SEX ON THURSDAY | Pleasure in the Problematic: It’s Complicated

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I remember when my high school’s sex ed curriculum made the rhetorical shift from “no means no” to “yes means yes!” My very virgin self imagined kneeling in front of some non-specific penis and asking its proprietor, “May I?,” before he emphatically responds in the affirmative. I was a little confused — this wasn’t the way that I’d seen sex unfold on television, or even in my virgin imagination. I’d realize soon enough that, in reality, sexual consent is requested and received in all sorts of ways I couldn’t have even fathomed at the time. 

College would quickly acquaint me with this reality. I’d soon make a habit of jumping into kinky sex (with familiar partners) without any sort of discussion prior or during. I would let a partner tape my mouth shut and tie me down so entirely that the only choice left for me to make is to “tap out” using my left foot. I would find myself roleplaying (what I can only now admit to myself was) a literal rape victim for the pleasure of some man who enjoys hearing me tell him to stop — but only after we agree on a safeword and exchange consent. 

Sex-positivity and modern feminism collaboratively promote a certain hetero-female ideal — of a self-secure woman who fucks frequently and indifferently, refusing to tether herself to any man lest he get in the way of her career or her individuality. Key to this individualism is that she unabashedly engages in all the godless “unconventional” sex she desires. And if her desire is to be sexually dominated and degraded, then no matter how disempowering her crazy kinky sex might appear to the vanilla eye, her power actually abounds in the fact that she acknowledges her true wants and pursues them in the first place. 

SEX ON THURSDAY | Pleasure in the Problematic: It’s Complicated

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