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Author Topic: Do biological differences give men an advantage
BustaEve
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Hi Scarleteen Team [Smile]

This is a post I've been wanting to write for some time, but I'm unsure on how to word it so it doesn't come across as a diatribe against men and so I'll do my best to avoid that.
Also, this post regards heterosexual sexual relationships.

Essentially I feel that biology has given the male sex an advantage which has allowed the implementation of patriarchal societies and henceforth the privileging of male desire and sexual wants.

Specifically when men are aroused it's so visual, ie an erection, (please note I am also aware that women have visual signs of arousal I just think it is more prominent in men), and consequently I think that has allowed men to dominate sexual dynamics. By that I mean, for vaginal or anal intercourse to occur a man has to have an erection and when the man has orgasmed or otherwise lost his erection penetrative sex can no longer continue. Therefore, it seems like biology has given men this inbuilt advantage which allows them to control sexual activity.

I should also frame this post with the note that in almost every sexual encounter I've ever had I've felt that it has been defined by the man's pleasure and orgasm, and I feel that society still perpetuates this concept. That is, sex is finished when HE is finished, and sex (be that oral, manual or penetrative - whatever combination required) will continue until HE has finished. (I've capitalised 'HE' to indicate the men I've slept with/been sexually intimate with as opposed to denoting just one man).

So, I do hope this doesn't sound like an attack on men and clearly my perspective is influenced by my own experiences.

I'm posting this in the hope I will get some replies, either in agreement or disagreement and perhaps some constructive criticism that will allow me to re-think this concept as clearly it doesn't bode well for an equal and healthy sexual relationship between men and women.

Thanks again.

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BrightStar171
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I do have some thoughts on this, which are complicated, so I'll try to be articulate. To start, I'm not sure if your basic premise is true, but the bulk of my response is sort of an "even if it IS true" kind of thing. I'm not sure you're right to say that biology has given males an advantage at sex, because conceptualizing sex that way requires seeing it as something competitive or antagonistic, not as something unitive. (I don't think you're wrong to recognize that society DOES tend to see sex as something competitive rather than unitive, but that's something we need to work to change, not just accept. More on that later.)

But beyond that, I don't think that just because something is biologically the case means that it's something we have to socially accept. There are all sorts of biological imperatives (or at least biological urges) that society rejects absolutely. Think, for instance, of the biological imperative to kill competitors for mates and resources. Murder- still frowned on, even if someone steals your girlfriend or your food. There's a lot of scientific studies that suggest that rape (in the form of stealing women from other tribes/clans to broaden the gene pool) was at one point biologically beneficial. Still gets you a prison sentence if you do it today. Same with the biological benefits to having sex with pubescent girls, etc. We overcome our biology in all sorts of ways. We control our fertility with contraceptives. We build prosthetic limbs for people who have lost theirs.

In much the same way, if a man has orgasmed or otherwise lost his erection, we can continue having sex the low-tech way (i.e. with oral or manual sex), or in the higher-tech way, with sex toys, vibrators, or strap-ons. This is the sort of biological thing that's pretty easily overcome.

So, why isn't it overcome more often? Well, here's where I get back to what I said earlier about out society thinking of sex as something competitive rather than unitive. Rightly conceieved (in my opinion), sex is about consent, shared pleasure, and taking pleasure in one's partner's pleasure, not about competing for orgasms. This is often not how society sees it. But that's something we need to work on as a society, as I said, not just accept.

I assure you, it's perfectly possible to be a female-bodied person in a sexual relationship with a male-bodied person in which sex is defined equally by both people's pleasure and orgasms. I'm in a relationship like that- we regularly have sex in which he orgasms but I don't, in which I orgasm but he doesn't, and in which we both orgasm. Sometimes I agree to have sex with him even when I don't want to have an orgasm, because sex is still pleasurable and I enjoy participating in his pleasure. Sometimes he does the same for me (sometimes with his penis, sometimes with various types of sex toys, depending on our mood). Sometimes he has an orgasm early on and we continue having sex until I orgasm. Sometimes I have an orgasm early on and we continue having sex until he orgasms.

Assuming the biological thing is even true, it's something we can get past pretty easily. If you're with partners who won't, it's something you should talk to your partners about. And if someone absolutely refuses to do so, they don't sound like a partner who has your best interests at heart. (As in, I wouldn't expect many people to think of sex as I've just described without having been introduced to the idea, because society pushes the message you described very strongly. Though actually my current partner thought of sex as unitive rather than competitive even when I first started having sex with him; he actually kind of helped introduce me to the idea.) But if you talk with people about it and they still reject the idea, they're not likely to be a very safe partner to be with.

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Heather
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I'd toss some things in here that I think might inform your thoughts here.

(Since not all people who identify as men have penises, even though most do, I want to be cautious about some of this and certainly not do man = person with penis, because that's just not sound.)

• When you're talking about differences in genital response, I'd also take into consideration that, on the whole, people with penises get erections far more easily than people who don't have them do. In other words, this idea that someone with a penis can control everything sexual just because they get more visible erections isn't sound for a bunch of reasons, but one biggie is that one can't control when an erection happens. For example, while sexual abuse and assault victims with every kind of body can have it happen that their bodies "sexually" react while being assaulted (that orgasm happens, or a vagina lubricates, or a penis becomes erect), that actually happens more often to people with penises during rape or other sexual abuse. Perhaps obviously, that takes a lot of steam out of the things you're saying about erection giving someone in a sexual interaction more control or power.

• Let's also bear in mind that the desire for sex is something most people, through all of history have had, and the ability to provide (not liking that word, but you get me) sex for someone who wants it is in itself a power, whatever someone's gender. And power can be wielded with more than just our physical bodies: people can use interpersonal dynamics, emotions and their intellect to use power in ways that are oppressive to others or manipulative; which are not supportive of equality. Think about long-held cultural phrases like "feminine wiles," for instance.

• On that note, I think when thinking about things like this it's always sound to think about social power, and how it's never going to be just about biology or just about culture/environment. It's always going to be some combination of both. So, who would give men, on the whole, the kind of power you're talking about? Who has, historically? Other men, of course, but also a lot of women, too -- think about the sexual framework of ravishment, for instance, something loads of women, for a very long time, have idealized.

• It also sounds to me like the way you're framing sexual power is in a pretty small box, that you're talking about who initiates a couple very specific sexual acts, and who decides they are done. I'm not really seeing much about everything that can and does go on before, during and after both of those things, about access or lack of access to wanted sex, about what kind of personal power people feel or don't feel when it comes to sex and sexuality, about what kind of cultural or social cache sex does or doesn't give people, etc. Just stuff to think about.

• How does culture define male sexual pleasure? How much pleasure is really involved? I ask because, on the whole, I find that male sexual pleasure is something most frequently framed as "getting sex" and "getting off" and a whole lotta not much else, which, to me, has often seemed like it doesn't account for pleasure much at all, or really, really shortcuts it, leaving a lot of men feeling unable to actually explore pleasure in a much bigger way.

And that's all I've got, just some extra thoughts and tidbits to consider.

(I do think, though, that it sounds like -- and you're clear and candid about that -- a lot of this is colored by your personal experiences of feeling like you haven't had agency in your sexual relationships with men. Obviously, that's really crummy, so if you want to talk about that here or elsewhere on the boards, and talk about how to change that, I'd certainly be happy to do that with you.)

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Heather
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Actually, I should have added something (still getting the coffee into my system over here).

From my own feminist framework, where I see gender inequities as a root oppression, men, as a class, worldwide, DO have more power, period. We have to take intersectionality into account, mind, because gender isn't the only issue in oppression: race/color.ethnicity, social/economic class, ability/disability and more all play parts. So, by all means, heterosexual white women of economic means are likely to have more power, in a general way, then poor gay men of color.

That all said, if we are JUST talking men/women, I'd agree that man, as a broad class, have more power, and that includes around sex.

But here's the big but.

The big but is that even if that is true, if/when women who would sexually interact with men have a choice about with whom they have sexual relationships or interactions -- and in some cultures and areas women do NOT have those choices, and obviously if and when men sexually assault women that's not a choice, either -- then women get to choose male partners who do or do not wield all the sexual power or refuse to share it equitably.

Like BrightStar said, she's in a relationship where she has chosen a partner who obviously doesn't dominate sexual interactions like your partners to date have. I, too, in any sexual relationship, with someone of any gender, aim to choose only partners where your sexual relationship and interactions are equitable, and ditch the ones where it's not (including when it doesn't feel equitable to me because I feel *I* have more of the power than is sound, or the dynamic is such that the other person doesn't really want to have their own agency in a way that feels equitable to me).

And I do think that we have to account for all of this stuff differently if and when women DO have a choice in male partners when it comes to sex (or anything else). Because even though no one can live in a vacuum where cultural or, when they are bonafide, biological inequities, when there is a choice with sex and sexual partners, that radically changes the landscape when it comes to who has what power or level of power, you know?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Robin Lee
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I want to add a brief comment about biology: In actuality, there is only a 3% genetic difference between the average body labelled male and the average body labelled female. While 3% can encompass a lot of biological material, 97% encompasses a lot more. So, biologically, males and females are more alike in terms of the things that are dictated by genetic material than we are different. This becomes even more complicated (in a good way) when we consider how many people have intersex conditions.

So, the idea that biology dictates primary differences between males and females can't, in my mind, even begin to cover a fraction of the picture.

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Robin

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BustaEve
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Thank-you for replying with such detailed responses, I honestly wasn't expecting that! [Smile]

I'll need to read through them again and reflect on the points everyone has made over the next few days.

Firstly, apologies for not recognising that a person with a penis does not necessarily identify as being male.

One thing that did immediately stand out to me was the concept that I (fortunately!) can choose who it is I engage in sexual activity with, and to paraphrase Heather, I can therefore choose male partner/s with whom sexual power is equitably shared.

Furthermore, I suspect another factor which is influencing my thinking regarding this topic is how I view myself and what I think men want from me and from sex. I feel as those my pleasure is secondary to the man's. So, the following phrase is probably 'unsound' (to apply one of Heather's oft used terms) but I feel as though I should be 'grateful' that a man would want to have sex with me, and therefore in 'gratitude' I should ensure he experiences orgasm. I feel this way because I am not attractive and I am fat and so I figure that if a man wants to sleep with me, it's not because he is interested in me, but because he wants sex.

On an aside, it's really nice to hear that Brightstar171 enjoys a relationship with her partner that does reflect sexual equity.

Again, i do want to think about the responses in some more detail over the coming days etc.
And thanks again for replying [Smile]

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Heather
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Of course!

So, bouncing off of some of the things you added here, I'd say you might also want to think about:

• Why are you not attractive? By whose standards? And why is fat unattractive by default? Again, by whose standards? On that same note, would that mean that someone who found you attractive was wrong?

• Why should you be grateful a man would want to have sex with you? When we feel gratitude, it's because someone did something for us, something we wanted or needed. But I hear you saying your sexual experiences haven't been beneficial to you. So, what are they giving you you feel you should be grateful for?

• What would you being part of a man's orgasm give him that he couldn't give himself via masturbation? In other words, if that's "payment" for the not-yet-listed benefits sex with a man gives you in this whole framework, what's so great about that payment? Do you know what I mean?

• Let's also try this on: why have sex with men at all if and when you can't have the dynamics you want with it? In other words, if you're choosing to be with men when this isn't of benefit to you and doesn't feel like anything but exploitation or oppression, why do you think you're making those choices instead of opting out?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BustaEve
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In regards to being attractive/unattractive, I don't think it is unrealistic to say there are certain standards/ideal that a majority of people can agree constitute beauty and attractiveness, even if this is socially conditioned. I mean, is there not a reason that female models/actresses/beauty pageant contestants are frequently tall, slim/thin - yet with sizable breasts, long flowing hair etc.
I do not meet any of those standards. Also, I don't think it would be wrong if a person did find me attractive, it would just be that most wouldn't, and that's the way it is. (re-reading this the tone sounds harsh but really I'm just being matter-of-fact).

Some of my sexual experiences have been good, but I always feel that underlying undercurrent that male wants and needs are privileged - and living in a patriarchal society I think this is true not just in terms of sexual pleasure but almost all facets of life.

Part of me can still hardly fathom that a man would like me, want to get to know me and find me attractive, hence why I feel a sense of "oh my gosh, I can't believe he wants to sleep with me I best ensure it's good for him".

Your last point Heather is particularly arresting, and it is a question that has popped up in my mind before. Why do I sleep with men, or continue to, when I can't (always) get the dynamics I want? There are probably several answers to this including:
- Because if I can't get love, I'll take sex.
- I enjoy being physically close with someone
- I often have a fear (that's probably too strong a word, but it conveys the idea well) that each time I have sex it might be the last time and so if the opportunity does present itself I should take it, lest it never appears again
- because I never did anything sexual (not even kiss) until I was 23.5 years of age and I feel that I have already missed out on so much and I don't want to miss anymore
- I can't imagine a man would get any pleasure in pleasuring me so I'm hesitant to ask them/tell them what I would really like
There are probably other reasons too, but for now those are the main ones I can think of.

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Heather
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I think there are always some really important things to bear in mind with cultural beauty standards:

• They don't stay the same. In my lifetime alone, I can think of the prevailing cultural beauty standards, for women alone, in the United States alone, changing at least four times in very major ways. And of at least three of those times when what was apparently the standard was very different than it is now and then the one you are stating (for instance, there was a period in the 80s where short hair was much more the beauty ideal than long hair).

• Youth is almost ALWAYS a part of those standards. So is able-bodiedness, and often a certain race (especially when we're talking about whole nations, not smaller communities), and a certain social class. So there are people, LOADS of people, who are ALWAYS going to be outside those standards, or only inside them for a very short period of time. For instance, on the whole, once people are over 40, they're just out, period: and yet, loads of people over 40 have people who find them attractive.

• These standards aren't just about women or about ideals men set about women. Really, they're about ideals people SELLING THINGS set for people, and those come in all genders. I agree, women are hit harder by these standards because our value, in a broad, class way, has more to do with looks. But.

• This one, I think, is what's most important: what individual people find attractive is both a) VERY individual, and even when influenced by a given cultural beauty standard, still often unique and b) not just about looks.

And I'd add onto that, that more times than not, the people most hung up on beauty standards are those trying to meet them for themselves, rather than those who might put them ON other people. Do you know what I mean?

Again, just more food for thought.

Really, reading the last part of your post, it sounds to me like you'd probably benefit a whole lot by taking time away from sleeping with men and investing your energy into working on your own self-esteem and into being more selective, once you've done that, about who you choose to sleep with, so you can simply start to have different experiences than you have.

Because this really isn't just about you looking how you look. For example, I know plenty of fat women who have sex lives with partners where the dynamics are equitable, where they are found attractive and valued, etc.

And I hear you being worried about missing out, but you know, we really can't miss out on crap, you know? Hurrying to get to the yucky stuff doesn't make much sense, and if all we're finding is crap, then heck, better to miss out.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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breath
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Love how you said the last part, heather. We can't really miss out on crap.
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BustaEve
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Your right Heather, in that I should take some time to work on my own self-esteem, so that I don't "settle' for whoever, and hopefully if I am more selective and engage in sexual activies in the context I want (ie. a romantic, loving, relationship with a caring partner) then the dynamics would be more equitable and I wouldn't feel used or oppressed.

Thanks again for your time. [Smile]

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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
Because this really isn't just about you looking how you look. For example, I know plenty of fat women who have sex lives with partners where the dynamics are equitable, where they are found attractive and valued, etc.

I'm one of those women (well actually I identify as agender but I generally "present" as a woman to most people).

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copper86
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I read this thread a few days ago; and now that I finally have a functioning laptop, I can now write out a lengthy response!

I think that biology, since it is a natural science, can be studied and looked at from varying angles and stay objective as far as the facts are there, the studies have been done in lab environments, and that the results are unchanging no matter who repeats the study. But, I also think that biology can be interpreted or thought about in varying respects depending on the view of the scientists or those observing the results. I hope that makes sense! For instance, someone can look at the biology of sex and state that, "It appears that males have some kind of domination or control over the event; since he has to have an erection and he has to be able to penetrate;" but, someone else might look at that and state, "That may be true in some respects; but females, though they do not have that anatomy, still have control over the anatomy they do have and whether or not they are aroused can also impede on the sexual activity itself, even if the male is aroused."

But, speaking from a sociological and societal point of view (which is much more subjective and not as clear-cut), I think that males may indeed have "some" kind of advantage; but it depends also on the community and also on the "couple" in question. North America seems to be mostly patriarchal; but I bet if we brought this topic to a matriarchal society, they would have different responses that would cite the woman as being the one who has more of an advantage. In my own opinion, I think that males do have an advantage; but women aren't biologically submissive in the notion that they can choose to be aroused or not and that can also affect the social interaction.

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Heather
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I'd also pipe in that again, when we're talking about consensual sex -- about sex, not rape -- and women being in a position to have a choice on if they engage in sex or not, erection seriously is a total non-issue.

...because if someone isn't forcing theirs onto or inside of someone's body, there's no domination-by-penis (or any other body part, including when we take gender or what's in people's pants out of this equation entirely) happening in the first place.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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BustaEve
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I agree that regarding consensual sex, women have a choice if they engage in sex or not.

(im trying to word this next part carefully because I know Heather will pull it apart - and perhaps rightfully so)
But I guess for me, and I would suspect for other people too, that the prominence of a male's erection makes me feel that their is some onus on me to facilitate the male's orgasm. I know for me that if a male partner has an erection I feel some 'obligation' to perform oral or manual sex or engage in vaginal sex and I would find it difficult to say 'no'. I know i probably shouldn't feel this way, but that's the way I feel.

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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by BustaEve:
I agree that regarding consensual sex, women have a choice if they engage in sex or not.

(im trying to word this next part carefully because I know Heather will pull it apart - and perhaps rightfully so)
But I guess for me, and I would suspect for other people too, that the prominence of a male's erection makes me feel that their is some onus on me to facilitate the male's orgasm. I know for me that if a male partner has an erection I feel some 'obligation' to perform oral or manual sex or engage in vaginal sex and I would find it difficult to say 'no'. I know i probably shouldn't feel this way, but that's the way I feel.

I'm not going to tell you you "shouldn't" feel that way, feelings are feelings, but that kind of feeling I would think comes from society saying that women have an obligation to satisfy men sexually and that a woman must be available for sex when a man wants it, rather than anything inherent to the wiring of women's, people with vulvas/without penises or people in general's brains. You could validly argue that in a culture which believes that aroused people are entitled to partnered sex (which at this point is most if not all existing cultures to some degree, especially if the aroused one is the man), the fact that men have a more visible sign of arousal gives them an advantage in guilt tripping their partner, but (on top of what Heather said about how men often get involuntary erections while they are being raped/sexually assaulted), if we didn't have that societal belief, and if we didn't believe that men are entitled to sex when they want it (while ignoring the ways that women's bodies may be aroused or not, indicating a part of whether sex is likely to be a good experience for them at that time or not - obviously if anyone doesn't want to have sex with others and/or themself that's that, but if someone does want to have sex, then they may be aroused physically to the extent that it is a good idea if all participants are consenting, or they may not), then there wouldn't be an issue. Erections don't send out mind control waves.

Also, there can be so much emphasis placed on a man's ability to get an erection that if he can't get one there's potentially public humiliation if other people find out and his partner may think he is no longer attracted to them even if that's not the reason why he's having difficulty getting one.

[ 06-29-2012, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Jill2000Plus ]

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Heather
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BustaEve: I wouldn't pull that apart, I'd just suggest you consider the fact that you feel that way and then ask yourself what you could do to change your mind there so that you're not standing in your own way of equitable sexual relationships with men, if that's what you want.

My point is, obviously not everyone feels that way or has to feel that way, so I think that's more about your perceptions than about anyone's penis, if you get me.

And in doing that, maybe think about why you feel an erection needs to result in an orgasm in the first place? I mean, physically, an erection isn't a demand for an orgasm. It is instead -- just like with people with vulvas -- just a response to some kind of stimulus, be that intellectual, emotional or physical, a response that will come and go orgasm or no orgasm.

Maybe it might help to think of other physical responses like that people have? I mean, if I'm around you and my stomach growls, does that mean you need to feed me? Especially if I'm able to feed myself, or that growl might not even mean I want food?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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quote:
Originally posted by Jill2000Plus:
[QUOTE] Erections don't send out mind control waves.

Also: this is genius. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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BustaEve
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Jill2000Plus - your response was great, lots of food for thought :)And I completely agree with your comment "I would think comes from society saying that women have an obligation to satisfy men sexually".


I hope I didn't come across as harsh when i said Heather would pull apart my comment, I only meant I myself know it is not a completely sound way of thinking and I knew Heather, with her wisdom and knowledge, would constructively challenge my comment [Smile]

I was thinking early today that what probably it boils down to is that I think "well, if I don't do this for the man (oral/manual/vaginal sex) then someone else will and he won't want to see me again". So, again this is more about what I think, how I have interpreted what the media and society tells us about male/female dynamics, my own experiences etc.

Thanks again to all for your insights [Smile]

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Redskies
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BustaEve, I know that anecdotes often don't mean much in the face of many messages we've personally received, and our own feelings, but I wondered if it might help at all for you to know that I've known straight male, with penis, partners, who regularly actually preferred kinds of sex that didn't involve their penis, including when they had erections. People don't always fit the narrow mould that we're conventionally fed [Smile]

Some of what you said here reminded me of something I read a while ago. I can't remember where/who, but someone pointed out that often, when we talk about intercourse, the penis is really centred as active and the doer, and the vagina as passive and receptive... which, while it completely fits the underlying set of ideas/assumptions you're talking about, doesn't fit how many people actually experience it. Even I found it quite new and interesting to think about intercourse as "vagina round penis", and, rather than the penis as penetrating, the vagina as "enveloping" (it's a slightly funny word, but I've not thought of better...). That way of framing it fits my own experience much better, and I feel more comfortable with that - it feels like, hello agency and action!

I very much agree about how penis-centric the standard, basic and un-thought-out messages about sex and sexuality are, and it's maddening. Pretty much like a lot of other messages about sex, though, there being those messages doesn't mean that it really is that way, and doesn't mean that any one person's sex has to be that way. It's totally possible for an enveloping partner to be active, in charge, and running the show [Smile] (and to please themself, too, and not their partner).

I think it's really "mythology of the penis", the idea that erect penises can have such power. I mean, erections can be fickle sometimes; if I was wanting to think of body parts that could contribute to power, I'd pick something more reliable and controllable than penises!

(Also loving the penises-without-mind-control-waves [Smile] , and agreeing lots with the rest of what Jill said.))

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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BustaEve
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Thanks for your input Redskies, very helpful [Smile]
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Kabith
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Hello!

I would like to add my two cents. I only read about half way down the page, but I just wanted to let you know...

I'm fairly overweight, and I've had self esteem issues before (and sometimes still do. Our media is so in our faces that sometimes it is hard to stay strong and ignore the crap), and I used to have anxiety about what men would expect out of me when it comes to sex.

Then I met this guy. He has is flaws, but he has healed me in many ways just in the way that he treats me. He values me, thinks that I am beautiful (the other day, he said that I looked like a painting of Venus... c:), and enjoys being around me.

And to top it off... He gets more excited pleasuring me then when I try to pleasure him. Seriously. If I were to just pleasure him, it would not be as good for him than if I let him "give me a turn." Seeing the other person squirm in wonderful pleasure is more fun, memorable, and meaningful for both of us then just pursuing our own orgasms.

So.. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you are seeking a positive sexual experience from a male partner- it is out there! You just have to wait for the right guy. The right guy won't pressure you, or make you feel like he is doing you a favor. It should feel easy and fun and exciting for the both of you. I just had to wait for the right guy to come along. I had to reject a lot of the crap that kept coming my way. And my positive sexual experience finally happened.

Listen to Heather- don't participate in crap. Participate in something that is good, that makes you feel good about yourself. Find someone that makes you feel like you are worth the sun and the moon and the stars. Because you are! And you deserved to be treated that way.

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Cricket
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I was in a relationship with a guy for over three years, and he was usually far more interested in doing things for me sexually than in having me do anything for him. Plenty of people of all genders get a great deal of pleasure out of pleasing their partners. Men aren't all going to automatically want to "get" sexual things from you without giving you anything back. In fact, sex can be about mutually doing things with each other for everyone's pleasure, without any sort of "giving" or "getting" dynamic happening at all.

I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful woman who has had a lot of body image issues and doesn't fit the "classic" social beauty standard of thin, blonde, blue-eyed, long-haired, busty, youthful whiteness. I have to say, I absolutely adore her and her body. Having sex with her is not doing her a favor, nor do I wish that she look any different than she does now, or think of her a someone I'm settling for or just getting sex out of. You can be a wonderful, desirable, sexy person at any number of different weights.

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