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What I Learned From the "What is Sex?" Poll - Mo's Journal
January 15th, 2008
10:07 am

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What I Learned From the "What is Sex?" Poll

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From:laura_holt_pi
Date:January 17th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
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If you'd asked whether each behaviour was sexual, more people would have said yes to more things, but to me, "is it sex" means "is it intercourse" which is, sexist or not, defined as I understand it as requiring a penis. I think it is more "heterosexist" to regard it as necessary for lesbians to have sex for their relationships to have validity than it is to state the unavoidable fact that, if you don't involve a penis, it isn't sexual intercourse.
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From:mofic
Date:January 17th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
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I completely disagree, as you might have guessed. I don't approve of the idea of making one particular act "sex" and all others merely "sexual." I don't think there's any value in defining it that way and I find it not only sexist but extremely limiting in lots of different ways. I don't think that lesbians need to have sex for our relationships to have validity - I think we do have sex, both within relationships and casual sex. And I think a great many heterosexuals - particularly heterosexual women - are suckered into thinking that a sex act that is in no way the most satisfying to them is *the* act and everything else is just "foreplay" or "afterplay" and less important.

I'm very glad that most of the people who responded disagreed with you, too. And I'm certainly not raising my kids to think that penile vaginal intercourse is "sex" and all other sex acts are not.
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From:dharma_slut
Date:January 18th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
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Ah, yes... "If there isn't a penis involved, it can't be sex."

As a queer of a certain age, I would like to express just how damaging that notion is to a young lesbian's psyche. And how very, very wrong it turns out to be... and how very, very right the world feels once you get rid of that idea.

I think it's a very strange concept you have there, that "lesbians don't need to have sex for their relationship to be valid."
This is correspondingly true of some hetero marriages, as well, I am sure. But our society annuls sexless hetero marriages. Why wouldn't lesbians have sex? Don't women have libidos?
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From:laura_holt_pi
Date:January 18th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC)
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As I said, to me, sex means sexual intercourse, which is a physical impossibility for two women. This doesn't mean two women can't satisfy each other's libidos or that they can't fully explore and express their sexuality. By the same token, one woman cannot make another pregnant. Is stating this being unfair to lesbians?

Why do you feel lesbians need to ape heterosexual activity in order for their relationship to have validity?

I have never believed in the concept of penis envy, but your comment makes me begin to doubt my view on that.
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From:laura_holt_pi
Date:January 18th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
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I should just clarify that I mean one woman cannot make another pregnant in the natural way, before someone rants about artificial insemination.
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From:dharma_slut
Date:January 18th, 2008 08:57 am (UTC)
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I guess it's all semantics. A more careful reading opn your part wouldn't hurt either; I said that when I was young I, too, thought that "sex" meant there had to be a penis.

I felt inadequate and unable to express my sexual feelings for girls, because there was 'something lacking'. It took some time for that misapprehension to go the way of all asinine ideas, and I am happy with the digits that I have-- lips and tongue, fingers, toes, fist, strap-on. I do not think these are "substitutes for a penis," I think they are valid sexual organs, all of them.

To me, "sex" means "satisfying one another's libidos." Whatever way that happens, that's "sexual intercourse." A penis in a vagina is only one among many ways to fuck.

(Penis envy? Yes, actually, it does exist. Just not for most women.)
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From:mofic
Date:January 18th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
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I guess it's all semantics.

Of course it's semantics. This is a discussion of semantics. And since it is, I'll use my favorite English teacher for my icon.

As you point out, politics can be implicit in semantics. The good news, I think, is that that woman's view that lesbians can't have sex, that sex is only PVI, is very much a minority one here. And you know what? I think it's a minority one out in the world, too. I do think a less limited view of sex and sexuality than the one she proposes is prevailing more and more over time. Fifty years ago, she'd get very little dissension to her view.

And as I say elsewhere, as limiting as that concept is to the sexual expression of lesbians, it's a lot more limiting to frustrated heterosexual women whose husbands tell them they should be able to get off during "real" sex.

Edited at 2008-01-18 12:26 pm (UTC)
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From:mofic
Date:January 18th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
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LOL! Please read what I said. This isn't about relationships. It's also not about pregnancy. It's about sex and sexuality.

I feel sorry for you for your limited view and very glad I don't share it!

Edited at 2008-01-18 02:20 pm (UTC)
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