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Behold the power of the penis! Erotica, porn and escorts for cis straight women

[Content warning for language use and descriptions of sex acts that are certainly NSFW]

Last night my Twitter feed was ablaze with a debate over the merits of the erotic book everyone’s talking about: Fifty Shades of Grey. Some people like Garland Grey or Jessica Luther rightfully pointed out that one of the reasons the book is so reviled is because it appeals to women and as such, it is immediately dismissed as unimportant, irrelevant or a fad. Amadi pointed out that the book was originally a Twilight fanfiction and the mind blowing fact that a barely disguised rework of a vampire tale could get a six figures and movie deal. All of us did more or less agree that the book is not exactly a work of stellar prose, though. But I suppose that’s not an important factor in its success. I have read all of Dan Brown’s books and his entire oeuvre is proof that something doesn’t necessarily need to be well written to achieve best selling status. My issue with Fifty Shades of Grey is not that it is badly written, though. Neither is it that it once was a Twilight fanfiction onto which the author pressed “Control F” and then replaced the vampire and werewolf names with those of the current characters. I could easily overlook all of that if the prose was riveting. My issue with Fifty Shades of Grey is that it belongs to the tired, boring, overused sub genre I like to call “penis centric erotica”. Which is to say, practically the only kind of erotica marketed for cis, straight women.

Think about it for a second. How many romance novels, erotic stories or porn films aimed at the mainstream (i.e. cis, straight women), no matter how female friendly they claim to be, no matter how sex positive, or how feminist they are do not center the penis? Almost everything directed at cis, straight women, involves either fantasizing over what a dude will do to the woman in question with his penis, or servicing the penis or making use of the penis, being penetrated by the penis, manipulating the penis in some way or lusting after the promise of future penis presence. While a woman giving a guy a blow job constitutes the beginning and the end of many a sex scenes, in many cases with the woman deriving fictional pleasure solely from providing said blow job, cunnilingus is depicted as foreplay, never a sex act by itself where the woman’s pleasure begins and ends with it and where it is the dude who derives pleasure just by satisfying his partner. Fingering or toys? Same as with oral, a prelude of sorts, a concession that leads to… you guessed it, the penis entering the picture in one way or another.

In November last year, Amanda Hess interviewed neo-porn darling James Deen (it’s an excellent read, by the way) and this sentence in the feature stayed with me “In some videos, he appears only as a disembodied, thrusting penis”. This guy is hailed as a novelty within the porn industry precisely because of his appeal to cis, straight women; he is often described as someone who, by all accounts treats his sex partners with respect. And yet, we get more of the same “penis centric erotica”.

I’ve been so puzzled by this phenomenon and the general absence of a different kind of narrative that I also took to investigate the way erotic services for women are marketed, promoted and described. Now, I am fully aware that common wisdom says there is no market for erotic services aimed at cis, straight women. Or better said, that few, if any, cis, straight women, would hire the services of a sex worker. That might as well be true, however, there are plenty of offers to go by which, for the sake of my informal research provide enough material to evaluate. After all, for this particular analysis I am not as interested in the women who might hire these services as I am in the way the service providers advertise themselves. Because I am interested in the way that cis, straight female sexuality is perceived and commoditized, both for porn consumption and for potential sex work services. And here’s the not so surprising finding: even when cis, straight women are offered the chance of purchasing a fantasy, the providers of said fantasy think they need to make it as “penis centric” as possible. Take this dude advertising his escort services in the London area, for instance. He has an entire section of his website devoted to fantasy and role play scenarios he would be willing to explore:

Want to be used and abused? If your thing is to be treated as a pleasure object (perhaps it’s never happened to you?) and you would like to be the recipient of all the dirty, slutty things you have read about or seen in videos then why not give me a call?

I can be very selfish OR very sharing – it’s your choice, so if your fantasy is to be used, and perhaps, treated like a slut, just for my pleasure, let me know, I might even tell you that you are my best slut ever…… if you are good enough (read dirty enough).

just for my pleasure” (emphasis, a million times over, mine)

Always wanted to show your femininity by taking off your clothes slowly for a man?[…]

Is your fantasy to be fully clothed while a man undresses in front of you and proceeds to masturbate to climax? […]

Or……. want to practice your own oral skills on a cock that is more than cock-tail sausage size?………. sorry, couldn’t resist that, I am lucky to have been told many times that I am well-endowed and have a big cock.

So, if your fantasy is to suck a big cock until it melts in your mouth and not in your hand then give me a call.

You might think this dude is a rarity, probably a one of a kind type that is not that knowledgeable as to what his potential customers might be interested in. I thought so as well, until I decided to check some Dutch boards that offer sex work and escort services for cis, straight women in The Netherlands. I thought maybe this being Amsterdam, the offers in question would be different. Not so, take this other guy as an example. He offers erotic massage services for women. In the ad, he describes his services (translation from Dutch mine):

The massage can start by loosening the muscles of your body in a relaxed atmosphere.[…] During the massage, you can touch me everywhere, gently caressing me or stimulating me. If you would like to, you can also massage me.

Again, his potential customers are not thought of as recipients of pleasure for pleasure’s sake, they were somewhat expected to engage with him in an active role, providing in return, not just monetary compensation, but massaging him as well! Another thing almost all of the ads had in common was the promise of romance, of tenderness, of affection. Because it seems that women, the demographics of these service providers, would not seek sexual satisfaction, said satisfaction had to be disguised as part of an overall package where pleasure came as a consequence of something else, almost unintended. Take “Male Courtesan”, for instance, and his Prince Charming rhetoric here:

The essential purpose of a Courtesan/Straight Male Escort Companion:

Provide the tenderness, escapism, romance and fantasy fulfillment you crave.
Share with you an experience you will always treasure.
Introduce you to the amazing woman you truly are.

I found dozens of ads and websites like these ones but for the sake of brevity, I am not going to dissect each and everyone of them. In all cases, the overall message, the one we get repeated over and over everywhere is that a cis, straight woman should not desire sexual stimulation isolated from a whole other set of factors, be it the retribution of pleasure or the pretension of romance.

As I mentioned above, the porn trope of the dude that gets “serviced” is as old as porn itself. A man can lay down and let his partner “take the wheel” while he simply enjoys the ride. A woman who does the same? Oh, she is just starfishing and “bad in bed” or “passive”. It couldn’t possibly be that she simply enjoys being the recipient of attention without being expected to reciprocate. Even in our fictional and fantasy worlds, we consume products that depict our sexuality at the service of a guy’s pleasure because simply, we have little in the mainstream that promotes a different kind of sexual engagement. After all, the woman who is focused only on her own pleasure is going to be confined to the Femdom niche and then, her “selfish” actions, even if they are fictional, will have to conform to the rules of such character representations.

Those of us who are not fond of stories like Fifty Shades of Grey or similar “penis centric” depictions are told that there is plenty of non mainstream porn and erotica that portrays a different kind of sexuality. However, there is a reason it falls into the “non mainstream” category; it seems that even in 2012, a fictional woman simply receiving pleasure without being expected to be constantly aware of someone else’s satisfaction is still so revolutionary that the only way we can fathom it is within the confines of fetish or “alternative” genres.

27 Comments

  1. Lauren wrote:

    I love this critique and couldn’t agree more. I find this kind of erotica alienating and confusing: I always thought the source of my pleasure was my own body. I guess I should be grateful that the first erotica I stumbled on in my adolescence was a copy of Delta of Venus, and my parents’ 1970s version of The Joy of Sex.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  2. Noelle wrote:

    I read a lot of fan-written porn, the penis-centrism was so invisible to me that when I stumbled upon authors who write cis het relationships and /actually describe female anatomy/ and female enjoyment in those situations I felt an instinctive revulsion. Because the typical “slash” gay-for-cis-straight-female-enjoyment narrative of sex was so common to be invisible.

    It was a huge reality check – since I have those parts, and would like some of those things to be done to them – that the stories I was reading had twisted my perception in that way.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Steff wrote:

    Yes this is exactly how I feel. Not once in the 30 years I have been sexually active have i ever felt comfortable enough with a male partner to receive pleasure without reciprocation. Not once. This can be compared to the amount of time I have spent giving partners pleasure without reciprocation – this is legion. Am now celibate because of this.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  4. @Steff, @Noelle, you would be shocked at the number of ads I saw on the Dutch board with photos of the guy’s penis. They would word the ad along the lines of “I love to pleasure women” and then go on describing the kind of service they provide with a huge photo of their penis to illustrate it. Because nothing says “your pleasure is central and the most important” like a photo of his genitals in your face, amirite?

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
  5. “Even in our fictional and fantasy worlds, we consume products that depict our sexuality at the service of a guy’s pleasure because simply, we have little in the mainstream that promotes a different kind of sexual engagement.”

    I completely agree with your main point, though I do have quibbles with an example or two you used (though I know anything one writes about sex is going to be immediately jumped on and re-interpreted). My guess is that fantasies of being helpless (rape fantasies, bondage, etc) are popular with many women because it can be interpreted as “well I’m helpless now, nothing to do but enjoy it. Gee darn.” Which does center female enjoyment. However I acknowledge that’s probably not why these fantasies became mainstreamed– they appealed to men but that unexpected element *also* happened to appeal to many women.

    And I think those fantasies are inseparable from a culture where boys AND girls are taught that sex equals sexually objectified women. Sex is portrayed as women being objectified, desired, and used, so it’s no wonder many women have a deeply ingrained notion of sex as *being* objectified, desired and used. Maybe these sex worker dudes really ARE responding to popular female demand. Re-wiring expectations and notions of what sex is, is DIFFICULT. Like, mind-blowingly difficult. For both the worker and the client.

    Still I hope enough people are pioneering an exploration of female desire that the rest of us can jump on board and society FINALLY starts to change. This comment was all over the place, but my main point is, I agree and the exclusivity of penis-centric erotica aimed at women is both weird and frustrating.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink
  6. @Kitty, maybe so, the sex workers are, as you say, responding to a demand. However, I am kinda baffled that it seems to be the only narrative/ fantasy world women are afforded. Of course I understand the appeal of all these fantasies, that’s not what I am focused on. The point, for me, is that these fantasies are presented as hegemonic, as the only kind of sexuality.

    As you also rightfully say, it is difficult to rewire the way female sexual desire is presented in pop culture, but I am still amazed that books like Fifty Shades, which is so unoriginal, can still get such massive attention.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  7. bfr wrote:

    Wow. I never even thought of putting the derogatory “pillow queen” characterization into the context of penis-centric sexual narratives. Amazing. Thank you!

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  8. bfr wrote:

    I’ll elaborate — This is not just a concern for straight women. The “pillow queen” thing is personal for me because queer femmes (which I am) are often depicted as selfish, passive lovers. Weird, because there’s not always cock involved; weird, because stone butches exist and sometimes femmes have sex with them. But the stereotype persists, and persists in being negative, and I think this is useful analysis even for queer cis women.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  9. @BFR that’s interesting. Do you see it as mostly internalized misogyny that makes women cast selfish female pleasure in a negative light?

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink
  10. Olivia wrote:

    As an erotic romance author, let me tell you that many of us are thoroughly flummoxed by the popularity of Fifty Shades. To agree with @Noelle’s comment, it has fandom fingerprints all over it — the questionable power dynamics, the hackneyed prose, the presentation of kink as a pathology to be cured by the love of a good whoever.

    Which is to say that Fifty Shades is by no means representative of its genre. Romance and especially erotic romance are so much more focused on women’s pleasure than they were even ten years ago. There’s still peen a-plenty, but oral sex performed on a woman with the explicit intention of pleasuring her — and not necessarily as foreplay — is quite common. It’s harder for me to think of a book I’ve read lately that *doesn’t* feature a man going down on a woman.

    And unlike the escort ads and porn mentioned above, erotica and erotic romance is a much more internalized experience. I think that matters. There’s a growing body of critical literature on reader response and romance that indicates a reader doesn’t just stick herself in the heroine’s place because the genders align. Rather, the reader tries on everyone’s hat — hero and heroine alike. This paints hero-centric sex scenes in rather a different light, as a way of working within the cultural narratives @Kittywrangler describes: a reader can take an active role in pleasuring a woman’s body by imagining herself in the body of the hero. Complicated, maybe, but it gets the job done.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  11. MAK wrote:

    Until your twitter convo and this article, I had never really noticed or thought about the way the penis is the center of so many depictions of sex; I find it intriguing and eye opening and know I will be paying much more attention to the narrative direction taken when viewing/consuming depictions of sex, so as always, thank you for making me more aware and conscientious about things encountered in daily life.

    I was wondering though, about the extent of the meaning of penis-centric. I think Jessica Luther asked during the Twitter conversation if that meant that the penis would have to be absent to qualify as non-penis-centric? If there was an answer to this I missed it, and am still really curious about this. I’ve read numerous erotica where the male character gives his female partner oral until she climaxes multiple times and then introduces vaginal penetration as yet another means to get her to climax. Does this count as penis-centric because the penis makes an appearance?

    Thanks again. I’m always interested in your thoughts and look forward to all your postings.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  12. @MAK, no, to me is not about the presence of a body part, it’s about the way pleasure is distributed/ administered. As I mentioned in the post, there are plenty of porn tropes where women provide men pleasure without getting anything in return. There is hardly an equivalent “stereotype” for women and this pleasure is almost always (I say “almost” because if I said always, I am sure someone would come with a few exceptions) only a “prelude” to the way the woman will have to reciprocate and eagerly please her sexual companion in return (through a blowjob/ handjob or penetration). Even in fantasy worlds marketed to women, a guy can get away with getting off without reciprocating (see in the post about blowjobs), while that never happens for a woman, I would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of scenes or stories where the guy does not climax and again, there are plenty where the woman does not.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  13. anna wrote:

    When a man goes without an orgasm, it’s considered “orgasm denial”, a form of BDSM. Oh how the submissive man suffers, denied his orgasm by the cruel dominatrix!

    But when a woman doesn’t come, oh well, women just want love and cuddles anyway. And it’s so horribly difficult to give a woman an orgasm, she really shouldn’t expect it.

    Or so I have learned from “erotic” fiction aimed at women.

    Dear straight dudes: Most women can give themselves orgasms very reliably through masturbation. The whole “I’d like to please you, but darn, your ladyparts are just so complicated” routine is sexist bullshit. Stop making it all about your penis ramming away until it comes and start paying attention to her clit, you selfish bastards.

    Ahem.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
  14. Ella wrote:

    Go Anna! ;-D

    I find it interesting that these male sex workers are unable to conceive of themselves as sex objects. They’re placing themselves in what society tells us is a subservient role, and yet they persist in marketing themselves as sexual subjects. They can’t shake off that male privilege for any amount of time, or for any reason, can they? It’s equal parts fascinating and revolting.

    I used to know a Frenchman, a good “friend”, who’d spent his youth working as a gigolo. Now this guy knew what ladybits-centric pleasure was all about! He truly got it, was the master of his craft, so to speak. I understood for the first time what might compel a woman to pay for the company of a male sex worker. So it came as a tremendous shock when I caught an episode of “Gigolos” on Showtime. Has anyone seen this show? It’s the epitome of penis-centric sex! And these poor, unenlightened women are actually paying for it…I just want to take all of them aside and shake some sense into them. It’s a down and dirty shame that women have been tricked into thinking unfulfilling sex is the only kind of sex there is.

    And Fifty Shades of Atrocious Writing isn’t helping matters, that’s for sure.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  15. @Ella, I haven’t seen Gigolos (neither had I heard of the show until you mentioned it), but it is now in my queue and trust, I am so looking forward to seeing it. You know, in that cringe inducing, expecting the worst and ready to be nauseated kind of looking forward ;)

    Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink
  16. bfr wrote:

    @Kittywrangler I think it is internalized misogyny in part, yes, because that’s the only explanation I can think of for why it would never occur to people (including me) for it to be okay for a woman to receive pleasure without giving anything back.

    But because it’s usually directed at femmes or markedly femininely-presented women, I think it goes beyond that to a marginalizing of femininity as a subset of womanhood (or at least differently from the marginalization of femaleness generally). Like, it’s related to the devaluing of femininity in femme shaming/erasure but also in how faux feminists assume that the way forward for women is to be more like men.

    So there are (at least) two assumptions at work: first, that a woman desiring self-centered sex = being bad at sex; second, that femininity is inferior to androgyny or masculinity (and is in contrast to an androgynous or masculine “default” agent). Femininity = inferiority = passivity = bad.

    And I think it’s interesting that all feminine-centered sex is collapsed either into passivity (OR aggressiveness/domination), because straight cis male-centered sex is usually characterized as active (and not necessarily as markedly dominating). Of course female/feminine-centered sex can be active (and power-neutral)! But that gets lost in our assumptions about what femininity is and should be.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  17. Olivia wrote:

    One thing I’d like to point out: however you feel about the patriarchy, it’s really hard to ask a new sex partner for something you like if past sex partners have categorically refused and then shamed you for asking. It’s equally hard to imagine I am the only person this has ever happened to.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  18. caffeineadddict wrote:

    ‘There’s a growing body of critical literature on reader response and romance that indicates a reader doesn’t just stick herself in the heroine’s place because the genders align. Rather, the reader tries on everyone’s hat — hero and heroine alike’

    Yup, there’s an interesting chapter by Wendy O’Brien called ‘Qu(e)erying Pornography’ in the book Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration that talks about a similar type thing. O’Brien basically says that it is much more complex than ‘same-sex’ identification ( and even here she points out there is something queer about straight men watching other men having sex), given the slipperiness of desire and identification in het porn. The chapter is basically about the potentiality for het porn to challenge ontological understandings of identity.

    Anyway, she says that porn is full of complex significations, and argues it should be thought of as a system of (re)presentation that the viewer participates in (e.g. experimenting with particular identities), rather than just being a heterosexist text they ‘passively’ consume.

    Friday, April 6, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink
  19. Catherine wrote:

    is it just me, or is the second ad looking for a prostitute, not asking to be a prostitute? I thought the prostitute performed for you, not the other way around. So I guess that guy hit gold- he gets the sex he wants and gets paid for it.

    Friday, April 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  20. gogo wrote:

    The guys in the example ads seem to have approached sex work much like Jemaine and Bret did: Hey, I like sex with women, and I need money. Why not be a prostitute and be paid to have sex with beautiful women?!

    The suck my big dick and pay me guy would probably make better money if he went gay. (And I wouldn’t be surprised if he advertised in both categories, hey, getting yer dick sucked is getting yer dick sucked, right?) I honestly can’t imagine women paying to do that. Do these ads cost money to place? If not, I think these advertisers are more like hopeful trolls who think they may get lucky some day.

    Not all(!) women are into the submissive side of BDSM relationships. Some women enjoy a man coming over and doing chores, giving her a nice back rub or pedicure & a satisfying amount or oral sex + toys, (or whatever) and sending him on his way. Sometimes the penis is not in the picture at all, other than to be tucked away in some constricting undergarment. Did you see any ads for fellas like these?

    Friday, April 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  21. gogo, I saw many ads of guys wanting to connect with Femdoms but not in the way you describe. The ads had very specific fantasy scripts and to be honest even though the men in question claimed they wanted to please the potential partners, a lot of these scripts came across as “I already know what I want and you will be a prop in my fantasy” which is kinda the opposite of submission. Also, the kind of act they were interested in was very narrowly defined (as in “I am looking for a woman who will do X to me” and left little room for anything else except from the requested act. I wouldn’t say these ads are representative of every board everywhere (I am sure there might be exceptions) but they still surprised me in how they were centered on male desire even though they were all supposedly about pleasing a woman.

    Friday, April 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  22. Mel wrote:

    Huh, my impression from the romance novels that I read (mostly historicals) is that they are *all about* the man “servicing” the woman. 90% of the foreplay is focused on the heroine. Blowjobs tend to last a max of 5 minutes before the man is all “Oh no, I might come–let me focus on you again!” Fingering and cunnilingus and multiple orgasms for the woman (and scenes with no PIV sex) are common. I can’t think of any romance novel I’ve ever read where the man has multiple orgasms. It’s true that PIV sex still tends to be common, but…well, I’m not sure that removing it from porn entirely is any kind of solution.

    I’m also not sure about framing sex as a giver/receiver thing. It’s entirely possible to do both at the same time, and take turns. It’s not like sex (or porn) has to be “penis-centric” OR all about the woman kicking back and receiving pleasure.

    (What I would like to know is how many female clients those male escorts actually *get*. I get that they *think* this is what women want, but I would be somewhat surprised if that business strategy was actually effective.)

    Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
  23. Jenn wrote:

    It’s kind of weird, because the first lover I ever had gave me oral sex without any prompting/return while I just kind of lay there.

    So when my next few boyfriends refused to give oral w/o a return, I got terribly confused because I just assumed all men were like the first.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink
  24. @Mel, I am not fond of framing sex as giver/receiver either and that’s why I only focused on fantasy/ media depictions of sex and expectations of sex as opposed to what we (we, meaning people) do in reality. I am much more interested in what the perception and marketing of female sexuality looks like than what people actually do once they actually engage in any activity which might or might not mirror these fantasies. To me, these depictions are serving as an imprint of stereotype creation, the promotion of a certain kind of expectation of how heterosexual women should behave or what should be expected.

    Incidentally, a couple of days ago, Jezebel posted a link to this story about a group of German young men that opened a “brothel” for young, female, university students. The story explains how many young women would like to have sex but due to the pressures of student life they don’t always have time to go and meet someone. However, here’s the kick: in the story Jezebel linked to, originally in the German magazine Der Spiegel, they interviewed the young men in question and they clearly stated that they actually refuse to service women they deem “unattractive”! So, you know, once again, the expectations of a male sex worker and those of a female sex worker, as well as the services they are expected to provide, vary radically.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink
  25. Nanasha wrote:

    I guess I’m kind of a weird person when it comes to sex. First of all, I really don’t enjoy cunningulus. I really don’t. I have a super sensitive clitoral area and even indirect stimulation by the tongue is either too wet and ineffective or it’s too intense and after a couple seconds of intensely uncomfortable sensation, my clit retreats back into my body and refuses to come out for what seems like an eternity.

    I’ve been with my sex partner for over 10 years. We went from fumbling newbies at sex to old-hat. And he’s even gone to classes and read plenty of books about giving oral sex to women (even though I’m not all that interested, myself, besides the fact that every woman ever keeps telling me that receiving oral sex is TEH BESTEST and that I’m totally missing out on it or something).

    The best, most reliable way for me to orgasm is when I’m having penetrative sex with, you guessed it, the penis. I had sex with one other person than my husband (who was significantly larger) and felt absolutely no orgasmic pleasure from the act. But with my husband, it’s really really good and I have much stronger orgasms from vaginal sex than any other type of sex play (although sometimes we do it doggy style with a vibrator and that feels good too).

    I don’t really like giving oral sex either. I might do it from time to time, when certain aspects are met (he has to trim his pubes, preferably be just showered and generally clean smelling in the area or I start to gag), and giving oral sex (at least for me) has many overtones of being a sexually degrading act because a previous ex had forced me into oral sex many times against my desire, so it’s really not something I’ll go out of my way to do.

    I guess I’m pretty boring when it comes to sex. I read a lot of blogs that talk about feminist sex and in general, it seems that the only “worthy” and “enlightened” people are those who engage in really exotic and varied sex acts with one another- regularly doing anal, oral, hand, BDSM, swinging from trapeezes, etc. There’s also a lot of toys and other “props” involved, which to me always feels so much more in line with modern porn than a true feminist “make your choices about your own sex life” sort of mantra.

    To me, this seems really alien and foreign, and quite alienating as well for me. Just because I enjoy a specific sort of sex act with my partner does not mean that I think that everyone else should go by this trope, and in fact, the parts that really turn me on are aspects of story, or, to be more specific, of power struggles that fall under the surface. I see sex to be a lot like a dance that initiates long before people start touching each other and taking off their clothes.

    There’s verbal sparring, innuendo, discreet touching in public places, feeling torn between desire and uncertainty.

    For me, sex starts hours before I start taking my clothes off, and so many people can’t understand this. Most of the time, the sex that I want to have is sex that doesn’t necessarily even involve physical contact for quite some time, slowly building horniness and desire until I want to rip my clothes off and fuck.

    But people seem to think that this stuff is “romance” bullshit- it’s not. It’s all about sex and desire- and to me, it’s integral to developing a peak attraction and desire for the most pleasurable sex possible.

    And I despise the word “foreplay”- it assumes that the sex stuff you’re doing before penetrative sex isn’t really sex. As far as I’m concerned, ALL of it is sex. And the fact that we downplay pretty much everything beyond PiV or Anal as being “less than sex” is just bullshit, as far as I’m concerned.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  26. Catherine wrote:

    @flavia re comment 21- I think that’s called topping from the bottom, and IIRC it’s considered rude.

    @Nanasha- it’s not about what you actually want- it about what They (pick a They, any They) seem to want to foist on us, and no one likes to *constantly* be topped from the bottom. Funnily enough if a woman does that outside of the bedroom it’s called passive agressive and considered pathological. Ironic, no?

    Monday, April 9, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  27. firefly wrote:

    So this also falls under the stereotypical trope of “women are not allowed to do things for themselves, only men”. Because if women want something, they are selfish! They can only want guys, but even if they get a guy, their dude’s happiness is still more important than their own. Wow.

    I was seriously not expecting this, so thanks Flavia! This has certainly been an informative read.

    Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink