Ok, like that the above title isn't completely ambiguous - sorry 'bout that! I think I need some more coffee!
As we all know, it is a common, traditional, heterosexual, gender stereotype that men are the sexual agressors, and women are more passive, and respond only when courted or "chased"...
We all know that this can be a bunch of bunk, too. People can't always be fit into such neat little boxes.
What I'm interested in is this: How do you feel about these sterotypes personally? Do you see yourself as "traditional" when it comes to sexual response? Are you aggressive or passive? If so, what do you think that has to do with your gender? Do you feel your passiveness/aggressiveness has more to do with nature, or our daily cultural socialization?
I'm writing from a much older generation but even back in the "swinging sixties" women were always the gatekeeper of heterosexual sex in my experience. I have always had to make the first "move". Not once in my life has a woman ever initiated a relationship with me. After I was in a relationship, sometimes the woman would initiate but usually, that was up to me.
How this works with GLBT? I have no experience. How does this work with straight couples today?
------------------ We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Well, when you're gay, the guy is the sexual aggressor and the guy is more passive. It's very simple really.
For me though, I think I'm a bit passive in relationships merely because I don't have much experience at all. In like, the three relationships I've had I've always been a bit timid and not really assertive because I am not yet sure of myself. It hasn't much to do with biology or hormones or society or the media or anything like that, just my self esteem and experience.
Posts: 356 | From: Phoenix--name that plurally | Registered: Dec 2000
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All things considered, I am pretty aggressive.
Even the first night that my BF and I were together IRL (we were in a LDR and had known each other for a LONG time before that night) I was very comfortable with him despite the fact that I was very much questioning my sexuality. I let him initiate that night, but in general I initiate a lot of the time. I would say that I might initiate more but I think he considers it about 50/50.
I am no stranger to saying what I want and it is really not a big deal. If I want it, then I just go for it.
Now, I have never initiated a relationship, but that is mostly because I came to the conclusion early in life that when agonizing over wanting a relationship is when you're least likely to find one--so I don't really pine or look for them and sure enough, when I am feeling balanced and content and ready that's generally when someone makes some kind of comment to me... which is great because ultimately I get to decide what happens next instead of having all the anxiety of possible rejection, but it just seems to happen that way, not by anything I'm trying to set up.
I am aggressive. I am a 'top', so to speak. My girlfriend, who by day is hyperaggressiveamazonqueen, is a huge softie/submissive/bottom in bed. Most of the time (like 60%). The rest of the time, she's on top, I'm on the bottom, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I'm sure y'all have heard the terms 'bottom' and 'top' before, but to explain for those who haven't, a bottom is the passive person in a couple, if there is one. They're more submissive, and usually on the 'recieving' end of whatever's happening. The 'top' is the aggressive person, who is more dominant and is the 'doer' of whatever's happening. These terms, as far as I know, serve the gay community well enough in definining passive and aggressive roles when definition is needed, though they can really apply to anyone. It also should be mentioned that not many people are always one or the other.
------------------ Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam. ( Tr. "I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head." )
Just to add another meaning, top and bottom are also used as terms in BDSM. They mean pretty much the same thing, except that it's just more of a designation of giver and receiver rather than an indication of who's more passive.
I'm passive-aggressive. I can't be fit in the neat little box. We really like that box metaphor, don't we
Uh anyway, it's my personal opinion that socialization accounts for way, way, more than genetics or "nature". The way I see it, our culture is so far removed from nature, so head-centered, that to blame/credit nature for our traits is to ignore our constant processing of the world around us. So even if something does have genetic causes, it's impossible to prove because of all the "noise".
I think it sucks, personally. I know girl friends, and all they want to do is just grab a guy and kiss him, but they won't because "girls aren't supposed to act that way, he has to make the first move." Notice the words 'supposed' and 'has to'. How unfair is that? I don't consider myself traditional. I'm female, and for the most part we're supposed to be quite and not talk about sex or any of that naughty stuff. But I do bring up sex a lot, particularily with people I'm interested in, and I do tell everyone that they need more sex because they're too high strung (I believe I read somewhere that orgasms relieve stress). So I see myself as very agressive. I think it's cool because, for the most part, it puts me in the power. In most heterosexual relationships, women are usually in power sexually, because the guy is always ready for sex, it's up to the woman to say 'okay'. But this way I control it all.
I think it just has to do with my nature. I'm pretty...okay I'm bossy. I like to be the leader in everything. And I'm really loud too. Some friends and I were at IHOP last night and yeah...we got a few complaints, mostly because of me. It's just how I am
------------------ Brittany Scarleteen Advocate
Finish the fairy tale that you were drunk enough to start - Veruca Salt
This has actually always bothered me. I generally hate fitting into stereotypes. It's not that I don't want to be aggressive, it's just not in my nature. I often initiate sex, but it's somehow in a passive way. Like, I'll decide that I want to have sex, and then somehow indirectly cause the person that I want to have sex with to come over and get to it, ostensibly by their initiation. And when it comes to BDSM play, forget it. Bottom/submissive all the way. Once I tried to top . . . well that is a long funny story which I think I won't repeat here. I don't think that I'm passive about anything other than sex. But I hate that I do the typical "female" thing and let others take control all the time, even if it's more of a pretend control than a true control. Even when it seems like someone else is initiating or controlling the situation, I usually have some sort of subtle ultimate control over what's going on.
I HATED the whole "men want sex, women want love" trope and it made me think I'm somehow less of a woman. And dammit, I'm a woman. Where does this fit in gender identity? Because I was born female, and Lord knows I identified as a girl, and I was attracted to boys, but this definitely messed with my sense of gender identity because I bristled so much at that stereotype. And add that to the fact that the down on my face and body is more noticeable than that of most other women (I'm sure it isn't hormonal, it's fuzzy rather than coarse after all), and well, I sometimes questioned just how feminine I was even though I wanted to be a girl and wanted to be attractive to guys, and was attracted to guys.
-------------------- "What's the point of wearing your favorite rocketship underpants if no one asks to see 'em?" Posts: 87 | From: Virginia | Registered: Mar 2008
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In response to the original question I don't like stereotypes and I think that it's 100% down to culture and society and 0% biology. But that's just me.
I also recognise that when it comes to sexual relationships (well, any relationships really) power dynamics play a big role; often these are gendered powert dynamics (ie man active/ woman passive) or they may be more open or fluid concepts like top/bottom etc, but I still think it's all socio-cultural.
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