Let’s talk sex.

I tend in this journal to write a great deal about topics that deal, directly or indirectly, with sex. I wrote a lot about polyamory and BDSM, for example.

This is not one of those posts.

Instead, I want to cut right down to the heart of good old-fashioned sex. You know, knocking boots. Bumping uglies. Making, as Will Shakespeare said, the beast with two backs. Screwing. Banging. Humping. Fucking.

When it comes right down to good old-fashioned fucking people are, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked up.


A man noted for his nontrivial intellect and, occasionally, nontrivial cynicism on another mailing list I read recently said that, when it comes down to brass tacks, the real reason there is such unified and consistent objection in American society to legalized prostitution has less to do with moral concerns, or concerns about public health, so much as the unspoken truth that prostitution screws up the economics of sex.

People, particularly women, in American society are presented with cultural ideas that tell them there is an economic exchange in sex. Women give men sex, and men pay for that sex by giving women love and romance. It’s a tidy, neatly-packaged arrangement; the men get laid, which is what they want, and women get love, which is what they want. Each side has to give up something to get what they want, but hey, that’s what any economic exchange is all about.

Prostitution, he says, throws a monkeywrench into this convenient arrangement. If men can exchange currency for sex, then they no longer have to pay for sex with love and romance and fidelity. This is deeply threatening and offensive to women; if men can pay for sex with money, then women can not use sex to get love and attention, so how can they get what they want?


There is a certain amount of truth in the notion that women in American society often see sex as a way to get the love and romance they want. Romantic relationships are often defined by and predicated on sex; a partner isn’t really a partner until you fuck. And having fucked, now there are certain expectations associated with that fucking. Men are the pursuers of sex; women are the gatekeepers of sex; when the woman decides to provide the sex, she gets things in return, such as fidelity and devotion.

Don’t say you don’t know what I’m talking about. You may not do this, but I bet you know someone who does.

So the woman puts out, and in return she exacts a price in emotional support, in love and exclusivity. And, frankly, if you see the world in this way, everyone loses. It’s an attitude about sex that is predicated on false assumptions and poor understanding of human beings, and it tends to make those people who internalize this foolishness get twisted up in a number of ways.


Sex is often seen in a light different from any other human activity. I don’t know any reasonable person who would say “My partner let someone else cook for him; he must not love me any more!” or “My partner likes another person’s cooking; why am I not good enough for him?” Any person saying something like this would likely be recommended for counseling; yet if we’re talking about sex, people nod sagely and say “HAh, yes, the bastard, clearly he does not love you, for he is getting his sex elsewhere. Best to dump him.”

And you see the damage it causes all the time. People place their value and their worth as human beings on the fact that their partner is not having sex with anyone else. People’s self-esteem and sense of dignity gets all wrapped up in sex. Should their partner look at another woman, there can be only one explanation–it’s because they are not valued, not “good enough,” and their partner is seeking to replace them with someone “better”–whatever “better” means.

It’s fucked up.


Even the attitudes people have about porn rest, I think, on the notion that sex is what you pay for love. If some guy can go and get sexual gratification without paying for it at all (isn’t the Internet great?), then what need does he have to spend love to get his rocks off? If some guy is in a relationship, and he watches porn, then the woman better feel threatened, because now he may withdraw his love from her. He doesn’t need to get the sex from her any more, so why should he pay her in love, right?

This attitude is insulting to both men and women. It’s insulting to men because it starts with the premise that men don’t want love and romance and intimacy; they have to be tricked or cajoled into giving it, with the promise of sex. It’s insulting to women because it debases their position to that of a common merchant, a person who sells sex to get what she needs–and there’s not even any money in it for her, at least not directly. And the price it exacts in self-esteem and self-confidence is devastating.

And buried in there somewhere is an inconvenient truth, one who divide the world into the pursuers and the gatekeepers of sex, don’t like to acknowledge…Women like sex, and men like intimacy.

There is no need to buy one with the other. There is no need to exchange sex for intimacy; and in fact, the two have nothing to do with each other. Women and men like sex; women and men like intimacy; the one need not be predicated on the other. And certainly one’s self-image need not rest on the foundation of sexual exclusivity–a slippery and uncertain foundation indeed. When anyone places their self-esteem on external factors, especially factors controlled by another person, then that self-esteem will always be precarious and uncertain.


On another forum, a message I read described how absolutely devastated a person was when she discovered her boyfriend wasn’t a virgin. It reduced her to tears; because if she is not her boyfriend’s only sexual partner, then what makes her special? How can she ever hope to feel special?

I can’t really quite apprehend how it is that the idea of specialness got so wrapped up in sexual exclusivity, but I don’t think it’s healthy. Predicating one’s ego on the sexual past or sexual activity of another person seems harmful and destructive to me.

And it keeps getting worse. Not only is sex the vehicle for getting love and value, but love and value flow only from one specific type of sex. Any other sex is perverse, coarse, crude; sex in this position shows love, sex in that position does not. Ergo, if he loves me, he will have sex with me in this position; but if he wants to have sex with me in that position, it means…disaster. He doesn’t value me; he doesn’t care about me; I am worth less as a person.


Now, my tastes may be unconventional, but I am quite capable of calling my partner a dirty, filthy whore in the midst of sodomizing her, and still being in love with her. Love, you see, is not a question of what position one’s body is in at the moment of coitus, or which part of my partner’s body my cock is in. Love is greater than that. You see…

…and at this point I will ask all those peculiar species of feminists who believe that there is only one ‘right’ way that women ‘should’ be to leave the room…

…I have lovers who like being called a filthy whore while they are being sodomized.

I do it because it gets me off, and it gets my partner off. A nasty little fact of life, this: not all women have the same tastes. Sex is supposed to be enjoyable; and sex is most enjoyable when it presses the buttons of all of the people involved.

And here’s another dirty little secret:

Sex and love are not the same thing. If I love someone, then I still love her even if she’s on her hands and knees and I’m yanking her hair and calling her my dirty little slut. If I don’t love someone, then no amount of candles and rose petals scattered across the bed will make me love her. All sex done when i love someone is an expression of love. Even the raunchy, dirty, hair-pulling, name-calling sex. Love does not depend on the words you say during sex; love is not counted in terms of candles and rose petals. If you have love in your heart, it is there regardless of what you’re doing while you fuck. If you do not have love in your heart, the rose petals and candles won’t put it there.

If you want to draw a distinction between “fucking” and “making love,” fine. The distinction is in what’s in your heart, not what position you’re in on the bed, or on the floor, or in the back of the closet with your wrists bound to the bar and your face pressed into the winter jackets. The distinction is in your heart. If you and your partner love each other, then you’re making love no matter what you’re doing.

Predicating your sense of self-worth on the number of candles around the bed or the number of seconds your lover spends gazing soulfully into your eyes is stupid, destructive, and insulting. Your partner loves you or he doesn’t. If he loves you, the number of partners he’s had and the positions in which he likes to do the deed don’t change that. If he doesn’t, you’re not going to buy his love with sex.

Get over it. You’ll be a happier person, I promise.

118 thoughts on “Let’s talk sex.

  1. Thank you for always clearly speaking those thoughts I have running around in my head but can never seem to get out. You only serve to contrast even more greatly those who love me and I love in return in my “Intentional Family” to those who *claim* to love me by nature of being related but who really don’t understand me at all.

  2. Thank you for always clearly speaking those thoughts I have running around in my head but can never seem to get out. You only serve to contrast even more greatly those who love me and I love in return in my “Intentional Family” to those who *claim* to love me by nature of being related but who really don’t understand me at all.

  3. Hear hear.

    and I had the misfortune to be in an adult sex ed class offered by the UUs with a woman who had absorbed most of those horrific fallacies. Her boyfriend was a friend of mine through a poly group, but she was against poly in all its incarnations after having had parents who had an unsuccessful poly relationship. Since she didn’t want to vent her anti-polyness on her boyfriend (she was desperately clingy on top of all her other flaws), she vented it all on me. Gah.

    She actually complained about there being poly people in the class (yet, she had signed up with her bf for this class), because the course description mentioned the phrase “committed relationships” and “commitment means two people”. *rolls eyes* Couldn’t get away from her fast enough…

    • Ouch.

      I’ve actually encountered that school of thought before; the idea that the word “commitment” has as part of its definition “fidelity between two and only two people.” I can’t say I rightly comprehend it; it certainly seems to be a very…quixotic view of “commitment” to me.

  4. Hear hear.

    and I had the misfortune to be in an adult sex ed class offered by the UUs with a woman who had absorbed most of those horrific fallacies. Her boyfriend was a friend of mine through a poly group, but she was against poly in all its incarnations after having had parents who had an unsuccessful poly relationship. Since she didn’t want to vent her anti-polyness on her boyfriend (she was desperately clingy on top of all her other flaws), she vented it all on me. Gah.

    She actually complained about there being poly people in the class (yet, she had signed up with her bf for this class), because the course description mentioned the phrase “committed relationships” and “commitment means two people”. *rolls eyes* Couldn’t get away from her fast enough…

  5. I will ask all the feminists to leave the room…

    You are/were on ssbb long enough to know that that is an unproductive remark. Some feminists yes, but also some poly people and some left-wing activists just off the top of my head. If you want real progress in people’s thinking I would not use reactionary bullshit about feminists to make your point. Feminists did a lot to deconstruct the kind of trading you are talking about.

    • You are/were on ssbb long enough to know that that is an unproductive remark.

      It’s a tongue-in-chek remark. And, to be fair, there is still a brand of feminist thought which says that feminism is more about telling women what to be than about providing opportunity for women. Im sure you know what I’m talking about; in fact, I’d be willing to bet you know, or at least know of, people who subscribe to the attitude I’m mocking in that comment.

      • As a veteran of the dyke sex wars, absolutely I have seen that kind of thing; that’s why I said “some feminists, yes”.

        However, places like , which are inhabited by people who literally see feminism as a real-world enemy, have dulled my capacity to read tongue in cheek remarks about feminism and BDSM on LJ. For every reasonably enlightened perve out there, there seem to be an awful lot of scary retrograde fruit loops (and I’m not just talking about the men).

        • “As a veteran of the dyke sex wars”

          Yay! Me too! I have been thrilled to find that I now live in a world where I feel I can demand, expect, and fight for the things that drew me to feminism without actually identifying as a “feminist” in the organized sense. Feminism has, in some ways, become a caricature of itself. How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? —-
          “That’s not funny!”

          And it thrills me to be able to poke fun and laugh at feminism.. kind of like when the gay community embraced the word “queer” – or black people started casually throwing around the word “nigger”. It shows, I think, that many of the philosophies of feminism have so thoroughly stuck that we can now relax and poke fun without fear of losing anything.

          • For me it’s a context thing. My partner is trans. In the privacy of our home, among friends we trust, yes the shit flies thick and fast and she gives as good as she gets. However, in public, especially in places where I have a role as an educator or a leader, I do not say things like “yeah, X is your classic tragic tranny” and I don’t use expressions like “frankencunt”.

            Likewise at my workplace (a large national law enforcement agency) I would never make feminism a target, because it already is a target, in an unfunny way. I do not have the confidence you do that we’re that far forward, but that may be because I live in a small whitebread city in inland Australia, and not any place particularly progressive. I spend more time with Mr and Mrs Suburbia than I do with queers and perves. Many of those people think the joke is funny because they are threatened by the idea of women having equal opportunity, not because some of our ‘systers’ have been entertainingly batshit.

          • well, I suppose it depends on what context you think this journal is – and what you think tacit means. I will say that I would happily shove a pitchfork through the groin of someone who actually meant some of the things that tacit *says* to me. In other words, I do not for even a second doubt his respect for women or me. Though I do have to occasionally remind me that the dry world of text occasionally makes his over the top tounge in cheek writings make him look like a megalomaniacal mysoginist :). Which is even more amusing if you know him…

          • The context of the journal is an interesting one.

            For example, I’ve pimped Tacit’s website to poly and poly-curious people in the past on a number of occasions, and I think if you asked poly people to name poly educators his name would come up. Other poly people might not necessarily agree with him, but he’s definitely right up there when it comes to creating educational resources. Plus posts like this one have an education/outreach/CR flavour. Still the journal as a whole doesn’t (more kitty pix pls!). And whether it follows that different standards apply is also debatable on reflection.

            Tangentially, he probably sees me nitpick him more than he sees me pimp him because the pimping is done quietly for the most part (come to think of it tho’, nitpicking wise I can only recall two nitpicks in the last few years anyway). I’m fairly sure I’ve done an equal amount of bouquet throwing.

          • In writing the journal entry, I could certainly have made it a little more clear who the sideways swipe was directed at (perhaps said something like “at tis point, those people who self-describe as ‘feminists’ while still maintaining that all women should act only in a certain way might want to leave the room’ or something along those lines), but I’d actually thought that the context of the entire post, which is (I believe) certainly highly congruent with what I think of as the mainstream of feminist ideals–namely, that women are the equals of men, and to maintain that women must purchase love with the offer of sex is demeaning both to them and to men–would make that clear.

            In fact, maybe I should edit the post to do just that.

            I’ve been accused on more than a few occasions of having a too-subtle sense of humor and of believing it’s obvious when I’m being tongue-in-cheek or intentionally over the top when it’s not.

            And on the third hand… I identify very strongly as being polyamorous and being part o the poly community. Were I to, say, be reading someone else’s words, and that person were to say something like “You see…and at this point I’d like all the polyamorists to leave the room… the number of people you date has nothing to do with how evolved you are,” I wouldn’t be likely to take offense at it, because I’d recognize that it’s not aimed at me. (There are, unfortunately, some people in the poly community who believed that polyamory is “enlightened” and “evolved” and that monogamy is “unevolved.” I’m not one of them, and in fact I believe this attitude is not only wrong, it’s actually insulting both to poly folk and monogamous folk, just as I believe the idea that women ‘ought’ to behave only in one certain way is insulting both to women and to men.) In other words, the comment was offhand and tongue-in-cheek, yet at the same time I do think there are some people who describe themselves as ‘feminists’ who believe that no woman should ever be in a subordinate position in a sexual relationship, even if she wants to be–and I also think they’re wrong. Obviously. πŸ™‚

            In the context of the post in specific, I thought it was obvious how the comment was intended; maybe it’s not. In the context of my journal in general, I would hope that regular readers have a sense of where I stand on issues such as the role of women in society–I think that in any matter not requiring physical possession of a penis or a vagina, men and women should at all times and under all circumstances have the same opportunities to build whatever lives they choose, in whatever capacity they choose.

            In the context of LiveJournal…well, I took a look at that “humbled women” community, and it seems to me that the guy who started it is (a) intimidated by women and afraid to admit it, (b) off is rocker, (c) possessed of an astonishingly weak ego, or perhaps (d) all of the above. I also noticed that the community description says it is “not a BDSM community,” yet on the members list, women outnumber men nearly four to one, and almost all of ’em are clearly and heavily involved in BDSM. That kind of makes me wonder if the way the founder of the community sees it and the way the members of the community actually use it might not be different; certainly, I’ve known otherwise will-adjusted BDSMers who can only seem to make it work for them if they can maintain a sense that it’s ‘real.’ I haven’t seen any of the messages on the community, since I wasn’t particularly interested in joining, but if the community’s founder is actually serious, all I can say is damn.

        • Agreed on the scary retrograde fruit loops
          NPR the other day had an interview with the woman who wrote “Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture” and she argued that while feminism was about the right to make choices all thee women were making the WRONG choices to become societally approved whores for the pleasure of men and that was WRONG.
          She was an entirely sex-negative person all the way around and with this book she’s become the new media darling and face of feminism.
          Ugh.
          She was compaaring herself favorably to the 80’s anti-porn feminists who allied themselves with the Reagan conservatives.
          I just fail to grasp that mindset.

  6. I will ask all the feminists to leave the room…

    You are/were on ssbb long enough to know that that is an unproductive remark. Some feminists yes, but also some poly people and some left-wing activists just off the top of my head. If you want real progress in people’s thinking I would not use reactionary bullshit about feminists to make your point. Feminists did a lot to deconstruct the kind of trading you are talking about.

  7. You are/were on ssbb long enough to know that that is an unproductive remark.

    It’s a tongue-in-chek remark. And, to be fair, there is still a brand of feminist thought which says that feminism is more about telling women what to be than about providing opportunity for women. Im sure you know what I’m talking about; in fact, I’d be willing to bet you know, or at least know of, people who subscribe to the attitude I’m mocking in that comment.

  8. Ouch.

    I’ve actually encountered that school of thought before; the idea that the word “commitment” has as part of its definition “fidelity between two and only two people.” I can’t say I rightly comprehend it; it certainly seems to be a very…quixotic view of “commitment” to me.

  9. And then you have MY brother who remarried his ex wife to get sex in exchange for giving her money. He’s a ‘good Christian man’ (his words, not mine, but maybe that’s another topic. And it didn’t work out anyway, so I guess that’s a statement in and of itself.

    Oh, and I also like being called a dirty little slut while be sodomized, or really during any sex act with the people that I love, and it’s way more ‘romantic’ to me than any flowers or candles or expensive dinners. Yay for unique and personal expressions of love.

  10. And then you have MY brother who remarried his ex wife to get sex in exchange for giving her money. He’s a ‘good Christian man’ (his words, not mine, but maybe that’s another topic. And it didn’t work out anyway, so I guess that’s a statement in and of itself.

    Oh, and I also like being called a dirty little slut while be sodomized, or really during any sex act with the people that I love, and it’s way more ‘romantic’ to me than any flowers or candles or expensive dinners. Yay for unique and personal expressions of love.

  11. As a veteran of the dyke sex wars, absolutely I have seen that kind of thing; that’s why I said “some feminists, yes”.

    However, places like , which are inhabited by people who literally see feminism as a real-world enemy, have dulled my capacity to read tongue in cheek remarks about feminism and BDSM on LJ. For every reasonably enlightened perve out there, there seem to be an awful lot of scary retrograde fruit loops (and I’m not just talking about the men).

  12. “As a veteran of the dyke sex wars”

    Yay! Me too! I have been thrilled to find that I now live in a world where I feel I can demand, expect, and fight for the things that drew me to feminism without actually identifying as a “feminist” in the organized sense. Feminism has, in some ways, become a caricature of itself. How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? —-
    “That’s not funny!”

    And it thrills me to be able to poke fun and laugh at feminism.. kind of like when the gay community embraced the word “queer” – or black people started casually throwing around the word “nigger”. It shows, I think, that many of the philosophies of feminism have so thoroughly stuck that we can now relax and poke fun without fear of losing anything.

  13. shit, my Ex seriously needs to read this! She was convinced to get me to love her, she needed to fuck my brains out. As if that’s how she’d make someone who already loves her love her more. And then once she was pregnant the accusations of cheating started (fuck, can’t I take 5 minutes longer to walk home from work??? Damnit, I couldn’t manage anything in that time even if I’d been interested!). Will all her hangups & the increasing accusations, we eventually broke up. Now our son suffers because of it. Oh, and she’s onto her next guy. And doing EXACTLY the same thing with him. From what she’s toldme, all her previous ex’s had the same. But then she’s a selfproclaimed queen of bullshit.

  14. shit, my Ex seriously needs to read this! She was convinced to get me to love her, she needed to fuck my brains out. As if that’s how she’d make someone who already loves her love her more. And then once she was pregnant the accusations of cheating started (fuck, can’t I take 5 minutes longer to walk home from work??? Damnit, I couldn’t manage anything in that time even if I’d been interested!). Will all her hangups & the increasing accusations, we eventually broke up. Now our son suffers because of it. Oh, and she’s onto her next guy. And doing EXACTLY the same thing with him. From what she’s toldme, all her previous ex’s had the same. But then she’s a selfproclaimed queen of bullshit.

  15. For me it’s a context thing. My partner is trans. In the privacy of our home, among friends we trust, yes the shit flies thick and fast and she gives as good as she gets. However, in public, especially in places where I have a role as an educator or a leader, I do not say things like “yeah, X is your classic tragic tranny” and I don’t use expressions like “frankencunt”.

    Likewise at my workplace (a large national law enforcement agency) I would never make feminism a target, because it already is a target, in an unfunny way. I do not have the confidence you do that we’re that far forward, but that may be because I live in a small whitebread city in inland Australia, and not any place particularly progressive. I spend more time with Mr and Mrs Suburbia than I do with queers and perves. Many of those people think the joke is funny because they are threatened by the idea of women having equal opportunity, not because some of our ‘systers’ have been entertainingly batshit.

  16. well, I suppose it depends on what context you think this journal is – and what you think tacit means. I will say that I would happily shove a pitchfork through the groin of someone who actually meant some of the things that tacit *says* to me. In other words, I do not for even a second doubt his respect for women or me. Though I do have to occasionally remind me that the dry world of text occasionally makes his over the top tounge in cheek writings make him look like a megalomaniacal mysoginist :). Which is even more amusing if you know him…

  17. Thanks for writing this. It’s very pertinent to a couple of discussions that I’ve been having with my partner Ender over the last year, and it definitely confirms the perspective that I want to see things from.

  18. Thanks for writing this. It’s very pertinent to a couple of discussions that I’ve been having with my partner Ender over the last year, and it definitely confirms the perspective that I want to see things from.

  19. Funnily enough, while I was reading this one of my sweeties’ 16 year old son started IMing me & asking me why I wasn’t maarried and why I wouldn’t get serious about relationships instead of just seeing a lot of different women.
    I’ve been seeing his mom since he was 11, which’s coming up on longer than some marriages.
    He has it locked in his mind that this system is the way things’re SUPPOSED to be.
    One of ‘s friends posted the other day about her upcoming marriage at the age of 23 & how she’s going to make sure her husband gets a tattooed wedding band because he’d never wear a ring & she wants to make sure he’s marked as “off limits” to all other women. She said if she could she’d brand him as her property so everyone else would stay away.
    REAL healthy mindset.

  20. Funnily enough, while I was reading this one of my sweeties’ 16 year old son started IMing me & asking me why I wasn’t maarried and why I wouldn’t get serious about relationships instead of just seeing a lot of different women.
    I’ve been seeing his mom since he was 11, which’s coming up on longer than some marriages.
    He has it locked in his mind that this system is the way things’re SUPPOSED to be.
    One of ‘s friends posted the other day about her upcoming marriage at the age of 23 & how she’s going to make sure her husband gets a tattooed wedding band because he’d never wear a ring & she wants to make sure he’s marked as “off limits” to all other women. She said if she could she’d brand him as her property so everyone else would stay away.
    REAL healthy mindset.

  21. The context of the journal is an interesting one.

    For example, I’ve pimped Tacit’s website to poly and poly-curious people in the past on a number of occasions, and I think if you asked poly people to name poly educators his name would come up. Other poly people might not necessarily agree with him, but he’s definitely right up there when it comes to creating educational resources. Plus posts like this one have an education/outreach/CR flavour. Still the journal as a whole doesn’t (more kitty pix pls!). And whether it follows that different standards apply is also debatable on reflection.

    Tangentially, he probably sees me nitpick him more than he sees me pimp him because the pimping is done quietly for the most part (come to think of it tho’, nitpicking wise I can only recall two nitpicks in the last few years anyway). I’m fairly sure I’ve done an equal amount of bouquet throwing.

  22. I reckon both sex and romance (actions) are exchangeable commodities, and sexual exclusivity (refrain from action) can be another one. As far as I can tell, these changes would be as workable as any other among people with the self-awareness and negotiations kills to identify and “shop for” what they want.

    I think the problem is not in what commodities people may choose to exchange for one another (e.g. love only properly exchanged for sex and vice versa) but is the problem of identifying what may be commodified, what is measurable and controllable enough to be traded in the first place.

    Emotions are one set of very few things that aren’t suited to serve as commodities; they can’t be controlled, measured, or even demonstrated, except very variably and inaccurately at one remove, through words and actions.

    More sensible just to trade directly for the desired words, actions, or tangible property.

    • I think the problem is not in what commodities people may choose to exchange for one another (e.g. love only properly exchanged for sex and vice versa) but is the problem of identifying what may be commodified, what is measurable and controllable enough to be traded in the first place.

      I see a further problem when that exchange becomes enshrined as a sort of tacit cultural default. What happens, then, is you get one group of people who believe that the only way they’ll be loved is if they put out (because, after all, the people who they want that love from aren’t actually interested in love for its own sake, but will give it up only grudgingly in exchange for sex), and you get another group of people who’re essentially told that they’re supposed to love those with whom they boink.

      I have nothing wrong with an exchange of commodities, if that’s what people want–but I do think it’s important to be up-front about that exchange, if that’s how you see love and sex.

      What’s interesting is that this post has sparked little fires all over my flist, and in one of them, someone is actually accusing me of “commodifying” sex, when in fact that’s precisely the opposite of what I’m saying; to me, it’s the social “trade sex for love” attitude that commodifies sex. (Not that I have anything against the idea of sex as a commodity, as long as those involved are honest about it.)

  23. I reckon both sex and romance (actions) are exchangeable commodities, and sexual exclusivity (refrain from action) can be another one. As far as I can tell, these changes would be as workable as any other among people with the self-awareness and negotiations kills to identify and “shop for” what they want.

    I think the problem is not in what commodities people may choose to exchange for one another (e.g. love only properly exchanged for sex and vice versa) but is the problem of identifying what may be commodified, what is measurable and controllable enough to be traded in the first place.

    Emotions are one set of very few things that aren’t suited to serve as commodities; they can’t be controlled, measured, or even demonstrated, except very variably and inaccurately at one remove, through words and actions.

    More sensible just to trade directly for the desired words, actions, or tangible property.

  24. Agreed on the scary retrograde fruit loops
    NPR the other day had an interview with the woman who wrote “Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture” and she argued that while feminism was about the right to make choices all thee women were making the WRONG choices to become societally approved whores for the pleasure of men and that was WRONG.
    She was an entirely sex-negative person all the way around and with this book she’s become the new media darling and face of feminism.
    Ugh.
    She was compaaring herself favorably to the 80’s anti-porn feminists who allied themselves with the Reagan conservatives.
    I just fail to grasp that mindset.

  25. You sir, have the appearance of being a role-model, and as such I’ll eventually get off my lazy excuse for an arse and add you to my journals. In the meantime, I shall continue my perusal of your journal.

    Also feel free to ignore my choice of words; I’m probably still mildly inebriated and I’ve the tendency to at least attempt to become eloquent when I’m like this.

    Also, I really appreciated your entries on jealousy in the polyamory community.

  26. You sir, have the appearance of being a role-model, and as such I’ll eventually get off my lazy excuse for an arse and add you to my journals. In the meantime, I shall continue my perusal of your journal.

    Also feel free to ignore my choice of words; I’m probably still mildly inebriated and I’ve the tendency to at least attempt to become eloquent when I’m like this.

    Also, I really appreciated your entries on jealousy in the polyamory community.

  27. I think the problem is not in what commodities people may choose to exchange for one another (e.g. love only properly exchanged for sex and vice versa) but is the problem of identifying what may be commodified, what is measurable and controllable enough to be traded in the first place.

    I see a further problem when that exchange becomes enshrined as a sort of tacit cultural default. What happens, then, is you get one group of people who believe that the only way they’ll be loved is if they put out (because, after all, the people who they want that love from aren’t actually interested in love for its own sake, but will give it up only grudgingly in exchange for sex), and you get another group of people who’re essentially told that they’re supposed to love those with whom they boink.

    I have nothing wrong with an exchange of commodities, if that’s what people want–but I do think it’s important to be up-front about that exchange, if that’s how you see love and sex.

    What’s interesting is that this post has sparked little fires all over my flist, and in one of them, someone is actually accusing me of “commodifying” sex, when in fact that’s precisely the opposite of what I’m saying; to me, it’s the social “trade sex for love” attitude that commodifies sex. (Not that I have anything against the idea of sex as a commodity, as long as those involved are honest about it.)

  28. Sounds great by me! I’d love the opportunity to meet up with you in “real life” (for whatever value of ‘real’ one might present). I’m in Duluth, about two minutes from 85. Any ideas about a time or place?

  29. In writing the journal entry, I could certainly have made it a little more clear who the sideways swipe was directed at (perhaps said something like “at tis point, those people who self-describe as ‘feminists’ while still maintaining that all women should act only in a certain way might want to leave the room’ or something along those lines), but I’d actually thought that the context of the entire post, which is (I believe) certainly highly congruent with what I think of as the mainstream of feminist ideals–namely, that women are the equals of men, and to maintain that women must purchase love with the offer of sex is demeaning both to them and to men–would make that clear.

    In fact, maybe I should edit the post to do just that.

    I’ve been accused on more than a few occasions of having a too-subtle sense of humor and of believing it’s obvious when I’m being tongue-in-cheek or intentionally over the top when it’s not.

    And on the third hand… I identify very strongly as being polyamorous and being part o the poly community. Were I to, say, be reading someone else’s words, and that person were to say something like “You see…and at this point I’d like all the polyamorists to leave the room… the number of people you date has nothing to do with how evolved you are,” I wouldn’t be likely to take offense at it, because I’d recognize that it’s not aimed at me. (There are, unfortunately, some people in the poly community who believed that polyamory is “enlightened” and “evolved” and that monogamy is “unevolved.” I’m not one of them, and in fact I believe this attitude is not only wrong, it’s actually insulting both to poly folk and monogamous folk, just as I believe the idea that women ‘ought’ to behave only in one certain way is insulting both to women and to men.) In other words, the comment was offhand and tongue-in-cheek, yet at the same time I do think there are some people who describe themselves as ‘feminists’ who believe that no woman should ever be in a subordinate position in a sexual relationship, even if she wants to be–and I also think they’re wrong. Obviously. πŸ™‚

    In the context of the post in specific, I thought it was obvious how the comment was intended; maybe it’s not. In the context of my journal in general, I would hope that regular readers have a sense of where I stand on issues such as the role of women in society–I think that in any matter not requiring physical possession of a penis or a vagina, men and women should at all times and under all circumstances have the same opportunities to build whatever lives they choose, in whatever capacity they choose.

    In the context of LiveJournal…well, I took a look at that “humbled women” community, and it seems to me that the guy who started it is (a) intimidated by women and afraid to admit it, (b) off is rocker, (c) possessed of an astonishingly weak ego, or perhaps (d) all of the above. I also noticed that the community description says it is “not a BDSM community,” yet on the members list, women outnumber men nearly four to one, and almost all of ’em are clearly and heavily involved in BDSM. That kind of makes me wonder if the way the founder of the community sees it and the way the members of the community actually use it might not be different; certainly, I’ve known otherwise will-adjusted BDSMers who can only seem to make it work for them if they can maintain a sense that it’s ‘real.’ I haven’t seen any of the messages on the community, since I wasn’t particularly interested in joining, but if the community’s founder is actually serious, all I can say is damn.

  30. also found you through someone else, , and am very glad I clicked the link. You exceedingly eloquently described so many often denied truths about sex.

    It’s been hard to reconcile the “girls shouldn’t be sluts” idea with thoughts like:

    “wait, I really love him… and him… and her… and I don’t really want to stop messing around with that guy from before… shit, someone’s going to get hurt because not all of them understand that I can actually love more than one person” feeling.

    Because yes, I DO like being called a dirty slut while being held down and fucked (by the right person). But if someone calls me a slut in everyday life, I’d get very upset because they mean “slut” in the sense of “woman who sleeps with anyone and demeans herself, whom you should stay away from because you’ll get screwed over, or herpes, or whatever.”

    So what’s worked for me is keeping honest, safe, and discreet when it comes to sex. And giving my partner/s the same courtesy I expect from them– if I’m going to “cheat” so can they, as long as they’re also honest, safe, and discreet enough that no one calls mea slut who’s not fucking me.

    • Because yes, I DO like being called a dirty slut while being held down and fucked (by the right person). But if someone calls me a slut in everyday life, I’d get very upset because they mean “slut” in the sense of “woman who sleeps with anyone and demeans herself, whom you should stay away from because you’ll get screwed over, or herpes, or whatever.”

      Exactly. Context and intent are both important. That’s one of the things that people who hold up ideas that there is only one “right” way that women should behave, or that men should behave, sometimes miss–context and intent are important.

  31. also found you through someone else, , and am very glad I clicked the link. You exceedingly eloquently described so many often denied truths about sex.

    It’s been hard to reconcile the “girls shouldn’t be sluts” idea with thoughts like:

    “wait, I really love him… and him… and her… and I don’t really want to stop messing around with that guy from before… shit, someone’s going to get hurt because not all of them understand that I can actually love more than one person” feeling.

    Because yes, I DO like being called a dirty slut while being held down and fucked (by the right person). But if someone calls me a slut in everyday life, I’d get very upset because they mean “slut” in the sense of “woman who sleeps with anyone and demeans herself, whom you should stay away from because you’ll get screwed over, or herpes, or whatever.”

    So what’s worked for me is keeping honest, safe, and discreet when it comes to sex. And giving my partner/s the same courtesy I expect from them– if I’m going to “cheat” so can they, as long as they’re also honest, safe, and discreet enough that no one calls mea slut who’s not fucking me.

  32. Because yes, I DO like being called a dirty slut while being held down and fucked (by the right person). But if someone calls me a slut in everyday life, I’d get very upset because they mean “slut” in the sense of “woman who sleeps with anyone and demeans herself, whom you should stay away from because you’ll get screwed over, or herpes, or whatever.”

    Exactly. Context and intent are both important. That’s one of the things that people who hold up ideas that there is only one “right” way that women should behave, or that men should behave, sometimes miss–context and intent are important.

  33. And then you have MY brother who remarried his ex wife to get sex in exchange for giving her money.

    Ugh. Does he believe that marrying another person would be immoral or sinful? I seem to recall that Christianity tends not to approve of buying sex…

  34. I disagree. I think it’s fear of the Void. Fear of being along is a subset of that and leads people to bad relationships. But fear of the Void leads them to bad religions where they do things like killing other people, often in the name of love & peace.
    It’s a close second tho.

  35. Predicating your sense of self-worth on the number of candles around the bed or the number of seconds your lover spends gazing soulfully into your eyes is stupid, destructive, and insulting. Your partner loves you or he doesn’t. If he loves you, the number of partners he’s had and the positions in which he likes to do the deed don’t change that. If he doesn’t, you’re not going to buy his love with sex.

    Can I get an AMEN from the choir, brother? Thank you. You’re my hero. I refer to your site all the time and just started reading your LJ. This will be a regular stop for me from now on.

  36. Predicating your sense of self-worth on the number of candles around the bed or the number of seconds your lover spends gazing soulfully into your eyes is stupid, destructive, and insulting. Your partner loves you or he doesn’t. If he loves you, the number of partners he’s had and the positions in which he likes to do the deed don’t change that. If he doesn’t, you’re not going to buy his love with sex.

    Can I get an AMEN from the choir, brother? Thank you. You’re my hero. I refer to your site all the time and just started reading your LJ. This will be a regular stop for me from now on.

  37. I’ve seen you around the polyamory community a lot – but it was a link to this post that got me wondering what else you might talk about… and how I might find it really interesting.

    Mind if I friend you?

  38. I’ve seen you around the polyamory community a lot – but it was a link to this post that got me wondering what else you might talk about… and how I might find it really interesting.

    Mind if I friend you?

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