feminism and sex

comments on feministing.com in response to the NYTimes article: Students of Virginity

i actually take student organizations like true love revolution more seriously tahn say, the people throwing purity balls and actively using the “guard your diamond!” language and i do appreciate that whether or not to have sex is a personal choice and i respect whatever choice that is.

however, “Okay…but isn’t the problem the double standard – not the sex?” sums up my feelings. fredell is right to focus on the existence of a double-standard with regard to sexual behavior, but advocating either abstinence or promiscuity doesn’t help to eradicate that standard.

personally, the abstinence people freak me out a little (e.g., fredell controls her biological urges by…going on a long run? really?) because bottling up natural human sexuality to fit it into some constricting paradigm of monogamous hetero marriage just strikes me as potentially psychologically unhealthy. i get the concept of personal restraint as strength, but personally the thought of a guy i date refraining from acting on ANY sexual thoughts would produce the same blank stare as if he told me he was abstaining from eating or sleeping. but once again, not my choice to make.

i guess i wish that no one felt the way to accomplish feminist goals was to adopt any particular sexual lifestyle over another. being true to yourself and doing what makes you comfortable without shame is what matters here.

Posted by: rileystclair| March 31, 2008 03:44 PM

Until women’s morality is divorced from their bodies and sexuality, we’ll continue to be defined by what’s in between our legs – instead of in our hearts.

Absolutely agreed. As Angela Carter wrote, I don’t keep my honor in my vagina.

I confess that I don’t understand abstinence on any level. My worst, most crushing heartbreak was with someone I’d made out with, but never had sex with. My observations are that such heartbreak is even more crushing when it occurs within a marriage. So that explanation doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t have to understand it–I don’t understand belief in God, either. But I would feel better about abstinence as a free choice if its proponents said things like “I’m not ready for sex,” “I just don’t want to have sex,” or something like that, statements that make it clear that this is a personal, individual choice. But instead, they always couch their choice in the rhetoric of a self-righteous, objective morality that elevates them at the expense of the rest of us. That makes me suspect that they don’t see abstinence as a legitimate free choice, but as something that people should be coerced and frightened into. And that makes me question the legitimacy of such a choice.

Posted by: EG| March 31, 2008 04:13 PM

What Ms Fredell hasn’t figured out is that by being forced to be abstinent, she’s still letting men control her sexually. The way to be free is to own your own sexuality. Have sex if you want to, or don’t. I never cared if anyone “devalued” me for having a sexual past–anyone who would do so was not a person who had any value or use in my life. My sex life, or lack thereof, is no one’s business. If some man didn’t want to date me because I wasn’t a virgin, that was a great reason for me not to want to date him!

Ms Fredell sounds like an intelligent, forthright woman, and hopefully some day she’ll figure out she’s worth more than what’s between her legs.




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