So, is it OK?

crossposted at Feministe

Jessica, Amanda, Twisty and Violet Socks (and Melissa too!)have all written about this article: Is it OK to Demand Anal Sex?.

The picture accompanying the article is odiously twee and threatening simultaneously, and as virtually every respondent noted for starters, when is it ever OK to demand any kind of sex? (The title mysteriously changed to Is Anal Sex a Deal-Breaker?)

The particularly repellent men interviewed openly admit that their pursuit of anal penetration from casual partners is about strutting an achievement in front of their mates: the achievement of persuading women to “give in” and agree to behaviour that they will find painful (at least initially) and which is regarded by the men themselves as degrading. (Language from here on NSFW – Not Safe For Work – comprehensive sexual education lies ahead).

Twisty entertainingly rants about “Anal being the new third base” as yet another sign of the pornification of mainstream culture, and Violet Socks agrees that at least part of the entitlement expectation is that mainstream porn today appears to be incomplete without anal penetration in a way that wasn’t true when she and I were young. I think they’re on to something.

My exposure to porn has been thankfully minimal, but the bits and pieces I have seen did make me aware of a seachange – mid-80s porn in Australia tended to be largely of the cheesy 70s British variety – silly bawdy scenarios with lots of blowjobs followed by a few minutes of rhythmic penetration and finally the money shot. The female participants always outnumbered the males, and sometimes looked bored but didn’t look as if they were in pain. Porn where the women seemed to be in pain would have been considered seriously kinky. By the mid-90s porn was glossier, the all-good-fun bawdy scenes had changed to more intimidating raunchy scenes where male participants outnumbered the (often solo) female participant, the woman’s placement in a vulnerable position where she was subjected to multiple orifice penetration by several men became de rigeur and only an idiot could watch the action and fail to notice that the women were in substantial physical discomfort from what was happening, but were continuing the sexual act regardless, because the men were just so irresistible, apparently. None of this intimidation and discomfort is considered kinky any more – this is totally mainstream.

This is what I really find disturbing. This discomfort and overt domination of the women seemed to be part of the attraction of the new porn, as the tamer, old-fashioned sort was overlooked while the hardcore stuff flew off the shelves. It also coincided with the more “vanilla” kind of cheerfully enthusiastic heterosexual sex actually becoming far more common – young women became sexually liberated enough to enjoy casual sexual encounters of the type once reserved for porn fantasies. Porn creators and merchants seem to believe that now that men had more access to casual extramarital sex then simply watching other people have vaginal intercourse wouldn’t be enough of a fantasy. Are they right? And does the escalation of the fantasy feed the expectations of ordinary sexual encounters?

One commentor at Feministing made a very good point: the porntastic fantasy has always been about the madonna/whore dichotomy where the man finds a sexually-conventional woman and entices her to sully her purity. Now the conventions have shifted: instead of persuading apprehensive virgins to cheerfully enjoy PIV sex, the fantasy becomes persuading sexually experienced women with sexually-egalitarian expectations to agree to engage in a non-reciprocal sexual act, usually without adequate preparation. And it’s in the lack of adequate preparation that the intent to degrade and damage is made clear.

Because that’s the thing about anal sex. Those women who look so horribly uncomfortable as they are double and triple penetrated for the benefit of the cameras have at least had the benefit of preparing beforehand through enemas, high colonics, fasting and buckets of lube. They need to do this to avoid moving from discomfort into pain and tissue damage. This is basic sexual hygiene and technique. (Edited to add: To clarify, this is basic technique for being buttfucked for hours for the cameras with oversized penises attached to uncaring men huffing Viagra. Normal sex needn’t be quite so extra-fastidious.)

It’s not hard to find this stuff out. I’m a very vanilla heterosexual middle-aged monogamous woman, and all I had to do was type “anal sex preparation” into my search engine and everything anyone needs to know about safe, clean, enjoyable anal intercourse was right there in front of me. The top hits were all for homosexual advice sites, not heterosexual advice sites, even though there’s no great differences between male and female anuses. There is however a great difference in attitudes towards anal sex.

Homosexual men don’t seem to have romant-o-porn misconceptions about anal sex as something which can just happen spontaneously on a first date with an inexperienced partner and be enjoyed by the receiving partner. Why? Because men have cultural permission to refuse to engage in sexual activities which they’re not enjoying. Such fantasies in gay porn are much more clearly fantasy than the straight porn equivalent, and are far less likely to be mistaken for reality. Homosexual men know all about anal and rectal hygiene and preparing for anal penetration, and that if it’s going to be enjoyable for the person being penetrated then there needs to be plenty of free space in the intestinal system to avoid internal pressure pain. Enemas are the go, my friends. It’s the big difference I see between advice about homosexual anal sex and heterosexual anal sex. Enema, enema, enema. For the uninhibited, it can even be part of foreplay. Read this gay guide for anal virgins and this guide for women preparing for anal sex, then compare it to what the men in the Details article are saying. Do you think those guys are preparing their female partners for anal penetration over the recommended several weeks of trusting play and experimentation with various sized accessories to ensure them a painfree introduction to anal sex?

“[It’s] basically getting someone in a position where they’re most vulnerable. My friends enjoy that and they tell their friends they did it. But it’s not like girls are ready for it””it’s something they do when they’re really drunk.”

Leaving aside (ETA: for the moment and because the other bloggers above covered it comprehensively) that penetrating women who are really drunk and “not ready for it” is rape, let’s just look at what that statement says about the actual mechanics of the sexual act. I’m guessing no carefully planned enema then. Probably no caring prestretching with a well-lubed trainer dildo either. No wonder these men report that the women find it painful the first time.

Even Albert, the one who won’t tie the knot without a key to the back door, admits that. “You’re thinking, ‘I don’t want to hurt her, and I don’t want shit to squirt out at me,'” he says.

Hey Albert! If you prepare for anal penetration with a preparatory enema, shit will never squirt out at you. Fancy that! And she’ll enjoy it more, too, if that matters at all to you.

So if you can’t be certain whether the woman’s enjoying herself or just submitting to peer pressure, and the act itself can be unpleasant, what’s the motivation for demanding it? For Todd, so his friend says, it was about maintaining emotional distance. Albert says it’s about enhancing the intimacy between two people. But the more plausible explanation is that it’s about accessibility””and instant gratification.

If the men are simply after instant gratification, then they’re certainly not caring about the health and wellbeing of the anuses of their female partners, as treating said anuses as if they do actually have nerve endings and blood vessels does actually take some time and effort that would delay gratification for a while. I’m not the first to point out that these men don’t seem to be offering to see what it’s like to be penetrated by a dildo themselves, either (even the Details author noted that). I shudder to think of the distinct possibility that these men don’t know or care enough about sexual hygiene to ensure that they don’t transfer body fluids between the rectum and the vagina, which is a risk behaviour for all sorts of vaginal and uterine infections, many of which are threats to fertility.

Why is there this huge difference in terms of knowing the simple mechanics of safe, clean, enjoyable anal intercourse between homosexuals and heterosexuals generally? These men seem to want their anal penetrations to be dirtier and more dangerous than they need to be, or than any competent sex educator would recommend. They want their women sullied and degraded and hurt. These men are sadists. But why don’t the women know more about safe, clean enjoyable anal intercourse and demand that level of consideration for themselves?

Noting the different emphasis on enemas in the heterosexual/homosexual anal preparation advice, I posit that heterosexuals generally think anal sex is much kinkier, whereas homosexuals treat anal sex in a very matter of fact fashion. For those who view the anus as still inherently kinky and nasty, then touching it at all is fraught with significance, including touching it to clean it. Get down and dirty, sure! Get into a cleaning routine? Ewww, what a freak.

Which ends up coming down to the old patriarchal standby, Romance with that capital R. Don’t plan and prepare for sex, it’s too important and special and romantic for that! Wait for marriage if you’re a good little handmaiden, and if you’re a disobedient slut then don’t you dare think that it’s OK to be sexual any time you want to be. Better impregnated than prepared in the Bible Belt, apparently, and better a bruised and torn anus than being intimidatingly supplied with variously-sized dildos, butt-plugs and lube-jars. How’s a man to compare?

If a woman wants sex openly enough to prepare safely and knowledgeably beforehand then although she may well be the ideal “disgusting pig who wants it” such an unromantic slut might not want it “only with you” (more gem-studded quotes from the lips of Albert). Romance must be denigrated by patriarchal tropes as a fantasy that only women are silly enough to take on face value, but FSM forbid that women actually display the capacity to see beyond romantic impetuosity and plan for sex as if it’s a health matter or something, so goes the double-standard: women being unromantic about sex is apparently scary, emasculating even.

Which is why they have to be punished by sadistic buttfuckers, obviously.

As a commentor at Details says:

And in case anyone above didn’t make it clear enough: ANAL SEX SHOULD NOT HURT. IF IT DOES, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, YOU NEANDERTHAL.

My recommendation: whether you’re a man or a woman, if some man tries to sweet-talk you into buttfucking by saying “it will only hurt the first time” they are either ignorant or sadistic. Ignorance can be remedied. Sadists need to be kicked to the kerb.



Categories: education, relationships

Tags: , , , ,

38 replies

  1. Great article, and the links are fabulous.

  2. Tha’s not safe for work? I shouldn’t have waited until I was home to read it then. Pfft, was *I* ever disappointed.
    TT, agree thoroughly with your point a), that cultural pornification is patriarchal and at the moment, pervasive, though I tend to think on your point b) that you’re romanticising a falsely universal model of gay male anal sex. There’s quite enough degradation and nonconsensual, hierarchical, patriarchal domination in male-male relationships without their more kultchured counterparts being taken for the norm, thank you very much.

    I posit that heterosexuals generally think anal sex is much kinkier, whereas homosexuals treat anal sex in a very matter of fact fashion.

    I counter-posit (eh?) that participants in a sex act can simultaneously think of something as matter-of-fact and as a degrading, dominating, symbolic act of power.
    Top bunk, bottom bunk, and all that.

  3. Ha, I was trying to *not* romanticise gay anal sex by pointing out that they’re generally more realistic about what arses can and can’t accommodate without damage, and general maintenance routines, that’s all. Didn’t mean to imply that gay anal sex is immune from dominance and degradation games. Can’t think of any form of sexuality that manages to be entirely free of dominance issues.

  4. A direct post that is worth thinking about. I suppose the answer is if you both dig it then do it, otherwise don’t.
    I thought assholes were not designed to accommodate penis’s but that vaginas were quite ideal. Misinformed?
    A gay guy I vaguely knew had anal sex with a woman and she suffered tissue damage. I recall he laughed about it – as did all his friends as he bragged.
    I never forgot.

  5. I thought assholes were not designed to accommodate penis’s but that vaginas were quite ideal. Misinformed?

    Yes. As idealism often is.

  6. I view human bodies as adapted rather than designed, Harry. The anus is not any less well adapted to accommodating the penis than the mouth is, but I don’t see the same arguments against fellatio.
    Some men and women find other erogenous zones more satisfying than the vagina, or at least equally satisfying and variety is the spice of life so many say.
    That said, the particular guy you vaguely knew sounds like just the sort of sadistic shithead interviewed by Details. One hopes that he is as unrepresentative of average gay men as the men in the article are hopefully unrepresentative of average heterosexual men.

  7. FdG:

    Tha’s not safe for work? I shouldn’t have waited until I was home to read it then. Pfft, was *I* ever disappointed.

    Just trying to play nice for the corporate readers, FdG, especially the ones reading in the US via Feministe. Very zealous net-watch programs, I hear.

  8. While I wouldn’t want to defend a large amount of the pornography that’s out there, I don’t know if porn is as homogeneous as implied here. This is why the so-called ‘pornification’ falls short of explaining what’s going on. I would agree that certain porn scenarios are circulating as ‘ideal’ sex scripts, but I also think there are other things going on. This doesn’t detract from your argument, of course, and I wholeheartedly agree with it. I also think it’s good that these men are being explicit about their sexual ethics, because it’s an opportunity for others to intervene and suggest, as you have done here, how inappropriate some of those ways of thinking about sex really are.

  9. Poorly explained by me, obviously. I meant the porn that’s part of a basic whitebread middle-class experience, not all porn (which has always had pockets of fetishising brutalisation and sadism).
    But almost always, the ideal porn script seems to be about persuading the object of desire to allow sexual access that is taboo. The fantasy is about being the one who is able to dominate the object of desire so that they consent to breaking the taboo just for you.
    The mainstream porn taboos used to be about themes of shame regarding extramarital sexuality. Now the mainstream porn taboos being broken seem all about the infliction of pain: is she willing to tolerate pain so you can have your orgasm?

  10. “I meant the porn that’s part of a basic whitebread middle-class experience, not all porn”
    I think it’s clear the kinds of porn that you are getting at, even on the basis of my own experiences as a consumer, where I have learnt how to avoid them. I would be interested to know whether they are dominant in an empirical sense in relation to an actual group, or just in the sense of being axiomatic. I feel like we have to be explicit about the so-called mainstream, because on closer inspection it might turn out that there is more potential there than these dominant ways of doing porn/sex imply.
    I would also suggest that the kind of porn you are referring to, as well as to the sex practices that are under discussion here, that the significant relation from the perspective of the men is a homosocial one. This leads to further problems with respect to promoting changes in male sexual ethics: there is thus the secondary question of audience even with respect to ‘private’ interactions and personal relationships. Maybe it comes down to men refusing to provide a receptive audience for their friends activities as much as for inappropriate forms of pornography?

  11. There’s certainly an awful lot of misogyny that’s held up as exempt from examination because it’s “just being one of the lads” and “just a bit of fun”, Adam. But there are positives for men in homosocial bonding as well – how to not throw out the baby with the bathwater?
    [insert segue here]
    Just read an interesting op-ed in the Terrorgraph from Tanya Plibersek: Inoculating with sensible sex

    Many teachers say the rise in use of the internet (and the ready access to pornography that it brings) now presents a significant challenge for teaching young people.
    They might not have any doubts about the mechanics of sex, or what bodies look like undressed, but they are unlikely to properly understand issues such as consent, safe sex, contraception and so on.

  12. I’m referring to the kinds of homosociality where relations between men are mediated by a third party or object. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, except for the risks it poses when that ‘object’ happens to be a subject themselves. My point was that the homosocial is the terrain upon which our interventions will have to be played out, at least as much as the heterosexual relation itself.
    Pilbersek is on the right track in suggesting that we get our heads out of the sand and commit to really engaging in the formation of sexual ethics, rather than leaving it up to random media or peer groups. I don’t know about their being a direct causal relationship between porn exposure and younger sexual encounters, or violent sex for that matter. I think foregrounding internet pornography is a good way of avoiding questions about immediate social contexts, and, heaven forbid, the sexual interest and desire of children themselves.
    “Many teachers say the rise in use of the internet (and the ready access to pornography that it brings) now presents a significant challenge for teaching young people.”
    The proliferation of pornography represents an opportunity to offer critical perspectives, including feminist perspectives, on sex to students. Rather than panicking about it, we need to find out how influential porn really is by asking students. If it turns out to be important, then it’s a matter of incorporating the critical interrogation of porn into sex ed. The real ‘challenge’ is how to do this in educational institutions where even the discussion of pornography is excluded in advance.

  13. Adam, if only people critically analysed porn the way that other imagery/performance is analysed. Sexuality in general would be much more sane.

  14. “I view human bodies as adapted rather than designed, Harry.”
    Playing devil’s advocate here, but the mouth’s physiological purpose is to TAKE IN food/drink/air, and the anus’s physiological purpose is to EXPEL fecal matter – and if the mouth is expelling something, it’s usually not a good sign, like vomiting, which often brings up potentially harmful stomach acid, is really gross, etc. (Not that I am declaring myself against any kind of sex – and yes, I also realize that we certainly do a lot of things with our bodies that are not their “purpose”, like it isn’t the purpose of my eyes to have plastic contact lenses on them.)

  15. Tigtog, that is exactly what I am proposing. We have critical literacy being taught, one way or another, in relation to a whole range of media. Why not in relation to porn? The answer is: porn is unacceptable to the way in which educational institutions function in spite of being something that students are being exposed to informally, and that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Beyond that, parents face certain legal risks in discussing porn with their children, because exposing children to porn can constitute abuse, even though many children will access it one way or another anyway.
    Litterolmermaid, if we are going to reduce bodily potentials to physiological functions then what happens to all of those pleasures that have nothing to do with function? This position is untenable unless you begin to reject a whole range of human practices. The implications are fundamentalist at the level even of bodily comportment and motility.

  16. There are content analyses of porn in the literature although I understand that is not exactly what you mean by critical analysis. There are quite a few movies with unsimulated sex which I would not classify as pornography. I wonder what your perspective is on the differences between the two, Adam?

  17. I think that it is perfectly reasonable to speak of artistic pornography or pornographic art, but beyond that it becomes difficult to define these terms without some seriously debatable presuppositions. From my perspective, movies with unsimulated sex tend to have their artistic merit foregrounded in some very conservative ways in order to be distanced from ‘pornography’. The distinction may be untenable in the last instance when part of the affective dimension of the art emerges from the fact that it is unsimulated sex. We, as a audience, know or suspect, and this creates particular affects and emotions.
    I think there is potentially more harm in banal titillation and ‘erotica’ than in pornography because pornography can challenge us in unexpected ways. That challenge is potentially what those films trade on.

  18. I think there is potentially more harm in banal titillation and “erotica’

    . What would that harm be? Porn can be exceptionally banal in my opinion. Isn’t that part of what is happening to porn; the depiction of sexual acts has become exceedingly banal and the search for new taboos is pushing it further and further toward images of torture. In about 5 years I would not be surprised to see a Details article entitled “A2M – the new deal-breaker?”

  19. The harm is in confirming patriarchal configurations in an apparently harmless way, whereas hardcore pornography at least offers the opportunity to challenge by being very explicit about sex and power relations. In the same way as sex work offers a potential position of criticism to some more ‘naturalised’ forms of heterosex. We are rarely brought to the point of questioning or challenging in our everyday lives. While I wouldn’t suggest most porn consumers are forced to look closely at questions of sex and power, I don’t think there is much in mainstream pop culture that provokes this either.
    I don’t know if I agree with your narrative of ‘escalation’, and I certainly don’t follow the logic that the necessary conclusion is torture. At any rate, there is already ‘torture’ galore readily available on the net, most of the ‘victims’ are male. I don’t feel like there is an active search for new taboos – the Marquis de Sade has beat us to it – rather, a lot of these things are becoming more visible and marketable. This is not all bad: arguably it means that these practices are more open to scrutiny, to disputation, to argument, to prosecution where applicable. It is up to us to reject any inexorable logic, and act in relation to porn as a fait accompli, rather than try to reject it outright.

  20. Adam-
    “Litterolmermaid, if we are going to reduce bodily potentials to physiological functions then what happens to all of those pleasures that have nothing to do with function? This position is untenable unless you begin to reject a whole range of human practices. The implications are fundamentalist at the level even of bodily comportment and motility.”
    Um, I clearly added at the end of my post that I am not condemning any particular sex positions and that I do things (non-sexually) that nature did not intend, like wear contacts, makeup, clothing, etc.

  21. I’m not really sure why the point was raised if you didn’t expect anybody to answer it. I’m fully aware that it was a position that you didn’t agree with yourself.

  22. I don’t know if I agree with your narrative of “escalation’

    The narrative is drawn from directors’ conversations about their own industry. This is a long quote from a Robert Jenson article;
    “As Jerome Tanner put it during a pornography directors’ roundtable discussion featured in Adult Video News, “People just want it harder, harder, and harder, because like Ron said, what are you gonna do next?” Another director, Jules Jordan, was blunt about his task: “[O]ne of the things about today’s porn and the extreme market, the gonzo market, so many fans want to see so much more extreme stuff that I’m always trying to figure out ways to do something different. But it seems everybody wants to see a girl doing a d.p. now or a gangbang. For certain girls, that’s great, and I like to see that for certain people, but a lot of fans are becoming a lot more demanding about wanting to see the more extreme stuff. It’s definitely brought porn somewhere, but I don’t know where it’s headed from there.”
    It is interesting that so much of the discussions of porn revolve around its impact on consumers. Relatively few people like to discuss the class of people for whom porn is a living. A consistent finding in psychological literature is that sexually abused children are at risk of revictimisation. Revictimisation is highly correlated with entry into prostitution and the porn industry. Also consistent is the finding that a large proportion- upwards of 75% of women in prostitution and porn were sexually abused as children. Of course it does not follow necessarily that their participation in the industry is damaging but it does beg the question.

  23. Sorry- completely mucked up the block quotes there.

  24. Su, that is one trend in one part of the market, and it’s being spurred by consumers which means that as disturbing as it may be, its origins are not just within porn itself, but also in the wider culture. There are plenty of other trends in porn that are far less disturbing. I’m not going to defend everything, or even most, of what appears in pornography, but the distinction is between the category itself and its content. It is a distinction that is forgotten in most accounts.
    “Relatively few people like to discuss the class of people for whom porn is a living.”
    Personally, I’m more than happy to discuss this, but I don’t see what can be done except reform and regulation, including support services so that sex workers/ porn workers have access to counselling etc if they need it.
    If we are talking about workplace safety then the answers are also pretty straightforward: regulation, unionisation, information. Those things should apply to any workplace, but when there are physical risks, and the risk of exploitation, then these are more important.

  25. I agree with the last comments you made about unionisation and regulation (and also education as you and Tigtog pointed out, beginning in high school). I have heard a few people talking about amateur uploads eating into industry profits so I suppose there is always the risk that regulation will simply shift the problem. I doubt that most workers would have access to good health care coverage that entitles them to psychological services, however. Industry wide only a small percentage earn more than a very modest living.

  26. Adam – I admitted I was playing devil’s advocate from the start, and I was just pointing out that mouth and anus serve very different functions physiologically. I’m quite happy to drop the matter now that I’ve made myself clear that I don’t and have never said at any point that we should only use body parts for the functions that they’re “meant” for.

  27. “I have heard a few people talking about amateur uploads eating into industry profits so I suppose there is always the risk that regulation will simply shift the problem.”
    It is the rise of the amateur upload that I find more promising: it’s a potential web 2.0 of porn. There are lots more people circulating images of themselves for their own pleasure and/or profit. There seems to be a whole area of sex-positive blogging and other online media that overlaps with porn of this kind, and is quite engaged with discussing sexual ethics and the ethics of porn production and consumption. It represents the most promising area.
    “I doubt that most workers would have access to good health care coverage that entitles them to psychological services, however. Industry wide only a small percentage earn more than a very modest living.”
    Of course this is true, and a great concern, although the same could be said of lots of workers in lots of different jobs, particularly in the US. It could be addressed by governments if they weren’t scared of the political consequences of regulating and thereby endorsing the industry.
    There are other issues relating to the ethics of porn consumption relating to the international division of labour, also. If conditions are bad in the US industry, then consumers need to be encouraged towards porn produced under better conditions. It does seem like porn production/consumption is a microcosm of global capitalism, albeit exacerbated by its psycho-sexual dimensions.
    littoralmermaid, understood, and sorry if it seemed like I was on the offensive against you or had ignored your disclaimer.

  28. I agree with you about the potential of amateur video but the experience of prostitution shows that the free agent is a fairly rare phenomenon and that where there is an opportunity to exploit “free” labour it will happen. On a previous point I am not sure if it is true to characterise gonzo as marginal, Tony Comstock of Comstock films calls it the “mainstay of the industry”.

  29. Fantastic post and wonderful discussion.
    Frankly, having just checked out some sites I don’t see much room for optimism about the DIY porn trend. Appears to be full of hatred, criticism, and disgust towards the girlfriends and wives participating.
    I think the article on men’s attitudes towards anal sex was as, Adam said I think, a great opportunity for people to be confronted with the levels of misogyny that exist in young male culture.
    I think the pornification of our society has resulted in this strange dynamic for young women around sexual power – I haven’t talked to heaps of young women about this, just put together some thoughts based on some articles and some survey data… but it appears something has changed since when I was at school and young women gave blow jobs (of course it was a sexual activity focused on his pleasure rather than hers) and the boys were begging for it, now boys seem to think a blow job is nothing, girls give blow jobs to get only the most basic attention. And the attention is fleeting. The power to withhold is reserved exclusively for anal sex. The little power that young women were allowed in the form of sexual power seems to have transferred largely to young men. The ante has been upped – boys aren’t chasing blow jobs, they’re chasing anal sex (another activity more likely focused on his pleasure than hers). These are just preliminary thoughts after reading this post.
    By the way I appreciated the NSFW warning as I first read this at work and waited until I was at home to finish it.

  30. Wish I hadn’t been quite as incoherent as I feared I was when I commented verrrrrrrrrry late last night. I can’t remember what point I was trying to make.

  31. No worries, bluemilk. Glad the NSFW warning came in handy.
    I’m glad this thread has at least so far stayed away from the “but painful sex can be great” tone that’s developed in other threads.
    Sure it can, if everybody knows that it could be painfree and choose the pain anyway. Whatever.
    Acquiescing to pain because you don’t know any better and your partner doesn’t want to delay their gratification, rather than freely and informedly choosing to embrace pain because it gratifies you, is what’s at issue.

  32. For me it was a matter of disputing some fairly self-certain and exclusive statements over at LP, tigtog, but I agree with what you’re saying.
    I agree su that gonzo isn’t marginal, but it is only one part of pornography in it’s broadest sense. In case I’ve seemed to be arguing otherwise, there are two main points about porn that I would make: 1) is that it exists and is part of our shared social worlds, so it has to be engaged with, understood even at the risk of complicity; 2) that there is a lot of critical potential circulating around porn in relation to exploring sexual ethics. Neither of these points lead me to conclude that pornography is always, or even often, good for participants or consumers. It may need to be thought about beyond some of the standard parameters of feminist critique.

  33. I didn’t mean that last comment of mine to refer to you, Adam. I have no problems with your contributions to either thread at all.

  34. Not awfully romantic, any of this. Do you reckon Darcy might have turned out a back-passage man? What would Miss Bennett say!
    Well golly, but this is all a beatup, an invention, I’ve never known a bloke who’d admit being a bum bandit. Some are, but they go to a prostitute for it, just to try it out. Then they might talk about it, but only then -and for a laugh, because it’s embarrassing, a perversion.
    Yes, and it’s also the biggest threat against any “bitch” (feminists, watch out).
    Well I’m retired a bit from romance, having maybe used up my quota, but wouldn’t try bummy once on any woman I respected -and especially not if I lived with her, ate with her, wanted a nice memorial later on.
    That’s the trouble with posterity, everything gets mentioned, eventually.

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