Tag Archives: sex-positive

One Radfem’s Experience with Gynecology

This is just an experience babble, because I feel like I have to get it out.  Not much political in here, so if you dun like personal stuff feel free to skip this.  Or if you do, feel free to share your experiences with gynos.   I literally have hundreds of drafts to publish, so expect a real(ish) post sometime this week.

I knew things were going to be bad from the get-go.  I was prepared to be lectured on how I just needed to try a different pill, and find the one that’s “right for me.”  Still, I hoped that maybe, at least, she had women who were going off the pill (probably to try and conceive) and came in because their periods were way off or their body started freaking out.

Just the nurse asking the basic questions confirmed that my pessimism was well-earned.

“Are you sexually active?”

“Yes, but I don’t have intercourse.”

She looked at me like I had grown a second head. “…Do you have oral sex?”

“Well, I don’t go down on him.”

“So, ‘no,’ you aren’t then.”

“…”

Can you say, erasure of my lived orgasms experience?  Cunnilingus, of course, does not count as sex, unlike blowjobs.  So, apparently, I’m abstinent.  This isn’t news to me, since men like Hugo and Glen had been telling me I am.  It should make me more upset than it does, to know that the love making I have doesn’t count for anything at all, just because a dick doesn’t get shoved somewhere.  The implications for lesbians are obvious.   I swear, if I’m ever forced to go to a gyno again, I’m going to ask if having anal sex makes me as sexually active…when it’s with a strap-on and my male partner receiving.

I explained why I came in to the nurse: My last period before I came to the doctor that had taken around 50 days to come, and the one before that just 30 days- what scared me was it seemed to be getting worse, not better.  At the time of the appointment, I hadn’t had a period in over 80 days, and I knew stressing about it would only make it worse, so I decided get a doctor’s opinion.   I said I suspected it was due to me coming off the pill,  since the first few weeks off it threw my body into chaos.   She responded noncommittally, telling me the doctor would be in soon.  The urine test came back negative for pregnancy,  which wasn’t a huge surprise since I hadn’t had intercourse.

I repeated my suspicions to the doctor.  Unsurprisingly, she promptly dismissed them.  I should have no problems going off the pill, it wouldn’t throw my body off at all and my periods should be back to normal immediately.  To try and convince her that coming off the pill had a huge impact on my body, I told her about the month long depression after the withdrawal period and about my breast-yup, just one-lactating and becoming sore and inflamed.  (I now think this was a plugged duct, since after I “expressed” some of whatever the hell was coming out, it started to heal and feel better.)

She proceeded to explain to me, as if I had never had a period, that some women suffer from “premenstrual syndrome,” aka PMS, which could cause those things.   (Who the hell goes through a PMS-induced funk for four weeks?)

And of course, the pill had probably been covering up my extreme PMS, and the best thing to do would be for me to go back on the pill to avoid it again.  I tried to explain that I had never lactated or had sore breasts even before I went on the pill, or before my latest period.   Of course, that was ignored, and she suggested instead that maybe I had PMDD, which, of course, would be treated by the pill.

She then went on to tell me I should go back on it, to regulate my periods.  I told her that I didn’t want to “regulate” my periods, I wasn’t going to take hormones and raise my risk of stroke for such a small reason, and reemphasized that I did not want to be on the pill.

As a doctor, she should know and explain to the patient there is a difference between a period and the withdrawal bleeding experienced when stopping hormonal contraceptives.

When I told her about going off the pill, she asked why I would do such a thing.  I said my partner and I weren’t going to have intercourse anymore, so there wasn’t much of a point.  I had health reasons, too: , having migraine headaches makes one four times more likely to suffer a stroke, and I have those probably once or twice a month.  The pill also increases the risk of stroke significantly, and I don’t want to up my risks of stroke for no reason.

Her response?

You’re more likely to have a stroke due to pregnancy than from being on the pill.

…dfjsdlfj.  Hey, doc, you remember where I told you I’m not having intercourse?  And even if I was, you heard of condoms?  Aren’t doctors supposed to look out for our health, and weigh the risks and benefits of the drugs they prescribe?  Oh sorry, I forgot this was women’s health, which means the goal is to make it as non-consequential as possible for a man to stick his dick in you, or deal with the consequences of him doing that.

When the “regulate your [unruly] periods/PMS/avoid pregnacy” approach didn’t work, she shifted gears.

It was “dangerous” for me to have irregular periods, because it could mean I have an estrogen deficiency, which would mean I could suffer from osteoporosis sooner in life.  And guess what I might do, to ensure that I wouldn’t suffer from osteoporosis early in life?   I should be on the pill to ensure I would develop “healthily.”  (No, she didn’t say anything about testing my hormones before recommending I get on the pill).

Eventually, she gave up on converting me to pillitute, and said I could change now for the exam.  I told her I didn’t want a pap smear.  She told me they were needed just to check for STDs.  Well, I wasn’t “sexually active” so that wasn’t a problem-the issue seemed settled to me.

So, after our one-on-one, I changed into the paper thing, took off my pants, got on the table, and laid down.  The doctor and nurse came in. I’m not sure why the nurse was there, she didn’t do anything the whole time.  Now I think she was there to hold me down in case I fought back.

She springs it on me we’re going to do the pap smear.  I said I don’t want to (again).  Couldn’t we not do it.  She said we had to, to see if anything was “wrong.”  She didn’t explain what she might find that way, or what STD might cause a missed period.  Just that I “had to” have one.

I don’t think I said anything, so she started examining my vulva.   At least she warned me before she inserted the speculum, I guess.  I started crying at this point.

She told me if I relaxed it wouldn’t hurt.  Relax, relax, relax.  It’s going to hurt if you’re tense.  She just kept saying to relax.

I cried and screamed the whole time.  I honestly wish I had flashbacked, or dissociated, but I didn’t.

The  finger exam was next.  I had done that before with no problem, because my last gynecologist had been really kind.  I told her I would be okay with that, as long as she just used one finger.

Less than a minute in, she told me she was inserting a second.  It wasn’t a question.

After being allowed to dress myself, she tells me I have to go get blood drawn to test my TSH, LH, estrogen and prolactin levels, which makes perfect sense to me the.  I go the checkout and get the prescreiption for getting the testing done.

Apparently she thinks I’m too dumb to know what the word “hirsutism” means or just too dumb to google it, becuase she put that as a symptom on the sheet, next to amenhorea.   It actually is a legit condition, and a sign of problems-I’m not denying that.

What pisses me off is that she didn’t bring it up to me during the exam-if you think there’s something wrong with me or a symptom that something is off, I have the right to know.  It’s my goddamn body.  But I guess she thought I might get uppity.

I feel like I was raped all over again, but now it’s almost worse.  Because of who I am now, I can’t just write it off as what sex is normally like.  I enjoyed sex so much, and now I can’t.  I feel like everything people say about radical feminists is true: I’m a prude, that I just need to be “taught” how to have sex, I’m sexually dysfunctional and just plain fucked up.

*Do lesbians even really go to gynos?  STDs, cervical cancer, pregnancy, and birth control are pretty much straight-women exclusive.  I suggest they just rename gynos to “birth control dealers” and be done with it.

Poor, poor, johns

I swear. Most of the “sex worker” activists I have met constantly talk about how we shouldn’t “demonize” the johns, because they’re usually married/partnered*, etc, and they are simply seeking understanding for a sexual act that their steady partner cannot or will not provide.  Men aren’t just looking to “bust a nut,” they’re seeking the love and understanding every human wants.  Or that some people are just “incapable” of relationships with the opposite sex.  And they’re normal men just like your coworkers and friends. So they need an outlet.

If I don’t have, or can’t have a relationship, I don’t feel like I should have the right to exchange money for sex. I don’t. Especially since there would be no way for me to know if they had “chosen” sex work, or had only chosen it from a range of other shitty options (minimum wage jobs, etc, etc). Essentially, no one has the right to buy sex or sexual acts-we know that a great amount of abuse exists in this industry, and anyone who risks the chance of raping someone so that they can “get some” is sick.  No one has the right to sex, period.

However pitiful some women are, however lonely they feel, I don’t see them thinking they have a right to sex.  Women want love and understanding just as everyone does, but we never get it.  Yet somehow, we don’t use prostitutes.  Women, FOR SOME REASON, generally don’t purchase sex; women represent sex, thus they are usually sellers.   Why are the roles in prostitution so gendered?   Who has the resources and the money?  Men.  Who has the prestige?  Men.  Who has the power?  Men.  Who represents sex?  Women.   Most men believe they are entitled to sex, and as a result they make up most rapists and most johns.  Women are not raised to think of themselves as “entitled” to sex- sex is something women give and men take.

Wanting love and understanding does not make johns understandable or sympathetic, unless you’re the type who “understands” MRAs.  Yeah, they’re human, but so are rapists.   Wanting love and understanding means get a goddamn therapist, or failing that, talk to people.  Hell, you could even just talk to the prostitute, and not fuck her.  It does not mean you should fuck women.  The fact that people say johns are just seeking understanding and love is disgusting.  If they were, they wouldn’t have the sex, they wouldn’t need it, they wouldn’t demand it, and they wouldn’t be violent, they wouldn’t ask for unprotected sex.

These men aren’t seeking understanding: they are seeking the image of it.  A woman, nurturing like a mother, but also a whore, who will nurture the man through whatever sick fetish he’s developed.  A yes-woman, who will agree that his wife is a bitch, frigid, stupid, whatever.  Consequently, the image for a “sex worker” is that of a college-educated middle class white woman (preferably aryan) who drops every career opportunity and hobby to fuck men for money.  Her image is no different from that of “good mom,” who leaves her potential career behind “by choice,” because she wuves her kids so much and wishes them to have the best.

But, here are a few large differences:  children have a need for someone to care for them, men, on the other hand, and specifically johns, have jobs and the full development necessary to take care of themselves.  No one needs to take care of grown men. However much they seem or act as helpless as babies, they aren’t.  It’s an act.

This whole outlet thing is the same bullshit that says men’s sex drives are natural and unstoppable;  therefore they have a right to an outlet.  God forbid we raise men to NOT feel entitled to sex, so that they will not rape or purchase “sex.”

No one has ever died from lack of sex.   Ever.

So can it about men’s sexual and emotional “needs.”  Women’s right to not be raped and used sexually is more important than some douchebag’s orgasm.

*So are most child molesters, rapists and serial killers.  I doubt this is a coincidence.

Rape Fantasies & Why We Have Them

Much to the delight of men, women have rape fantasies.     In evo psych arguments it comes up as evidence that rape is natural and women are naturally submissive.  When it comes up in more liberal and feminist circles, it’s in defense of BDSM, pornography, or “roleplaying.”  The explanations of why women have these fantasies are male-centric, and usually just amount to some kind of justification for men’s messed up sexuality.  I haven’t seen women’s rape fantasies taken on from a radical feminist perspective, so I’m going to do that.

To start, we have to look at how rape (and sex, for that matter) is framed in our culture.   Some examples: “He couldn’t control himself”, “he couldn’t help himself”, “he was just so horny”, “she provoked him wearing that skirt/top/sweater.”  There’s always disbelievers when an attractive woman says she has been raped, but people will disbelieve an unattractive woman even more.  In the popular narrative, rape is about sex and desire, and an act of passion.  It happens when a man wants to fuck a woman and she doesn’t want to let him.

The measure of force a man is willing to take in pursing a woman is said to be a direct measure of how much he loves and desires her.  Following this worldview to its logical endpoint, rape becomes the ultimate expression of desire and attraction.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many women have rape fantasies?  Who doesn’t want to be incredibly desirable?

This is only amplified by the effect of the media, which tells us that we’re ugly and undesirable, especially when compared to that girl.  Most women feel hideous, and are expected (and do) to appreciate any attention from men, with more appreciation being required the less conventionally attractive we are.  I suspect that the less conventionally attractive a woman is, or the uglier she feels, the more likely she is to have rape fantasies.  With nearly all of us having some insecurity about our bodies and our desirability, its no wonder lots of us fantasize about being raped-which in our culture, means being desired by men.

I have to credit Twilight with me putting the pieces together.  (I know, what the hell?)  It’s always seemed there are more fans of Jacob than Edward, for whatever reason.  My lover wondered frequently why Jacob’s fans say that he “loves Bella more,” when he clearly is manipulative creep with a rapist mentality, and thought liking someone so obviously dangerous was stupid.   I got quite pissed, because he essentially was calling women “stupid” for feeling insecure and wanting to be wanted, which is completely understandable.

On a personal note, I used to have them myself, and even though I only let myself think of healthier things now, I can’t deny that sometimes they seem more appealing than my partner always asking what I’d like.  The thing is, even though I hated being touched without asking or after I said no, it still made me feel desired.  I think I would feel more desired if control were taken from me, even knowing what it means.  A part of me simply doesn’t care if I’m objectified, because I want to be wanted.

Stating the Obvious: I don’t blame women who have rape fantasies at all, even if they  seek to “roleplay” them with their partner or feed them privately with romance novels.  I do, however, blame anyone who goes along with “roleplaying” as a rapist.

Sex-Positive Bingo

Until I finish the posts I’m working on, I figure I might as well share a “bingo card” I made quite a while ago modeled after similar cards for racism, sexism, rape-apologism, et cetera.   (Don’t look forward to new posts-the one I finish will most likely be the one on fanfiction, pffft.)

It would be more aptly called “sex-industry apologism bingo,” but that’s too fucking long of a title so I just went with “sex-positive,” although the term is problematic.  Suggestions on what to change or anything else are welcome, of course.  Click for full size!  Sorry the preview is so blurry.

Battered Women vs. Women in Porn

Any feminist of merit knows what frequently happens with battered and otherwise abused women: they blame themselves, they rarely leave immediately, and they often love their abuser.  “It’s bad most of the time, yeah, but the good times are really great.”  I know.  I’ve been there too (though he only “battered” me via BDSM and rough sex).  She often stays, and we don’t blame her for that, even when she’s rationalizing it.  We don’t say she “agreed” to be hit in exchange for money if she chooses to stay out of economic necessity.  We know battered women’s syndrome and Stockholm syndrome, and a lot of us have been there.  We understand.

But when a woman is in porn, somehow the standard feminist narrative is that they chose it, and they stay because they like it.  When someone feels that women in porn or are being abused, or even just points out that they are paid to act, we are accused of “victimizing” them and accusing them of false consciousness by pro-porn ‘feminists.’  Or worse, being “unable” to handle the idea that a woman might like having sex with strangers for money.  (Because we’re prudes, basically.)   They might be treated badly, but they make good money (better than most other entry-level jobs), they get attention, adoration, and affection.* It can make you feel fuckable or lovable.  If they chose to make money by working in porn or prostitution, even when it’s violent or she has a lack of economically feasible alternatives, most of these feminists would say she consented.

Isn’t saying battered wives who say their partners are wonderful “assuming” they’re a victim and arguing that they have a false consciousness?  Isn’t that just as “patronizing,” to say that a woman is being abused when she says she isn’t?

What is the difference, then, between an abused porn actress and an abused wife?

One stays out of love or fear; the other out of a need for money, drugs or attention.  One is a “good girl”; the other a “bad girl.”  The slut is ok to hurt and punish, the virgin should be taken care of.  What am I trying to say?  Either the “sex-positives” need to blame women for staying with their abusers and defend the rationalizations they make for them, or they need to acknowledge that all kinds of abused and hurt people will deny their pain and situation.  It’s hypocritical to do otherwise.  Unless pro-sex industry feminists mean to favor “good girls” and “prudes” over whores–you know, that thing they always accuse us of.

I am sick of all this “rational choice” shit.  Unfortunately, I know that we’re heading towards blaming women from what I have seen on sites such as feministing and at the feminist club on my campus.  I am sick of empathy going out the window, and all we talk about are the pay gap or birth control.  I am tired of settling.

* What I mean here by “affection” is not actual affection, but the conflating of abuse/love that often happens with rape, especially with incest from what I understand.

Ignore the man behind the curtain (NSFW Image for point)

from some post on how burlesque can save the world (and stop rape and misogyny too I assume)

The sex-positive rallying cry, at its most basic, is that our culture is profoundly sex-negative.  The evidence?  Abstinence education, the slut shaming of women, and overly religious values.  If you look at only these things, it becomes easy to prove and condemn the “sex negative” attitude of our culture, and outline the harms it does: increased amounts of unwanted pregnancy, the spread of STDs, the crushing of young women’s reputation and self-esteem.  But you know what else causes those things?  Rape and sexual harassment.  Mandatory intercourse.  Unsafe intercourse.  Pornography and the sexualization of young girls.  The fashion and beauty industeries.  Yet somehow, these are all ignored so that “sex-positives” can cry about abstinence education, despite the fact that STDs cannot be directly caused by ignorance–they are caused by intercourse and especially intercourse without a condom (which is demanded of most females).  The idea that education will solve this problems is laughable, just as the idea that education will stop men from raping is.  Men want to rape and men like dangerous fucks.

While related, that was a tangent on a single problem with the “sex-positive” approach.  Lets look at the evidence in our culture and see how “sex negative” most things are.  The simple act of looking at a magazine rack, however, will prove the situation is more complex than it seems.  Maxim.  Playboy.  Cosmo.  Celebrity magazines.  What do all of these focus on?  Looking at and talking about women men would like to fuck, becoming the women men want to fuck, how to fuck (for women), how to get a woman to fuck (for men), who’s fucking who, what to wear when you fuck, when to fuck, how often to fuck to not be a prude but not be a slut (for women), and so on and so forth.  You could not honestly tell me that sexuality is taboo in America.  It would be just as ridiculous as saying rape is taboo, that racist jokes are taboo, or that drinking is taboo.  Whenever someone says that our culture is anti-sex, I laugh.  In their face.

Is it publically condemned?  Of course it is, but again, only in certain ways.  I remember D.A.R.E. and the other stupid shit attempting to keep us out of drugs.   Yet, somehow, people do drugs anyway.  Tobacco and alcohol, along with illegal drugs, are widely consumed and glamorized.   To think that official programs advocating abstinence makes our culture sex-negative is just as ridiculous as saying the US is anti-alcohol and anti-drug.   As always, it’s only anti-badthings in the case that the nonwhite, nonrich, nonmen use them for their own benefit and pleasure.  Its ok for a woman to have sex, so long as its for a man and under his conditions, whether those are marriage, kinks, or anal.  Just as with drugs, sex is a billion dollar industry with a lobby.  The only difference is that the advertising for the sex industry (porn) is also one of its products, making it self-perpetuating.

Maintaining the belief that America is sex-negative, however, is vital for “sex-positives” to have a point.  It obscures the real power and the real system, under which hetero sex is mandatory, enjoyable or not; women’s submission is mandatory, willing or not.   The politicians who condemn prostitution use and abuse escorts; the anti-gay crusaders have sex with men; the Church which condemns lust while molesting children and protecting their rapists.  Does that sound “anti-sex” or “prudish” to you?  To believe the words that come out of men’s mouths-that they are against “sexual liberation” as its taken place- is ridiculously fucking stupid.  Our culture is not anti-sex: it’s pro-fucking, pro-rape, and pro-misogyny.  “Feminist” porn is still status quo, lesbian porn is male-centered, and lesbian BDSM is even more so.   Our culture is only “prudish” about sex outside of how males conceive it. That is, without domination and submission, without hate, without intercourse or penetration, with emotion and mutual desire.

“Agency” my arse…

In reading “sex-positive” arguments and even in my academic texts, I keep coming across these studies, arguments and articles discussing women’s “agency.”  One article in my sociology text was about “sex workers” who do whatever they can within the system to make it, and noted that we should not see these women solely as “victims of the system” but acknowledge their agency.

Did the article on the shitty schools of inner city kids tell us to acknowledge and celebrate what they do to survive?  Nope, it talked about how horrible the situation is and how we need to fix the institutions responsible for the mess.  The article on minimum wage laborers?  Nope, just talked about how fucked the working poor are because of the system.  But when it happens to women, people suggest we “celebrate agency” and not look solely at the situation as a whole or even focus on it.  I’m not entirely sure why this is happening−is it because they’re trying to counter the stereotype of women as helpless, or is it that our options are so limited and shaped by society it would force us to ditch completely the idea of “choice”?

Women have been surviving by whatever means necessary for eons.  That’s part of human nature: people in shitty situations will find ways to keep on truckin’.  No shit, Sherlock.  Moving on now….

This idiocy is everywhere, but it only “clicked” for me once I read a feministing thread about the new pill that will “fix” women’s libido by making them want sex again.  Predictably, feminists there are falling over themselves to defend the pharmaceutical industry calling women frigid. (Let’s ignore there’s no drug to “fix” men’s sexual desires.  Let’s also ignore that most men are terrible selfish assholes in bed, because that obviously has nothing to do with women not wanting sex.)

I’m really disapointed so many comments are negative towards this. I think this is fantastic! About time.

It makes me sad that as another commentator said – anytime someone tries to address women’s sexual issues people get all defensive and think it’s a ploy by the patriarchy. Hello women have their own agency? We’re not little children, we have minds of our own.

I feel like we’re being treated like children when I read most of these posts.

Because only children are influenced by society.  Only children make actions based on societal pressures.  The sentiment that goes unsaid, of course, is that if you give in to the social pressure, you’re weak.  Or at least, you’re childish and immature.  You have no mind of your own.  It’s not like they’re forcing you or making you take it.  You know, just like they don’t “make us” or “force us” to shave.

Newsflash: Anyone can be pressured into damn near anything.  Anyone.   Acting like women aren’t expected to conform to men’s pornified sexual desires is burying your head in the sand.  The worst thing about that commenter?  Other women had already talked about how they were treated as broken by men for not wanting sex.

But of course, agency always means making the choice to have sex.  If you make the choice not to have sex or intercourse, you’re a prude or have “issues” and “hangups” with sex.   You clearly can’t be choosing to not have sex.  How about we let women exercise their “agency” to be worried about a dangerous and greedy industry putting drugs into bodies to effect our sexuality?  Nah, we’ll just write you off as “defensive,” by which we mean paranoid and hysterical.  Not like advertising has been in the business of making up problems to fix unnecessary shit since the last century.

The discussions on agency shift the focus from women suffering male violence and control.  It’s talking about how women can react to rape, instead of talking about the rapist.  How we can succeed in patriarchal system, rather than how we can destroy it.  It makes men and the system invisible.  Not to mention it shames victims of violence and patriarchal conditioning.

Now, back to kicking misogynist ass in Persona 4.