23 July 2006

Women, Men and Sexual Power

Figleaf's Real Adult Sex blog has certainly given me fodder for critical thought recently, as has the whole Great Feminist Blowjob Wars of Aught-Six. I was able to escape the recent battles relatively unscathed or at least blissfully unaware of any fatal blows delivered by bloggers who disagree with my opinions. I think I've made my side of the dispute relatively clear.

  • I don't want to participate in the degradation of women.
  • I don't necessarily believe that any consensual sexual act between two adults (even throwing in a caveat about privacy or relative privacy) is inherently degrading to women, even those things I don't particularly personally enjoy (blowjobs) and those I definitely find personally distasteful (facials, which I actually had to look up a week or two ago, my mind having initially wandered to beauty salons and cosmetic mud applications).
  • Bukakke? Ewwww! May I repeat, "Ewwww!" But then, I don't have to do that, do I?
That's the point. Adults in sexual situations can and should make their own choices and define their own sexuality and sexual preferences. Adults have an obligation to abide by their desires. Adults have a right to partake of those things they enjoy which fulfill their sexual desires. Adults have an obligation to stand up for themselves and decline or refuse any activities they don't like or prefer not to participate in. Adults have an obligation to respect the stated wishes of their sexual partners while seeking to derive and provide all the sexual satisfaction and pleasure of which both (or all) parties are capable. "Adults" means men and women of consenting age (I'd like to envision everyone being minimally aged 18 or older). Adults respect each other and should receive respect from their partners and the world at large for having the intelligence to define their own desires. Please don't tell me I should not enjoy anal sex. I can make up my own grown mind about that, thanks.

Enough about that. I hope to be able to leave that topic behind for a while (no pun intended, honestly).

Figleaf has a couple of thoughtful and articulate posts relating to fellatio and the recent battles that have erupted over the patriarchy of the blowjob. You can read Part I here and Part II here.

Alice's comment on Part I got me thinking...I think I've mentioned before how dangerous that can be:
I love giving blowjobs. I love the feeling of a hard, heavy cock on my tongue. Feeling it twitch with pleasure...listening to a man moan...his hands in my hair, pulling as he gets closer to cumming...and then that final moment before his cum explodes onto my tongue...and the cum dripping down my throat, thick and tasty. Giving a blowjob completely turns me on. I love giving a guy that pleasure. I have to admit, though, that I'm a submissive so my pleasure is all about a man's pleasure.

Aside from that - I've never received cunnilingus. It's really because I haven't wanted it. I love the idea of it, but having a guy down there makes me nervous. It's just a personal preference. Giving it, on the other hand...I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to try that. And I hope to soon.

What made a particular impression on me was her comment linking her love of fellatio to her tendency and desire to participate in a submissive role.

Call me a renegade, but I've never equated fellatio with submission. Yeah, sure, in some vile, contemptible, misogynistic porn but not in my life or in the visual erotica I enjoy. In my past experience with men (many, many years ago) a good BJ was all about power. The enjoyment it brought to me was in being able to do it so well that it brought a man to his knees, albeit figuratively. It was that way with many of my sexual experiences with men. I loved most the feeling of controlling or overpowering a man with my sexual virtuosity and power.

When I revisited sex with men last month (after an absence of over two decades) while on vacation, my fling with Sean was not nearly as tinged with that need to overpower him. I admit, though, to a creeping pleasure hearing him utter, "Girl, where did you learn to do these things???" And I took no offense, given the context, of being referred to as, "Girl." ; )

I don't know if I felt less competitiveness because of the different dynamic with Sean...my being 21 years his senior, my being a relatively well-off tourist compared to his relative hand-to-mouth existence on the island, my being a member of a 'dominant' racial class in my culture which is the culture [white "English" (either American or British)] from which the culture of Barbados sprung. Wow...this encounter could be the stuff of months' worth of posts.

At one point, Sean suggested a BJ and I, having not done it in so long, gave it a whirl. I was clearly not into it, though, so we quickly moved on to other tricks in the bag, much to our mutual enjoyment. This suggests to me that the dynamic between me and my Bajan lover was not power-motivated on my part. Indeed, it didn't feel that way as I agonized whether a sexual encounter would be a 'good' (for either or both of us), 'moral' (I didn't want to 'exploit' another person) and wise choice.

I haven't pondered what has occurred to move me beyond the need to play the power game in order to have an enjoyable sexual experience with a man. I think it's primarily due to the emotional growth I've experienced over the past 20 years. It is believing I don't need a man in order to be happy in life, I don't need anyone, frankly. That's an incredible position of power. There's a big difference between cognitively understanding that position and actually believing it's possible for you in your life. So I guess I no longer have to seek my power in those ways when I interact with men because the power already exists within me, inside.

I'm not talking about this power dynamic within the confines of a Dom/Sub experience. That's something totally different and possibly what April was referring to in her comment. I'm talking about a larger cultural power dynamic that exists between men and women and plays itself out in the bedroom as well as the board room. Hey, if you want to give a BJ from the position of a Sub in a Dom/Sub relationship and this brings you pleasure, go for it. As a matter of fact, the power balance in a Dom/Sub relationship must be entirely equal, egalitarian. Both parties submit to that and play by the rules. That's all about role-playing, and not about societal roles.

Maybe I'm making the argument for those feminists who bewail the freedom to choose to blow. I'm not trying to. I'm simply trying to understand how all the cultural influences combine to create difficulties in how men and women (or any number, variation or configuration of the two) are able to relate to each other, particularly sexually.

I think I'll end my rambling with one other snippet from this thread at Figleaf's...in a comment, Fig reported that, regarding cunnilingus:
The three big concerns, I've found, are that a) he might somehow smother, b) he might bite, and c) you sort of don't deserve such direct attention. To which we generally reply a) you can't smother him, b) he won't bite, and c) you, like every other human being, deserve whatever pleasure you can find with another consenting adult.
To that, my response was something along the lines of, "He won't bite? Not even if I ask nicely?"


Thanks for the inspiration, Fig and Alice! It's a great conversation!

Technorati tags: bisexual / blogging / cunt-positive / lesbian / life / men / all the sex ones / women


At July 24, 2006 2:19 AM, Blogger figleaf said...

...and on the internet nobody can see you blush. :-) Thanks for the kind words, Cheryl.

I think you bring the critical distinction when you say "...I no longer have to seek my power in those ways when I interact with men because the power already exists within me, inside."


At July 24, 2006 3:06 AM, Blogger Cheryl said...

Bingo! This is a difference between having sex with an adult versus with someone who hasn't trodden the muddy, mirky and often painful path toward self-awareness.


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