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Fucking While Feminist: The Unfuckables

I Fuck While Feminist by making decisions about who I won’t fuck. If I’m going to support the right of women to control their own bodies, their own lives, and be equal partners in their relationships, I need to respect myself enough to label some men as unfuckable. For me, this starts with a recognition of the ways in which problematic narratives about sex, race, and gender permeate gay culture.

Looking at a M4M personals section, you’ll see a few recurring requests made of potential partners. Men want men who are HWP, Height/Weight Proportional, men who are of a certain race, usually white, and men who are masculine. Or butch. Or “straight-acting.” Shockingly, thin masculine white men seem to be a hot commodity in the gay community! As someone who has had sex with a wide variety of dudes, fat and thin, dudes of color and white dudes, masculine and feminine, I find all of this really, really repulsive. I refuse to fuck someone who is stupid enough to think that weight or race or gender expression determines how fuckable someone is. People bristle at the suggestion that they think critically about their sexual preferences, clinging tightly to the old “the heart wants what it wants” narrative, hoping to be allowed to discriminate with impunity. If it were up to me, those people would fall victim to a lifelong fuck drought as the rest of us resolve to avoid their hegemonic genitals.

When I first started fucking dudes, my criteria was simply mutual attraction. If I thought he was hot, and he thought I was hot, THUNDERCATS WERE GO. As a result, I ended up having my fair share of unsatisfying sex. Guys who wouldn’t kiss. Guys who refused to let me fuck them. Guys so deep in the closet their jizz tasted like mothballs. They lived in a constant state of bargaining, never fully able to accept their queer identity. They thought that if they were “masculine,” if they never bottomed, if they didn’t kiss, that one day they would get the homosocial validation they so desperately craved. They defined themselves by what they weren’t – they weren’t sissies, or nellies, or flamers. Over time, I realized that if I was committed to working toward a world where gender variance was celebrated, where getting fucked wasn’t viewed as something shameful or disempowering, I was going to have to start voting with my dick.

This isn’t simply high-minded “the personal is political” sexual activism. If a dude thinks that he is powerful because he doesn’t get fucked, and you are weak and shameful for getting fucked, you really and truly don’t want to let him fuck you. Sex is about respect, and letting someone inside you without respect is a bad idea. No matter what position I am in, I follow this cardinal rule: If someone needs to be in control, it should be the person getting fucked. I fuck while feminist by insisting that there is nothing submissive about getting fucked. Accepting the standard bullshit narrative of “penetration as dominance” or “penetration as corruption” is ridiculous and arbitrary. It is just as easy to see penetration as submission. A part of your body is inside of me. If you don’t play by my rules, I MIGHT NOT GIVE IT BACK.

This is just a partial list of men I respect myself too much to fuck. It is nowhere near complete, but it is a beginning. I suggest you start your own.

48 Comments

  1. Mike wrote:

    OMG.

    “Hegemonic genitals.”

    And:
    “Guys so deep in the closet their jizz tasted like mothballs.”

    So. Much. Win.

    Also, I never really thought much about the connection between penetration of straight women and gay men. I kind of assumed that most gays were comfortable enough with themselves to avoid petty power struggles in sexual relationships. I thought that the common view of the bottom as the “women” of the relationship was just a product of the sexist and homophobic attitudes of the patriarchy.

    Yeah. I know. I’m a virgin.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
  2. Aliaras wrote:

    This is an interesting post, and it raised a question for me — is there going to be a BDSM-related “fucking while feminist” post at all? Because, as a kinky lady, while I agree 100% that penetration is not dominance, that meme is a useful one for some really hot sexy times. The fact that it’s a meme and not reality becomes obvious when the exact opposite is true when the roles get flipped. In any case, fucking while feminist has always been a bit challenging for me, because I often end up wanting my partner to throw me down, call me very un-feminist names, and do very un-feminist things to me, and balancing that with what I do outside the bedroom is weird sometimes.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  3. Aine wrote:

    can I just say, this “If I thought he was hot, and he thought I was hot, THUNDERCATS WERE GO.” is MADE of WIN.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink
  4. Moneypenny wrote:

    I love this.

    As a woman of color I have found that in our communities, men play by the “I’m fucking you, not the other way around” rules…that pisses me off. I make it super clear that I am in control, pussy is powerful and may break your cock, and that if we act like we respect each other for the thirty minutes we’re in my bed this could be awesome. If that’s too much to handle the door’s to your right, please find your way outside it.

    Every time I fuck it’s on my terms and I strive to retain my agency throughout the act, and I really think it’s a huge part of why I identify as a feminist.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
  5. Moneypenny wrote:

    Aliaras-

    I have this desire too. It’s funny because I am a pro-domme, so I penetrate men for a living, and then when I am playing in my personal life I want to be tied up. The sucky truth is that a lot of people, even kinky folks, equate submission with a loss of power, which I don’t think is true. Submitting is giving something you feel strong enough to do without for a second, that’s powerful as hell. Understanding your desires and being able to articulate them without shame is feminist as hell, right?

    Finding a partner who can still see you as a human worth respecting while topping you is a challenge unto itself though…..Hence this post.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
  6. “A part of your body is inside of me. If you don’t play by my rules, I MIGHT NOT GIVE IT BACK.”

    I may have to stencil this on the headboard of my bed.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  7. Jinian wrote:

    I have nothing to add to the ingot of pure awesome that is this post.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 2:15 am | Permalink
  8. xtinA wrote:

    eeeeee! I think I just figured some stuff out thanks to your words (both the post and the comments) Thank you so much!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 2:28 am | Permalink
  9. Maud wrote:

    If it were up to me, those people would fall victim to a lifelong fuck drought as the rest of us resolve to avoid their hegemonic genitals.

    I vote for this policy (and this writing) with my genitals and all my other bits combined.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink
  10. TD wrote:

    So Garland, where exactly do we draw the line on what we can and can’t “discriminate” against when looking for a partner? Is it wrong for me to only want to have sex with the bepenised , and to find vaginas not at all arousing? (I know this excludes intersex and other non-normative genitals, but I still think the question is valid, and I can’t really find a way to express the question in a way that is totally inclusive.)

    And if that’s *not* a problem, then how is fatness/skin color/smell/butchness different from bepenisedness?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 3:19 am | Permalink
  11. TD wrote:

    Oh and I did really enjoy and agree with most of the article, especially with how a respectful partner is more important that pure hotness, but I find some of the second graf problematic.

    Also, I realize my question could be read in a really annoying tone, but it’s completely serious. In some ways I think I hesitate to draw lines about what people find attractive because I would feel weird and bad yelling at dudes who don’t want to fuck me because I’m fat (which is a thing that has happened).

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 3:25 am | Permalink
  12. k not K wrote:

    First of all, thank you Garland for this post. It is excellent.

    TD, I don’t think that Garland is trying to argue that we have to fuck everyone who wants to fuck us. After all, Garland talks about how people of all different kinds can possess “hotness” so he must know what he finds hot and not hot! I thought he was just calling for people to take a critical look at where our preferences come from before writing a personal ad saying “Muscular, straight-acting Caucasian man seeks same” or w/e.

    Like, don’t let your attractions be driven by society’s expectations of whom you “should” find attractive, develop your own preferences instead. You know?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink
  13. Jonathan wrote:

    Great read, thanks. I’ll second what Aliaras and Moneypenny have said in that I’m pretty kinky and my kinks involve power exchange, making the phrase “If someone needs to be in control, it should be the person getting fucked. I fuck while feminist by insisting that there is nothing submissive about getting fucked.” a little off-putting as it seems to imply that the way of sex that I enjoy is the wrong way.

    I’ll also join TD in asking if you think that smell/sex are discriminatory reasons not to find someone attractive. It seems like you admit to not finding some things attractive (you’d sleep with a guy if you “thought he was hot” and if the feeling was mutual, but isn’t his hotness determined by factors such as weight, sex or scent?) but at the same time challenging other people with similar standards.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  14. Kiri wrote:

    People bristle at the suggestion that they think critically about their sexual preferences, clinging tightly to the old “the heart wants what it wants” narrative, hoping to be allowed to discriminate with impunity. If it were up to me, those people would fall victim to a lifelong fuck drought as the rest of us resolve to avoid their hegemonic genitals.

    THANK. YOU. <3

    I’ll second what Aliaras and Moneypenny have said in that I’m pretty kinky and my kinks involve power exchange, making the phrase “If someone needs to be in control, it should be the person getting fucked. I fuck while feminist by insisting that there is nothing submissive about getting fucked.” a little off-putting as it seems to imply that the way of sex that I enjoy is the wrong way.

    Thirding it here. I realize, Garland, that you meant something different; I’m just kinda tired of kinky sexualities being erased, you know? :/

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  15. Garland Grey wrote:

    I think this conversation has made me more feminist in the space of a few comments than any other conversation I’ve ever had.

    “No matter what position I am in, I follow this cardinal rule: If someone needs to be in control, it should be the person getting fucked.”

    I made this rule because I found that putting someone else in control was hurting me, or that I would sometimes inadvertently hurt my partner, ending the sex, and making the night not as fun as it could have been. And I said that right up front: this is my rule. This is how I have sex. Yes, it looks like a damning erasure of BDSM folks, when you chop the sentence in half. It isn’t even a different sentence.

    I never completely understood what was so hurtful about someone saying “This is how I have sex.” or “This is how I raise children.” or “This is how I ‘blank’” and having other people debate it as if the other person had laid down rules in stone about everyone’s conduct. I understand, now.

    I spent 3 paragraphs beforehand laying out a clear progression: this is the problem with some gay men’s approach to masculinity, this is the problem with getting fucked being viewed as shameful or embarrassing (which, OMG, can I tell you how much of that I was feeling last night? To tell other people that you are a man who has allowed other men to fuck him? That took some bit of personal bravery on my part, [self-back patting completed]) and then I said that I had made this personal decision. That part was lopped off, and suddenly my personal choice was debate fodder. That hurt. Bad. It hurt because I was being positioned as a bad guy, a person who wantonly commits erasure, when the point of the exercise was for me to discuss my own erasure, and I ended up getting erased. That is some trick.

    “I fuck while feminist by insisting that there is nothing submissive about getting fucked.”

    I have had experience with bondage. I have been the submissive partner. I have been tied up and FUCKED. (Not that it is any of your fucking business anyway, but hey, I’d like to avoid a lot of merry go around about whose experience can be brought to bear here, on my personal decisions) I have never submitted to anyone with my ass. Submission occurs in the mind. I made it clear that I was discussing the views of some gay men that the penetrative act is the litmus test for submission. And yet, that was ignored, and a tacit assumption was made about my sex life. That ALSO hurt.

    As to TD, you have equated a person choosing partners based on their own sexual orientation with a person who refuses to fuck someone based on gender presentation, race, or body type. To the point: explain to me why YOUR question wasn’t offensive as fuck?

    To be clear, I’m not angry at anyone, I just had my feelings hurt. Every single thing I just said stands, I’m just not angry.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  16. Kiri wrote:

    I deeply apologize for hurting you. :( I misread you, and I should have asked you first what you meant because I already knew what you didn’t mean.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  17. Paula wrote:

    Garland, I would wager that what happened with your post is what happens to every other post on the Internet – everyone thinks you are talking about THEM specifically.

    Despite the fact that you clearly explained that these were YOUR experiences and YOUR rules for living, certain people have to make it all about them because they were feeling left out of the party.

    I’m very sorry you were hurt. I think you wrote a great piece.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  18. Cupcake wrote:

    “No matter what position I am in, I follow this cardinal rule: If someone needs to be in control, it should be the person getting fucked.”
    I’m not entirely convinced that this sentence involves kink at all. In all my kinky experiences (most of which involved me in the submissive position) the control was shared–we both had the veto power of the safe word and we’d both discussed in advance what we wanted to happen and what we absolutely did NOT want to happen. I think this is what Garland was going for: it *should* be mutual, kinky or otherwise, but if anyone must have more control or direction over the encounter, it should be the person being penetrated if it has to be anyone.
    Unchosen submission (like, someone you go home with who just decides that their phallic item of choice will call all the shots) is entirely different from chosen submission. I don’t feel it’s a fair comparison to make because that’s not what he was talking about.
    And yes, TD, there is a big difference between “I won’t sleep with anyone who doesn’t look like a straight, able-bodied male model” and “I won’t sleep with people whose parts I find unarousing”. By making the conscious decision to only sleep with those who fit conventional marks of attractiveness, you make the person you choose into an object no matter what their sex or gender situation. Sexual orientation does not automatically make the person you want into an object, because ideally you’re still looking for a unique individual with personal characteristics you find appealing rather than just a big warm Barbie and/or Ken.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  19. Jian wrote:

    I fucking love you.

    Friend just sent this article to me while I was complaining about body fascism “no fats no femmes”. Been trying to figure out ways to describe how pissed off I am and better ways of desiring.

    One thing I resonated with was fucking with people that will do the same things you do. I REALLY like kissing, when I was with a guy who didn’t kiss, it wasn’t fun at all for me.

    In the perfect utopian kink community, people hook up based on if they have the same kink. If only things were that perfect. *sigh*

    But one thing that my mind troubles is where do we draw the line between “the heart wants what it wants” and things such as sexual orientation? I’ve been struggling with trying to find the words on how to describe it all.

    Does this mean that we should all be pansexual beings that base our sexual desires on if people want to have the same kinds of sex we want? What about people who only want certain kinds of sex?

    For example, I’m a mostly bottom boi critter. I cannot penetrate a male for various reasons and if I were asked to by a dude to fuck him, I’d have to do it with a strap on. I -like- tops, especially ones that have dominant personalities. They don’t neccesarily have to be masculine, cisgendered, white, non-disabled, but have that mind set and desires. It’s in the eyes, the way their desires play out. Also generally turned off by distinctly female bodies. I have been turned on by trans guys that inhabit bodies that pass relatively well and not turned on by trans women who pass.

    Technically, I’m discriminating on the basis of gender itself, personality, and sexual position. I like the dominant top guy (whatever that means)…

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  20. Aliaras wrote:

    Garland, I’m sorry if I was selectively interpreting what you said — that wasn’t what I was meaning to do, although rereading my post I see how it sounds that way, and I’m sorry for hurting you.

    Instead, that was to me a jumping off point in considering my own kinky sexuality and how it relates to fucking while feminist. I haven’t seen much about that, particularly much about being a female sub interacting with a male dom, which is the direction with the most potential feminist ick.

    I completely agree with what you said — if I’m being fucked by someone who thinks that my being fucked is the act that causes the submission, that will not be satisfactory at all, and we won’t be able to have the conversation as equals that’s required to have a good kink experience. As Moneypenny and you both said, it’s a thing that happens in the mind, and no particular act defines it.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  21. TD wrote:

    Okay, hmm. I think I misinterpreted what I read. So obviously sexual orientation is not a choice. Were you [Garland] implying that the dudes who won’t fuck non-(straight-acting HWP white males) are *necessarily* doing that by choice? By your reply, I’m assuming you are, but I think I didn’t pick up on that on my initial reading. So what I was asking about was about people who *genuinely* weren’t attracted to some subset of people. Which, yeah, if someone says they aren’t attracted to nonwhite people, they’re probably racist. Sorry about the derail.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  22. Garland Grey wrote:

    Thanks, everyone. Although, we pause for station announcements to remind everyone that kink communities and sexualities and kinky people are also subject to erasure, and that I can understand why a person who is used to reading things, day in and day out, that erases them and their experience might be sensitive to certain words strung together (submission, fuck, control, dominance) in what seems to be a proscriptive way.

    Now let’s have a sexy group hug and get back to the Feminism.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  23. Kiri wrote:

    Yayy, sexy group hug :D

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  24. Amy wrote:

    Garland Grey: You are made of awesomeness. Especially with the BDSM derail. You might not be angry, but I kind of am.

    Jonathon and Kiri:
    Point 1. If the person submitting in power differential sex play doesn’t have a safeword that will end all unwanted behavior immediately, then – quite frankly – the “way of sex you enjoy” is wrong. I’m sure that’s not what you meant. Right? Because BDSM is setting up a negotiated and simulated situation in which the sub really is in control, hence the safeword. This is not in any way the same as non-kinky fucking with a partner who thinks the configuration of your sex parts determines dominance. (Because that makes every woman submissive in piv sex, which would be where the fucking while feminist comes in.) If you take issue with someone saying the act of getting fucked is not inherently submissive, then you have the exact issue Garland Grey is describing. Topping does not equal penetration, and penetration does not equal topping. I don’t think you mean to say this. You seem to be taking a post that isn’t about you and making it about you. That’s bad. But if I take your words at face value – and you are unaware that a sub does control the fucking – then that is epically bad. If it’s the latter, please don’t engage in any scenes where you top. Actually, it’s equally dangerous if you sub.

    Point 2: It is impossible to “erase kinky sexualities” when talking about one’s own sex life. No really. I’m not required to mention that foot fetishes exist when saying I dislike leaving my socks on during the act.

    Point 3: You both misread what Aliarus and Moneypenny wrote, which was taking what Garland Grey said about being cast as submissive and applying it to a context of willful and mindful submission. This would be why Aliarus asked if someone might be writing a post about BDSM – because BDSM is not this discussion.

    Finally, if you disagree with this: “Sex is about respect, and letting someone inside you without respect is a bad idea.” If you think this is saying you do sex wrong… If you really, truly (in your heart of hearts) disrespect your kinky partner, you have no business engaging in dom/sub situations. Once again, I doubt this is true. You’re just being assholes, but there are people who use kinks to prey on others. The community has a hard enough time convincing the general public that there is deep respect involved when indulging kinks. Complaining about Garland Grey’s message in this post really isn’t helping that perception.

    tl:dr done.

    I love this post so much I want to marry it.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  25. Amy wrote:

    Sorry. While I was writing my diatribe, everyone else was behaving like adults. Long day and triggering issue. I apologize.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink
  26. Garland Grey wrote:

    @Amy: Sometimes you can’t use a safe word, because the fantasy involves a gag. Some couples use hand signals, or something that makes noise, or have a negotiated system of communication. When you start drawing lines in the sand related to sexuality, people will begin stepping over them. Some will do it because they enjoy conflict, but others will already be over the line because that is where they live.

    For me, BDSM was something I didn’t know I would like, but I did. I found it useful in moving past a need for personal control with someone I trusted and cared about. But most of the sex I have is pretty vanilla. And that affords me a fair amount of privilege. This is the kyriarchy: intersecting privilege and layers of oppression. Things get complicated really fast. Saying someone eles’s sexuality is wrong is triggering for people. People have lost jobs over their kink, have been harassed and killed, have had their kids taken away.

    EVERYONE: I apologize for hurting and offending you. I forgive you for hurting and offending me. Please be civil and respectful when you speak to each other. All of us are complicated people with hot button issues and I’d hate anyone to feel unwelcome, Queer Beatdown or Kinky Beatdown or any of the beautiful colors of the double rainbow that is Tiger Beatdown.

    Garland

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink
  27. Ennu wrote:

    All I have to say is: that was fucking awesome.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  28. Kate wrote:

    Can I join in the sexy group hugging? (I hope I am doing that and not hurting feelings myself.)

    I must say that the comment about ‘the heart wants what it wants’ often being a cover for more insidious shit rang really true for me. I’m not saying the heart doesn’t want what it wants. But WHY does it want that? And are you limiting yourself to the socially sanctioned portion of things you find attractive? Do you find some things more attractive BECAUSE they are’safe’ or you are told, every day, day in and day out, that you should like them?

    As a queer lady, I often find other ladies ‘hot’ without, in fact, being attracted to them. Think Disney heroine. I do not want to sleep with Ariel, but I know that she is Hot. This is recieved wisdom. I had a queer-existential-crisis last year when I relaised that a large part of my queerness is in fact the male gaze. Yes, I am queer, just ‘not as much’ as I thought I was (whatever that means – mostly it means that I prefer the cock, all other things being equal).

    I am also quite glad that I am a larger lady. Large enough that all the people who are only interested in patriarchy-approved hotness, or sleeping with people to add to their conquest of Hotness, avoid me. It simples things up SO much.

    It’s also about what you think is valid. I might not want to sleep with you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think you are attractive in general and, more importantly, a worthwhile human being. Your worth is not determined by whether I want to bang you. That fact is irrelevant. Who you want to do is none of my business (unless I want it to be me) and the reverse is true as well. It’s when we evaluate the entire person based on whether we like the shape of their arse, etc, that this becomes full of bullshit. It’s not valuing certain attributes, it’s devaluing others who lack them, and treating them as if they are ‘wrong’ and ‘flawed’ versions of humanity, because you don’t want to stick your dick in them (or similar).

    Also, as someone who is moderately kinked (it depends who you compare me to. I’d say I’m vanilla-choc chip) and a switch, I have always seen it as the sub having the real power. Not control, but power. But then, I am not deep into the roles, it gets confusing really fast for me once people are ordering each other around and humiliating each other. Not that I’m against that, it’s just not where my kink lies so it’s something that I don’t feel qualified to talk about. It’s certainly an interesting area to me.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Permalink
  29. Moneypenny wrote:

    ….is the sexy hug still happening?

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 1:16 am | Permalink
  30. Colleen wrote:

    So – good post! I like it and I’m glad I read it.

    I know this is just your expression of what you feel is feminist, but I’m going to sort of respond here by saying why I think that may not be really right on. It may be cool and great, but I don’t think it has a moral imperative behind it that other people should emulate. (which might not be your intention , but by labeling it feminist there’s an implication of right-on-ness, at least imo)

    I don’t believe that we can go down a road where we criticize other peoples turn-ons (even if they are the dominant turn-ons). I respect people too much to dictate to them what they should or should not find attractive.

    It may be helpful to step back and acknowledge that while one person might find hotness in people of all body types and sexual proclivities, that not everyone has or maybe even can have that experience.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 1:34 am | Permalink
  31. Colleen wrote:

    Oh and sorry , a clarification for the above. I realize this is totally your list of unfuckables and you encourage people to do their own.

    I guess the reason I felt the need to comment was the point of identifying certain selective behaviors as problematic.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 1:36 am | Permalink
  32. JustDucky wrote:

    I <3 this post. Garland Grey, I wish I had half the ability to come up with great lines as you did.

    Priceless.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 4:40 am | Permalink
  33. Nick wrote:

    There have been some comments about bdsm here already, to which I’d like to add that, yeah, when sex gets kinky, ‘submission is weak/shameful’ is as hardful as ‘penetration is weak/shameful’. It takes a lot of balls to give up control. Of course, it also takes a lot of balls to take responsibility for someone else as a Dom, but let’s focus on the subs here.
    Ladies, gentlemen and variations there upon: if you like to get humiliated, insulted and fake-raped in the bedroom, and have the strength to nonetheless feel good about your sexlife and yourself, then my friends, you are bad ass mother fuckers. You are doing things many people want and few have the courage to do. You are awesome and I hope you realise that and choose partners who respect you and see your submission as a sign of your strength.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 4:43 am | Permalink
  34. Robert Wilson wrote:

    thanks for the post

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 5:16 am | Permalink
  35. EmilyBites wrote:

    Thanks Garland Grey, this post was brave and awesome.
    As a straight-ish cisgendered woman I too avoid men who believe the old ‘If I get my dick in you, you lose!’ baloney. Sometimes they lie about it until afterwards and then you realise you have ‘lost’.

    I also avoid men who just happen to only fancy extremely feminine, thin, white, ample-breasted, shaven women. Because that just so happens to be their personal taste, right?

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  36. Anastasia wrote:

    Excellent post. I’m a straight female, and I agree 100% – the spirit of what you said (if not the technicalities) applied to all relationships. This is something that has occurred to me before: in our societies, it isn’t specifically being a woman that places you at the bottom of the social ladder, it’s having sex with men – whether you’re a man or a woman. If you have sex with men, you are worthless, slut, adultress, shamed and ostracized.

    When it comes down to it, anyway. I just saw “Easy A” over the weekend, and that drives home the same point. A gay teenager is bullied at schoo, but is suddenly received as a stud after he pretends to have sex with a girl, while the same girl is shamed. Or the Albanian custom of letting girls pretend they are men, gaining all the societal privileges, even being able to take wives – as long as they don’t have sex with men. Think about it; even lesbians get a certain amount of respect because they don’t sleep with men.

    What is that? Why this neccessity to denigrate the man’s sexual partner? Why is it impossible for a man to have sex with an equal? What does it say about our ideas of proper masculinity that they can only have sex with someone inferior?

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  37. kristinc wrote:

    “If the person submitting in power differential sex play doesn’t have a safeword that will end all unwanted behavior immediately, then – quite frankly – the “way of sex you enjoy” is wrong.”

    Wow, I hate to have to be the one to say this and break up the love fest, but shame on you. Garland was classy and understanding about the issue of BDSM seen through the lens of his post, I have no idea how you can be interpreted to be acting the same way. This is a horrible, reductionist, erasing statement to make and I’m sure glad you’re not actually in my bedroom making it while I have my kinky sex.

    It takes some stones to think you have the one true hard line on what makes a complicated, visceral, individual things like sex right or wrong. Some real stones, man.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  38. kristinc wrote:

    And to be completely clear, I’m down with statements like “I have some concern about the possibility for Bad Things during BDSM sex that does not employ something like a safeword”.

    Because, you know, I have concerns about that too. Which is why I think about it before fucking and have a good reason for my choices, and bristle when someone calls them flat out wrong without knowing anything about me or the myriad other people who make similar choices.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  39. Sooz wrote:

    I think folks taking issue with the “heart wants what it wants” statement need to reread the beginning part:

    “People bristle at the suggestion that they think critically about their sexual preferences”

    It’s not about claiming that one CAN’T be not attracted to something or other; it’s about exploring WHY one considers it not-an-option.

    If you have thought about your preferences and come to the conclusion that, say, you just have a fetish for white dudes or something, and therefore prefer them, but wouldn’t necessarily pass up someone outside that fetish in certain contexts, THAT STATEMENT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

    If, however, you’re just defaulting to what the majority culture says is hot without thinking about it, you should probably ponder that for a while.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
  40. Genevieve wrote:

    This post is amazing and makes me feel warm and fuzzy. “Hegemonic genitals” shall now be part of my everyday vocabulary, so thank you Garland Grey.

    @Cupcake
    By making the conscious decision to only sleep with those who fit conventional marks of attractiveness, you make the person you choose into an object no matter what their sex or gender situation.
    Yes, exactly. That is perfect, and it is what I have been trying to articulate for a while now. Ever notice how the people who “just happen to be” attracted to super-conventionally-attractive people often spend quite some time delineating how hot their objects of attraction are? It’s telling.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  41. ozymandias wrote:

    This is a really, really interesting post and it’s given me a lot of food for thought.

    “Sex is a contest, young, white, skinny, cis, large-breasted, able-bodied people are the prize, and if I stick my dick into you, I win” people are noxious, stupid and rape-culturey. But I think it’s… problematic… to lump everyone attracted to conventionally attractive* people in the same group.

    For one thing, there’s some people who really aren’t that aware and haven’t examined the shit they got from the culture. They need to be educated about the wide variety of human sexual expression, not automatically condemned to anti-feminist hell.** I’m not saying that anyone has to do the educating– obviously, oppressed groups do not have the responsibility of educating the privileged. But I think it’s important to separate “potential ally, unenlightened” from “complete beauty-fascist asshole.”

    And then there are people who are, for whatever reason, honestly attracted to people of a certain race, weight or gender expression. Are there fewer men who are honestly only attracted to “white non-fat masculine men” than who demand “white non-fat masculine men”? Almost certainly. But they still exist.

    I think the distinction is between people who have the attitude “this is my kink, but your kink is okay, and for all I know I might end up exploring it later” and “CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE ARE THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE PEOPLE TO FUCK, UNLESS YOU ARE A TOTAL LOSER WHO CAN’T GET LAID.”

    *Most awkward phrasing ever, y/y?

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  42. Robert wrote:

    This raised a number of issues for me. I realize, and have realized for many years, that there is a significant racial component to the pattern of my attraction to other men. Even though I know that this is not an optimal state of mind, I haven’t done very much at all to rectify the situation.

    However, I feel motivated to ask: given that I find myself open to all types of men OTHER THAN European whites, how much of a problem should I be seeing this as?

    If it helps, I am myself an American of European white ancestry.

    Monday, October 25, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink
  43. Farore wrote:

    I am always confused as to why some feminist ladies are confused about their BDSM tastes. You are familiar with the theory, yes? A lot of BDSM fetishes are about setting up a situation wherein you are re-experiencing upsetting, traumatic or hurtful events, often sexual, but this time you are utterly in control. Sometimes rape victims like to do the occasional rape scene – they get to relive the scary bad situation and reframe it in their head as a positive experience with a loved one, an experience where they could say no, for reals, and chose to consent, for reals, an experience they can stop at any time.

    I dunno, it’s probably (definitely?) not the same for everyone, but it seems fairly straightforward to me. You get to be pushes around and called names in a situation you are actually enjoying, and therefore, you’re taking control of that scary aspect of life and making it fun and sexy. It’s just another way to cope with the daily grind.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink
  44. Rodrigo! wrote:

    If I may be allowed to go on a little tangent here, I’ve always had an issue with people who claim to not have a ‘type’. People who will most likely sex up “all kinds of people”, big, small, white, brown, black, old, young, you name it, they’d hit it.

    The thing is, and I’m talking on a purely physical attraction level, is there anyone they WOULDN’T fuck or at least dedicate some steamy imaginary sex via masturbation? I know I’m not the only guy who can say he jerks off by only thinking about how awesome the personality of Mr. X is.

    It just seems to me like saying “I don’t really have a type” is just like saying “oh I’m attracted to symmetric people of all races, sizes and ages”, which is to say, only attracted to conventionally good looking people.

    I could be wrong (of course), but I have yet to be told different by any of my friends who claim to be like that. Maybe it’s not that they don’t have any type, but they can relate to all “types” like “hey, chubs are awesome, but I do love me some DILFs as well… oh and those hairy bears! Gotta love them too! And twinks, obviously…” Also, let’s not talk about the people who say “I’m into ugly people”, because that’s just stupid (if you’re into them how are they ugly? logic fail).

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  45. Rodrigo! wrote:

    Meant to say “I know I’m not the only guy who CAN’T say he jerks off by only thinking about how awesome the personality of Mr. X is.”

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  46. Dawn. wrote:

    This essay is so full of awesome.

    And speaking as a mildly kinky switch, I wholeheartedly agree about submission being powerful. I always say there are no bottoms–there are only power bottoms.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 2:35 am | Permalink
  47. L. Pirate wrote:

    GarlandGrey –

    You are made of awesome. I don’t know why I didn’t read this until now but seriously – everything about you? Created straight out of awesome.

    Friday, October 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  48. Brian wrote:

    ‘Don’t have sex with guys who do not respect you’

    Yes!

    ‘Don’t have sex with guys who are only in to your body type’

    No! People have a right to their heart wants what it wants narrative because its Their heart. It might be stereotypical for a butch white guy to only be in to fit butch white guys, but he’s still allowed to sleep with whomever he wants and to tell people about that preference on craigslist. I think such forthrightness actually helps rather than hurts because it cuts through the BS like a hot knife through butter and says “If you chase after me, you’ll just eventually get your feelings hurt, so don’t”

    Should people be more open minded? Yes, I totally agree with you about that. I think you’re conjoining to totally separate issues. Someone having strong stereotypical sexual preferences is not the same issue as someone disrespecting the act of receptive intercourse. Someone having a sexual racial preference is not racism, its a sexual preference.

    I like your views on respect in sexuality, and for me, that’s the most valuable part of what you’ve written here. I’m all for that, and I’ll run with it in my life. No more fucking douche-bag disrespectful closet cases, even the hot ones. Deal.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink