The Great PIV Debate(25 Posts)
Op, wrote a big post then reread yours and noticed you rarely enjoyed PIV. If that is the case, what ramifications would there be for you of abstaining?
Every couple negotiates what kind of sex they'll have, or at least they should. So the question of "taking it too far" means what works in a given relationship; if a woman didn't want to do it and the man did, they might have to end the relationship. Would the man or the woman seem more unreasonable then?
I think most people do expect that if a woman and a man have a romantic relationship, they'll also have a sexual one, and it will include penis-in-vagina sex. But then feminism challenges all sorts of assumptions about how people are going to interact and what our roles are, and it's not difficult to see how PIV sex involves risks that aren't fairly shared. If a woman doesn't enjoy it enough to take those risks, then of course she shouldn't have to do it. But if she's heterosexual and does want to have a relationship with a man, it might be a difficult situation. How many men are there who'd be willing to have a wife or girlfriend with no expectation of penis-in-vagina sex? I'd guess very few.
Ok, will come back with sth more general tomorrow!
Not related to your personal issue.
This reminds me of a question I read but the person's girlfriend didn't want to have sex in a missionary position because "it was used to control women."
You know, it's just occurred to me for the first time - you remember all that stuff in the bible about not dropping your seed on the floor or wherever it is you are supposed to not drop it - ie, if you as a man have an ejaculation, the only place you are allowed to have it without risking hell, is inside a woman? - well that surely must be because non PIV sex was associated with non-patriarchal society which was in the process of being annihilated at the time the biblical shit was being codified into religious strictures.
If coming outside women was seen as such a basic threat to society that you had to actually forbid it, that must mean the original patriarchs recognised what a lynch-pin of their power structure PIV sex as norm is.
There must be some good feminist writing about this, unfortunately I'm too ignorant to know what it is. Someone else will hopefully be along soon to direct us all to some further reading.
Sorry and another thing - it must have meant that everyone else but the patriarchs were having an awful lot of fun having non-PIV sex and it had to be put a stop to. Not because it was a cause of non-patriarchy, but because it was a symptom of such. Because presumably in the societies where that was happening, men hadn't yet completely enslaved women and that was shown in the way that they didn't expect sex to be defined as solely PIV.
OTOH I could be talking bollocks, I don't know how much is known about the sexual habits of societies on the cusp of patriarchy.
Basil, I think that referred primarily to solo masturbation, but your interpretation puts a new slant on it. One to ponder.
Nature designed males and females for PIV, personally I love it although slowing down now as I get older and rarely more than 4 times a week. I don't like giving BJs and anal is painful so sorry but PIV is it for me. Done me fine for over 20 years and I still enjoy it.
I find it hard to accept that PIV is patriarchal, unless that means nature supports the patriarchy?
Even if nature supports patriarchy does it matter? Nature is neither good or bad it just is.
PIV has been seen as the end goal of sex because of it's baby making status and so has always been seen as important within a relationship.
Well, PIV is the way to make babies, sure. But we've also evolved to find other forms of touch pleasurable/orgasmic/bonding etc. And most of us are not being "natural" most times we have PIV, as we are using some form of contraception unless we are TTC or are post-menopausal.
So if you are in bed with someone only for pleasure, which let's say applies to 80% of the sexual encounters being had on any one day, why is it primarily PIV that's the end game rather than other kinds of orgasm?
Maybe partly because of long acting contraceptives (ie vasectomy, implants, coil, Pill etc) so there is no "decision" between having to get a condom/diaphragm or orgasming some other way.
I wonder if couples who use barrier methods have less PIV sex?
Wow this is interesting stuff. My DP and I rarely have PIV mainly because we can't sort out any contraception that works for us both
and not because I have a fanjo like a wizard's sleeve & he is distinctly 'average' sized, so it isn't completely fulfilling for either of us!
We have a very active sex life in other ways, sometimes several times a day
including "seed being spilled on the floor" but I do feel that I am missing out sometimes, hence waiting until a 'safe' time to DTD occasionally.
Realising that it isn't the be all and end all is actually quite a liberating feeling.
I wouldn't say PIV sex is the way to make babies. I have two children who weren't made that way!
The "spilling the seed" referred to Onan and his (patriarchal?) duty to his deceased brother's wife, and the act was coitus interruptus, not solo masturbation.
I think the concept of "sex for pleasure" changed significantly when reliable contraception became widespread. And I do wonder if, before such contraception, if non-PIV sex was more common for that reason.
Now, with it being possible to mitigate the risk of unwanted pg (and one hopes STI) there is no reason not to have PIV recreationally. And because it's only in the last 40 years of so that this has been widely available, the consequences of the change in the role of sex for pleasure are only just being recognised. It has coincided with a sexualisation of society, but I have no idea if that can be shown to be causal.
I think something that bugs me about PIV is the whole tiresome stereotype that any other kind of sex is not 'really' sex. You know that bit in 'Chasing Amy', where Ben Affleck's (idiotic) character says in shock 'so, you're still a virgin?!' and she giggles coyly and says no, she's had lots of lesbian sex? Like that.
There is a thread at the moment with someone wondering how you could prove two women had had sex the way you can 'prove' a man and a woman have, which is a totally reasonable question given the way so many people still talk about women's bodies (eg., thinking that the hymen is a membrane that will get 'broken' after a woman's first experience of sex, which has been discredited biology for a very long time, but somehow survives in public consciousness).
I also find it problematic that I've occasionally heard both male and female friends discuss unsatisfying PIV as if it's somehow cheating to change positions or use your hands or something (sorry to be slightly graphic, but, well, the thread does invite it!). I do think it's a serious point though - I think some men and women feel that they should be able to make, say, missionary-style work and it's problem if it doesn't.
I think women need to be encouraged to learn more about their bodies and to realize that it's not odd or unusual to find that the TV stereotype sex doesn't have to be the way it works for everyone.
I suppose what I'm basically saying is that I would like it if PIV were seen as more of a spectrum of different practices than one thing, and if those practices were also seen as one set of ways to have sex rather than the definitive act.
I think the privileged status of PIV sex is a direct consequence of the often religiously-motivated edicts that sex is sin, that we have to put up with it to make babies, that a woman must submit to the man, and that women don't really enjoy sex. Such beliefs combined with relative ignorance of the mechanics of sex easily leads to a situation where men just take what they need and feel this is how they must behave. With time (centuries and centuries), the practice becomes normalised. There is nothing inherently oppressive about PIV sex (it's just how mammals and birds and god knows who else do the deed!), but the cultural meanings surrounding it and the lack of alternatives can make it so.
"There is nothing inherently oppressive about PIV sex"
The RadFems in the OP seem to think there is, and their arguments are quite persuasive from the relative risks associated with it for male/females. Having said that, like you say AM, the societal conditioning of PIV sex to such a position is much more than a biological/physiological issue.
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