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So What Exactly Is Sex? In fiction and in real life - Mo's Journal
January 12th, 2008
02:43 pm

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So What Exactly Is Sex? In fiction and in real life

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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:January 15th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)

Re: One or two?

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A sort of related question is: why do we care? Why does it matter to label some sexual activities as "having sex" and others as "not quite sex" or "foreplay"?


I have always assumed the answer to that is "because sex is so fraught with cultural meaning, people want to know what they've done."

I never used to feel a need to define sex, until I lived with a teenager and found out that they STILL thought that if you kept your clothes on, anything you did didn't count. I knew someone who got pregnant that way in high school, and more than one who was very, very afraid they'd gotten pregnant, not having known sperm would be involved. (true!)

Talking to M (the teenager) I began to understand that the youth really get the concept of STDs, but often do endruns around their fears by thinking that only happens if you have sex (as does pregnancy.) Ta Da. "Real sex" means acts which can result in pregnancy or stds, which should only be done with people who matter to you, at least as far as girls are concerned.

So I have no urge to define it for myself, but ongoing horror reading a fanfic where, say, they've given mutual hand and blow jobs, frotted naked to climax, rimmed, and THEN (after months of this) have a serious talk about whether they're ready to have sex.

I guess it's the rescuer part of me.
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From:mofic
Date:January 16th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)

Re: One or two?

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I really don't like the idea of defining sex by pregnancy or by disease or both. I think defining sex as what gets you pregnant is problematic for two reasons. First of all, as I said to you elsewhere, not all of us got pregnant through sex and we're not any less pregnant :-). But more to the point, reproduction is such a small part of sexual experience, even for heterosexuals who regularly practice PVI. Even if someone has lots of kids, even if someone never uses any contraception the vast majority of sex acts a person engages in a lifetime do not result in pregnancy.

And I think that defining sex by *disease* is even worse. Why should what makes it real sex be whether you can get sick from it? Why not think in terms of pleasure? Surely we can teach our children what behaviors - sexual and otherwise - are risks to their health without a taxonomy that says only what potentially transmits disease counts as "real sex." I really don't want my kids thinking that sex=disease and/or sex=pregnancy. I know that's the basis of a lot of what passes for sex education under GOP rule, but I think it's very wrong-headed.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:January 16th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)

Re: One or two?

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I am totally, absolutely agreeing with you! I was not in any way implying that I believed such a thing (or at least I hope not). That was the report I got from M about what got defined as sex, which I think is what led to the really weird definitions of what counts as "real" sex. for them. Not for me. There have been times taking a shower with my partner definitely counted as "real" sex, and neither pregnancy nor an STD in sight.
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From:mofic
Date:January 16th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)

Re: One or two?

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I'm sorry. It seems I totally misunderstood your intent...
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