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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » 'Penetration'

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Author Topic: 'Penetration'
Saffron Raymie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 49582

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I was talking with my friend about the use of the word 'penetration' when referring to intercourse, and he said he'd never use it. The reason he gave was that it sounded like something 'breaking through' something when that isn't what happens in sex.

Would anyone like to share their ideas on this too?

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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To me, the issue is multifaceted:

1) It implies, to me, that a vagina or other orifice isn't active, but passive. That only whatever other kind of body part or object is entering those orifices is. Not only is that simply not true -- vaginas, anuses and mouths have and are surrounded by active muscles, lots of them, for starters, all engaged when someone with one of those orifices is actively participating in sex which involves them -- it also implies a power dynamic, too, that can be true, but it's always.

2) To me, penetration is a word best used to describe a sexual assault or attack, where, in earnest, one person is pushing into someone else's body and the other person is NOT choosing to participate. In other words, those situations truly are usually one-way situations, rather than shared activity.

3) I think the word is reflective of old ways of thinking about gender dynamics and some kinds of sex that are full of things we either know, now, aren't true, or know now are problematic or have changed. I think the use of the term with things like consensual intercourse between equals, for pleasure, kind of can really keep people stuck or enable what we know are false or negative paradigms.

[ 05-31-2011, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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