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Female sexuality

(28 Posts)
neepsntatties Mon 06-Jun-11 10:27:18

I have been thinking about this recently as I have become increasingly aware that I am totally disconnected from it. Everything I know about sex comes from a male perspective. My father had porn in the house, my early experiences were horrible, I have just started reading some extracts of Dworkin and although I don't totally get it all there is a lot in there that I feel I recognise if that makes sense. I don't know how to unpick years of seeing sex through the porn lense I guess (not that I ever watch porn but every representation/expectation I have experiences seems to come from that place). Where do you even start?

aliceliddell Tue 07-Jun-11 10:07:48

Don't think you're alone. There are lots of books out there, you might want to try the old ones: Shere Hite (God I love that name), Betty Dodson, Nancy Friday, Gail Chester are names I remember, i'm sure there are more recent ones probably better. My friend (no, really) got 'Becoming Orgasmic' (author?) and said it worked! but she was knackered and temporarily lost the use of her right wrist...wink

StellaSays Tue 07-Jun-11 14:16:55

Don't listen to Dworkin, she is mad, fully mad in her opinions on sex IMO. I have studied feminism and female sexuality and you would do a lot better to be reading some more moderate stuff. The magazine Scarlet, I have found to be great for catering to women's sexuality free from the patriarchal crap you find in cosmo. If you want to look at some light stuff that celebrates the diverse nature of female sexuality then thats where you want to look. Dworkin wouls have us all conforming to a very narrow view of what sort of sex is acceptable.

dittany Tue 07-Jun-11 14:26:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dittany Tue 07-Jun-11 14:30:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AliceWhirled Tue 07-Jun-11 16:03:19

I feel the same neepsntatties. My early sexual experiences were driven by an abusive ex fueled by porn and it's really hard to get away from it. Thanks for starting the thread. Becoming Orgasmic looks to be by Heiman and Lopicculo?

MillyR Tue 07-Jun-11 16:22:06

I will post about this even though I seem to remember that last time I did, people thought I was crazy.

I've just had a look at Scarlet magazine, and there are an awful lot of pictures of women tied up, women being spanked, women giving blow jobs, women touching each other for a man to enjoy watching, women dressed as school girls. I think that is the same old sexism.

To me my sexuality is about the fact that I am a sexual person. It is not about other people viewing me as sexual. I don't feel more sexual by putting on some tiny underwear. I think that female sexuality has become about being viewed or acting out some kind of 'kink' in private because your sexuality has become divorced from who you are. That creates all sorts of strange fantasies because you are only allowed to be a sexual person when you are not being yourself, because women are not meant to be sexual.

So I will say that I am sexual person all the time. My sexuality is an extension of my sensuality. It is a reflection of who I am all the time, of my enjoyment of life, of touching and being touched, of being emotional and responding to the emotions of others. It is most certainly not about transforming into some entirely other personality when I take my clothes off.

Of course people like to pretend stuff, however old they are. I used to share an office with someone who used to pretend (in a non-sexual way) that we were in the NYPD, and we would talk in fake american accents and generally be silly. It's sad so many adults will only pretend if it is sexual. Pretence in sex is also fine. But I don't pretend to be bad or that someone else is bad or in need of punishment, and say that is fantasy, because it isn't. At heart, who you are when you have sex, or what kind of person you pretend to be for fun, is part of who you are.

Sexuality is not some thing you hide away in a box. It flows from who you are, because women's sexuality is not dangerous. I see women all the time who are just comfortable as sexual people in everyday life, and it doesn't have to involve any pretence, drag or dressing up, but if it does, that's fine too.

snowmama Tue 07-Jun-11 16:24:27

wish I had a 'like' button for your post MillyR.... what you said.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 07-Jun-11 16:31:08

Excellent post, MillyR.

OP - are you in a relationship?

I know what you mean about knowing about it from a "men like this - therefore so do you" perspective. I have found myself doing things and not even knowing why.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 07-Jun-11 16:32:21

Also just want to say - not all men like porny things, often it's the case that men and women both have their sexualities twisted out of shape by what they've seen/heard is supposedly "sexy". Relaxing and only involving yourself in things you both truly enjoy is the way forward, I think, but I don't know much.

HerBeX Tue 07-Jun-11 16:50:21

Another yes to Milly's great post

InmaculadaConcepcion Tue 07-Jun-11 20:55:37

Nice one, Milly.
I read the OP and couldn't think of what to say, but a lot of what you've written really chimes with me (and probably loads of other people reading it).

porpoisefull Tue 07-Jun-11 21:50:42

I read this thread earlier and have been thinking about it for a while, wondering whether there is actual research on 'female sexuality' and if not, why not. So much of what is written on the differences between men and women is complete bollocks, but I wonder sometimes when talking to DH about what turns us on, how much of the way I feel is 'typically female', in so far as there is such a thing. E.g. I can be visually aroused by the male body but not the sight of genitalia, and my sense of smell is really important.

In response to the 'where do you start' question, I remember there was a website - think it was called 'make love not porn' or something, pointing out the differences between sex and porn, for example that in real life people like to have sex with their bodies touching but in porn that's not compatible with the camera getting a good view. So the first thing I guess might be to get rid of the imaginary director in the corner and think about touch and smell, that kind of thing. Making sex all about the visuals is probably (possibly, I don't know) more male, but it's also easier to make money out of by putting a photo on a magazine, beer ad etc.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 07-Jun-11 22:04:34

Yes, good post porpoisefull. Also so much of what constitutes "sexual activity" that I enjoy would probably never be in a porn film because what feels good is not necessarily the same as what looks good. For instance lying around with whole bodies in contact just kissing for hours, or turning each other on over quite a long time, which builds up to feeling amazing.

So just listen to what feels nice for you, don't think in terms of "sex acts" that you should tick off.

HerBeX Tue 07-Jun-11 22:30:28

Yes good point about what feels good not being v. good porn fodder. I think some of the biggest turn-ons are stuff which don't actually register as "sexual" in most people's minds - someone stroking your hair, feeling their breath against your ear, sitting with someone and having him stroke your face and ears and neck for ages - in porn, if they would bother with someone stroking anything prior to penetration, then it would be straight to breasts or genitals or bottom, whereas in RL, sensuality is about being with someone and feeling bits of their bodies which aren't necessarily defined as sexual by porn-culture because they are not either for sucking or penetrating, but can still be a total turn on. (It could be something as obscure as knees, ankles or wrists for some people...)

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 07-Jun-11 22:33:31

And also, not thinking as sex as a journey towards the man orgasming, so that this has to happen in order to make it complete, and if/when he has orgasmed that is the end of it.

aliceliddell Wed 08-Jun-11 10:00:55

Milly - delighted to find someone else who played cops at work; I used to be half of Bodey and Doyle (sp?). The other half had a perm. This has nothing to do with original question.

neepsntatties Wed 08-Jun-11 10:44:11

Thank you for all the replies. I was a bit worried when no one responded initially!

What people are saying makes a lot of sense. I think it is very helpful to think in terms of sensuality rather than sexuality as I find it hard to divorce this from what we get from porn. I do have a partner who is in no way demanding or ever expects me to do things I don't want and yet I still feel a sense of I ought to be doing certain things.

I was in an abusive realtionship when I was young with a heavy porn user and this has really had an impact on me, I don't want to be defined by that anymore and I am only just realising that I don't have to be!

neepsntatties Wed 08-Jun-11 10:44:56

Off topic but the playing cops thing - isn't it a shame that we don't play more as adults just in general?

HerBeX Wed 08-Jun-11 10:51:23

neeps, do you discuss this with your dp? About how you feel you "ought" to be doing certain things and about how he would feel if you did them?

InmaculadaConcepcion Wed 08-Jun-11 10:51:59

Agreed, neeps.

It's one of the fun things about having DC - learning to play and be silly again.

I must admit, we used to have the occasional "The Bill" moment in one of my former offices...

HerBeX Wed 08-Jun-11 10:54:43

D'you thjink that's why so many people go in for role-playing etc. during sex? Becuase there is a deficit of play in other areas of life and somehow sexual play is the only "valid" theatre of play?

Frizzbonce Wed 08-Jun-11 11:06:56

Great post Milly. I was thinking about this myself recently. I'm currently in a relationship with a great man who gets his pleasure from making me come. Not in a creepy 'points on the bedpost' sort of way but he's the first man whose made me feel really relaxed about sex, that it's my right to have fun. That's quite sad considering I'm in my forties - to have taken this long.

And it occured to me that when we talk about sex with girls, it's often in terms of 'protecting' yourself, or 'being safe' or just 'don't do it' or all the other negative messages that surround female sexuality. So women and girls have this cultural expectation to 'look sexy' for men but are punished for expressing lust. Why are we so afraid to teach girls about pleasure? Whether it's masturbation or just the joy and pleasure of sex? That's all I heard when I was growing up. Rules and Dos and Don't. The first time the issue of pleasure was mentioned was when I went to the doctor to be put on the pill for painful periods and she said to me, 'I hope that when you do have sex, you're really ready for it. You're supposed to have a nice time too.' Nobody had ever said that to me and I suspect I'm not alone in this.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 08-Jun-11 11:26:03

Your doctor sounds great smile

Somehow sex is still seen as something men do TO women.

snowmama Wed 08-Jun-11 11:27:08

Interesting point about play, particuarly as girls/women stop 'playing' in a silly, fun, sporty (non sexual) way much younger than boys/men, I think you have a good point there. There is not much outlet for 'silly play' .. which is a shame.

.. add on all the negative messages about sex as Fizzbonce points out and arguably before all the 'porny sexualisation' we are twisted out shape pretty young.

Neep, I think the lack of replies was (me) alot of us going - mmm good point, how do I feel about that ! yes, I agree it is about sensuality and begining to 'feel' your own body again as opposed your body being a display to be appreciated (or used) by others. Not sure if that makes sense at all. I also think that to unpick that is difficult and a problematic process (well I have found that).

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