A Quick and Dirty Guide to Feminist Sex
It’s hard to deny that women throughout history haven’t gotten a fair deal. Try as we might to fight for equality, there is still so much work to be done in repairing the damage done to women around the world, especially women from marginalized communities. We can’t spend every moment of our lives in active protest — but we can make sure that our own lives are more equitable. Where better to apply your belief in equality between the sexes than in the bedroom? Here are five things you can start doing tonight to level your own personal playing field. These are mostly cis-hetero focused, but see how they may apply to your own personal life.
Close the orgasm gap. One survey of university students found that 91 percent of men versus 39 percent of women report always or usually experiencing an orgasm with a partner. That means men are having almost three times the number of orgasms as women during sex! While the obvious solution to this is to focus more on female pleasure, you might also consider things like whether you consider foreplay as important as penetration. Learning why women aren’t getting off is just as important as getting women off in the first place.
Don’t have sex when you don’t want to. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but plenty of people are still giving in to the age-old idea that going on a date or being in a relationship defaults to having sex. Countless articles suggest that tired women and harried husbands “take one for the team” in order to save their marriage, which leads to attitudes that normalize spousal rape and sexual obligation. I don’t care who you are, consent is SEXY — and making sure you and your partner are on the same page is the key to a guilt-free sexual encounter. This doesn’t just mean checking in with your lovers, but also checking in with yourself. Do you want this sex? Treating yourself the way you should be treating others will help change the way you look at sexual interactions and learn how consent should apply to all situations.
Evaluate your communication style. Practicing good consent isn’t limited to getting a “yes” in the bedroom. How do you state your needs and desires? What words do you use when expressing your boundaries? Are you more likely to begin a sentence with the word “I” or the word “you”? Examining and adjusting the way you speak can greatly reduce the amount of pressure you are putting on those around you. This advice goes especially for men, who are often raised to speak in a more authoritative and aggressive fashion. Learning how to identify and talk about your feelings without making them other people’s problem creates a more equitable space for women and men alike by placing the emotional labor on ourselves instead of others.
Watch ethical porn (and pay for it!). Porn is a pretty ubiquitous habit, with 70% of men and 30% of women reporting that they enjoy erotic films or pictures regularly. While there is nothing wrong with watching porn, the internet has provided us with an endless sea of options, some more savory than others. It may seem harmless to click through a sea of free streaming tube sites, but driving traffic to those sites not only robs the actors and actresses that you’re watching have sex, but funnels money into predatory production practices and supports the idea that sex (and sex work) is without value and expected on demand. Paying for sex-positive porn from companies that encourage explicit consent on- and off-camera helps offset the losses caused by a flooded market and ensures that more production companies adopt healthier practices.
Hire sex workers. Speaking of paying for your porn, consider hiring sex workers to help fulfil your desires. Far from the “trafficked woman” stereotypes, most sex workers are happy in their chosen career, and not only that — they’re good at it! Hiring a sex worker ensures that you get your willy wanked the way you like it, and also directly pays people for their sexual labors. If you’ve ever been concerned that you’re a bit of a selfish lover, hiring a sex worker is a great way to give back — and to ensure that you’re not foisting your demands onto an unwilling partner. What better way to make sure that you’re holding up your end of the bargain than by literally paying for what you want?
These small steps are crucial building blocks in creating a healthier sexual environment for women and men alike. The fight for gender parity is fought on many fronts, and the battles fought at home can often be the closest to our hearts. This list is a very lighthearted take on a serious conversation, but the smallest acts in the fight for equality can effect massive change in their ripples.
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