Let’s Talk About Sex [Positivity]

Sex positivity! A wonderful thing!!! And something that I think is fundamental to an effective feminist movement.

What is sex positivity?

Sex positivity (in my own terms) is the belief that safe and consensual sexual activity and experimentation is a good, healthy thing to partake in. 

So, let’s break that down a bit: safety. A safe sexual experience would be one in which all parties involved are informed of–and have consented to–the activities. Safety also means that protection that is desired by one of the parties is mandatory if the activities are to occur. If a party requests a condom, a dental dam, or any other protective measure, then the other parties should respect that wish. If other parties choose to ignore that or lie about STDs/whether they put on a condom or not, that is considered non-consensual sexual activity. The first party only consented to activities under the condition of protection.

Next, consent. The big one. Consent is huge, and often defined incorrectly. Consent is the freely-given (non-coerced), informed, enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity. Silence is not consent. Consent to one activity is not consent to any other. Consent may be taken back–if you said yes and no longer wish to engage, you can say no and should be respected. If you are being threatened, guilted, or forced into sexual activities, that is non-consensual.

So–that brings up the topic of coercion, which I mentioned above. Coercion is being tricked, manipulated, threatened, or guilted into sexual activities. Coercion is not consent. If a party continues to ask for sexual activity after the other party has refused, that is considered coercion. If a party makes another party feel bad or guilty for not participating, that is coercion. Coercion can also take the form of blackmail, drugs, and alcohol.

For more information of consent and coercion, you can click here.

But back to the positive stuff!!

Sex positivity is a movement against slut shaming. Instead of participating in a culture that condemns women for taking control of their sexuality and desires, sex positivity says we should allow people the freedom to make these safe, informed choices without judgment.

It also says that we should support people no matter their sexual choices. From pansexuality to asexuality to demisexuality, from homosexuality to bisexuality to heterosexuality, no matter the gender or genders someone is, they deserve respect and legitimacy for their sexual and romantic choices.

Sex positivity is a movement against patriarchy. Patriarchal ideas dictate that men are sexual actors, sexual aggressors, and women are passive in regards to sexuality. Sex is seen as happening to them, not something over which they can have control. Patriarchal ideas also render non-heterosexual identities and non-cis genders invisible. Sex positivity allows women and people of marginalized identities to have agency in their sexual experiences.

Sex positivity believes cis/het men are more than their sexual desires–they can and should be respectful and respected for their choices and others’ as well. It dictates that their masculinity is not defined by sexual experiences. It believes men are more than animals out to find the next woman to have sex with–that they are emotional and respectful.

Sex positivity says that sexual experiences or lack thereof do not define self-worth. No matter what you do (or don’t do) or who you do it with, that doesn’t define you or your morality. Morality and self-worth come from other things–generosity, kindness, acceptance, respect.

So, what do we do to be more sex-positive?

The first thing we can do is to forgive ourselves. Be gentle with ourselves regarding our sexual experience or non-experience. We try to begin unlearning the shame or guilt we may feel.

Next, we demand legitimization. We demand our partners to respect our wishes and values. We begin to take ownership of our own sexual identities and experiences.

In addition, we support one another. We have to support people who choose to have sex, who choose to be or not be monogamous, who choose to wait until marriage, who choose to not have sex at all. We have to support people with different identities, different genders than our own. We can not slut-shame, we can not be homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, etc. We must be supportive.

That is what sex positivity means to me.


Empowerment Is For Everyone–why body positivity must include all bodies

Let’s have a short conversation about body positivity.

So, there’s a movement going on, especially in the feminist community, about body acceptance and positivity. It’s all about accepting yourself, the way your body is, and rejecting social norms about what you “should” look like.

Let’s be clear: fat shaming is not okay, and is never okay. It will never be okay.

But there is some infighting in the feminist community about this body acceptance movement. There is a habit of putting one body type down to bring another up, as well as other habits of which I’m not a fan.

Some people uses phrases like these in a well-meaning (I think) way, and I would like to give the reasons to reject them.

1. Men like girls with curves; only dogs go for bones.

Heyyyoooo own those curves gurl. However, measuring the worth of one’s body by how much male attention it receives, is still feeding into the patriarchal ways of defining beauty. “The Male Gaze,” as it’s called. In addition, it demeans skinnier women into simply “bones”, as in less than human. We should lift each other up, not dehumanize each other.

2. Real women have curves.

Yes they do. Women without curves are real, too, though. Again, dehumanization of skinnier women. Just like some women are predisposed to be larger, some women are predisposed to be skinnier. It is also not easy for skinnier women to be accused of being anorexic, though the plight of being a larger woman is, in my opinion, more difficult because of the complete lack of acceptance of larger bodies. But the solution is not to compete over whose struggle is greater.

3. Skinny bitches

This phrase has been increasingly common in popular music, attributing a negative value to being skinny and a positive value to being larger. However, the “larger” that the music and the culture perpetuates is an image of a large ass, larger breasts, and a thin waist. It is not necessarily a common body type.

I understand that phrases like these are meant as empowerment for women. I understand that the lack of acceptance in society of larger women is greater than the lack of acceptance of skinny women. However, shaming any body type for any reason is feeding into a patriarchal view of women. It feeds into the belief that there is a “wrong” body type, and a “right” one.

I think the solution is to focus on phrases that empower all women, all body types. All shapes, all sizes, all races/ethnicities, all gender and sexual identities, all classes, all abilities. Beauty is a societal construct. A human living his/her/their life is beautiful, period.bp

Lemme Holla Back Atchu


So. Topic for today that I’m going to share my thoughts on is catcalling, AKA street harassment. Hollering at women, giving them unwanted attention, no matter what kind, as they are simply trying to go about their days.

Street harassment happens to every woman. Some don’t mind it, but it irks me to my core. It is my biggest pet peeve.

Why Street Harassment Suckz

Street harassment is all about power and male entitlement. Harassers believe that they are entitled to a woman’s body and that they have the right to tell her what they think about it. Harassers believe that the woman should be flattered, and that she wants to hear what they think. IMHO, harassing women like that, I’m gonna say, has never resulted in a woman turning around and saying, “Oh my god, let’s go on a date since you just whistled at me and commented on my ass! THAT is what I look for in a man.”

I believe that the reason that some women take catcalling as a compliment is that society has a habit of telling them their self worth comes from male attention. Male attention is to be sought after, and you should be grateful you got it. It should make you feel good that a man wanted to talk to you, and it doesn’t matter whether you wanted him to or not. (My interpretation: Your wants and needs, since you are a woman, are less important.)

There is a video that’s gone viral: This Woman Has Been Confronting Her Catcallers–And Secretly Filming Their Responses. In it, the woman tries to have a conversation with her harassers and explain to them why what they’re doing is offensive.

Some of the men in the video say that women dress the ways they do to attract male attention. Now, this is a load of bulllllllshit. Not only is that a form of victim blaming, but it is again a feeling of entitlement. You did this for me, didn’t you? Not yourself, of course. It is a (conscious or subconscious) feeling that the woman dressed or acted a certain way for the harasser and just the harasser to give her attention. 

Also, newsflash: women dress for themselves, for only themselves; no matter the dress, harassment is never excused.

In addition, multiple times in the video the harassers state that women were put on earth for male enjoyment. Many cite the Bible (Eve came from Adam’s rib, blahblahblah). This is LITERALLY ADMITTING TO MISOGYNY. THIS IS OUTRIGHT SPOKEN MALE ENTITLEMENT. *sighs*

In the video, one harasser says he wouldn’t yell at the woman if she was with a man–even if he was just her friend–because he wouldn’t want to disrespect that man. The woman herself is not worthy of this respect. That respect is only given when she is with a man. The harasser sees women with men as belonging to them. No matter the relationship between the two. Women are not seen by harassers as full human beings belonging to themselves. 

Much of the harassment I have personally encountered has come from out of car windows, so the harasser(s) can speed by and not deal with the consequences of their actions and I can’t get a glimpse of them. Yelling, whistling, etc. Revolting.

Why Street Harassment Scares Me

For me, a lot of why street harassment is scary is because of sexual assault and rape. If I confront a harasser, I don’t know how that is going to turn out. Will the harasser become angry, violent? Will the harasser hurt me if this escalates? Many times I respond anyway, since I am angered so much by it. 

It is my belief that this feeling of “entitlement” that street harassment represents can snowball into big, big problems. Greater than yelling on the street. Male entitlement can lead to the friend zone (another blog topic entirely) and ultimately to tragedies like the Elliot Rodger shooting.  

I will end on a quote that strikes me every time I hear it: 

“The point is not that all men are menaces to women, but that all women have been menaced by men.”

Pizza Rolls, Not Gender Roles

One of the basic tenants of feminism is the rejection of traditional gender norms in society. We all know these norms, as they have been drilled into our heads from the moment we are born. The most basic of them being that women are submissive and inferior to men. Sidenote–sex is biological; gender is a social construct. According to these gender roles, men should be providers, should be tough and aggressive, should attract and have sex with as many women as possible, should not allow themselves to be dominated by women. Women, meanwhile, have the role of child bearer, homemaker, should be dainty and soft-spoken, should attract men but not have sex with them (the virgin-whore dichotomy), and should not dominate men. Gender roles begin from the moment your parents/guardians find our your biological sex. Now the onesies being bought are pink, not blue. There are bows and flowers and dolls, not trucks and LEGOs and firefighter toys. Children’s toys reinforced these roles, put them in children’s heads–as a girl, you should use a play-kitchen and take care of a fake baby. As a boy, you shouldn’t do those things because you should build a spaceship and fight crime. These roles are dangerous because they limit children from the get-go. Increasingly, it’s becoming more okay for a girl to play with boys’ toys (Woohoo! Empowerment!) but it is still a taboo for a boy to care for a baby doll. That’s a woman’s job, still, even though she can play with LEGOs now. (This is a phenomenon similar to women wearing pants but men not being able to wear dresses–women can act like men because being a man is good; men can’t act like women because being a woman is bad. But I digress.) So, anyway, to my point. This morning I was listening to a radio show, a very popular one, in which the hosts were discussing men’s egos. They said the things to do to hurt “your man’s ego” would be to open a door for him and to fix something without asking him to fix it first. For obvious reasons, this is repulsive to say. Ahem, if you’ll allow me to step up on my soapbox here (not that a blog isn’t already a soapbox): OPENING DOORS IS ABOUT BEING POLITE. NOT ABOUT MEN VS. WOMEN. WOMEN CAN OPEN DOORS–WHO KNEW? WOMEN AND MEN CAN BOTH OPEN DOORS FOR EACH OTHER BECAUSE IT’S NICE TO DO SO. GOD. In addition, the hosts said that if a woman opens a door for a man, the “super classy” things to do would be to grab the door and insist she go in first. CHIVALRY ISN’T DEAD, FOLKS. I WAS UNAWARE WE HAD TIME-TRAVELED TO THE 50s. I would roll my eyes like a MOFO if someone took the door I was trying to hold for them and told me to go in first. For God’s sake. Annnnnd the fixing things. Well that is just the kicker, isn’t it? A woman should try not to hurt “her man’s” ego by fixing something. A few problems with that. A) Women can and should know how to fix things. B) How weak is this man’s ego if it is hurt by a woman being able to fix something? C) If this happens, the problem is the man’s, not the woman’s. The dude can get over it. So, in general, my personal problems with traditional gender roles:

  • They reinforce a culture of female dependence, where women’s jobs are to attract males.
  • They reinforce a culture of male rejection of female independence, meaning that a man doesn’t want a woman who is independent.
  • They are heteronormative, meaning they disregard non-heterosexual relationships entirely.
  • They, in addition, reject genders outside of the norm (see this link on the gender spectrum).
  • They encourage women to focus on appearance over intellect, hard work, and other positive qualities in a GODDAMN HUMAN BEING. *clears throat.* Excuse me.
  • They encourage men to be aggressors, to believe they are entitled to sexual favors after “chivalrous activity” (i.e., I paid for your dinner, now you owe me sex) (the Friend Zone–that’s another post entirely); this fosters a culture of violence against women, known as rape culture.

Plus many, many more. So, to those radio hosts, you are teaching your listeners that this type of behavior is acceptable and encouraged. You are in a position of power, and you have the opportunity to use that to progress society along in a positive direction. These roles affect both men and women. I know that many of us tend to fall into these gender roles, even as feminists. I just ask that we all, including myself, analyze our behavior, and encourage ourselves, our friends, our partners, our children to challenge these norms and just be whoever the hell we please.

The F Word

Feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

I want to talk about the word “feminism” in this post–what I know about it, at least, which isn’t much. Obviously, the word came to use long before I had anything to do with feminism (or life, for that matter), but it is now currently lost in a sea of exaggerated stereotypes and false preconceptions. 

Many celebrities (Katy Perry, Lady Gaga) claim they couldn’t possibly be feminists because they love men too much and they think women and men are equal. To that I say, all you have to do is Google what feminism is to know that you just defined it. These particular incidents bother me because young girls, young women look up to these people–hearing celebrities spout this incorrect information simply aids in keeping them from fighting for their equality. 

Many other celebrities (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham) have talked about feminism in a wonderful light, which restores my faith in humanity and keeps me sane. Thanks guys.

People that know a bit more about the movement sometimes have a problem with the root of the word, “feminine”. These people (a lot of times men, sometimes women, in my own experience) say that it is exclusionary to men. Wouldn’t “humanism” be better? We’re all human, right?

Right. However, humanism is already taken. Also, feminism’s terminology, in how I personally interpret it, deals with the work to redefine what it means to be “feminine”. Changing the perception of women as weak, subordinate, ditzy, etc. to women as strong, as fighters, as multi-dimensional humans.

As for the exclusionary bit, it kind of annoys me to be told men must be included in a term defining a movement to include women in the basic human rights and privileges. But that is a bit radical, and I do understand the sentiment behind wanting a more inclusive term. However, that’s the term we’ve had for ages to define a movement for women’s rights.

Sidenote: feminism is for everyone–men, women, trans, or whatever gender with which you identify. 

My beef: Feminism has always been associated with a radical movement. Bra burning, man-hating, not-shaving. This is not what real feminism looks like. Feminism is about inclusiveness. All genders, all sexual orientations or lack thereof, feminine, masculine, everyone. Feminism benefits everyone. A movement towards a world in which women are encouraged to be body positive and men are encouraged to embrace emotions and in which men and women and trans and EVERYONE are all equal. Truly equal. No one calls anyone “fag” or “pussy”. No one victim-blames, no one slut-shames, women are equally represented in politics and science/math fields, equally paid, and not viewed as dainty, weak, etc. No one says “like a girl” meaning an insult.

That is what I envision. That is feminism. And I embrace that movement and its label wholeheartedly. 

That is all.