The Politics of Sex

Happy Valentine’s Day.

In honour of this happy fertility celebration co-opted by Christians to celebrate a Saint who no one remembers anything about, I would like to relate a conversation I recently had with one of my coworkers about sex.

(Yes, a few glasses of wine after work leads to the most exciting conversations).

How this young whipper-snapper and I got on to the subject of nookie, I cannot quite remember, but I suspect it had largely to do with feminism, which often appears in my conversation.

This individual stated that he thought that, in hetero sexual relations, subjugation of the female to the male was inevitable.

I, naturally, argued that this suggested some rather awkward things about his own morality, as well as his opinion of his ladyfriend’s own agency and ownership of her own sexuality.

The main point being, if you genuinely believe that
a) there is an inevitable power imbalance and
b) it is always to your advantage and
c) we are using this dictionary definition of ‘subjugation’
– then what the hell are you doing having sex at all?

I mean that in all seriousness. To consider oneself a decent human being, how can one be in a relationship with someone believing that all of the sexual encounters create and maintain a kind of master/servant interaction? How can one believe both that one is a good person and that one is regularly lording over the person they ostensibly like/love/care for?

One of the dramatic differences in the way the sexes are treated arises from the cultural views of gendered sexual behaviour. What is important is to recognize the difference between a social construct and reality. Women have sexual feelings, and make choices about their sexual behaviours. The virgin/mother/whore thing is not real, as any stereotype is not real.

If a woman is choosing to sleep with you, it does not mean that you own her or her sexual pleasure, or that she is some kind of sexual incontinent.

The missionary position is not a metaphor for your position in life.

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