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Making it bigger with links enabled.
How the heck is virginity a social construct? I’m confused, but thanks for the suggestionsAnonymous
Well, think about it this way: what do people perceive as making you not a virgin?
Is it breaking a hymen? Well, that doesn’t work, because hymens as we think of them don’t exist.
Is it being penetrated? With what? Are tampons the same thing as having sex? Isn’t virginity supposed to be about sexual experience? What about masturbation? Am I no longer a virgin if I penetrate myself? If my partner uses their hands? What if my partner doesn’t have a penis? Am I forever a virgin if I only have sex with women? So that doesn’t work because it’s so impossible to pin down.
Is it penetrating something else (for people who don’t have vaginas)? What? Is it just a vagina? What if I’m a gay cis guy who doesn’t like having anal sex and only ever gives and receives blowjobs and handjobs? Does that make me a virgin? So that doesn’t work, either.
Is it having sex? What counts as sex? Some people count blowjobs as sex and some people only count PiV sex as sex. And a whole lot of things can give you an orgasm. So that doesn’t work because there’s no one sex act for everybody that defines virginity.
So not only are those ideas about virginity complete and utter bullshit, let’s look at the societal expectations around it:
Virgins are innocent and don’t know about sex. BULLSHIT. People who are virgins can know just as much about sex as a person who’s had it.
Guys have to lose their virginities as soon as possible; girls need to hold on for it for as long as possible. BULLSHIT. Not only is that a huge double standard on its face, not only does it ignore QUILTBAG and nonbinary people, but why is it shameful for guys to not have sex and shameful for girls to have sex? That’s severely fucked up.
Losing your virginity makes you lose something. BULLSHIT. Lose what? It doesn’t make you lose any inherent value and it doesn’t change you as a person at all.
And the really big one: virginity is the only thing that matters in your sexual development. BULL. SHIT. Why is there no word for someone who’s not a virgin? Why don’t we place just as much emphasis on losing our virginities as we do communicating with our partners or masturbating for the first time or any other number of things that are just as important in a sexual relationship as the first time having sex?
The fact is that virginity is an outdated construct that placed value on women for their bodies, because in a society where property passes from father to son, it is more important for the women to not bear illegitimate children than it is for the men not to create them. Therefore a virgin could be guaranteed (in theory) to only bear her husband’s children, as opposed to a nonvirgin, who could possibly be pregnant with some other guy’s kid. This is sexist bullshit.
For the record, that’s why I use “sexual debut” instead of “losing virginity” where I can. Because you can decide when your sexual debut is and doesn’t rely on heteronormative ideas of sex, your sexual debut can be anything you want.
An apology from Liberator
Last Friday, my twitter feed alerted me to an alarming twitter exchange between @TruePleasures and the PR person running Liberator(TM) Bedroom Adventure Gear’s twitter account. As you can see…
It was disturbing enough to me to prompt one of the few times I have ever felt sufficiently outraged to contemplate writing a proper letter to a company. There are many things that businesses do that either irritate or straight up outrage me (many of them being exploitative of workers and oppressive.) However, it’s rare that I feel like many of those companies are actually interested or closely related enough to my particular interests and expertise to be moved by anything I have to say. (I am certain, for example, that Chik-Fil-A gives no fucks for my opinions.)
But this strikes a particularly sour note for sex educators like myself, when a company marketing sex supplies products risks directly undermining our work by suggesting safer sex practices take the fun out of sex… Which is the exact sort of attitude we’re fighting an uphill battle against. Especially disappointing, because while I have never purchased any of their products, what I do know of the company is from other sex educators talking up how Liberator’s furniture are especially beneficial when used to make modifications to sexual positions to accommodate limited mobility and other physical disabilities. (Which, as an aside, are conversations that happen far less frequently than they ought.) It made me sad to contemplate trading between these two interests. So I sat down and wrote them an email.
I have thus restrained myself from posting on this until now, to give the company sufficient time to respond, and not knowing if they would or when. However, I am happy to report that I definitely did not expect so quick a response as Monday, when one was waiting in my inbox by 2pm. The same text of my email was posted on their blog. I for one, greatly appreciate the timely, straight forward response:
This past Friday a distasteful message appeared in the official Liberator Twitter feed promoting the practice of unsafe sex. As a company we do not condone such behavior and by no means meant to endorse such a statement. Our products are made to enhance bedroom adventures and we pride ourselves in stimulating long-term, committed relationships. We apologize to everyone who may have been offended by the message. We understand our role and responsibility in the sexual well-being community and do not wish to jeopardize our position as one of the industry’s leading educational outlets. The person responsible for sending this message is no longer with us and we are doing everything in our power to ensure such miscues as this do not happen again.
With sincerest apologies,
Thank goodness! I saw this exchange happening and felt disturbed as I promote liberator a lot as it has cushions that can be used to make sex easier for people with disabilities. I would hope such a great company wouldn’t take such an awful stance.
Rebloggable: Sex Drive Differences In Relationships
So my bf and I had a really long, intense talk tonight (that involved a lot of crying unfortunately) about our sex life. I told him how I really felt about sex - I only really need or want it once a month or so. Whereas he needs it every week if not more. And he said I wasn’t normal, it wasn’t healthy how I felt. I feel like shit because there are times where I think I finally want to do it but I change my mind, and he gets really upset when I do that. I don’t know what to do and I just want him
(continued) to be happy. I don’t know what’s wrong with me and my sex drive, sometimes I think it’s because I used to be on anti-depressants, but that was only for a few months (long story). He’s a depressive and I feel like I’ve just made things worse. He told me he had to “say goodbye to his sex life”. I’m not abstaining from sex, gah, I just don’t want it all the time! I need advice FYSP! :(
Oh, sweetie. Sweetie, come here.
Here’s a couple of things you need to know right off the bat:
- You had a long talk about your sexual expectations and preferences! Do you know how awesome that is? That’s fantastically awesome.
- Your sex drive is not abnormal or unhealthy, and saying so is being an asshole.
- Having a different sex drive from your partner’s is not wrong.
- Your boyfriend’s depression is not your fault.
On that note, I’m going to be honest here. Your boyfriend is being an asshole.
That is not to say that he is an asshole. I’m sure he’s also a lovely person in some respects, or you wouldn’t be dating him. But in this respect he is being an asshole.
First of all, he’s placing the blame for your libido on you, which is wrong. You can’t control how much you want sex. He’s making it seem like your body is a personal insult to him, and he’s making your sex drive all about him, which is very selfish and self-centered.
Second of all, I don’t know what your relationship’s boundaries are in terms of masturbation/other people in your relationship, but if he has a problem with how often you want to have sex, there’s nothing stopping him from booting up his laptop and spending a couple hours with YouPorn and a box of Kleenex. He doesn’t have to “say goodbye to his sex life,” and the fact that he phrased it that way bothers me. By saying something like that, he’s saying that he values his orgasms more than your comfort in the relationship.
And third of all, him being depressed is not your fault. His depression isn’t something that you can control, and if he ever blames you for it, get out of that relationship STAT, because that’s emotional manipulation and that’s wrong.
I think you all need another talk. You need to make it clear to him that your libido isn’t something that you can control, that your libido is healthy and normal, and that if he has a problem with it, you’re OK with allowing him to [masturbate/see other people/whatever you’re comfortable with as a boundary].
If he still shames and insults you for having a low libido, I want you to really, really think about your relationship with him. Because in a relationship, you have the right to not be shamed and insulted, and staying with someone who tries to pressure you into things you’re not comfortable with isn’t a good idea.
Good luck, sweetie! The ask is open if you need it.
Followers, do you have any more advice for this anon? Leave it in the ask.
Why Sex Positivity Doesn’t Always Mean Engaging in Sex
Last April, I had sex with a man for the first time. It was an amazing experience with a man, who I thought at the time, was amazing. From that moment on, my sex life grew tremendously. That was about a year-and-a-half ago and right now I’ve had about 15 different sex partners. Now, that statement in itself is fine. There is nothing wrong with having one sex partner your entire life or more than 100. I, personally, do not care who sleeps with who, how they sleep together and how often they sleep together as long as they are both of sound mind to consent to the sex.
I’m a very sex positive person. I’m always ranting about how people shouldn’t be afraid to be sexual,whatever that means for them. However, at the forefront of sex positivity, I believe, lies concerns with psychological and physical safety. Throughout my entire sex life, I was not psychologically safe. I had a lot of one-night-stands that, afterwards, put me in very dark places. My self-worth and self-esteem plummeted.
If we look at why I had sex, it wasn’t for good reasons… to me. I was having sex because of my constant need of approval from other people, my low self-esteem and self-worth and my need for high-stimulus interaction which is primarily caused by my ADD. So, as the number of sex partners grew, the number of positive sexual encounters plummeted. I was having meaningless, emotionless sex and I didn’t enjoy it. Again, for some people, this sort of sex is fine. For me, it wasn’t.
About two months ago, I began ADD medication. I instantly felt the affects in various aspects of my life. I’m more organized, my attention span has grown and I don’t desire sex as often as I once had. I’ve actually gone about three weeks without sex. This is the longest “dry spell” I’ve had in over a year. And, I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m a lot more stable, psychologically, and I don’t have a desire for anyone’s approval anymore.
So, for me, having a lot of sex and pasting on the label “sex positive” was just a way to justify the psychological damage that I was willingly and, most of the time, knowingly putting upon myself. But, just because I’m not having sex and I’m going out on dates and really trying to get to know people doesn’t mean I’m not sex positive.
Sex positivity means having the decision to have or not to have consensual, safe sex with anyone of my choosing without fear (or care) of being shamed by anyone who thinks differently.
Being sex positive is subjective.
That last bolded thing… I think I’m going to marry it.
Gonna marry it.
Clarisse Thorn ([postsecret] The Despair of Missing Orgasm)
For everyone who has ever sent me an ask that contained words to the effect of, “My orgasms are arriving too fast/arriving too slow/last too long/aren’t long enough/might not exist/whatever, help me!”
Natella, CSPH Library Intern Summer 2012
[Part of our weekly Sex Positive Saturday series! Visit http://thecsph.tumblr.com for more, or to submit your own definitions.]
Kerry Howley (via thenewwomensmovement)
An older lady overheard my friends and I talking about my poly life. When we could feel eyes on us, we turned around and stared at her. She told me “well that sounds fun, honey, but you’re getting to the age where settling down will give you lifelong security. If you stay on this path, sweetie, you’ll regret it when you get to my age.”
I’m 26 and I regret all the years I wasted listening to that slut-shaming.(via sexpositiveodyssey)