In Defense of Period Sex by Jill
Yes to everything in this column:
In defense of period sex from thought catelog
I think it’s weird when guys don’t want to have period sex (just to clarify, ‘period sex’ is when you have sex while a girl is ‘menstruating’ or ‘bleeding out of her vagina,’ in case you were wondering). Listen: I don’t think you should have to eat pussy when it’s leaking the red stuff, I don’t even think it’s necessary that you touch it with your hand (if you’re the queasy type it’s probably better if you don’t) but there are reasons why period sex is much less disgusting than you think.
See, I imagine the taste of blood isn’t so nice when it’s coming out of someone else’s genitals (even if you were the sort of kid that would graze themselves and then suck on the wound), hence why I can forgive a man for not wanting to go down on me while Aunty Flo’s in town. And I’m guessing any sort of digital action would probably lead to dirty sheets as his hands crept elsewhere in moments of passion, so I can sort of (only just) forgive him for not wanting to finger me when I’m on the rag. But sex? When your penis is covered in latex and you don’t have to taste it, look at it or touch it, no apologies, I don’t understand what the problem is.
The good news is, I’m pretty sure we’re all having period sex anyway.
I have met a grand total of one dude in my entire life who was like “no” on the period sex (for the record, he wasn’t saying no in the moment; it was a general conversation, not a negotiation). His reasoning was “it’s gross.” And when I stopped seeing him approximately 24 hours after that conversation, my reasoning was, “I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that a natural, healthy uterus-having body is gross.” Do you have a right to refuse to have period sex because you think bleeding vaginas be nasty? Of course. And do I have a right to leave your ass and think less of you because of that? You betcha. Because it does come down to misogyny, basically — most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month. Vaginas do not exist as sterile, liquid-free penis receptacles (although I hear there’s a toy for that). Lots of healthy vaginas expel blood. And if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free (exception to the “you’re kind of a dick if you think periods are disgusting” rule: People who are universally freaked out by any kind of blood and just can’t handle the sight of it).
Basically, dudes who have sex with women and think period sex is disgusting are the brothers-in-badnews-sexytime with people who think oral sex is gross. Don’t like normally-functioning vaginas? Then you should be disallowed from fucking them.
Geeze, where to start. The post Jill lauds as “I agree with everything!” is, er. Rather Shite.
But don’t take my word for it, oh no. Go read it yourself. Now onto Jill’s post.
And when I stopped seeing him approximately 24 hours after that conversation, my reasoning was, “I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that a natural, healthy uterus-having body is gross.”
Yes, you’re perfectly within your right to dump anyone you like for any reason you like. Everyone else is in their right to do the same. They’re also within their ‘right’ (now that word has some major bagagge, wouldn’t you agree?) to consider you a douche (which actually – is – unhealthy for a body, so far as I know) for whatever reason, up to and including why you dumped them. It’s the old “You can do whatever you like with your actions (not speaking illegally here, like say, murder) but don’t expect me to agree with your reasoning.”
Which is what I think the heart of that ‘conversation’ on Feministe was really about, whether Jill meant to go there or not.
And when I stopped seeing him approximately 24 hours after that conversation, my reasoning was, “I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that a natural, healthy uterus-having body is gross.” Do you have a right to refuse to have period sex because you think bleeding vaginas be nasty? Of course. And do I have a right to leave your ass and think less of you because of that? You betcha.
Natural and healthy – thems fighting’ words. Jill (and everyone else in the feminist blogsphere (and everyone outside of it as well) already knows that. If not explicitely (in the feminist blogsphere) then definitely implicitely outside of it. How do people know this? Because they’re used to prop shit up and squash others. The words are ablist and cissexist/transphobic (because, yes, both). Do not argue the point – go read some 101 blogs if you’re unclear on the matter for any (repeat, any) reason at all.
The next bit in the sentence would be ‘uterus having body is gross’.
A reason (and not the only reason) that natural and healthy are Bad Words in general (if not in particular, depending on context) – Jill is now assuming uteruses that are Natural and Healthy bleed.
No, sorry. At my very best I bled for two days every other month. And not heavily, either. And then I’d go months without having a period and I’d forget I was ‘supposed’ to have one every month. That is me being ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’. It’s as healthy as I get. Unhealthy and unnatural for me would be bleeding, like, say – you do. Then I’d know something was wrong with how my body usually works and that something is most likely up to no good. Or at least, more No Good than it usually was.
I was also told I most likely have pcos (don’t worry, they’ll burst! when questioning the doctor about what to do about the pain of cysts). I brought this up because pcos is also a ‘natural system reaction’. It often happens without assistance from others, yes? Ergo, NATURAL!
Disabled people don’t exist unless you want to assume all our bodies and their functions are automatically horrible, horrible things if they’re not like yours – in which case you use ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ to exclude us specifically so we can’t take part in a conversation that, by all other meanings, includes us. Defending such vocabulary with “It’s science!” is something I hear way to much of.
Do you understand yet?
When you have to live with something, particularly things that cause you physical or emotional pain on an extended and severe basis that you can do little to nothing about it’s often best not to think of yourself as unhealthy and unnatural. So kindly don’t use those words to describe anyone but yourself if you should so choose.
Have some fucking empathy.
N’so far, I see no definitive statements by Jill that says Cis Het Women and only cis het women bleed from uterus having, ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ vaginas. I’d just like to point that out, hey?
Anyway, the opposite of healthy and natural would be …unhealthy and unnatural. Not something you want to be describing people’s bodily functions as if you’re not describing your own. This point bears repeating.
Do you have a right to refuse to have period sex because you think bleeding vaginas be nasty? Of course. And do I have a right to leave your ass and think less of you because of that? You betcha.
Yes, yes, and I have the right to think you’re being foolish in your blanket descriptions of why people wouldn’t want period sex. Not wanting to do something doesn’t automatically equal “Get the fuck away, your crotch be Nasty.” or any other body part.
The thing is, other people are also allowed to not be attracted to everything about your body, even if they’re your partners. Not being attracted also doesn’t equal disgusted. I’d like to point that out, as there seems to be a lot of misinformation about such things.
You forgot the part where they’re also allowed to ‘think less of you’ for such kicks to the curb.
(it might just be me, but does that sound like sexual pressuring to anyone else? Yes? Rape apologism? “Do this or I’ll leave you?”. As opposed to having a discussion about not wanting to do a sexual act? Because, and I’ll be blunt here, I consider every single “I’ll think less of you and leave if you don’t do what I want in bed” sexual coercion. There’s a ifference between ultimatums and discussions.) ;
“I’m not doing that and I’m not comfortable doing that.”
“Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything I can do?”
“No, nothing you can do, I don’t think. Rather not talk about it, really.”
Now comes another time for a discussion on Relationships between partners and what each needs and wants (and how they’re not always the same thing) out of the other. Compromises will be made – otherwise, no relationship. And no, no one claimed it’s easy to have these conversations. And yes, they often hurt. But it’s a damn sight better than being a deliberately coercive jackass.
But see, that second one? Much better than, say, Jills’ ….ideas. If I do say so myself. And I do.
You betcha. Because it does come down to misogyny, basically — most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month. Vaginas do not exist as sterile, liquid-free penis receptacles (although I hear there’s a toy for that). Lots of healthy vaginas expel blood. And if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free (exception to the “you’re kind of a dick if you think periods are disgusting” rule: People who are universally freaked out by any kind of blood and just can’t handle the sight of it).
Mmmmm…….no. I’m still waiting on how not wanting to fuck someone on their period comes down to misogyny always. Which is what you meant by ‘basically’.
Oooooo, and then there’s the most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month.
Most is not ‘all, and it’s incredibly unfair to exclude people who’re going through essentially the same thing to sit out a discussion that is also about them. Let’s see, people who don’t consider themselves either men or women and have a ‘regular’ period, people who don’t consider themselves either men or women and don’t have a ‘regular’ period but do have one, people who don’t consider themselves either men or woman and take hormones or birth control, so may occasionally have one but might not depending on the birth control, trans men on hormones, trans men not on hormones, trans men on birth control ….I’d also like to point out most trans people don’t get surgery or take hormones, be nice if you’d quit pretending they don’t exist. People may also not have regular ‘once a month’ periods due to disability, or may have them much more often than ‘once a month’. Women who do not (or don’t only) have sex with men (cis or trans). Pregnant people also exist – cissexual and transsexual. Your ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ not withstanding. That equals, what, at a minimum many, many thousands of people who suddenly match your criteria but yet aren’t apparently included on something that effects them.
I have to say, Danse Macabre, Danse!
And you move jerkily to the tune, too.
most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month.
is not shorthand for ‘cissexual straight het women.”
No matter how much you wish it was.
Vaginas do not exist as sterile, liquid-free penis receptacles (although I hear there’s a toy for that).
I’ve yet to meet anyone that fucks women (cis or trans) that expects a steril, liquid free vagina. I’ve also yet to meet anyone that fucks anyone with a vagina to have it be steril and liquid free. Who the hell are you screwing, I wonder?
Now, a caveat – that doesn’t mean there’s automatically no shame involved with your own body (in this case genitalia) when someone doesn’t want to do something with you sexually that you would like. This goes for everyone. Intellectual acknowledgements hold not a candle to emotions. Unforunate but true. I’m well aware that people don’t consider my crotch steril and liquid free, particularly during sex. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had reactions to some snubs where I thought they were put off by the sheer amount of liquid that can be involved. Or, you know, other things, since differences between bodies are often large and varied. And you know, I don’t actually know what put them off. Was too embarrased to ask at the time, though I did have some conversations with them later about it. Still worried about it, actually.
That doesn’t, however, give me the authority to proclaim all the people who aren’t doing X with, in this case, my crotch is because they must be harboring deep seated feelings of misogyny against me.
I mean, come on.
Lots of healthy vaginas expel blood.
There’s that word ‘healthy’ again. Moving right past the Fail –
And if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free
You sound really, really homophobic. It sounds like your saying “Go fuck a (cis) Dude if you think pussys’ are gross. Y’faggot”.
It’s also cissexist/transphobic (because cissexism leads directly to transphobia) to assume anyone without a vagina shouldn’t be having sex with someone with one if they don’t want to have sex on someone’s period. It ignores lesbians, pansexuals and bisexuals** who also don’t want to have sex with someone else on their period.
(exception to the “you’re kind of a dick if you think periods are disgusting” rule: People who are universally freaked out by any kind of blood and just can’t handle the sight of it).
You don’t get to decide for people contrary to their own words on why they do or do not want to fuck you in a particular way. Disgust with something does not equal disgust for something, either. It might, but then, it might not. Your possible partners decide that. And while you can decide they’re being assholes you don’t get to make sweeping judgements about what their reasons really mean. You also don’t get to tell anyone (and be respected) what reasons they’re allowed to have for not fucking you.
Thanks for playing.
And now, to some of the comments!
Most of the commenters (and Jill) insisted the post was meant only to include and be for cissexual het women fucking cissexual het men. I suspect mandatory monogamy was included as well, considering all the objections were brushed under the rug via spam filter.
Like Trans people who have / have had sex with people who may bleed and women who fuck women. When it was pointed out that they were being ablist, cissexist/transphobic, homophobic, et cetera and so forth, people were roundly mocked, informed that the word ‘privilige’ was now null and void because “You use it too much!” and banned.
Can you maybe let us into the clubhouse long enough to discuss the topic?
How can you continue to insist that this is only a cis het couple problem?”
Nobody has insisted that. What people, including myself, have said, is that this article is about this particular dynamic as it occurs between men and women in hetero relationships. I really don’t see how discussing a problem that straight cis women often encounter problems with misogyny in their relationships with men “silences” anybody.
No. It wasn’t listed between men and women. Jills post excluded the words men and women (specifically, as she reiterated at least twice in the upthread comments – though she did it really badly) except at the bitter end. If you’re under the impression that people with vaginas who bleed (past, present or future), and have partners who’re men will under no exception ever experience mysogyny (yes, misogyny – not only a thing directed at cis women!) about periods and sex, think again. Which is, incidentally, the whole point of the post. Mysogyny, periods and sex. <i>There is no problem that only effects cisexual heterosexual women. Or if there is, I’m not seeing it. So if anyone knows what one is, Do Tell.
To reframe this, if men went through menses instead of women, ie. they bled from their penis’ as we women do from our vaginas, I would not want to have intercourse with them during their menses. I would find it gross. Would that make me a “man hater”?”
“Damn. If men went through menses, there would be a goddamn celebration every fucking time some dude got his period; it would be a prerequisite for the priesthood (after all, if you don’t bleed, how can you hope to understand the suffering of Jesus?) (and I tip my hat to Gloria Steinem, here). We wouldn’t even be talking about whether or not it was gross to have sex with men during their periods, because the cultural discourse would valorize menstruation.
Last I checked, people’re still willfully ignoring men with periods who date anyone, least of all other men, and the mysogyny that can come along with it. You’re also ignoring trans people in general with periods (past, present and future) who also date men. Again. Or anyone who dates someone with a period, for that matter. Perpetuating mysogyny is hardly the niche of cis men. Not, mind, that I consider people automatically mysogynist if they don’t want to do any particular act with me (or anyone else).
So who the fuck is keeping you out? Have your comments been deleted?
Funny you should ask that. Why did you ask that? It’s not like I could, say, answer you there when I’ve gotten sent to the Abyss. But now that you mention it. Yes, they have been deleted. Two of them. They were in moderation for a couple of hours (I’m a big fan of F5) and suddenly “Poof!”
Away they went. They didn’t come back, as you can plainly not-see. I can even point out where they were supposed to be located. What I can’t do is retrieve them.
MadGastronomer 9.4.2011 at 10:49 pm
This whole thing is just disgraceful. People are actually insisting that there is no erasure of anybody because they were erased in the first post. People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing. This is some shitty damn feminism, erasing women, and trying to define what women are, while insisting that that’s not what’s going on at all. This is why Feministe’s reputation has gone so far downhill.
Ain’t it just. While I agree with that paragraph of yours, it’s going rather badly with the bit about women, because the women and misogyny in your paragraph excerpt isn’t including a good chunk of the people who’re getting ignored. Trans men, trans people who aren’t men, and mysogyny (specifically with regards to periods.)* You might want to seperate them, looks like they’re running together with your subsequent paragraphs. Also, while I identify as female I do not identify as a woman. Not even remotely. Not everyone who deals with the issue (vaginas bleeding + sex + misogyny) will agree to camping in the ‘woman’ box just because they’re not men. I am glad y’didn’t leave out women who have sex with women, though. That’s just a bit of an awkward paragraph.
* Because trans women also experience mysogyny (obviously), including misogyny for not having periods. Biological essentialism is shitty. Make a note.
………And now, on to a post that Feministe would do well to emulate. Including the comments section, where people disagree without resorting to willful erasure and everyone is allowed to speak!
From No Seriously, What About the Menz,
With my own excerpts comments added, they’re not in the original comments thread – I’m afraid I found it a bit late.
September 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm
I think the problem with Jill’s post is that she did not sufficiently disconnect those two, and so she was talking about disgust for period sex when she really should have been talking about disgust for periods.
Yes! Thank you! The action is not the object! And boy, does there need to be discussion on bodily functions for everyone’s bits.
September 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm
“And, further, I think a guy would have every right to be upset if such a women was about to have sex with him until she got his pants off, and then reacted disgusted and left. ”
Ahem. When it comes to trans people, people seem to think that your surgical status should almost be public knowledge. Because OMG if a guy saw me as a girl and then saw I had a (pretty small) penis instead of a vulva, he might go berserk. Well, it’s not supposed to be my problem you know – but even feminists will say that I should have disclosed, and basically victim-blame trans people on that basis.
That. Very Much That. There’s a difference between not wanting to have sex with someone for whatever reason and reacting as a rude ass. If anyone’s ever in that situation where they change their mind about sex because their partners’ pants came off, try apologizing. “I’m sorry, it’s me. I had preconceptions about you that I shouldn’t’ve had, and I didn’t think to ask first.” Yes, it’ll still most likely hurt like hell, but at least you’ll be a decent human being. And an honest one.
September 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm
The thing that most bothers me about the DTMFA meme isn’t that it’s saying to dump the guy, it’s that it is doing so in a highly pejorative way. So it’s not that these women feel entitled to break up with these men (which, of course, they are), they also feel entitled to insult and shame them (which they aren’t).
September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm
Apparently I suck at commenting today. That was to Thomas, not Tamen.
(And incidentally, I find it terribly amusing that a feminist site like Feministe is using “mother fucker” as a derogatory. Because, you know, having sex with a woman who has children is such a horrible, horrible thing…)
Is insult and shame the basis of coercion? Why Yes, I do believe it is! And yeah, motherfucker does seem to be terribly, er. Derogatory.
September 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that the bad reaction has got something to do with Tamen (or possibly zuzu), not something to do with Feministe.”
Not with Tamen being assumed to be male?
I’m reminded of the meme “You must be one of those nasty ——- if you don’t agree with the monolithic Us!”
Valerie Keefe says:
September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm
@Zakudo And, further, I think a guy would have every right to be upset if such a women was about to have sex with him until she got his pants off and discovered he had a foreskin, and then reacted disgusted and left.
I agree wholeheartedly. Where were you a couple weeks ago when people were saying that was a legitimate ‘sexual orientation’?
Oh wait, right, that only applies to trans people.
I’m posting about that complete and utter mess of a thread next.
Hugh Ristik says:
September 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm
“Being disgusted by an ordinary, functioning male body is misandrist, yes.”
Dear Females of the Species,
My ordinary, functioning male Body is a divine thing. But, contrary to popular belief, you are not required to like everything that cometh forth from my Body. You are not required to like the taste of my Semen and Sperm, and you are entitled to be disgusted by my Semen and Sperm crusting on your face. You my respect my Penis in ways that do not require you to take my Ejaculate into your mouth and stomach. You may respect my Smegma from a distance, if Its power if too great for your tongue.
Now, go forth and suck, or do not suck, on the Penes of Men free of feelings of Misandry.
Oh come on, it was amusing.
September 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm
@BlackHumor, if that’s the case then I stand by Tamen. Nowhere did Jill clarify anything to my satisfaction and I did not see anywhere on that thread where people who were offended by her coercive remarks felt that she had addressed them. Where in the thread did Jill say, “oh, sorry for implying that you’re gay unless you fuck my bleeding pussy?” Nowhere. Shaming someone for not doing what you want them to do is coercive. She tried to limit what she meant down to, you know, those guys who we all know who they are, the ones who won’t eat her pussy because they hate women, not the rest of the guys who won’t eat her vagina because, you know… something. That didn’t help her cause, IMO.
September 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm
The way Jill backpedaled in the comment thread reminds me of politicians who, after making a racist comment, defend themselves by saying, “I didn’t mean all black people, just the bad ones that cause these problems. I have black friends…”
Jill botched the entire post and the appropriate response would have been to retract it in its entirety and actually accept some of the criticism that she received, instead of continuing to defend it and claiming that all the people who were offended by it were making a mistake.
Seconded for truth. Me, bitter?
Well, maybe a little.
September 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm
I think as Sagredo pointed out up above, the problem with Jill’s post was not her assertion that you have a right to break up with someone who does not want to perform sex acts that are important to you.
The problem is that the way she stated it was very insulting toward people who do not want to perform those sex acts. She automatically sets it up as “if he won’t do X he’s in the wrong, you are in the right, dump his rear end!” rather than “if he won’t do X and X is really important to you, maybe you two are just not compatible and you need to realize this; if it’s a dealbreaker, you need to break up.” I think she introduces hostility and combativeness into a situation that can be resolved without it.
Yes! It’s called discussion! More people need to practice it.
Brett K says:
September 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm
Glaivester, I agree with most of your points. The way Jill phrased her posts was far from tactful, and, as far as I can tell, not particularly well thought-out. I tend to assume good faith and I honestly believe that she felt she was just making an offhand, snarky comment without realizing the impact that it would have, and that your second quoted statement is closer to what she intended than your first. On the other hand, that doesn’t change the fact that what she said hurt a lot of people, and she does deserve to be criticized for that, even if I think she is awesome 99% of the time.
On the other hand, I am getting kind of sick of people comparing menstruation with urination or defecation. Menstruation is not something that occurs in private for a few minutes each day. It is an extended process that occupies a good portion of most ciswomen’s lives. We menstruate while going to school or work, socializing, playing sports, arguing with people on the internet, and yes, even having sex. That’s why I brought up the pregnancy analogy – it’s a bodily process that may freak you out, but it’s something that many of us live with at certain times. We can’t ignore it, and we have to live our lives anyway. Treating us like we are gross at those times is unfair and misogynistic (given that it is mostly female-assigned people who experience menstruation and pregnancy).
Scratch out cis woman and insert ‘about half the population, ’round 52 percent, give or take.’ and you’d be more accurate about people and their bodily functions. Most afab trans people don’t take testosterone or have surgery. What, you think they’re all celibate, don’t menstruate and childless? And you’re also ignoring trans people who do. It’s not that hard to include us in a conversation. Really it isn’t. I also think you might be confusing the general, incredibly childish loathing adults have for bodily functions (the ‘Ew, cooties!” kind) verse having sex with someone whose having their period. It’s definitely sexist.
September 8, 2011 at 12:36 am
I just want it to be respected, and part of that respect is, to me, not saying that I am disgusting and unfuckable 1/4 of the time. I do, in fact, think that everyone is entitled to that.
Not sure I would say entitled, but I absolutely agree with the sentiment.
I had a girlfriend that almost seemed afraid to put my dick anywhere near her mouth. I never pushed, and I was always respectful. She hardly ever gave me oral. In retrospect, feeling like my dick was this scary thing to her was really harmful to my sense of self, and reinforced already prominent messages in my mind that my (male) sexuality was toxic and damaging to others.
So I totally get where Jill is coming from.
She just comes across as an entitled asshole, is all, thanks to her rampant and prominent shaming tactics. Her post reeks of the toxic “You should count yourself lucky to be down there at all!” attitude I have seen from some women. I would feel a lot better about her if she amended her position in a way that acknowledges that people being squicked by menstrual blood or being uncomfortable with oral sex doesn’t make them misogynists or otherwise bad people, for example.
I do agree with the sentiment. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a possible sentiment for individuals with regards to everyone as a possible sexual partner, as opposed to humanity thinking it about humanity as a whole. Not everyone will want to do everything with everybody – it’s a moot point. However, I do think everyone can agree that just because they don’t find something attractive that it doesn’t mean any single individual (or a group as a whole) is unfuckable because of a specific action their bodies take. Just because one person doesn’t want to do something doesn’t mean someone else won’t want to, and I’m pretty sure everyone can agree on that. Can’t possibly be unfuckable if some people don’t care. And I’m pretty sure it’s a kink for somebody. That doesn’t mean that the people who do care about sex on periods think you, yourself are disgusting just because they don’t want to have sex with you on your period. You are not your menses.
September 8, 2011 at 1:23 am
Brett K, I do not see how finding a particular sex act or bodily function disgusting means that a person does not respect your body. More so, no one is entitled to have their body liked or accepted. Same goes for sex acts that a person may like. That is what I meant by worshiping. It sounds like some people want everyone to think their bodies, everything that comes out of them , and everything they do with them is teh awesome, but no one has to think that. People are allowed to find things gross even if other people disagree.
…………….A.W. cut for length———–
As for comparing menstruation to urinate and defecation, the comparison is accurate as menstruation is essentially the removal of bodily waste. That it happens for an extended period of time really does not change anything. Humans have a natural disgust for human waste regardless of what hole it comes out of. It is pure coincidence that only women expel this particular waste.
Forgetting trans people again….
September 8, 2011 at 7:48 am
@ titfortat, I agree with you on this. People should be straightforward about their desires and what they enjoy doing. Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s no nuance in between totally loving a sex act and completely rejecting it… in fact, the come swallowing analogy is one I’m actually kinda on board with. There’s a difference between “YES PLEASE COME IN MY MOUTH” and “eh, if it turns you on I’ll swallow it, just make sure there’s a glass of water by the bed as a chaser” but both of those attitudes are a totally OK approach. As is “look, I don’t swallow”.
I think what people have a hard time with, is that it’s alright for someone to love period sex, it’s alright for someone to tolerate period sex / do it for their partner’s sake, and it’s alright for someone to not like it at all (If you faint at the sight of blood… please don’t try to soldier through…) And yet on the other side, it’s completely ok for someone to reject a person who is not enthusiastic about the same stuff they’re enthusiastic about.
September 8, 2011 at 8:11 am
But lets be honest here, do we actually think reasonable people reject someone they supposedly love for not doing just one sex act? I think not, and Jill is disingenuous at best for implying that.
Actually, I don’t have a hard time with that. That also, however, depends on your definition of ‘enthusiasm’. There’s quite a few problems with the “Yes means yes!” discourse, and that’s one of them. Here’s a reason why, one you probably haven’t heard before. Which is fine, as I myself heard it only a couple of weeks ago, tops.
Stay with me here.
Apparently asexual means ‘does not experience sexual attraction.” Not “Does not like sex” or “Does not love people.” or “Doesn’t find pleasure in any of the five senses with a partner”.
Apparently I had the wrong definition of asexual previously, because I’m it. I’ve had a total of 4 definitely erotic dreams in my thirty years – and three of them contained absolutely no sex. They all contained physical feeling, and the one that did contain sex I had because I just started wellbutrin and ‘weird dreams’ were a side effect. I’ve also never orgasmed with a partner (although I can come by myself, oddly enough, although the orgasming thing is a personal hangup we’re working through). And it isn’t because the sex isn’t any good. I enjoy giving pleasure and I enjoy receiving pleasure. None of that is dependant on whether I find someone sexually attractive. ‘Enthusiasm’, or part of it, apparently revolves around finding your partners’ body sexually attractive. As opposed to giving and receiving pleasure and enjoying your senses. So I’ve more than a bit of a problem with the definition of ‘enthusiasm’ most people are using.
Brett K says:
September 8, 2011 at 9:40 am
no one is entitled to have their body liked or accepted
Sure, not by your average person on the street. I think we are all entitled to have our bodies liked and accepted by our sexual partners. That’s kind of the point of having a sexual partner, isn’t it? People are allowed to find things gross, sure, but people are also allowed to want, and to seek out, a partner who actually likes their body, and to leave someone who doesn’t.
If you only engage in one sex act, then I suppose it is fair to dump the person who will not do it. If you engage in lots of sex acts and a person refuses to do your favorite, it is rather shallow to dump them because it is not as if you cannot do other things.
What if someone can only orgasm from oral sex? That’s the case for a lot of women. Or, hell, what if oral sex is just really really important to someone? Do you honestly think that’s not legitimate? Because this is really starting to sound like one of those “shaming tactics” you dudes are always going on about.
speaking of which…
But lets be honest here, do we actually think reasonable people reject someone they supposedly love for not doing just one sex act? I think not, and Jill is disingenuous at best for implying that.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it’s perfectly reasonable. Would you think it was unreasonable for a guy to break up with his girlfriend if she refused to have intercourse? That’s just one sex act, after all.
I wouldn’t think it unreasonable. But intercourse isn’t one sex act, nor is het sex the only definition of intercourse.
lol, I have totally gotten a nosebleed while making out. It was horrible.
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to stick your penis in a bloody vagina. But not all sex is PIV, and often the blood can be kept more or less out of sight (hooray DivaCup!). Not that you have to have period sex one way or another, but a menstruating vagina is really not nearly as gross as some people here seem to think it is (and my uterine lining is not poo, seriously, can we stop that).
September 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm
@ozy: While I don’t think that a woman wanting/needing (for some definition of “needing”, IIRC some feminists are rather sceptical about men talking about their sexual needs) oral sex do so because they feel insecure about their genitalia, I *did* get a vibe from Jill’s comments that her thought process went like “culture tells women to have issues with perfectly normal, healthy vaginas; a man refusing to perform oral sex on his partner reinforces these toxic messages, which is why those men should be considered unfuckable by all women,” taking women’s insecurities about their vaginas as a given.
September 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm
“You know women urinate too, right?”
Then it’s misogynist too!
You know if people want to think guys who are okay with period sex are awesome, I’m fine with that. (Hell, it means I get another reason to consider my husband the most awesome man ever.) But saying there’s something wrong with guys(and they deserve to be labeled social outcasts) who don’t is like saying there’s something wrong with girls who don’t swallow or who dislike having a guy’s cum on them or don’t like to give blow jobs or whatever.
Maybe they just don’t like it. It’s possible not to like something for no other reason then you don’t like it.
As for the orgasm issue, there is a not-insignificant number of men who can’t orgasm through PiV intercourse too. Does that mean the women who are partnered with them are obligated to provide them whatever sexual act does cause them to orgasm?
Orgasm is not the be all and end all of sex, people.
September 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm
I don’t agree with the last paragraph of the OP. I don’t expect anyone to do things they’re not interested in and I don’t want to be expected to do things I’m not interested in either.
September 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm
@typhonblue “As for the orgasm issue, there is a not-insignificant number of men who can’t orgasm through PiV intercourse too. Does that mean the women who are partnered with them are obligated to provide them whatever sexual act does cause them to orgasm?”
No, it means that they can end relationships in which women won’t do any of the acts which can make them orgasm and not be “unreasonable”, which was the point being argued.
September 9, 2011 at 3:42 am
Hah, dungone, I think maybe I should’ve been clearer about the time horizon involved. In the past I’ve given it about 3 – 4 months for communication about sex to get clearer. Plus, this is such a two-way street. I’ve tried some interesting stuff in the name of helping guys realize their fantasies, so I feel it’s only right for my partner to do the same for me. That kind of openness in general has been a good filter for guys who have a different philosophy on sex, so I have actually never had to deliver the “I am dumping you because of no oral” speech.
I’d say this philosophy only works if both partners are familiar with what works for them, too, and the ins and outs of their bodies in re: what can cause the delicate and precious pH balance in one’s most intimate Georgia O’Keefe painting to take a nose dive, and such. Or are willing to figure it out together. One of my saddest breakups was with a hot Russian mathematics student who got me Nabokov books as a birthday present, but had trouble orgasming a lot of the time and refused, absolutely refused, to change anything about the sex we were having together, go see a urologist, countenance the idea he might be using a death grip while masturbating, you get the picture. He was super dissatisfied with sex but didn’t believe it could change at all. THAT is the attitude I can’t live with, in a nutshell.
As for the Italian lace dilemma, well, that is why the phrase “let me slip into something more comfortable” was invented
September 10, 2011 at 5:14 am
Amen to your list.
There’s some women who I would have never gone down on, sometimes I don’t even know why I feel that way, it just is how it is.
I had an experience like that, but it was more a gradual thing that came up with one partner due to ways that she was treating me. I felt totally broken, because normally I love giving oral (even on periods), and yet it got to the point with her where it felt like a chore. A chore I felt icky about.
It was amazing when I found my next sexual partner, and I realized I was back to myself again. I love giving oral. Fucking love it.
Perhaps one of the reason’s Jill’s oral post bugs me is because it reminds me of some of those attitudes of that ex of mine. Maybe other people are different, but for me it’s like… if you’ve gotten to the point with a partner where you’re thinking in those terms, then it’s kind of a lost cause anyway, because at that point you’re part of the problem too. Sex isn’t a competitive sport (…unless you’re into that kind of thing).
September 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm
Because even if the reason for a person’s aversion for period sex is misogynistic it is still a big no-no to pressure him into having it. Two wrongs do not make a right.
All this other discussions around menstruation blood’s consistency and smell, whether it is comparable with semen or not or if people are shallow or not for breaking up over an issue and so on are just red herrings.
September 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm
An ultimatium is always coercion by intention. Although a low level coercion. One use ultimatiums because that is the only way or the fastest way to persuade someone. It is often used when a pro-argumentation does not succeed. It is persasion by might in the form of a threat which will be put in effect by the one putting forth the ultimatium in case of non-compliance. An ultimatium without a plausible and effective threat is laughable.
The question is rather; when is low-level coercion acceptable?
A hard question for which I have no clear answers, but I would be really careful to put it into any sexual settings or settings which may cause harm to the other person. No person is harmed by doing the laundry even if they don’t really want to, but a person may be harmed by doing a sex act they don’t really want to do.
What kind of person Jill is beside the fact that she broke rule 3 I don’t have neither much knowledge or opinion about. Rule 3 address an integral part of rape culture – people’s right to say no to sex have long been undermined by calling them names when they exercise that right.
Brett K says:
September 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm
I think that all of these situations could potentially be dealbreakers for some people. I don’t get to decide for someone whether or not they should stay in a relationship; I only get to decide for me. If someone hates nose-pickers, they should probably break up with me, because anyone who gets involved with me is going to see me pick my nose at some point. If someone called me (or a dude version of me, let’s say) a pervert or pedo, I would definitely break up with them. If someone refused to have period sex? Eh, that depends, and I’ve never been in that situation so I couldn’t say. In any case, I don’t think anyone is shallow for choosing not to remain in a relationship with someone, even if I personally don’t particularly like that reason. They’re just a different person with different priorities, and everyone involved would probably be worse off if they stayed.
(I just got dumped, by the way, for what I consider to be a pretty dumb reason, and I STILL respect everyone’s right to choose to end a relationship for any reason.)
I guess the other thing is, when does something become coercive, when sex is involved? Asking isn’t coercive, obviously. Saying “please” isn’t. Nagging is, most of the time. Saying “Hey, this is really important to me and I don’t know if I can be in a relationship without it, so we probably need to figure out some kind of compromise” – I don’t know, but is it worse than “Hey, this is really important to me and I know you’re not up for it, so we’re over”
September 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm
“Hey, this is really important to me and I don’t know if I can be in a relationship without it, so we probably need to figure out some kind of compromise”
is not an ultimatum, it’s a call for negotiations about a compromise. Not a bad thing at all – unless you actually don’t intend to compromise. If that’s the case then the negotiations for a compromise will quickly devolve into an ultimatum.
Ultimatums preclude compromises.
September 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm
“There’s also the fact that women’s sexual desires are often ignored or written off.”
I think men’s sexual desires outside of PiV intercourse (or the idea that a lot of men don’t get off from PiV intercourse) are often ignored or actively stigmatized.
Wanting oral sex seems to be seen as being a disgusting sexual imposition on a woman and/or a way of dominating her. Wanting anal sex is the same as wanting oral sex except ten times worse. Wanting a hand job instead of PiV sex is rarely addressed because in the stereotypical sex acts hierarchy, men prefer PiV to hand jobs, blow jobs to PiV and anal to everything else.
And that’s not even getting into the stigma attached to nipple play, foreskin play(if he has one) or anal play(on the guy).
Looking from the outside in the Man Sex Script is: Get Hard, no matter what, PiV for as long as possible(hopefully till she orgasms), Get Off, no matter what. If she doesn’t orgasm, it’s your fault; if you don’t orgasm it’s your fault. If she doesn’t get wet, it’s your fault; if you don’t get hard, it’s your fault.
In this sense the Standard Sex Script, while defined by a male orgasm, is really more defined by the idea that men don’t have the right not to orgasm.
September 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm
Well, Brett, if you ask me there are really narratives for each gender that suggest we should all be downplaying sexual desire. For women there’s the whole “ladies only have sex to keep a man, they don’t actually like it” thing, and for men there’s the “too driven by sexual desire, prone to exploiting partners” thing. Like, yes, people do need to be careful that they aren’t pressuring a partner to perform sex acts that partner isn’t into… but at the same time, there is simply nothing wrong with wanting a satisfying sex life, articulating one’s desires, and taking steps to find compatible partners. Plus it’s not like you can just un-expand your horizons.
Part of what might help square this circle is the fact that people don’t universally like or dislike the same stuff. I would definitely not stay with a guy who is unwilling to give oral, because it’s a big part of sex for me. But, I’ve heard from enough women who can’t get off from oral at all, and are completely indifferent to it. Men who have a difficult time with giving oral sex are probably well advised to find a woman who isn’t particularly into it.
This is where I thought the Feministe posts went off the rails… So all men should be willing to give head, and have period sex, but women have the option of being passionate about, indifferent to, or completely uninterested in, receiving oral and having sex during our periods? Umm, pretty sure people naturally have diverse preferences, and we’re best off looking for someone whose preferences overlap with ours to a large extent.