Women, Including Feminists, Can & Do Like Rough Sex (We Knew That Already!)

Mashable discovers the reality that feminists can, indeed, like rough sex:

Of the 1,500+ self-described “kinky” women Jennifer Eve Rehor studied in 2011, the majority were found to have participated in “at least one of the following activities for their own sensual or erotic pleasure: physical humiliation, deprivation, punishment (physical), breath play, obedience/training, verbal abuse/humiliation, other forced activities and service-oriented submission/domestic service.” They did so in the role of the receptive or submissive partner.

For the record, the dominant partner(s) needn’t be male in these scenarios. Nor does rough sex necessarily imply penis-vagina intercourse. Feminist women can and do experiment with power structures well beyond male-female play.

Before you dash off and read the post, we’d like to remind you that we have copiously covered this issue for ages. (Besides, isn’t more confounding that a feminist can belong to most any popular religion?!) And we even discussed rape fantasies and actual rape in our discussions. Here are some of the more recent Sex Kitten posts on the subject of feminists & BDSM:

There’s No Such Thing As BDSM Romance? More BDSM Myth-information

Rape Fantasies Are Normal, Even If You’ve Been Raped

Say It With Me Now: “BDSM Is Not Violence”

BDSM, Porn, & Rape

See also, these interviews with feminists on BDSM: Erika Lust and Miss Fussypants.

Oh, and don’t forget our book ~ yes, actual paper! Sex-Kitten.Net Presents The BDSM Issue (2005).

Now go see the article at Mashable: Can you be a feminist and like rough sex? (Yes!)

Creepy & Complex Sexual Discussions In The News Part Two (Trigger Warning)

It wasn’t until David Bowie passed that I heard about how he had slept with an underage girl.

At the age of 15, Lori Mattix was a self-described groupie in the 70s ~ a groupie who lost her virginity to David Bowie. Last November, in an interview at the Thrillist, the adult Mattix seemed fine about it. Even when Thrillist reporter Michael Kaplan pressed her about it, she seemed dreamily happy, gushing, “Who wouldn’t want to lose their virginity to David Bowie?”

Mattix’s stories of her groupie years, deflowering, and age have varied over the years ~ which is not stated here to cast doubt on her claims, but to point out that she clearly hasn’t viewed her sexual activities with Bowie (or others) to be rape or anything remotely close to it. But, as told in the Thrillist piece, Mattix was a minor and Bowie was not. So even with Mattix agreeing and desiring to have sex with Bowie, her age removes her legal ability to consent. This would make Bowie guilty, ethically if not legally, of statutory rape.

Yes, I know; we all took David Bowie’s death pretty hard. But I’m not posting this about Bowie per se…. I mean, sure, there are definitely implications and conversations we should be having regarding celebrities and abuse. And we do have some consumer power we can wield. But the real issues I am looking at in this conversation are the rights of young people to have any sexual autonomy, who decides who is victimized, and how autonomy and victimization impact one another.

While there are laws that specify ages at which a person is “adult enough” to legally consent, even those which outline what sorts of authoritative relationships render sexual acts as abuse, we all know that there is no magic age at which every person automatically becomes a mature adult. It’s clear ~ or damn well ought to be!~ that infants and young children are not in any sort of position to make decisions about their sexual lives, outside of masturbation, anyway (which is why the “part one” post is so upsetting). But at what point do we give young adults the power to make decisions about their own bodies and sexual needs?

At Medium, Jes Skolnik, survivor of child sexual abuse, writes poignantly about the Bowie situation from her point of view:

[Mattix] does not view herself as a victim. This does not excuse the fact that Bowie had sex with her when she was underage, but we need to allow survivors the ability to define our own realities and speak our own experiences. We can believe it was on him, as the adult, not to have sex with her, and we can understand the context for his actions without excusing them.

I had sexual contact with a lot of men inappropriately older than me when I was 13 and 14. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26-year-old men. Sometimes I initiated it; sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I felt coerced; sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I was forcibly raped. Sometimes these men used the power that they had as musicians I admired to appeal to me. Sometimes I was manipulated. Sometimes I wasn’t. I wanted to be loved; I wanted to be desired. I felt that sex was all I had to offer. This is clearly based on my own history as a survivor of child sexual abuse. You learn early on how to be used, how to offer yourself. That is what grooming does.

Were these men ethically wrong? Yes.

Do I feel that I was abused? Only in the situations where I felt forced or coerced. Which, again, was not all of them. Some of those relationships, even with uneven power dynamics involved, felt real, and mutual, and loving. I look back on them and don’t know how to feel about them. They are part of my life.

Were they pedophiles? Some of them. Some of them had a history of going after inappropriately young girls. Some of them didn’t. Some of them found themselves with me as an anomaly. Not everyone who commits statutory rape is a pedophile, someone who seeks out such encounters and has a significant pattern of doing so.

Others, including Mistress Matisse & Alex Morgan, added to the story on Twitter, addressing the issues of age, consent, and victim’s rights:

When does a child become adult enough to consent?

In some cultures and points in history, a girl was considered a woman when she began her menstrual cycle… Of course, with today’s diet, toxins, and changing parenting styles, adopting such a stance would make some six year old girls legal adults. And what about boys? When would they be considered adult men?

Do two fumbling 14 year-olds having sex make it less abusive simply because neither of them can know better under the law?

We should all seem able to agree that a victim’s opinion matters ~ but even there, people disagree. Many voice the “If she was too young to consent, she was too young to know better at the time ~ and whatever her memory of the event, it is permanently flawed by her age and trauma” sentiments.

These are complicated ideas, fraught with strong feelings. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be struggling with them. On the contrary. We should endeavor to struggle through these nuanced issues because of the strong feelings evoked.

In a rather odd way, even after death, Bowie continues to challenge us, make us take a look at what rules ought to be bent or broken.

Creepy & Complex Sexual Discussions In The News Part One (Trigger Warning)

Recently, The Atlantic covered the story of Shin Takagi and his company, Trottla, which produces life-like child sex dolls. Yes, you read & understood that correctly; Takagi produces life-like child sex dolls for pedophiles.

Takagi believes, though there is no data to support this, that by offering such dolls he is “helping people express their desires, legally and ethically.” Others, such as Peter Fagan from the John Hopkins School of Medicine, are skeptical and believe that contact with Trottla’s products would likely have a “reinforcing effect” on pedophilic ideation and “in many instances, cause it to be acted upon with greater urgency.” However, it should be noted too that the research Fagan cites to support such conclusions is based on offenders, leaving it unclear as to whether the effects would be different for non-offenders.

While Takagi and Trottla have been selling the dolls for over a decade, the controversial dolls are news to many. [Don’t worry, I won’t be showing you any of these dolls. It’s not just because Trottla’s website forbids reproduction of the images, “including the news,” but because they do more than creep me out. They make me ill. I won’t even link to Takagi’s website. For more info, see this Vice interview with Takagi from 2013 ~ when he insisted they were not sex dolls.]

One of the most outspoken and strident voices on Twitter to these dolls was Domina, and fetish Goddess, Vivian Martin. Among her choice tweets was this series on the entitlement and lack of self-control men have regarding their sexual urges ~ and how best to handle such things via castration:

Normally, I’m all for sexual fantasy play ~ but in this case, I’m with Martin.

Babies & children have no ability to give consent and creating sexual gratification devices in their image is more than unsettling. As the article in The Atlantic states, there is little study in this area. Until then, shouldn’t we all err on the side of sanity, if not caution? And, as Martin points out, why would it be legal or acceptable for a man to even role play his sexual urges with minors? This at a time when women’s rights to reproductive health and sexual autonomy are so limited?

This is enough to digest for now, leave comments if you are able; stay tuned for part two…

James Deen’s Alleged Assaults Were Ignored, Laughed Off by Casts and Crews #sexwork #porn #rape

Since Saturday, when porn actress and writer Stoya tweeted that she was raped by porn hero James Deen, four more adult film performers have come out agains

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.slate.com

Cauterucci’s article gives the most balanced view of the whole James Deen rape story ~ including the debacles facing women in porn and sex work. While the adult industry has a much faster (and positive) response to its stars who rape and abuse than Hollywood and mainstream media do, there are always the following issues of whether or not it is rape if a person is paid or likes rough sex. 

Cauterucci:

“There is nothing wrong or rape-like about enjoying rough sex and being good at it. There is nothing wrong or suspicious about acting out a consensual rape fantasy. But, as in offscreen/noncommercial sex, the entire validity of porn as an industry hinges on consent. Perversely, that may be one reason why a porn actress might feel compelled to stay silent about these kinds of violations: Women who act in adult films are often portrayed as victims with little agency or know-how, who must resort to a demeaning and dangerous career because they have no other options. Stories like the ones Fires, Lux, Rayne, and Peters tell—important as they are—don’t exactly contradict that myth.

But neither porn nor rough sex subjected these women to sexual assault, and they didn’t turn James Deen into a rapist. The allegations against Deen are full of references to ways porn actresses control their own careers: through lists of acts they won’t perform, lists of people they won’t perform with, and contracts that specify exactly what will happen in a scene. Deviating from the agreed-upon variety, timing, and manner of sex is just as wrong as any other kind of assault. The women who’ve told their horrifying stories about Deen know that. Deen and the bystanders who looked on and laughed did, too.”

Click links for more info on rape & rape fantasies ~ including issues in porn & sex work.

See on Scoop.itSex Work

Jane Fonda On Klute

jane fonda 2011 klute interviewJane Fonda on Klute (from an interview in 2011). Jane, never one to shy away from controversy and opinion, makes some profound statements.

It is important to remember two things while reading this:

One, this is clearly interview soundbites; so do not mistake brevity for all that can or should be said about these issues.

Two, this is one woman speaking on her experiences; it should not be read that all sex workers have suffered abuse, nor that all abuse survivors suffer from intimacy issues.

“Klute totally changed my life. In 1971, I had just done Barbarella and I didn’t understand feminism.

“It’s a perfect movie, everything about it, Gordon Willis’s cinematography, I’m really proud of it.”

Fonda spent time hanging out with high-end hookers to prepare to play Bree Daniels. “I watched them do coke, and watched when they hooked up with their johns. Not once did any john even wink at me. I went to Pakula and said, “Hire Faye Dunaway~!”

“The scenes with the psychiatrist, we put them at the end of the three months. They were all improvised. [The role was originally cast as a male psychiatrist], but Bree would never reveal herself to a man.”

“I came to realize I’m very like her — Bree Daniel.

“There’s an incapacity for intimacy. There’s an inability to show up emotionally.

“The ability to attach has been broken. I have always had that problem. It’s been a problem for me; I used it with the character.

“There can have been sexual abuse. My mother was sexually abused. Daughters inherit that.

Why Violence Against Sex Workers Is A Very Real & Feminist Issue

For those of you who have not yet read the long account of the terrible situation Jill Brenneman & Amanda Brooks find themselves in, get a cup of coffee and go do so.

lifetime_moviesTheir several year long ordeal reads like a Lifetime movie. It has all the sensational elements that are de rigueur in those films: betrayal, stalking, abuse, rape, bad medical diagnoses, a failed justice system, and, yes, female heroics. Unlike the made for TV movies, Amanda & Jill have not emerged victorious. While there may yet be time and help for Amanda, Jill’s sentence is sadly set. Jill is living as a murder victim on borrowed time.

The story begins with a wealthy client of Amanda’s who just happens to own his own airplane. This client, dubbed “Pig”, is a poor pilot. His bad landing results in physical injuries to both Amanda and Jill. His privilege and clout as a wealthy white man leads to poor medical help, resulting in even worse physical care. Amanda is left with permanent brain damage. This client then becomes clingy and possessive, attempting to hold Amanda hostage, proposing a trade of her services for his payment of her unpaid medical bills ~ bills he ought to be paying anyway. Pig’s fantasies of just who owes who what include his “right” to Amanda. He rapes her. More than once. Despite having a serious diagnosis and no medical insurance to assist with treatment, Amanda breaks all contact with the client. His desperate response is to seek out Jill for information on Amanda. The client sends goons ~ not just to intimidate Jill, but to physically beat and rape her. Jill does not provide the information they seek. The physical abuse Jill endures leads to injuries which do not simply threaten her life, but will end it. It isn’t a matter of “if”, but just “when” she will die. While Jill refuses to be called a hero, she withstands the continued brutal terrorism and never divulges where Amanda is. (We wouldn’t fault a trained soldier in a time of war for breaking down and confessing something; but Jill withstands her torture and confesses nothing.) Through it all, the two women seek legal recourse, including restraining orders and law suits for medical damages. None of these legal options produce anything other than more pain. The goons continue, yes; but there’s emotional abuse and betrayal as well. Amanda’s family accuses her of being “greedy” in her legal action against the client; friends, including other sex workers, cooperate with the client & his goons, providing information about their location & activities. Alone & isolated, Amanda and Jill go into serious hiding, cutting themselves off from virtually every human they knew. But because money is needed to survive (and hopefully get her much-needed surgery), Amanda, who is the only one to care for Jill, must continue to work as escort ~ despite her physical & emotional pain and further risk to her life.

While there was considerable coverage of the attack on porn star Christy Mack, Amanda & Jill’s horrific story remains largely uncovered by anyone in the media. Aside from an interview at Tits & Sass, a few tweets, etc., there’s little awareness. Sure, a porn star has more “celebrity status” than virtually every other type of sex worker, but I still believe there’s the old porn star ~ sex worker divide at work here.

international day to end violence against sex workers hashtagFrankly, the whole thing reeks of sexism. It’s more than a story to focus on today, December 17th, International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers (#IDEVASW on Twitter); it’s a matter of feminism and violence against women.

For some, the story is too sensational to be believed, too far from their realities to be comprehended. Hell, it’s a hard story for anyone to digest. But it’s all too real and relatable.

If you replace the airplane incident with a car accident, if you replace the role of client with a non-paying date, you have the story of potentially any woman. From the sexist dismissal in terms of both medical treatment and legal recourse, to the slut-shamming & victim-blaming of acquaintance rape , stalking & abuse, everywhere there’s the stink of male privilege. Wealthy, white, male privilege even turned things more fantastic, allowing the domestic-violence-esque client to hire goons rather than count on his friends to do his dirty work. The inability to get proper care, protection, and even to be believed is something that any woman who has experienced domestic violence, rape, or otherwise sought justice in our very male legal system knows. This, sadly, could be the story of any woman.

The fact that they’re sex workers, with even less legal standing and protections, is just the ugly, bitter, frosting on top of this painful cluster-fuck of a cake.

don-t-keep-calm-and-stop-violence-against-womenJill & Amanda have been discredited, disbelieved, bullied, and further victimized, both by “the system” and peers alike. Yes, peers too. As a survivor, I’ve worked with a number of survivor of rape and violence and know all-too-well how folks want to believe they themselves are safe from such things. For example, women will lock their doors & widows at night, even though they know the fact is that those they lock in are more dangerous than those they lock out. In attempts to cement this reality that they are safe, they will focus on how they have insulated themselves from danger ~ and how the victims must not have. Likewise, sex workers want to believe in all the precautions they take in their work makes them immune from the dangers ~ and when stories like Jill & Amanda’s surface, some will want to see where Jill & Amanda “went wrong” or “deserved it”. To those who think this way, congrats, you’ve further solidified your faux visions of personal safety ~ even as you’ve further joined the number of asshats who would further victimize and stigmatize victims.

For those of you who want to make a real impact, there are things you can do. Yes, you can actively participate in conversations and movements to affect changes that protect the rights of women and sex workers; but you can also help Amanda & Jill directly.

donate11) You can safely & anonymously donate money to help cover their living expenses and medical costs. All you need to do is copy this email address, abrooks2014 AT hush.com, and then click to visit GiftRocket where you will paste the email address into the form. You can send a note along if you wish.

2) Spread the word about Jill & Amanda’s story ~ including information about how to help them. Make some noise! This most certainly includes any media or legal contacts you may have.

Rape Fantasies Are Normal, Even If You’ve Been Raped

If you were following along with the Lifestyle BDSM Vs Professional Domination conversation, you know that I asked Miss Pearl to write a bit about rape fantasies ~ specifically male rape fantasies. And she did. However…

As usual, there were some problems along the way. Primarily that of people confusing rape fantasies with rape and rape culture ~ even though Miss Pearl was clear to make distinctions:

a sexual assault is simply not the same thing as a rape fantasy, and making the distinction is only worth token acknowledgement. I’m going to flat out say that nobody wants to actually be sexually assaulted no matter how elaborate and violent their fantasies are- now there might be a few self harming weirdoes out there who will talk about how they want it to be real, but it’s not a statistically significant amount. And speaking about someone who’s both experienced sexual assault and done this sort of thing as play, there is an overwhelming world of difference of how you feel around the real thing and a comfortable expression of sexuality with your partner. Kind of like stick fighting in a LARP and actually getting into a war are different concepts.

But that didn’t stop one man from attacking Miss Pearl’s post. He said the post and general concept sickened him and that he had little respect for Miss Pearl’s writing.

Miss Pearl defended her post against his “frankly paternalistic sexism” and I even replied that “rape is a far cry from rape fantasies, just as violence is a far cry from BDSM in general and car accidents are a far cry from demolition derbies.”

To which Stan replied:

there is no such thing as “rape fantasy”.

I am involved in a long term BDSM relationship with my wife. I am no stranger to kink and fantasy. This, however, is something I feel compelled to speak against.

Stan, at the behest of his wife, has since apologized for his tone; but he remains convinced that rape fantasies are, for lack of a better phrasing, just plain bad.

And he is not alone.

And so, we endeavor to educate.

Like Miss Pearl, I too am a survivor of rape (and another violent attack); unlike Miss Pearl, I am a girl who enjoys being “the one raped” by a male perpetrator in rape fantasy play.

rough sex

It’s not an easy thing for me to admit. In part because because I am a feminist, in part because such issues are even more loaded when you are a sex worker, and also because I am a woman who has survived violent assaults who now gets turned on by, among other things, rough or forced sex fantasies in which I am the “taken”. I have reasons to “know better”, right? Because it is hard to talk about, to defend, it is something that I feel I must talk about. Not only for the doubters; not only for the women, like me, who have survived assaults and lived on to be erotically moved and fulfilled by rape fantasies and forced sex scenarios; but for the lovers of those survivors.

First you should know that female rape fantasies are relatively normal; about four in 10 women admit having them, according to various surveys. As stated by Michael Castleman, M.A.:

For the latest report (Bivona, J. and J. Critelli. “The Nature of Women’s Rape Fantasies: An Analysis of Prevalence, Frequency, and Contents,” Journal of Sex Research (2009) 46:33), psychologists at North Texas University asked 355 college women: How often have you fantasized being overpowered/forced/raped by a man/woman to have oral/vaginal/anal sex against your will?

Sixty-two percent said they’d had at least one such fantasy. But responses varied depending on the terminology used. When asked about being “overpowered by a man,” 52 percent said they’d had that fantasy, the situation most typically depicted in women’s romance fiction. But when the term was “rape,” only 32 percent said they’d had the fantasy. These findings are in the same ballpark as previous reports.

Along with the phrasing issue, or perhaps because of that data, many who study such issues of human sexuality, like Castleman, feel that the “actual prevalence of rape fantasies is probably higher because women may not feel comfortable admitting them.”

Saying that would probably be the case with women who had been survived sexual violence would likely be an understatement. And given that one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in her lifetime, you can see how those numbers would affect the survey responses, right?

I know I have had my difficulties dealing with it, admitting it to myself and then others. I am not alone. Clinical psychologist David J. Ley, Ph.D. writes:

Many women (and not a few men) I’ve spoken to over the years have disclosed to me their personal fantasies of being forced to have sex, usually with embarrassment, shame, and fear. They struggle over what this fantasy means, about them as a person, as a woman or a man, as a victim. Women have told me that they struggle with being a feminist, and yet still getting aroused at the idea of being taken by a man, against their will.

Boy-o-boy is all of that familiar.

rape victim rape fantasies

But I eventually made my piece with it and BDSM in general ~ even before reading what Ley wrote:

What does the rape fantasy mean? Lots of things. And perhaps in that, it means nothing. Our society romanticizes rape and violence, in complex and disturbing ways, from the Beast pounding on Beauty’s door in the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, to the contents of thousands of romance novels, where women “swoon” and “succumb” to male passions and dominance. Fantasies of forced eroticism may, in some cases, be the result of social programming. Evolutionary biologist Randy Thornhill argues convincingly that rape is something that has occurred throughout human history, and thus, following his argument, these fantasies may reflect evolutionary adaptations. Psychologist Roy Baumeister has proposed that the fantasy of submission reflects a desire to escape from the burden of self, from the chore of being responsible, and in charge of your own existence.

It’s that last one especially that I wrote about in the SK BDSM book. But my point now is that rape fantasies are normal. Even if you’ve been raped or assaulted.

I know too that this can be difficult for the lovers of those who have survived assaults. Honest communication is always a good idea; it is especially so now. As is reading solid information, such as Dealing With Rape Fantasies As A Survivor Of Sexual Violence, and these comments from survivors with rape fantasies.

As Ley notes, the labels of “victim” or “survivor” may actually harm more than help because those words and attitudes may keep a person from “maintaining a sense of personal autonomy and power, developing a narrative that they, not the event and situation, nor the perpetrator, are in charge of their lives and actions.” We have rights, including the right to manage our lives according to our own values and judgment.

Without knowing it, people like Stan may be adding to the shame, degradation, & repression of people they love.

Image credits, in the order they appear: Image of Adrianna Nicole & Marco Banderas from Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex. Second iimage used here was once at Post Secrets. I couldn’t find the original posting, but on this archive site I did find a thread of comments which may also be illuminating.

CONSENT and BDSM: The State of the Law

See on Scoop.itLet’s Get Sex Positive

BDSM activity, even where clearly consensual, can be and frequently is prosecuted under state criminal laws dealing with assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault or sexual abuse. Such criminal prosecution can arise in various circumstances, including

Gracie Passette‘s insight:

USA legal issues

See on ncsfreedom.org

Fracking, Stripping, Speaking: The Sexual Politics of Sex Work

See on Scoop.itSex Work

The implication is that with the insufficient “supply” of women, tempting men with a hint of sexuality is too dangerous. This is almost a textbook example of victim-blaming, in which victims of sexual assault or aggression are construed to have been asking for it based on non-verbal cues, such as clothing, demeanor or profession. This sort of rhetoric flares up in large-scale rape cases. While covering the alleged rape of 14-year-old Daisy Coleman, known in the media as the Maryville case, an expert witness on Fox Newssaid, “What did she expect to happen at 1am in the morning after sneaking out?” The example in the New York Times article is a variation on the same concept; the woman is cautioned that she should adjust her behavior because this will either tempt or invite sexual aggression from men. It is not the man’s responsibility to not rape women; it is the woman’s responsibility to not ‘ask for it’.

 

It may seem redundant to point out the commodification of female flesh in the industry of sex work. However, the issue at hand is specifically the rationalization that it is a simple function of the influx of men that creates conditions fertile for exploitation and predation. Critically absent from this discourse is a question as to why the men in Williston engage in this behavior. Ara Wilson, an associate professor of women’s studies at Duke University, points out that the definition of capitalist markets as “benign vehicles” that merely channel “wants, needs, and desires” overlooks the fact that “desires can be fostered and created.” Anybody can see how a sense of necessity did not precede the existence of consumer goods like smart phones, jewelry, or the millions of toys produced each year. However, with sex work, it’s taken as a given that desire precedes the market, and Wilson notes that a discussion of the creation of desire for sex work “remain[s] surprisingly unexamined”.

Gracie Passette‘s insight:

Overall an excellent essay; however, it does not make distinctions between sex & rape. Sex work is about delivering a consensual service; rape is not about sex ~ it is about violence.

 

See also: http://www.cultofgracie.com/2012/02/28/oil-isnt-the-only-slick-smarmy-thing-in-williston-nd/

See on www.brownpoliticalreview.org