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So much in society would improve if we removed the emphasis on PIV.

(131 Posts)
AnnieLobeseder Mon 30-Jul-12 21:54:04

Now don't get me wrong, I like PIV sex and don't believe it's quite as dreadful as some others do. But I have been thinking about the opinions expressed on these boards about how damaging it can be, and I see the point.

I'm a long-term married women with a monogamous partner who as has a vasectomy. So the risks of STDs and pregnancy are much lower (hopefully zero!) than for a young single woman who may choose to take casual lovers. So while I may enjoy PIV with little risk, for that young single woman, the risks are much higher than for her partners.

Then there are teenagers. Teenage pregnancy can leave a young women with much lower future prospects than if she had children later in life, and quite often the father doesn't stay in the picture. The cause of this, quite obviously, is PIV. If young people, and even older people who still face risks of STDs and pregnancy, were taught that ALL sex is sex, not just penetration, then everyone could have a satisfying sex life without these risks.

If there were no such thing as virginity, young people could slowly progress from kissing to oral and other sex acts without the need for the one big moment where penetration occurs.

I'm not a man, so I'm not qualified to comment, but I have to wonder if a man's orgasm outside of a vagina is really such a runner-up prize to orgasm within a vagina. If there's not much difference, WTF is PIV such a big deal? Is it a societal thing? But it's so widespread across the world that it seems unlikely.

Is it because PIV allows a man to orgasm even if the woman is uncooperative? Whereas with other methods, eg hand or mouth, she needs to be willing?

Surely if we removed the emphasis from PIV being such a big deal, things would be so much better, from there being fewer unwanted pregnancies, to fewer women suffering health issues from STDs or pregnancies (and men would have fewer STDs too), to couples probably having a deeper and more fulfilling sex life as they found new and creative ways to pleasure each other.

Yes, I know that I'm preaching to the converted for the most part here, and pardon me while I just get my thoughts down in print.

The bottom line of what I was thinking is, surely it would be beneficial to target a campaign at teens, instead of suggesting abstinence or pushing condoms (or perhaps alongside), with the message that All Sex is Sex, and All Orgasms are Good Orgasms. Spark the idea in their mind that perhaps PIV isn't the be-all and end-all, and that it's not an ultimate goal that needs to be hit.

Am I making any sense?

VegansTasteBetter Mon 30-Jul-12 22:03:14

In the states where sex is often the holy grail after marriage... the kids do progress to oral first (and anal confused). And unsafely because you can't get pregnant from it. That's my concern.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 30-Jul-12 22:14:10

vegans - I think most kids (myself included) do move up through the ranks to culminate in 'real sex'. But if the message was spread that other sex acts are just as much real sex as PIV, surely the pressure to have PIV would be reduced?

VegansTasteBetter Mon 30-Jul-12 22:23:53

Maybe but being honest, and basing this on everyone I know (that I discuss this sort of thing with) I bet it would come down to girls giving out blow jobs and not necessarily being reciprocated.. or girls that young not feeling like they can ask for it themselves.

At least PIV is (when consensual) nice for both parties.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 30-Jul-12 22:27:13

I agree, annie.

I don't think PIV is the ideal sex for some women - I wonder how many. It takes a fair bit of practice to get good, I reckon. I'm sure lots of us have fond memories of the first time, but when you get down to brass tacks, it ends when the bloke has an orgasm, and that doesn't automatically mean the woman does.

Whereas, if reciprocal oral, or manual sex were seen as more 'proper real sex', that might work better in terms of women getting orgasms.

It's true, it'd be worse to have a situation (as I think you sometimes do) of women giving blow jobs and getting nowt back.

Emphaticmaybe Mon 30-Jul-12 22:27:38

Agree vegans - a lot of happy teenage boys and a lot of teenage girls with very chapped lips.

MooncupGoddess Mon 30-Jul-12 22:29:26

Hmm... but how many teenage boys are good at oral or other stimulation? Maybe we need a campaign to improve teenage boys' sex skills smile

AnnieLobeseder Mon 30-Jul-12 22:32:32

Surely better for teenage girls to be giving blow jobs and getting nothing back, than teenage girls getting PIV, no orgasm and an STD and/or a baby!

Could we not teach teenage girls to have enough respect for themselves to expect reciprocal pleasure. And teach teenage boys to have enough respect for women to give that pleasure? I think teen boys, and most men really, do actually want sex to be good for the woman as well. It's just that they don't know how until a woman shows them, and may be under that mistaken belief that she is getting as much from his frantic humping as she is! I know I've met a few like that! grin Ever so proud of their non-existent prowess, they were. I was promised a night of endless pleasure. Poor deluded fools. sad

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 30-Jul-12 22:32:49

True, mooncup! grin

But, bless them, they have to learn sometime.

Actually, I do notice that whereas women's mags have loads of things about how to be good at making your partner come or disguising the fact he's not really doing it for you by tactfully making him do something else (always dressed up as 'how to have great sex' hmm), bloke's mags don't seem to care?

Wouldn't it be nice if there were a culture in which the bloke orgasming didn't signal 'the end of sex', and in which women having a good time was seen as equally important before sex 'finished'? Then maybe more young blokes would get good!

VegansTasteBetter Mon 30-Jul-12 22:34:09

Agree vegans - a lot of happy teenage boys and a lot of teenage girls with very chapped lips.

I snorted grin

24HourPARDyPerson Mon 30-Jul-12 22:34:36

Thing is that PIV predated anything recognisable as human society. Society is just reflecting an instinct that's very old and very deep. I am not sure that PIV can be knocked off the topspot as the pinnacle of sex, though I would welcome a broader definition of it.

It would depend on getting rid of the notions of virginity, 'innocence', age of consent - would it lead to a blurring of the boundaries between childhood and adolescense? We have an incremental model of sexual experimentation among teens. If all acts are equal where would you start out? I dunno, just thinking aloud here.

VegansTasteBetter Mon 30-Jul-12 22:35:43

Also do teenagers have time or the means for good sex? 4 lost minutes in the back of a Vauxhall aren't conducive to "lurvin".

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 30-Jul-12 22:35:44

24hr - I am sure you are right, but do we know it was PIV as we know it?

And how do we know there's not equal instinct to oral or manual - also, obviously, very 'old' I would think, since some primates engage in them.

MiniTheMinx Mon 30-Jul-12 22:37:13

I think now at a time when many teenage boys and probably quite a lot of girls get their sex education off the net watching porn, there ideas about sex have significantly changed. I would think that now many young people think sex is anything and everything but PIV. Is that a good thing? I don't know but there is evidence that young people are involving themselves with risky sexual activity.

Education needs to be about reducing risk end of.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 30-Jul-12 22:37:16

If we took away the emphasis on PIV, and there was no longer any such thing as virginity, there wouldn't be such need for teenage guilt and creeping around, mothers wouldn't need to worry so much about their daughters (and sons!) engaging in sexual activity - we could be more open about it, kids could experiment more freely.

In fact, if PIV were 'marketed' as only being for making babies, so much of the negative side of sex would vanish overnight.

[wishful emoticon]

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 30-Jul-12 22:37:30

Funny as it is, I feel a bit queasy talking about teens and sex, so I shall bow out of that discussion after this post ... (I'm not being snippy, just struggling with my teenage cousin and some issues with her atm) ... but I think everyone deserves good sex.

24HourPARDyPerson Mon 30-Jul-12 22:38:32

I'm wary of answering you LRD as I will wander into defending evopsych nonsense, but all animals indulge in piv whereas a very few species of primate do

Stands to reason dunnit

MooncupGoddess Mon 30-Jul-12 22:38:48

Good point re magazines, LRD.

Most teenage boys are a) very horny and b) totally bemused by women's bodies. It's a bad combination even for the nicer ones.

The most important message to get across to girls, in my opinion, is that they should only have sex if they really, really want to. They should never have sex out of politeness/lack of confidence/worry the boy will lose interest if they don't, etc. And they should feel able to give feedback on what they like and what they don't.

But, how does one get this message across?

MiniTheMinx Mon 30-Jul-12 22:42:54

24hr - I am sure you are right, but do we know it was PIV as we know it?

Apparently it wasn't, it was better for women before we could stand up right. According to Elaine Morgan in descent of woman, we are now angled in the wrong direction and she believes that women probably got more out of PIV originally before we became bipeds.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 30-Jul-12 22:43:23

24hour - I've just finished reading a series of fiction loosely based on the goddess-worshipping societies of very early Europe. And if these books are to be believed, PIV has not always been the pinnacle of sex, mutual pleasure was. As I suggested, PIV was reserved only for making wanted babies. That's where I've got most of my ideas on this thread [shameless plagiarist emoticon]

I think in a society where women are properly respected, and not seen as secondary to men, it would naturally follow that mutually satisfying sex would be the norm. And not just mutually satisfying, but mutually safe as well.

24HourPARDyPerson Mon 30-Jul-12 22:50:16

B-B-But surely everyone has experienced the Two Magnets effect?

monkeys do it too!!!!

<flailing around>

I've never really seen an analysis of PIV that I've disagreed with on a theoretical level, but in practice it seems very simple. I don't think it's just me.

Though very good point about the porn

AnnieLobeseder Mon 30-Jul-12 22:52:23

Animals engage in PIV either a) to assert male dominance or b) procreate. Do any animals engage in it for mutual pleasure? I don't think so, but I could be wrong.

MiniTheMinx Mon 30-Jul-12 23:01:54

I don't know but Bonobos (again!) seem to. Also other species of apes like to and not always when they are fertile. female apes who are past being able to conceive still engage when males approach them. Some species use sex for bonding and to calm down, to prevent fights and other apes have been known to exchange sex for food. I think if it wasn't pleasurable it would happen less. It's a bit like asking why do all mammals feed their young? why do we nurture children, if it was unpleasant, we would have dropped the baby in the pliocene and walked off.

KRITIQ Mon 30-Jul-12 23:04:09

This question is something that really puzzles me. I do know many feminists decry the overemphasis on penis in vagina (PIV) sex, citing the risks particularly to women of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections(STIs). I also understand that PIV alone may not be sufficient for a woman to achieve orgasm. I also understand that rapes usually involve PIV and perhaps the signalling to your partner that you don't want PIV means there can be no blurring of any lines between consensual sex and rape.

But, rarely is there much discussion of what the alternative, more "acceptable" sex acts entail, let alone consideration of the risks that these might pose.

There is a risk of contracting some STIs from practically all forms of sexual contact and the risk is actually higher for penis in anus (PIA?) sex than for PIV due to the more delicate membranes inside the rectum. There are also significant risks of bacterial infection if there isn't sufficient washing between anal sex and any other form of contact (even touching with the hand if you later touch your eye or mouth, for example.)

Okay, some acts are more likely to lead a woman to orgasm, but giving oral sex to a man seems pretty unlikely to achieve that, so you could argue that PIV is at least in the right vicinity.

I think it's important to remember that a person can be seriously sexually assaulted even when PIV isn't involved - anal or oral rape with a penis or other object, for example.

In my work with young people, and from the literature I'm aware of about young people's sexual relationships, PIV isn't considered the be all and end all and it certainly isn't the only or even the main sex act used to abuse, control and exploit young women. In fact, there is some evidence that so long as PIV isn't involved, boys and men seem to be more successful in coercing young women to engage in sex because they convince them it's just "messing about." However, I can't see how a teenager giving head to her "boyfriend" and half a dozen of his mates in a car park because otherwise he'll dump her/he'll beat her up/she believes it's just normal, etc. automatically represents less of a risk to her health, safety or self-esteem than PIV. I'm also not convinced that young women giving themselves xylocaine enemas to numb the pain of anal sex that their boyfriends insist on because "that's what everyone does" is necessarily better or less risky than PIV.

Basically, I'm just struggling to understand why PIV seems such a contentious issue when from my experience, abusers can just as successfully use other forms of sexual contact to abuse and control.

KRITIQ Mon 30-Jul-12 23:05:44

Annie, lots of animals DO engage in sex for pleasure. Guinea pigs certainly do, and most are bisexual and have a terrible habit of doing it when you have guests. grin

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