16:19:28

Sure we can't stop people saying things that make no sense.

The all men are rapists is actually a misquote. It comes from a quote that explains when a women is walking down a street late at night by herself, and a man that she doesn't know starts walking behind her, she doesn't know if he is going to rape her or not. So she for her own safety, has to act as if all men are potential rapists.

This is actually pretty uncontroversial. If a stranger knocks on my gran's door, she rightly acts in a way that means she treats everyone as if they could be a con artist. So she doesnt invite tehm into her home, she keeps the door on the chain, that kind of thing.

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 16:41:22
scallopsrgreat Sun 01-Jun-14 17:26:33

I think when someone like Dworkin challenges the norm it will always be misinterpreted, deliberately or otherwise. Some people are heavily invested in maintaining whatever norm it is and others are just frightened or not interested in looking beyond their sphere.

This doesn't mean these views shouldn't be articulated just because they will be open to misinterpretation or misrepresentation.

RhondaJean Sun 01-Jun-14 21:01:34

Right home but still on my phone.

I find this concept massively disempowering.

I accept we are living in the remains of the patriarchy but i refuse to live my life as if I am still under make control it let it dominate my thoyghts

I am not a passive being in my sexuality. I am a part if proceedings, an active agent in what happens. To insinuate that I am in any way not, does me a huge disfavour. I may be coming from the viewpoint of a privileged, educated, financially independent first world woman but THIS IS MY IDEAL and only by supporting and encouraging other women to become active agents in their lives, including by embracing their sexuality and accepting that actually if us okay to enjoy fucking, it can be controlled and empowering and fulfilling, and encouraging men to learn to control their sexuality so that it becomes a fulfilling act for women, will change begin to happen.

The sexual repertoire is huge; women's capacity for pleasure is huge and far exceeds men; we live in a time when risks are minimised. Embracing a concept like that proposed by dwprkin shuts down the concept that some of us actually not only enjoy copulating as opposed toastie nation etc but sets us back in exploring embracing and releasing female sexual potential.

<stops for breath>

RhondaJean Sun 01-Jun-14 21:02:25

Damn phone. Sorry.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 01-Jun-14 21:18:00

Again though how do you know you would think piv necessary if you hadn't been told from a young age that it is? Did anyone read the article?
Just pretending patriarchy doesn't really exist and that we all are doing just as we please does women more of a disservice because we won't strive for real freedom if we think we are already free. Isn't it weird that all these free thinkers still act in identical ways?

calmet Sun 01-Jun-14 21:21:53

It reminds me of all the young women I talk to who insist they only shave their pubic hair because they want to and it was their idea alone. Ignoring the fact that most women above a certain age, don't shave.

Margaret Mead an anthropologist has written how in some tribes she studied, PIV was rare. Other kinds of sex were more common.

Beachcomber Sun 01-Jun-14 21:23:16

Dworkin's point is that female sexuality is defined by males via a male perspective.

She is arguing for true liberation of female sexuality and arguing against a male (supremacist) proscriptive dictated imposed version of female sexuality.

What she is saying is extremely pro woman and pro female sexuality. Of course lots of people interpret what she is saying to be antisex, which it isn't, it is anti sexism .

She is arguing for true sex freedom.

scallopsrgreat Sun 01-Jun-14 21:26:03

"Dworkin's point is that female sexuality is defined by males via a male perspective." Yes this.

ToffeePenny Sun 01-Jun-14 21:57:11
RhondaJean Sun 01-Jun-14 22:00:57

I was actually brought up to believe that piv was NOT right or good and was something to be avoided at best and tolerated at worst if I wanted children.

I refuse to subscribe to that paradigm. I knows own body and I am confident in my own choices which are made to suit me and not due to any patriarchal constraint.

I like men and I like sex in many forms and piv sex in particular. I like it for the physical sensation and not just the emotional connection and nothing else compares for me.

Out of interest, did mead look at the issue of unwanted conception and the avoidance of risk when studying these tribes?

As I said I am privileged to be living in a situation where the risk associated with piv sex is almost completely negated, leaving me free to enjoy the sensation.

And no I don't think it would take being told this is what normal sex is to figure out that part can go in this part... It's basic biology. Rewrite biology as male conspiracy all you want but it won't change the desire to put that in there.

Telling women it's men who enjoy piv is reducing to their sexuality and also allows men to basically continue being shit at piv sex.

Rhonda, I think what you are saying about PIV is describes rather vividly in the song that Really linked to (3rd post on this thread).

Hm.
I don't agree with Femonade but can see how Dworkin is arguing "true sex freedom" in which PIV is not the expected 'normal' outcome of a sexual encounter and in which all sorts of other sexual contact 'count' as having true sex.
Although I did like Femonade's topsy-turvy work in which PIV left men with all the risks and the question whether we'd still want it/demand it/take it.

Damn, I was not going to spill any personal beans, but here goes: I don't orgasm during PIV but do find it very arousing and like the physical sensation of being 'as one'. I think what I feel is quite nicely described as 'engulfing' him rather than being 'penetrated' by him IYSWIM. I don't see it going out of fashion any time soon, not just for the purposes of procreation but also as a recreational sport wink.

Thank you to everybody who has taken the time to post their opinions, explanations (I really needed them!) and links.
thanks

DadWasHere Mon 02-Jun-14 00:28:18

"Dworkin's point is that female sexuality is defined by males via a male perspective." Yes this.

All feminists think they are fighting for sexual equality and expression of female sexuality, from supporters of Dworkin to supporters of Belle Knox. The sticking point is the legitimacy of the expression of it.

ReallyFuckingFedUp Mon 02-Jun-14 10:37:11

^ I don't orgasm during PIV but do find it very arousing and like the physical sensation of being 'as one'.^

Sorry to quote you there grin

But I read that and thought, yep, that's how I feel, and then instantly thought if it's the emotional response we are looking for.. why do people still tend to do it when having a one night stand? Especially when drink has been had and the bloke is (let's be honest here) potentially going to be shit at best and worst struggle to keep it up?

ReallyFuckingFedUp Mon 02-Jun-14 10:39:09

In other words I don't need to be "as one" with Bob I just met down the pub. Nor have I got an desire to be but I still take on the risk of being Bob's baby's mamma and god knows what else

RhondaJean Mon 02-Jun-14 11:22:05

I've just watched that video!

Reminds me of the episode of family guy where the teens are all having "aural sex" cos ears don't count...

Really, that's kinda one of the points I was trying to make - its not necessarily emotional, for some of us at least there's just a biological imperative that means sometimes we just want to fuck - and other ways of doing it might get you off but the sensation is different.

I'm going to throw something out there which is quite badly worded so I do apologise but I hope you get the meaning...sometimes on MN I get the feeling that a lot of women (not on FWR) are NOT in control of their sexuality and are still led to think its something you do for the men - and I think we need to challenge that and let them know it is alright to enjoy it, it is alright to want it, and it's more than alright to expect your partner to work on the penetrative/copulative/use appropriate word part of it as well as the rest.

The language is interesting though - the word foreplay suggest that anything else is just a lead up to the main event. It doesn't need to be and it shouldn't be that every sexual encounter is automatically expected to end in piv but nor should there be an insinuation that we only do pic because we are socially conditioned to do it.

Apart from anything else it does excuse poor sexual technique in men!

I think it's good to see feminism as a broad church and see that women will be off exploring things in one direction 'spinning and weaving' as Mary Daly would put it and other women will go in another direction.
I'm not sure who a 'trusted author' or a 'trusted site' would be. I'd include FCM as a 'trusted' radical feminist for my own purposes. I'd 'trust' Valerie Solanas. But I also appreciate that other women's work is more accessible for other feminists - more interesting.
Witchwind has been around for a good long while though. And her work is standing on the shoulders of FCM, while obviously she has her own take on things. Not all radical feminists come from the same perspective but that doesn't mean Witchwind and FCM aren't radical feminists.
I think the main thing is not to dismiss women's work or thinking out of hand.
And also to try to see that when you react strongly to something, it's not necessarily because it's a bad idea or wrong-headed.
PIV is so incredibly bound-up with heterosexual relationships it's very hard to analyse while in a heterosexual relationship.
When I said, in my het relationship, I wanted to stop having PIV to see how that would work out, my ex walked out within weeks. I think that's telling. Not so much that women choose PIV because of course they do, often, within the confines of 'what is choice for women in patriarchy' but how men react when women refuse.
Radical feminism is provocative and challenging. I despair when I see radical feminists dismiss 'libfems' or 'funfems' because actually there's nothing wrong with fighting against male oppression of women from a liberal standpoint. But I think that trying to make radical feminism entirely inclusive of women who aren't radical feminists will result in an unsatisfactory mishmash, maybe - perhaps I'm wrong and a hybrid can be successful. But hopefully it wouldn't involve denouncing other women.

thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/radical-feminism-isnt-for-everybody/ A blog post that's relevant to what I'm trying to say.

calmet Tue 10-Jun-14 22:23:44

Radical feminism isn't about being inclusive, and we should never water down theory or analysis to appeal to more women. But I disagree with Terri in that many radical feminist analysis, actually do over time become mainstream. This doesn't mean that those women necessarily become radical feminist ideas, but many do over time take on particular radical feminist analysis and agree with it.

I think if you have the time, raeding books of radical feminist authors is far more enlightening than reading blog posts. Blog posts can be a good introduction to ideas, but it is rare to find a blog that doesn't oversimplify the original radical feminist ideas.

It is also important to understand that although there is agreement amingst radical feminists on the main tenets, there has always been disagreement between radical feminists on lots of issues. If you simply read a few main blogs, you can miss the diversity of thought that has always existed.

With the disclaimer that I know v little about Radical Feminism, I'd much rather think of feminism as a 'broad church' than have lots of narrow factions that in-fight.
Surely we need to aim for consensus to make our chances of achieving something a bit less dire?
That does not mean that thinking things through to their logical conclusion cannot be enlightening and interesting and in fact bringing things forward, but may have less practical application in the here and now.
Just like what a theoretical physicist does has little to do with what a plumber does although they both need to follow natural laws.

I don't have the time or brain space to read a daily paper, never mind blogs or actual books (even less books I'd actually have to switch my brain on to read).
Sigh. I suspect I shall remain a wishy-washy feminist who lurks and reads haphazardly and then gets things in their oversimplification wrong (see my OP).

Rhonda grin 'aural sex' - I've not seen that!

Beachcomber Wed 11-Jun-14 07:39:20

I think feminism as a movement is a very broad church.

Radical feminism is important to this broad church because the point of it is to unflinchingly and ruthlessly deconstruct patriarchal thinking and expose it for what it is. To shine a light on the ugliness and to shine that light into the darkest corners. Which is what makes it so uncomfortable.

I miss when we used to talk about the Overton window

DonkeySkin Thu 12-Jun-14 20:03:20

Radical feminism is important to this broad church because the point of it is to unflinchingly and ruthlessly deconstruct patriarchal thinking and expose it for what it is. To shine a light on the ugliness and to shine that light into the darkest corners. Which is what makes it so uncomfortable.

I agree, but I'm not sure that feminism could be described as a broad church anymore. Whereas once the radical and liberal wings of the movement did feed into each other in that there was an exchange of ideas (with the radicals often pushing the liberals to look at things they would rather not touch, such as male violence) and agreement on some core platforms, now radical feminism is very polarised from mainstream feminism, as third-wave feminists have increasingly adopted what I consider to be a frankly male supremacist line of thought. I read a radical feminist summing up today's feminism as being about 'men's right to buy women, men's right to be women', and sadly that's what it often looks like to me.

There's also the problem that most mainstream feminists refuse to countenance a radical analysis of sex-based oppression at all, and indeed often advocate for the censorship and no-platforming of women who advance such arguments (if they pertain to gender). So there's really no dialogue between feminism's radical and liberal wings anymore.

Beachcomber Fri 13-Jun-14 08:28:09

I agree with what you say DonkeySkin in terms of feminist organisation/internet feminism. It does feel like liberal feminism has been eaten by third wave nonsense and there is no longer a mutual respect and working together of radical and liberal feminism. And yes, that has made radical feminism seem really 'out there' and marginalized.

Politically I think the situation is very concerning - women's rights are never a given, they must be fought for and maintained and women must be vigilant, especially in these times of neoliberalism, pornification and ultra consumerism.

I do think, however, that there are a lot of women out there who do hold the beliefs of classic Liberal Feminism - it just seems that they don't have anything to organize under and are being pushed out of internet feminism because they don't identity with classic Radical Feminism and they are considered bigots/transphobes/prudes/anti-sex/anti-prostitutes by third wavers.

Third wavers are doing so much damage to feminism, I really hope the true Liberal Feminists organize and react. I do believe they are out there - indeed you see quite a few women on MN that I would consider classic Liberal Feminists, third wavers have totally co-opted the liberal space and turned it into something it is not.

As for third wavers, well how tedious and individualistic are they?? Seems like most of them don't know much women's history and have no idea that a couple of generations ago things were so much worse for women than they are now. And they don't get that they are propping up the 'modern face' of westernized patriarchy with all their sex positive/pomo/queer/porny/gender identity/gender studies bullshit. They don't know they are born. Where would all their sex positive crap be if second wavers hadn't fought for abortion rights? How does their sex positivism help women who have been violated through sexualised violence? How does it help traditionally sexually exploited populations such as black women, poor women, sexually abused women? I despair.

DonkeySkin Sat 14-Jun-14 01:22:03

You're right that there are a lot of women who do still hold to the beliefs of classical liberal feminism, Beach. I suppose I forget about them sometimes because the media landscape is so dominated by third-wave voices (no accident there). The fact that feminism now so often seems to be done through the media is part of the problem, I think. We need to get back to grassroots activism and organising and, if possible, face to face discussion/consciousness-raising groups, and through that work out an agenda of demands that we could work on pursuing. Of course there are a lot of women working every day for women, we just don't hear much about them.

As for third wavers, well how tedious and individualistic are they?? Seems like most of them don't know much women's history and have no idea that a couple of generations ago things were so much worse for women than they are now. And they don't get that they are propping up the 'modern face' of westernized patriarchy with all their sex positive/pomo/queer/porny/gender identity/gender studies bullshit.

This is so true. As far as I understand it, the second wave began with women organising together. Feminism was not a media phenomenon then and neither was it a matter for the academy. Somehow feminist discourse came under the control of both those institutions, which are, of course, dominated by men. That meant that women whose politics appealed to men (like post-modernists and pro-porn fun feminists) had their voices promoted, and radical women were frozen out and often had their work distorted and demonised (as in the case of Dworkin). That is how I explain the dominance of third-wave thinking among women of my generation and younger. Many just haven't even been exposed to any other kind of feminist thought.

The other contributing factor is the general spirit of neoliberalism that infects everything these days. Third-wave feminism chimes so perfectly with it. Everyone has 'agency', we are all free individuals freely choosing choices, and therefore the status quo is both natural and inevitable. In that climate, it's hard to imagine any collectivist movement emerging that could mount a serious challenge to hegemonic systems of power, whether that is patriarchy or capitalism. But a real feminist movement could do both - it could represent poor women and other traditionally exploited populations of women, to change social structures so that all women had real choices and could enact meaningful agency. It's so hard to even begin this conversation though, when so many people who call themselves feminists don't seem to understand that feminism is a collective struggle, not a matter of individual empowerment.

I think I understand the sentiment, because I feel like I'm living it.

I no longer enjoy or want PIV sex (with anyone, not down to 'bad' sex from DH or anything), unless it was to conceive another child. I just plain don't like it and would much prefer cuddling/touching, and occasional oral.

However, realistically I know my marriage would not survive on these terms. DH has a level of expectation that PIV is part of marriage, and that marriage is abnormal (failing even) without it. I don't blame him for those views because they've rubbed off on me also.

So, I keep my thoughts to myself, because I would rather have a lifetime of unwanted PIV and keep my husband/family intact, than break up the entire relationship.

Also, the vast majority of men will have exactly the same expectation (that PIV is a necessary part of a relationship), so its not as if I'd have a great deal of choice in PIV when it came to a new relationship anyway, unless it was with another female.

I don't resent DH for my position, but I do feel some anger toward society that it is set up this way, that men (and women) have expectation for PIV set so rigidly into them by society, that a relationship essentially cannot be seen as 'normal' without it.

If it were just one of a menu of sexual options, I'm sure we could find activities that pleased us both. But its not seen that way, its seen as mandatory... everything else is opt-in/opt-out, but PIV is pretty much non-negotiable in general.

ApocalypseThen Fri 11-Jul-14 21:59:36

As has been pointed out, context is key. In this case, we have to recall that rape within marriage was legal. So what was a woman's consent? Worthless, nothing, irrelevant. So yeah, in that context I do think that sexual acts like PIV can be considered to akin to rape. If you don't have the right to not consent, you can't really consent.

BriarRainbowshimmer Fri 11-Jul-14 22:22:55

When you think about it (ignoring patriarchal values) it's really strange how couples aren't seen as having real sex unless they, too often joylessly, keep imitating the act of impregnation over and over again. Surely orgasms = real sex?

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