So, is it OK?

crossposted at Hoyden About Town and at Feministe

Feminist bloggers Jessica, Amanda, Twisty and Violet Socks (and Melissa too!) have all written about this article: Is it OK to Demand An*l S*x? (asterisks for the benefit of corporate filters).

The picture accompanying the article is odiously twee and threatening simultaneously, and as virtually every respondent noted for starters, when is it ever OK to demand any kind of s*x? (The title mysteriously changed to Is An*l S*x a Deal-Breaker?)

The particularly repellent men interviewed openly admit that their pursuit of an*l penetration from casual partners is about strutting an achievement in front of their mates: the achievement of persuading women to “give in” and agree to behaviour that they will find painful (at least initially) and which is regarded by the men themselves as degrading. (Language after the cut Not Safe For (most) Workplaces – no more asterisks).

Twisty entertainingly rants about “Anal being the new third base” as yet another sign of the pornification of mainstream culture, and Violet Socks agrees that at least part of the entitlement expectation is that mainstream porn today appears to be incomplete without anal penetration in a way that wasn’t true when she and I were young. I think they’re on to something.

My exposure to porn has been thankfully minimal, but the bits and pieces I have seen did make me aware of a seachange – mid-80s porn in Australia tended to be largely of the cheesy 70s British variety – silly bawdy scenarios with lots of blowjobs followed by a few minutes of rhythmic penetration and finally the money shot. The female participants always outnumbered the males, and sometimes looked bored but didn’t look as if they were in pain. Porn where the women seemed to be in pain would have been considered seriously kinky. By the mid-90s porn was glossier, the all-good-fun bawdy scenes had changed to more intimidating raunchy scenes where male participants outnumbered the (often solo) female participant, the woman’s placement in a vulnerable position where she was subjected to multiple orifice penetration by several men became de rigeur and only an idiot could watch the action and fail to notice that the women were in substantial physical discomfort from what was happening, but were continuing the sexual act regardless, because the men were just so irresistible, apparently. None of this intimidation and discomfort is considered kinky any more – this is totally mainstream.

This is what I really find disturbing. This discomfort and overt domination of the women seemed to be part of the attraction of the new porn, as the tamer, old-fashioned sort was overlooked while the hardcore stuff flew off the shelves. It also coincided with the more “vanilla” kind of cheerfully enthusiastic heterosexual sex actually becoming far more common – young women became sexually liberated enough to enjoy casual sexual encounters of the type once reserved for porn fantasies. Porn creators and merchants seem to believe that now that men had more access to casual extramarital sex then simply watching other people have vaginal intercourse wouldn’t be enough of a fantasy. Are they right? And does the escalation of the fantasy feed the expectations of ordinary sexual encounters?

One commentor at Feministing made a very good point: the porntastic fantasy has always been about the madonna/whore dichotomy where the man finds a sexually-conventional woman and entices her to sully her purity. Now the conventions have shifted: instead of persuading apprehensive virgins to cheerfully enjoy PIV sex, the fantasy becomes persuading sexually experienced women with sexually-egalitarian expectations to agree to engage in a non-reciprocal sexual act, usually without adequate preparation. And it’s in the lack of adequate preparation that the intent to degrade and damage is made clear.

Because that’s the thing about anal sex. Those women who look so horribly uncomfortable as they are double and triple penetrated for the benefit of the cameras have at least had the benefit of preparing beforehand through enemas, high colonics, fasting and buckets of lube. They need to do this to avoid moving from discomfort into pain and tissue damage. This is basic sexual hygiene and technique (for being buttfucked for hours for the cameras by oversized penises attached to uncaring men huffing Viagra). Normal anal sex needn’t be quite so extra-fastidious, although initiations into the practice do require careful and gradual preparation if the penetrator doesn’t want to hurt and damage the anus being penetrated.

It’s not hard to find this stuff out. I’m a very vanilla heterosexual middle-aged monogamous woman, and all I had to do was type “anal sex preparation” into my search engine and everything anyone needs to know about safe, clean, enjoyable anal intercourse was right there in front of me. The top hits were all for homosexual advice sites, not heterosexual advice sites, even though there’s no great differences between male and female anuses. There is however a great difference in attitudes towards anal sex.

Homosexual men don’t seem to have romant-o-porn misconceptions about anal sex as something which can just happen spontaneously on a first date with an inexperienced partner and be enjoyed by the receiving partner. Why? Because men have cultural permission to refuse to engage in sexual activities which they’re not enjoying. Such fantasies in gay porn are much more clearly fantasy than the straight porn equivalent, and are far less likely to be mistaken for reality. Homosexual men know all about anal and rectal hygiene and preparing for anal penetration, and that if it’s going to be enjoyable for the person being penetrated then there needs to be plenty of free space in the intestinal system to avoid internal pressure pain. Enemas are the go, my friends. It’s the big difference I see between advice about homosexual anal sex and heterosexual anal sex. Enema, enema, enema. For the uninhibited, it can even be part of foreplay. Read this gay guide for anal virgins and this guide for women preparing for anal sex, then compare them to what the men in the Details article are saying. Do you think those guys are preparing their female partners for anal penetration over the recommended several weeks of trusting play and experimentation with various sized accessories to ensure them a painfree introduction to anal sex?

“[It’s] basically getting someone in a position where they’re most vulnerable. My friends enjoy that and they tell their friends they did it. But it’s not like girls are ready for it—it’s something they do when they’re really drunk.”

Leaving aside (for the moment and because the other bloggers above covered it comprehensively) that penetrating women who are really drunk and “not ready for it” is rape, let’s just look at what that statement says about the actual mechanics of the sexual act. I’m guessing no carefully planned enema then. Probably no caring prestretching with a well-lubed trainer dildo either. No wonder these men report that the women find it painful the first time.

Even Albert, the one who won’t tie the knot without a key to the back door, admits that. “You’re thinking, ‘I don’t want to hurt her, and I don’t want shit to squirt out at me,'” he says.

Hey Albert! If you prepare for anal penetration with an enema, shit will never squirt out at you. Fancy that! And if she does have a full rectum then an enema means she’ll enjoy it more, too, if that matters at all to you.

So if you can’t be certain whether the woman’s enjoying herself or just submitting to peer pressure, and the act itself can be unpleasant, what’s the motivation for demanding it? For Todd, so his friend says, it was about maintaining emotional distance. Albert says it’s about enhancing the intimacy between two people. But the more plausible explanation is that it’s about accessibility—and instant gratification.

If the men are simply after instant gratification, then they’re certainly not caring about the health and wellbeing of the anuses of their female partners, as treating said anuses as if they do actually have nerve endings and blood vessels does actually take some time and effort that would delay gratification for a while. I’m not the first to point out that these men don’t seem to be offering to see what it’s like to be penetrated by a dildo themselves, either (even the Details author noted that). I shudder to think of the distinct possibility that these men don’t know or care enough about sexual hygiene to ensure that they don’t transfer body fluids between the rectum and the vagina, which is a risk behaviour for all sorts of vaginal and uterine infections, many of which are threats to fertility.

Why is there this huge difference in terms of knowing the simple mechanics of safe, clean, enjoyable anal intercourse between homosexuals and heterosexuals generally? These men seem to want their anal penetrations to be dirtier and more dangerous than they need to be, or than any competent sex educator would recommend. They want their women sullied and degraded and hurt. These men are sadists. But why don’t the women know more about safe, clean enjoyable anal intercourse and demand that level of consideration for themselves?

Noting the different emphasis on enemas in the heterosexual/homosexual anal preparation advice, I posit that heterosexuals generally think anal sex is much kinkier, whereas homosexuals treat anal sex in a very matter of fact fashion. For those who view the anus as still inherently kinky and nasty, then touching it at all is fraught with significance, including touching it to clean it. Get down and dirty, sure! Get into a cleaning routine? Ewww, what a freak. (In response to a comment at Hoyden, I don’t mean to imply that homosexual sex is uniquely free from fetishing dominance, degradation and cruelty, but the culture seems to be more open that such behaviour is indeed a fetish rather than buying into it as somehow just what sex is and should be as the Details pornhounds have done.)

Which ends up coming down to the old patriarchal standby, Romance with that capital R. Don’t plan and prepare for sex, it’s too important and special and romantic for that! Wait for marriage if you’re a good little handmaiden, and if you’re a disobedient slut then don’t you dare think that it’s OK to be sexual any time you want to be. Better impregnated than prepared in the Bible Belt, apparently, and better a bruised and torn anus than being intimidatingly supplied with variously-sized dildos, butt-plugs and lube-jars. How’s a man to compare?

If a woman wants sex openly enough to prepare safely and knowledgeably beforehand then although she may well be the ideal “disgusting pig who wants it” such an unromantic slut might not want it “only with you” (more gem-studded quotes from the lips of Albert). Romance must be denigrated by patriarchal tropes as a fantasy that only women are silly enough to take on face value, but FSM forbid that women actually display the capacity to see beyond romantic impetuosity and plan for sex as if it’s a health matter or something, so goes the double-standard: women being unromantic about sex is apparently scary, emasculating even.

Which is why they have to be punished by sadistic buttfuckers, obviously.

As a commentor at Details says:

And in case anyone above didn’t make it clear enough: ANAL SEX SHOULD NOT HURT. IF IT DOES, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, YOU NEANDERTHAL.

My recommendation: whether you’re a man or a woman, if some man tries to sweet-talk you into buttfucking by saying “it will only hurt the first time” they are either ignorant or sadistic. Ignorance can be remedied. Sadists need to be kicked to the kerb.

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writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

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Posted in feminism, Relationships, sexuality, Women
209 comments on “So, is it OK?
  1. Zoe says:

    Great post, tigtog.

    Anyone who disagrees that the type of conquests described are an expression of brutish patriarchy should please explain the interviewees’ emphasis on making them for the purpose of impressing their mates.

  2. Guise says:

    Eek. Many healthy hetero male eeks.

    Never saw the point of this particular diversion. To quote e.e. cummings (no comment), “there’s a hell of a good universe next door”.

    Ladies, if he demands it, or even just begs, knock at least three points off his score, and embark upon a serious re-evaluation of the relationship.

  3. Fiasco da Gama, fighting Bruce Lee with a claw-hand in the Hall Full of Mirrors says:

    It’s a good article, yairs. But if posts are to be mirrored at every single blog worth reading, do we commenters get to cross-post responses from blog to blog as well? That could get really confusing, really fast. Even without John Greenfield doing cutting and pasting.

  4. (Apologies for crudity…but)

    So how would these men feel about their partners demanding the opportunity to do them anally with an extra-large knobbly dildo?

  5. FDB says:

    “Ladies, if he demands it, or even just begs, knock at least three points off his score, and embark upon a serious re-evaluation of the relationship.”

    WTF? Demands, maybe*. Begging? Well, it’s a bit pathetic to be sure, but as long as you’re prepared to take no for an answer what’s the problem? Assuming all necessary sensitivities and preparations are catered for in the event of a “well alright I’ll give it a go but be gentle”.

    I’ve been *ahem* petitioned to do things in bed I wasn’t totally into – granted nothing painful, but as established this is not a necessary part of anal sex – and it never made me seriously reevaluate anything but my attitude to the act I’d been reluctant about. Conversely, I’ve talked girls into trying anal sex and they’ve been grateful for a new and enjoyable experience.

    Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am types just ruin it for everybody.

    *and perhaps not even then… playing around with being demanding and gratifying is a part of the enjoyment of sex for lots of people. There is a line not to be crossed, of course, but intelligent people acting in good faith won’t cross it.

  6. Seamus O'Reamus says:

    A more suitable topic for lavvieprodder I couldn’t think of. The central logical flaw of this anal-ysis is its dependence on anecdote. Perhaps some statistics broken up by sexuality from sexual health clinics or other relevant statistics might give credence to this argument. Once you start talking about patriarchy I think you have gone off into the theoretical bushes.
    Sadism and humiliation are part of heterosexuality( and homosexuality) and practised by both sexes. When this private behaviour becomes a social problem ( e.g transmission of disease , damage to anuses)it is then that this behaviour should be politically debated.If there is sufficient evidence that it is public health problem then a public health campaign along the lines of the wearing of condoms should be conducted for heterosexual couples who have anal sex.

  7. Zoe says:

    When this private behaviour becomes a social problem ( e.g transmission of disease , damage to anuses)it is then that this behaviour should be politically debated.

    Thanks, dear, but I think we’ll talk about whatever we like in whatever terms we fancy.

  8. tigtog says:

    FDB, I get your point that “demands” can be part of dominance games rather than real dominance dynamics. However, I don’t think that “begging” is necessarily as pathetically harmless as you suggest, if the begging is used repeatedly to wear down resolve it becomes just another form of coercion. As you suggest, being prepared to take no for an answer is the key. (Speaking as someone who once ended up engaged not because I wanted to be married to that particular boyfriend but because I didn’t actually want to dump him and it meant he would stop bloody asking thrice daily (maybe one day wasn’t a good enough answer for him) and hey, maybe I would decide I actually wanted to marry him eventually. No, as it happened.)

  9. Alex says:

    The sexually abusive male uses an@l as another tool in their misogynistic armoury.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head – it’s all about humiliating and dominating an otherwise ‘compliant’ partner – though of course there are couples who enjoy the experience.

  10. tigtog says:

    Shorter Seamus: political policy debates are the only debates that matter.

  11. FDB says:

    Glad you didn’t fall too far into that trap TT. 😉

    “One day” is still working for me, but we’ve just gone and bought a house so I guess it’s only a matter of time.

    You’re right about the begging – I’ve never given or received any serious guilt trip coercion, but of course it must happen all the time. Maybe I just pick partners well, so it’s pretty much a reciprocal anything goes, with the odd episode of whiny domination!

  12. Lefty E says:

    Right on Zoe. I’ll take it where I please too!

    Viz, Ive always wondered whether the obsession with an*l sex is a bit of an Anglo-Kraut thing, actually.

    You know: anal humour, anal mindset, anal sex, control, power!

    “ooh, look , a bum!!” (cue Benny Hill chase muzak)

    But then, frankly, Ive always found the act itself a bit on the dull side. Bit of a yawn. Not much to write home about.

    However, I gather it really gets some guys going, and some women are fans too.

    And thus… this post fades to a rather boring, relativist conclusion…

  13. Adam Gall says:

    I agree, Alex, and in that way a lot of apparently ‘benign’ practices can be used as tools as well, such as ‘begging’ in the sense that tigtog describes it. In some ways the topic at hand here risks diverting us into a lot of other discussions precisely because it is heavily loaded with other meanings and taboos, although the fact that it is such a socially overdetermined act also suggests why it is being done in that way by some men, and why it might be effective as a technique of humiliation. As I commented at Hoyden, the fact that these men are explicit about the fact that they are engaging in this behaviour also represents an opportunity to discuss sexual ethics openly, and to offer countervailing positions.

    Of course, the inverse of the ‘benign’ being used abusively is also true: things that appear to be horrible and unpleasant and humiliating can be genuine sources of pleasure and intimacy. BDSM yields some possible examples.

  14. Zoe says:

    Lefty, when I was an exchange student in Brazil a million years ago, it was a popular alternative to vaginal sex for those who wished to be considered a virgin when they married.

    So we’re all screwy, but with our own unique flavour 😉

  15. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Once you start talking about patriarchy I think you have gone off into the theoretical bushes.

    … no, I can’t. It’s too easy a shot.

  16. Lefty E says:

    Yes, Zoe: I’m reliably informed, in the boomer generation at least, it was a similar option for some Greek-Australians.

    But my (possibly tendentious and argumentative) cultural point remains – as these practices seem to stem from a different motivation.

  17. tigtog says:

    There is a fairly strong difference between using anal sex as a combination reliable contraceptive method/maintaining ‘technical virgin’ status for social reasons method and using anal sex as part of a domination/humiliation scene.

    Although I wonder just how well prepared the technical virgins in particular are for painfree and enjoyable anal entry. Cultures which prize virginity so highly usually do so as part of a tradition of wifely submission, meaning that uncomplaining compliance is often the only sexual behaviour that the wife/future wife is expected to display. Doesn’t bode well for patient and gentle building up for anal, more for yet another wham/bam without perhaps the pornhound humiliation aspects but still all about dominance.

  18. Zoe says:

    Well tigtog, this is from a culture where the men in male to male sex are only “gay” if they’re penetrated …

    /off topic travelogue

  19. Kim says:

    Excellent post, tigtog.

  20. David says:

    It’s certainly never ok to demand sex…

    But I think we have to be careful not to assume anal sex is always about men’s pleasure. Some (many?) straight women like it too, and sometimes they are the ones who ask for it.

    Also gay and straight texts are not a good way of deducing the actual practices. My gay friend told me the enema thing is not the norm… I think you will find that one-off anal sex without the pain relief is not uncommon among gay people.

    Also, just because someone is having pain, doesn’t mean they are the coerced party. Many people find pain erotic – look at all the powerful heterosexual males who pay lots of money to get whipped, humiliated and the like. Sounds weird to me, but quite common, and not a sign of oppression.

    Also, you can’t assume that straight males have not received penetration. The common public hostility they show to the idea is mainly a function of wanting to look Not Gay(tm), rather than fearing pain. But privately, a lot of very straight men are a lot more kinked than they show openly…

  21. tigtog says:

    It’s pretty obvious that the men in the Details article were in it for their own pleasure alone, though, and that part of their pleasure was due to the willingness of their partners to tolerate pain just for them. That’s what’s objectionable, not just that they have a kink towards anal sex.

  22. Hilker says:

    I am not particularly sexually adventurous (I am just quietly happy to be getting anything), and I never understood the anal thing. But to each their own, I guess. As long as it is between (genuinely) consenting adults, in private, etc.

    Good post, tigtog.

  23. David says:

    Agreed, tigtog. That example is disturbing. I just thought the tone of the post and particularly some of the comments veered towards suggesting there was something innately suspicious about male-female anal sex, or about a male partner asking a female for it.

  24. David Rubie says:

    I’m having trouble working out whether the objectionable interviews represent reality or not. It seems like the equivalent of “Penthouse Forums” – i.e. made up stories. The whole thing comes across like some sort of cautionary tale meant to stir up a moral panic. Oh, and just for the record: Ew!

  25. Men are free to demand anal sex.

    Women are free to refuse it. Giving consent however, confers upon them willing partner status.

    And the problem is what?

  26. John Greenfield says:

    tigtog

    Some interesting points. I did manage to smile at your incomprehension of differences in the sex culture of gay men and heterosexuals. I can help you out a little here. One involves women, the other does not.

    In fact, you would do well to expand your research to include lezzies. Especially those who “strap on.” Also, you should interview straight couples who “strap on.”

  27. David says:

    Demand on pain of what? Demand implies coercion…

  28. su says:

    I think it is pretty clear that the article is not about “is anal sex ok” so why are we being diverted to that. Surely every time someone posts about egregious misogyny we don’t have to all line up and say “but we all love sex”? What has pain and humiliation and coercion (and men bragging about same) got to do with sex? The distinction is pretty clear SATP.

  29. David says:

    Do you think those guys are preparing their female partners for anal penetration over the recommended several weeks of trusting play and experimentation with various sized accessories to ensure them a painfree introduction to anal sex

    This kind of stuff. All the emphasis on the need for careful preparation and the like. All the talk about tearing tissue. What if the woman just wants it’s spontaneously? Any possibility that someone might be okay with a bit of pain? And if someone desires to get it, is there also an automatic thing wrong with desiring to give it? If there’s isn’t consent, there is always a problem. But the pain and/or bleeding anuses is not relevant. No doubt some men do enjoy pushing women beyond consent in anal sex. Some like it in normal sex too. I cannot see why anal sex merits a special case because it can involve pain.

  30. Nabakov says:

    Men are free to demand anal sex.

    I’m reminded of what old Tim Leary once said about Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, that surely we should bring our children up to have better manners and so say “No, but thank you for the offer” instead.

    My own experience is that you get a lot further in bed by sweet talking (or sweet feeling) people into things than by demanding stuff. Of course, as seems to be suggested above by some, this may not be the experience of others who are as perhaps not as used to having sex with other people.

    Yes of course dominance and submission games and mad monkey sex moments may generate more direct interactions but that’s what safe words or phrases are for. I aways found “Oh, look is that your mother at the door” to be quite effective here. Except in one case which we won’t umm…go into here.

  31. Nabakov says:

    I must say too that LP’s spam filter seems very relaxed and open about some of the more penetrating words and phrases being inserted into this thread.

  32. tigtog says:

    David, you seem to be objecting to me pointing out that coercive men who brag about persuading reluctant women to have sex that the women find painful is problematic. The men in the article just shrug off unnecessary pain for their partner as “it always hurts the first few times” as if there’s nothing they could do to avoid causing that pain. That’s the problem, there damn well are things they could do to avoid causing that pain, and they don’t care.

    The women tolerating rather than enjoying the anal penetration actually seems to be key to these men who were interviewed. The one woman interviewed who claimed to really enjoy anal sex found that her enthusiasm actually seemed to bother her partner.

    With regard to your other objections to a less than yay!anal! tone to this post: the physiological consequences of “spontaneous” anal sex (inevitable micro-tears, possible fissures) are well documented in medical literature, but rarely discussed otherwise. If a woman has a sexual kink where she doesn’t mind pain but is unaware of the long term physiological consequences, then there may be consent but it’s not what any ethics committee would refer to as informed consent.

    All this applies to pegging as well, just in case anyone was worried that I was leaving the (male or female) fans of strap-ons out of the discussion.

  33. Adam Gall says:

    “What has pain and humiliation and coercion (and men bragging about same) got to do with sex?”

    Potentially, everything. All of the above can take place in consenting, intimate and pleasurable sex. Not my cup of tea, mind, but once again, I’ve got to point out that BDSM is pretty widespread. The bragging thing is drawing a long bow, but even that’s not inconceivable.

    The point, I think, is that these men know that their partners don’t want any of those things.

  34. Daniel says:

    Having read all these comments I am handing in my membership of the human race. Even the animals that humans look down upon have some standards.

  35. Another Kim says:

    What inspired this post?

    Is the key word “demanding” or “anal” or something else?

    Made me laugh a bit, have to say.

  36. Adam Gall says:

    “it’s not what any ethics committee would refer to as informed consent.”

    I’ve got to say, and with all due respect, an ethics committee is not the ideal model for thinking about a sexual ethics. But point taken.

    I find myself agreeing with both tigtog and David on aspects of this discussion. I’ve got to defend the possibility of pain as part of enjoyable sex, at least in principle, but I do think that tigtog raises important issues, firstly about the particular men under discussion, and secondly about physical risks and taking responsibility for the well-being of our sexual partners, and ourselves during sex.

  37. Nabakov says:

    A bit of a extreme reaction there Daniel though it’s true that humans can be a right pain in the arse sometimes.

    Oh c’mon everyone, you knew that line was coming sooner or later.

  38. David says:

    David, you seem to be objecting to me pointing out that coercive men who brag about persuading reluctant women to have sex that the women find painful is problematic.

    You serious? I said:

    Agreed, tigtog. That example is disturbing.

    Nah I never said the tone should have a “yay! anal!” tone. What I said was we can’t assume that pain is necessarily a sign of oppression, or that pain needs to go through an ethics committee. All that required preparation – it’s as though it was chemotherapy.

    If a woman has a sexual kink where she doesn’t mind pain but is unaware of the long term physiological consequences, then there may be consent but it’s not what any ethics committee would refer to as informed consent.

    Well that’s an interesting non-sequitur…

  39. Adam Gall says:

    Lol, Nabakov.

  40. Another Kim says:

    The sociological implications in feminist thought of heterosexual compliant/non-compliant anal sex issues.

    Jaysus holy fucking god.

    We all have too much time on our collective hands,don’t we?

  41. FDB says:

    Slow hive day, AK.

  42. David says:

    A bit of a extreme reaction there Daniel though it’s true that humans can be a right pain in the arse sometimes.

    Before I accidently wrote some “aresholes” do push anal sex past consent. But I noticed and corrected before I submitted…

  43. David says:

    argh “arseholes”. I can’t type today.

  44. Daniel says:

    ‘…argh “arseholesâ€?.’

    You’ve said it all, David!

  45. Hilker says:

    Given your handle, Nabakov, it could be argued you are entering into a dark place.

    [Humour Alert]

  46. tigtog says:

    David,

    You serious? I said:

    Agreed, tigtog. That example is disturbing.

    You appeared to me to be trying to have it both ways in agreeing there and then objecting that my tone was too negative/overly clinical/whatever. If I misread you I apologise, but that’s where I was coming from.

    What I said was we can’t assume that pain is necessarily a sign of oppression, or that pain needs to go through an ethics committee. All that required preparation – it’s as though it was chemotherapy.

    I disagree with the implication that any act which deliberately inflicts pain on another shouldn’t be ethically examined simply because the pain is freely chosen or even requested. Choice, consent etc may exist, but enjoyed pain that has long-term physical consequences shouldn’t simply be waved away as if consent (or orgasm) is a magical password that trumps any other pertinent issues. Consent is very important, indeed crucial in terms of legality or regulation, but just because something’s legal doesn’t mean it’s beyond critique.

    I’m not a fan of pain, and neither are many (most?) people, including most of the women referred to in the Details article, going by what the men said. I’m especially not a fan of actual tissue damage and scarring – do you think I’m unusual there?

    You’re daunted by the level of preparation required to probably result in no tissue damage, and your comparison to chemotherapy, apart from being hyperbolic, seems to indicate that it is the clinicality of it that bothers you. Too unromantic?

  47. su says:

    Potentially, everything. All of the above can take place in consenting, intimate and pleasurable sex.

    Really? Coercion is the new consent? Pain is the new pleasure? yay! The torture apologists will be happy to hear this. Once again, this article is not about the BDSM community, just as it is not about mutuality and anal sex.

  48. jinmaro says:

    Sex is not about mere bodily pleasure and release. If it were then the Cynic philosopher’s advice to substitute masterbation for intercourse would meet with universal acceptance and all our lives would be a lot calmer.

    Diogenes the Cynic, masturbating in the marketplace, said: “Would that it were as easy to fill the stomach by rubbing it.”

  49. su says:

    And if the article was “How do you resolve differences in desire for anal sex” then that would be entirely relevant but it is an article about how to get women to do something they don’t really want to do (because if they did they would be “dirty pigs”). The fact that they don’t want to do it seems to be pretty much the point. This is not playing with dominance and submission in the context of a respectful relationship. I find it pretty revealing that people want to talk about things that were Not canvassed in the article while ignoring what was actually expressed by the participants.

  50. jinmaro says:

    oh read a bit of Proust for crissakes,

  51. So, some boofheads want anal sex from their girlfriends, and the girls go along with it.

    So what?

  52. tigtog says:

    Since when is it OK to brag about being a cad?

    It may not be a crime (except maybe the guy who only gets anal when he gets the women too drunk to continue saying no) but to be indifferent to (and even excited by) causing unnecessary physical pain is at the least extremely selfish and disrespectful of the women they are having sex with.

    The more women are aware of the existence of sordid creeps like this, the more likely they are to avoid falling for their flimflam. Good.

  53. Tigtog, by the wide-eyed way you are “gee whizzing” over the conduct of these males, I take it you have never encountered the subset of our society known as the “football player”?

  54. tigtog says:

    Very well aware of them and very unimpressed by those who display such conduct. Just because there are lots of them, they should get a pass?

    I’m not wide-eyed, SATP. I’m not surprised by such misogynistic homosocial bonding over the degradation of women at all, but I’m not jaded about it either.

    I am however rather tired. Goodnight.

  55. paul walter says:

    I’ll confess that am closer to SATP than usual as to caveat emptor.
    But Tigtog’s central immanent question is a really good one. That is, is there a cultural change at work that expands and valorises old fashioned ignorance into an essential denial of enjoyment for women as a essential prerequisite for ‘normal’sex?
    Are we living in the Dark Ages, for god’s sake?
    Under normal circumstances satp’s comments are fair. If a woman cares to bestow a favour on a companion of her choice ( a compliment and privilege for the bestowed? ) that is her affair. But it is her responsibility in real terms as to judgement of someone else’s worth, to look after herself. Much the same as it is for someone buying a used car on a check-jacketed sales person’s say-so.
    The knack of “picking” a dud only comes slowly for most of us as to many things in life apart from sexual partners.
    It’s the same for blokes in some ways. Foreplay or oral for example may represent physical work with little apparent narrow personal gain for a bloke, the same as certain types of sex may be a yawn for women. But if you consider a woman’s favour as an honour ( well, isn’t it? )then why should it be so hard to put out a bit little to give your lady a good time as she has given or offered you, particularly if she’s missed out for you.
    She shares, you share and there is a mutual accomplishment to share and celebrate. Isn’t that the essence of mateship?

  56. su says:

    Under the proposed changes to NSW laws with respect to rape, coercion will negate consent. As John Hatzistergos said; “acquiescence in itself is not consent”.

  57. tigtog says:

    Su, the distinction between acquiescence and consent is not made often enough. Good on ’em.

  58. Adam Gall says:

    “The fact that they don’t want to do it seems to be pretty much the point. This is not playing with dominance and submission in the context of a respectful relationship.”

    Agreed, su, but in general I’m not going to accept your earlier proposition as some kind of ontological statement. I’ve got to defend certain sex practices from potential criminalisation, practices that involve all of the things that you listed. The law and it’s application are not in the business of being playful, or recognising nuances between coercion-as-play, and coercion. That is why, commendable as those legislative changes are – and I think they are a valuable resource for women (and men) who have been sexually assaulted – their effects have to be scrutinised in the future.

  59. su says:

    The coercion referred to in these laws has to do with not being free to give consent. People in for example the BDSM community are fully consenting and can exit from the situation readily through the use of safe words. They are not coerced, at least not in my understanding of the meaning of coercion. I don’t think there is any danger of the law being misapplied and it will hopefully raise the rate of conviction from its current pitiful levels. It won’t, unfortunately, do very much to raise the rate of reporting as has been pointed out by the groups which were consulted over these proposed changes. Similar definitions of consent already exist in other jurisdictions so this is not a radical departure, but an overdue reform to very old laws, which were based on english laws where rape was virtually a property crime and husbands were the aggrieved party.

  60. Adam Gall says:

    “it will hopefully raise the rate of conviction from its current pitiful levels”

    I hope this is the case also. I’ll take your word on the legal context. The reporting rate is a difficult thing to change. From my perspective that comes down to funding support services for victims and publicising their existence, but also to education campaigns in schools and targeted at parents. I’m not sure how you combat the prohibitive element of shame attendant on victimisation. It seems like a broader cultural problem. Perhaps we need to see more narratives of unashamed reporting in popular culture?

  61. CDB says:

    Hey all. Long time reader, first time poster. Go gently on me, please?

    If ever there was a thread to use that line in, I guess it’s this one 😉

    For me, this is a bit of a *yawn* issue. And are the issues we’re really concerned with here relative to anal sex, or sex in general?

    My take on it:

    1. I guess almost anyone with opposable thumbs and a conscience would find the attitudes of the interviewees in the above article offensive. There are clear consent and dominance issues in these quotes, etc etc etc.

    2. I’m also guessing that we’re clever enough to know that the writer here has picked a fairly biased, anecdotal sample.

    To speak of any sexual act in any sort of homogeneous way is silly, isn’t it? I’ve had girlfriends who have enjoyed and requested this, girlfriends who have wanted to try the strap-on thing, girlfriends who found the thought repulsive, and so on. And, erm, that’s okay innit? I mean, what it boils down to is – sex should be about fun, or about love, or about whatever both parties are looking for in that place and time. Different strokes, and all that. Yahweh forbid it should be normative 😉

    To speak about anal sex, or sex, or whatever like there is some kind of homogeneous act going on here is just naive.

    For me the issues are:

    1. Sexual cultures change over time. Doubtless there’s a trickle-down from the prevalence of porn here in terms of expectation and the normalisation of certain kinds of behavior. As different types of media become more culturally pervasive, this is happening all across the board. I would suspect ’twas always thus.
    2. Pressuring other people into something they’re not into isn’t nice. ‘Pressuring” here is a spectrum (a ‘how do you feel about this issue’ question in the middle of a cuddle versus an outright demand). Similarly ‘not nice’ is a spectrum. Some of that ‘not nice’ is worthy of outrage. Coersion, intoxication etc are things to get angry about – but that’s common sense, surely?
    2. The above applies to all forms of sex.

    So why the big deal? The article was mens-mag trite and tacky. Anyone disagree on that?

    One incidental bit of interest here for me was how same-gender groups talk about sex as opposed to how mixed-gender groups do. My guy friends and I talk about sex when we’re together, and I’ve definitely noticed that it’s tonally different than when we’re talking about sex with our girlfriends present. I suspect that goes for an all-girls chat session too? Am I wrong?

    Thanks for having me 😉

  62. Adam Gall says:

    “are the issues we’re really concerned with here relative to anal sex, or sex in general?”

    I think you’re right, it’s really about sexual ethics in general. Anal tends to confuse things because of attendant taboos and overdeterminations.

  63. feral sparrowhawk says:

    I agree with Tigtog. The crucial issue is what is real consent. Giving in under intense pressure is not consent – even if it is not appropriate to make certain forms of “begging” illegal, they are still clearly ethically unacceptable. And as stated above demand implies coercion.

    It is always a tricky issue how far one can go in asking for something. Few people would say that because your sexual partner rejected a particular act once, a couple of years ago, it would be inappropriate to ask them again. On the other hand asking three times a day suggests something is pretty wrong.

    But beyond these obvious points I suggest that the boundaries of what is acceptable requesting varies with the activity, and pain should be a factor in that.

    In other words, while some people enjoy pain as part of sex, if you’ve already asked someone to perform something that is likely to be painful and they’ve said no, it is less acceptable to keep asking them than if you’d suggested something they thought was boring or silly, but not actually painful.

  64. David Rubie says:

    This thread is useless without pictures whoops wrong blog, sorry.

  65. SimonC says:

    It is always a tricky issue how far one can go in asking for something.

    I don’t think that is the main drive of the original article. The central question (I believe) is “Would you (should you?) end a relationship because of a lack of anal sex”.

    In this context, I don’t think ‘demand’ implies coercion, rather it implies an ultimatum: “If we do not have anal sex, this relationship is over”.

    So the question is, is this ok? Part of me says no, if I knew that someone had ended a relationship for this reason, then I would definitely lose respect for that person (So it isn’t OK with me). But what about if the question was “Would you leave a sexless relationship?” or “Would you leave a relationship if YOU were asked for anal sex?”.

    It seems arrogant to assume that I know more about what a person values in their relationships, and if they judge that they would prefer no relationship to a relationship with no anal sex, who am I to judge?

  66. Adam Gall says:

    “It seems arrogant to assume that I know more about what a person values in their relationships, and if they judge that they would prefer no relationship to a relationship with no anal sex, who am I to judge?”

    I think that you are getting at something here because it does seem like it would be socially acceptable for someone to leave a sexless relationship, but socially unacceptable for someone to leave a relationship because they weren’t getting particular kinds of sexual experiences other than the ‘norm’. Unless we really feel like making strong normative prescriptions about what people can and can’t seek in their sexual relationships, it may be better to reserve judgement on the ultimatum.

    I think the distinction between demand as imperative and demand as ultimatum is an important one. Obviously offering an ultimatum shouldn’t be taken lightly, but an imperative should not really be presented at all.

  67. David says:

    Hi Tigtog, thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t having it both ways – I was making a distinction between your example of the men who seemed to enjoy that the women didn’t want it (inexcusable), and what I perceived to be a tone in your writing that anal sex is in itself a problem because it is painful.

    I disagree with the implication that any act which deliberately inflicts pain on another shouldn’t be ethically examined simply because the pain is freely chosen or even requested. Choice, consent etc may exist, but enjoyed pain that has long-term physical consequences shouldn’t simply be waved away as if consent (or orgasm) is a magical password that trumps any other pertinent issues. Consent is very important, indeed crucial in terms of legality or regulation, but just because something’s legal doesn’t mean it’s beyond critique.

    I completely agree with this. All aspects of our life should be ethically examined, whether it’s having anal sex, playing tennis, or spending time on blogs (surely better things to do with our time).

    What I objected to was 1) what I perceived as an implication that anal sex should require special justification over and above other kinds of sex (because of pain) and 2) that informed consent via a professional ethics committee is relevant to the threshold of consent in sex, or indeed any other kind of normal social relation, not just legally, but also ethically. Ethics committees are designed for very specific purposes, largely to do with professional self-interest – avoiding litigation, maintaining professional reputation among the general public and educated middle classes, etc. Because of this, the whole point is to establish a threshold far above normal levels between citizens.

    Long term tissue damage is not the norm result of a bit of anal sex. There is a bit of risk involved, particularly if you do it a lot, but thousands of everyday practices have a bit of risk involved, and it really isn’t up to one participant to inform the other. It is when a professional is trying to get someone to do something – but that is categorically different.

    BTW, I write this completely drunk. Please excuse any textual problems!

  68. su says:

    An ultimatum can be coercion. Imagine a woman who has young children and is financially dependent upon her partner. She has so much to lose that issuing her an ultimatum is definitely a form of coercion. Spousal abuse frequently only begins when a woman faces significant barriers to leaving the relationship.

  69. David says:

    Also, Tigtog, I have no romantic essentialism; I do not suggest that authentic sex must be spontaneous. Rather, I was making an empirical point, that sex often *is* fairly unplanned, and that often both parties may be okay with this. I don’t think you can assume anal sex is unethical because it hasn’t had weeks of planning. People often take spontaneous risks – it doesn’t mean they are oppressed or coerced. In fact the thrill of risk is often half the point. I’m not saying this is the One True Way; I’m just saying it’s a legitimate mode of living.

  70. jinmaro says:

    Women often have sex that they don’t want, a disinclination which they don’t voice, or perhaps only mildly, for a variety of reasons. And so do men. Sometimes this sex can be physically painful, particularly for women.

    The notion that pain in intercourse is unacceptable and that women should never have to endure sex that is painful, without forewarning, mutual agreement, hygenic preparation etc, etc. is control fetish gone mad. Men who have large penises can often engage in sex with loving and accepting women that is nevertheless quite painful. Even over-vigorous non-penetrative sex can result in pain and some temporary damage.

    I think the other part of the post which no one wants to touch much because of the yuck factor which is, in the way it is presented, offputting also for different reasons, is the idea that sex can and must always be clean and wholesome, as well as controllable and ethical, and all those words and vaues that are really irrelevant for most people in the throes of sexual passion and enactment.

    There are fashions in sex. Tantric, fetishes, master-slave role playing. We know from history that men, not all, but a lot, hetero, homo or bi, like anal sex. The reasons why anal has become so popular today to the extent that it is reputedly the favoured request by men of prostitutes, of male teenagers of young girls, is a really interesting question though. I have a few theories.

  71. su says:

    I must say it is very generous of you to speak from both a male and a female perspective. This has nothing to do with the nature of the sex wholesome (whatever that is) or otherwise. It is about the ethics of compelling someone to do your bidding in a situation wherein are men invariably wielding considerably more power than women. That is pretty easy to dismiss if you fall on one side of the equation.

  72. jinmaro says:

    su, you can, for arguments sake, do so, and you do, but it simply doesn’t make sense to so rigidly separate action and motivation, intent and outcome, meaning and effect, emotion and wellbeing.

    I do sometimes think men and women are related sub species, but I have lived and learned enough to know that I (and anyone else) can confidently and authoritatively say things that apply to both genders.

    Hell, all great art attempts to do just that and succeeds magnificently time and time again. And the rest of us recognise that because we know what it says is true – from our own experience and understanding.

    Power is multifaceted.

  73. tigtog says:

    What I objected to was 1) what I perceived as an implication that anal sex should require special justification over and above other kinds of sex (because of pain)

    Presenting pain as unavoidable when it is not unavoidable should require justification, surely? That is what those men did. The article and post was about men initiating their female partners into anal sex, and it was their lack of consideration for anal newbies/rarelies which I find distasteful.

    You seem to want to discuss couples who engage in anal regularly instead. It seems obvious that once anal sex is a regular part of the sexual menu for a couple the level of preparation required to induce relaxation for the recipient, even for a spontaneous decision, will not be so high. But the issues of a couple for whom it’s a regular habit aren’t on topic when discussing newbies, are they?

    2) that informed consent via a professional ethics committee is relevant to the threshold of consent in sex, or indeed any other kind of normal social relation, not just legally, but also ethically.

    Not via a professional ethics committee necessarily, but I find the basic principle of informed consent an admirable standard which I strive to uphold in my own social relations. Dominance games and manipulation thrive on a lack of informed consent, and I aim to minimise my exposure to such on any side of the exploit equation. Golden Rule etc.

    I’m a huge fan of encouraging the supply of more and more knowledge to enable better informed choices on everything from sex to civics to consumer products to air pollution to almost everything. Anyone who could give more information to someone before they make a choice and doesn’t is an unethical swine. I’m not singling anal sex out here. This is a basic standard I would wish for all sorts of social relations.

  74. jinmaro says:

    I’m a huge fan of encouraging the supply of more and more knowledge to enable better informed choices on everything from sex to civics to consumer products to air pollution to almost everything.

    That you should put all four examples in the one sentence as equals tells us everything we need to know about your attidude towards sex, all sex. That doesn’t make it representative or your arguments in the least persuasive. Sorry.

    And I have to say the tone and manner in which you argue your point would I am sure make many young women, go screaming in the opposite direction, determined to flout your proscriptive antiseptic moralising.

  75. su says:

    Hell, all great art attempts to do just that and succeeds magnificently time and time again.

    From your perspective perhaps, from mine I have found that art both great and small has consistently disappointed me in its depictions of women, unless that woman has been written/painted/portrayed by another woman. I am not saying that all women would feel the same way; that is just my own personal experience.

  76. jinmaro says:

    yes, to an extent that is true su, about male representation of women. But even that is of endless fascination, no?

    But one thing I have been pondering especially of late is why it is, and what it says, (and I don’t mean just in the past, but still today) the most tender, yearning, self-revealing, sensual, loving, communal, erotic, romantic, musical and poetic compositions, across all cultures, are overwhelmingly penned by men.

  77. Kim says:

    jinmaro, that should make you reflect on the dangers of generalisation. For a start, in the past, men overwhelmingly had more access to privileges of publishing and displaying and performing art and culture (and still enjoy a privileged position), but I’m wondering how on earth you’d test that comparison with regard to contemporary culture.

    Anyway, a lot of male artists/writers in the past were of dubious heterosexuality! 😉

  78. su says:

    And Jinmaro maybe they speak to you and communicate the depth of their sensuality, eroticism etc because they appeal to you. ( I don’t want to be accused of essentialism here but I was about to say “…because they are men.”)

    I have been wondering the same thing recently. I love PJ Harvey, Ann Carson, Helen De Witt, E Annie Proulx, etc etc. When I was growing up most of the art and thought that I was exposed to was produced by men and I automatically empathized with all of the male figures because I found the female ones unrecognizable. My father was also the one who spoke in feminist terms. To say that this produced a certain amount of confusion is putting it mildly. I love works produced by men but the ones that make my toes curl in pleasure and wonder and awe are invariably those by women. The sense of recognition is wonderful. It is like coming home again and again and again. This might be a stage on the way to something larger but that is how it stands now.

  79. jinmaro says:

    the standard argument, Kim. But it is a little stretched, imo. I mean we know the earliest erotic poem from Sumer was probably penned by a woman, and then there was Sappho, but the fact remains for the rest of most recorded history, and here I am talking excellence, and yes, what has been preserved, the fact is that the greatest poetic and musical composition geniuses, who wrote the most sublime romantic and erotic love poetry, lyrics and music, were men. eg. Mozart, Dvorak, Schubert, Shostakovich, Haydn, Vivaldi, Rossini in the Western canon -with which I am most familiar. Today, in Australia, classical composers I would note are William Barton, Sculthorpe. And the comparable original female composers are?

    The female Dylan Is who?

    As for poets. Most of the best love poetry written, that most people know about, has been by men. Ben Jonson, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Donne, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Shelley, Keats, Whitman – again from the Western canon. But with a few notable exceptions, and women have been part of the ruling classes sinces the feudal era at the very least, the best and the majority of poets that have written on these subjects have been men – as far as we know.

  80. tigtog says:

    That you should put all four examples in the one sentence as equals tells us everything we need to know about your attidude towards sex, all sex.

    All it tells you is a list of things that I feel are too important to be ignorant about. Anything else you’ve concluded is projection.

  81. Kim says:

    I’m sorry, jinmaro, but the standard argument is true. At Mozart’s time, how many girls were even educated to any great degree, let alone able to develop musical talents? I don’t know anything about contemporary classical music, but if women truly have an equal chance to shine, I’d be surprised (and gratified).

    The female Dylan Is who?

    First you’d have to get us to agree about Dylan!

    But with a few notable exceptions, and women have been part of the ruling classes sinces the feudal era at the very least, the best and the majority of poets that have written on these subjects have been men – as far as we know.

    See above, and being part of the upper class for women didn’t involve access to either a literary education or publication, except in rare instances. If you look at girls’ education at grammar schools in the late 19th century in this country in most instances it was about ladylike “accomplishments” rather than a rigorous education. How late were women admitted to degrees at Oxford and Cambridge? How insular are publishing circles even today?

    I suggest you read some Virgina Woolf.

    I’m not even sure what point you think you are making with all this.

  82. su says:

    First you’d have to get us to agree about Dylan!

    “What seas did you sail, Oh Whaler”

    Retch! Vomit!

    Rosie Probert had well moved on!

  83. jinmaro says:

    I don’t like Virginia Woolf much. Too snooty and constipated. In fact, a bit of a bore, But each to their own.

    As I said, check out the earliest recorded erotic poetry. It was written by women. But we only have the fragments.

    Many other female poets from Japan, China, Kashmir, France and Germany in the Middle Ages, anonymous, or not, upper class and lower, wrote good poetry which was preserved and passed on in a thousand ways and we know about it today.

    Doesn’t negate my argument.

  84. Kim says:

    Your argument can’t be assessed as such because it requires a value judgement which necessarily we may not agree on. If you’re going to just say “they’re canonical, therefore…” that’s a whole other can of worms.

  85. jinmaro says:

    tigtog, no, what it tells me is that you think sex can and should be regulated.

    You’ve a perfect right to think so, but your strange obsession is unachievable and it is our species amazing good fortune that it will elude such coralling, fearful mentality.

  86. Kim says:

    Where is tigtog calling for sex to be regulated? And what does that mean? It is – in the sense that rape and sexual assault are crimes. I take it you don’t disagree that they should be. The “strange obsession” is not tigtog’s – it appears to be more of a blindness which prevents some men from actually reading and thinking objectively about these issues. The number of obtuse comments on this thread tells a story in itself.

  87. jinmaro says:

    su, I can’t say that I was exposed to mainly male representations of women, in literature at least, as a child and young women. Not with Enid Blyton, Daphne du Maurier, Mary Grant Bruce, the Brontes, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, the female authors of all the Girls Own books that were among my favourite writers.

    But what I have learned since of world poetry, and I am a poetry tragic, and western classical music, has influenced my not unoriginal, and I would still call feminist, comments here.

  88. John Greenfield says:

    Kim

    I cannot you believe you people are calling for regulating the bedrooms of consenting women! Disgraceful!

  89. jinmaro says:

    not original, I mean.

  90. Kim says:

    I cannot you believe you people are calling for regulating the bedrooms of consenting women!

    I can’t believe it either, JG, because we’re not.

  91. John Greenfield says:

    jinmaro is correct about the constipation of you sheilahs. As I have said time and agin, Leftist White Bourgeois Feminists suffer from the spiritual emptiness of Catharine MacKinnon. Do not blame men for your Presbyterian constipation. Gender feminism is really best left in the 1970s. Sex-phobic sheilahs are a very bad look in the 21st century.

    Just strap on ladies.

  92. Zoe says:

    But one thing I have been pondering especially of late is why it is, and what it says, (and I don’t mean just in the past, but still today) the most tender, yearning, self-revealing, sensual, loving, communal, erotic, romantic, musical and poetic compositions, across all cultures, are overwhelmingly penned by men.

    Um… I guess it’s because they have dicks, right?

  93. jinmaro says:

    you’re getting closer Zoe. Now what does having a dick as opposed to a uterus mean for how a human being might act? Think now.

  94. Lefty E says:

    Now what does having a dick as opposed to a uterus mean for how a human being might act?

    Depends, Jin … what are you wearing?

    Think now.

    I know! Is it a patronising know-it-all?

  95. su says:

    Well fuck me up the arse sideways, you aren’t really suggesting that men are more thrusting and proactive (versus receptive and reactive) than women because they possess a penis??!!! And there I was worrying my pretty little head about essentialism.

  96. tigtog says:

    Interesting that an ethical critique is spun as a call for regulation. I never mentioned the word regulation, and do not endorse it. This is about autonomy, not regulation.

    What I do endorse is more information and more encouragement for women to seek out the information about safe, clean, enjoyable sex of all kinds. So that women who don’t get sexual gratification from pain understand that just because some dickhead tells you “pain at first” is inevitable – hey, it ain’t necessarily so.

    Learn to cope with some delayed gratification FFS.

  97. jinmaro says:

    Tigtog, you’ve argued quite closely and in fascinating detail that you believe enemas are called for before anal sex, e.g. and that sex should be pain and germ free.

    You sound like a stentorian, sex averse mother of the worst kind.

    Oh, yes, and I call all the above rules, or regulation.

  98. Kim says:

    You sound like a stentorian, sex averse mother of the worst kind.

    Yikes! So if you argue for responsibility, you’re anti-sex! This is the same sort of rubbish that people would have said when campaigners were first trying to persuade men to wear condoms when AIDS came along!

    Talk about dichotomies. Why don’t you make a good faith attempt to understand a different perspective, jinmaro?

  99. jinmaro says:

    why don’t you Kim? The essentialist arguments of tigtog, su and yourself are bog-standard puritanical feminism of the most useless kind.

    Mine are not.

  100. tigtog says:

    Tigtog, you’ve argued quite closely and in fascinating detail that you believe enemas are called for before anal sex, e.g. and that sex should be pain and germ free.

    Rubbish. I’ve argued that anal sex CAN BE pain and germ free, and anyone who argues that it can’t be (like the Details magazine dickheads) is selling you a pup.

  101. tigtog says:

    Also, seeing as one of the consequences of non-germ-free sex for women might be infertility unless a certain level of fastidiousness is maintained, don’t you think that should be more widely known?

  102. Kim says:

    The essentialist arguments of tigtog, su and yourself are bog-standard puritanical feminism of the most useless kind.

    Whatevs, jinmaro. I normally get stuck on the sex-positive side of the feminist sex wars dichotomy. It’s a dichotomy I’m interested in disrupting. It is possible to like sex and think that people should have sex ethically. No idea why that’s so hard for you to get your mind around.

  103. Kim says:

    In fact, if you look at past debates, tigtog and I have significant differences on some issues. But I guess that it’s easier for you to assume a monolithic feminist hivemind.

    It’s also interesting that you find it necessary to be so personal and aggressive in your commenting.

  104. jinmaro says:

    Ok. I am not a believer in the total efficacy of education, sexual or otherwise. We are not all so compliant, or rational, least of all when dealing with the most dangerous of emotions, erotic love.

    How would you account then for the fact that otherwise sensible women, and men, who know the dangers, repeatedly engage in unprotected sex, of all kinds?

  105. jinmaro says:

    you are among the most personal and aggressive commenters on this site Kim.

  106. Kim says:

    Part of that would be the mystique that sex is “dangerous” and disrupts any rationality or care. That attitude is part of the problem, I’d suggest.

    Anyway, I have to get up early to drive to Toowoomba so I’ll leave you to it.

  107. Kim says:

    you are among the most personal and aggressive commenters on this site Kim.

    Uppity woman, you mean?

    Night, sweetie! 🙂

  108. jinmaro says:

    which returns full circle to the theories that abound around this.,

    But I have to go too.

    Food for thought for some other readers who might be curious about different feminist perspectives.

  109. jinmaro says:

    so you keep saying.

  110. su says:

    Look I’m naive, so if I’m to understand it all, I should embrace teh Diogenes, Proust ( query Genet??*check with tutor), Donne, Wilde (yawn) Keats and Yeates are on your side, um Proust, Foucault**? Fuck I’m confused. Does a woman get a look in on this list at all, at all? And only then, I will understand how I should be fucked up the arse .

    * extra tu needed.

    **Had a crush on Althusser until I realised he was dead, and possibly criminal, but that is by the by.

  111. Rob says:

    Hey, jinmaro, I like the cut of your jib. But don’t forget that Christina Rosetti and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are among the brightest lights of the canon, and that almost all the greatest poetry in Japanese culture was written by women. Nor that much of the best contemporary literature is also penned by women (Lessing, Carter, Atwood).

  112. jinmaro says:

    sexual activity arouses far more profound, significant, long-lasting and potentially destructive and anti-social ethical dilemmas and philosophical questions than the (most likely) temporary and short-term ethical dilemma of how not to give a sexual partner, most likely transient, an unwanted pain in the arse.

    Secondly, the narrow focus of the post and its associated concern itself raises ethical issues related to the repercussions of fostering shame, disgust and hatred of the body and its natural processes aimed at this case, primarily at women as the passive receivers and men as the enablers of bodily shame and pain.

  113. Zoe says:

    jinmaro, have you by any chance READ THE LINKED ARTICLE which is the subject of this post?

    Or is that your obtuseness showing?

    ffs

  114. MayS says:

    Is it a house rule to read attachments to posts?

  115. tigtog says:

    Jinmaro: raises ethical issues related to the repercussions of fostering shame, disgust and hatred of the body and its natural processes aimed at this case

    There certainly are ethical issues associated with fostering shame, disgust and hatred of the body, but I disagree that posts like mine are the doing the fostering of such attitudes. The “shame, disgust and hatred of the body and its natural processes” fostered by society lead to taboos about open discussion of sexual safety issues such as hygiene and technique.

    The fact that there is nothing wrong with the body and its natural processes doesn’t mean that the body and its natural processes are thus totally safe. Risks exist, and they can be minimised.

    People who know about ways to minimise risk and freely choose to forgo those means for whatever reason aren’t the issue. It’s people who coerce others into risky behaviours without informing them that there are less risky alternatives, purely so that their own gratification isn’t delayed, that are the issue.

  116. Adam Gall says:

    “It’s people who coerce others into risky behaviours without informing them that there are less risky alternatives, purely so that their own gratification isn’t delayed, that are the issue.”

    Agreed, and that is clearly the substantial ethical imperative of your post. I hope I haven’t contributed to leading this thread down the garden path…

  117. Brian says:

    Is it a house rule to read attachments to posts?

    No need for rules. It’s just a reasonable expectation if said linked article is the subject of the post.

  118. tigtog says:

    “It’s people who coerce others into risky behaviours without informing them that there are less risky alternatives, purely so that their own gratification isn’t delayed, that are the issue.â€?

    Agreed, and that is clearly the substantial ethical imperative of your post. I hope I haven’t contributed to leading this thread down the garden path…

    Thanks, Adam.

    The unwillingness to cope with delayed gratification ties back into my remarks on the connection with romance tropes. Being “swept off your feet” by romance is all about acquiescing to the urgings of another against your normal inclinations for the purposes of immediate gratification (theirs definitely and yours allegedly). For some of us this can all be a mutually wonderful and exciting ride through spontaneity avenue, but there’s an awful lot of “if only I knew then what I know now” going around in the aftermath of acquiescing to romantic urgings, we’ve all heard it and/or done it ourselves.

    The better informed one is, the better one’s risk-benefit analysis. The thrill of excitement through spontaneous gratification is fantastic, but if it comes at the expense of someone acquiescing through ignorance rather than consenting informedly, it’s an unethical thrill.

  119. jinmaro says:

    The better informed one is, the better one’s risk-benefit analysis. The thrill of excitement through spontaneous gratification is fantastic, but if it comes at the expense of someone acquiescing through ignorance rather than consenting informedly, it’s an unethical thrill.

    The problem with that sort of reductive generalisation about sexual activity is that it can, or rather should, to be ethically consistent, be applied in a myriad of ways, that it never will be.

    For example, following the logic of your argument, it would necessitate such things as informing the person you are going to have sex with that it will be a one-night-stand, if that is your intention; that you wish the sexual partner to leave immediately after sex because you generally feel a certain involuntary disgust towards the other once the sex act is over (quite common among men); that you currently have other sexual partners (when there might be an expectation of exclusivity), and so on.

    My point is that I don’t believe it is to be expected, ethically correct or not, that people who want to have anal sex with another are likely, or can be expected to, under all circumstances, explain to the prospective partner before coitus the potential health risk/s involved – assuming they are even understood by men or women).

    Nor is it likely, or to be expected, that sexual partners should be ethically obliged to communicate the sort of, in many cases quite important information with equal if not more potential to hurt and damage that I sampled above.

  120. Zoe says:

    Speaking of generalisations, how’s “that you wish the sexual partner to leave immediately after sex because you generally feel a certain involuntary disgust towards the other once the sex act is over (quite common among men)”

    What about that you need to seek some help about your deep seated problems with women? Don’t forget that one.

  121. Zoe says:

    That last directed not to jinmaro, unless (s)he’s plagued by those feelings of disgust that are apparently so common.

  122. jinmaro says:

    well I would argue that that not uncommon feeling of men, even with long-term much-loved partners, cannot be simply and always reduced to misogyny, though it can for some men be be largely that, but that is a whole other area of inquiry.

  123. tigtog says:

    Jinmaro, I accept your point that many people are less than honest and ethical in the pursuit of an orgasm, and likely always will be.

    I’m perfectly fine with calling such people duplicitous, selfish, hateful, abusive etc if calling them unethical really bothers you that much.

  124. jinmaro says:

    I’m perfectly fine with calling such people duplicitous, selfish, hateful, abusive etc if calling them unethical really bothers you that much.

    Great. Welcome to the human race.

  125. Adam Gall says:

    Tigtog, I like your analysis of romance, as much as I might personally find a risk-benefit analysis the antithesis of pleasure. I would argue that there is a countervailing tradition of sexual pedagogy or the transmission of ‘the erotic arts’ that might be more useful than romance narratives in aligning sexual pleasure and the ethical. Such a conceptualisation can be equally exciting.

    Zoe, I think there is more to that than ‘problems with women’: the potential for involuntary disgust may relate to a displacement of shame attendant on sexual activity, and men are not well socialised to feel ashamed. They are more likely to produce anger, or in this case disgust. Of course that displacement may itself by linked to misogyny, as may a refusal to take responsibility for those feelings and prefer to continue to ‘blame women’.

  126. Adam Gall says:

    Moderated?

  127. tigtog says:

    Spaminated, Adam. Apparently using “sexual” thrice was the charm.

    As for analysis being the antithesis of pleasure, I’m not necessarily advocating an in-depth tutorial while all hot and bothered. I’m advocating for more education and risk-benefit analysis outside the immediacy of the actual engagement in sexual pleasure, actually. Education long before the situation requiring an actual decision arises. If one asks the question and finds the other is ignorant, then perhaps that is the time to delay that particular gratification at that time and settle for another sexual gratification instead, allowing time for education to occur later and separately so that the decision can be an informed one on a later occasion.

    As a separate issue, sexual pedagogy in the erotic arts sounds like a neat alignment of sexual pleasure and the ethical. Can’t see a problem with that.

  128. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Unfortunately the most common outcome of romantically (or not) spontaneous (non-anal) sex is unplanned pregnancy, which tends to put a woman in precisely the kind of emotionally, socially and financially powerless place that many of us have spent the decades since the advent of second wave feminism trying to avoid.

    The issue, as TT has said, is power. Interesting as this discussion is, the issue seems to have been largely re-cast as a feminist v. feminist sub-argument, and apart from anything else I could name you a dozen male bloggers who would be sniggering with glee at the idea that TEH ENEMY has DISAGREEMENTS AMONG THEMSELVES, OMG. Except they’d call it a catfight, or a jelly-wrestle. Or at least they would if they knew anything about the history of feminism and were therefore able to follow what’s going on here.

    But I am still interested in TT’s original point, which was to do with sexual ‘demands’, and that is about the power politics of the ultimatum — in this case, ‘If you refuse me anal sex then I will go and find it somewhere else. If not actually get up and go home / dump you / leave you.’ (Or possibly even ‘Beat the cr*p out of you’.)

    How a woman deals with an ultimatum like that comes down to how desperate she is to hang onto her man. Even a man who would say something like that.

  129. Adam Gall says:

    On second thought, and as an aspiring academic, I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the analysis/pleasure combination, although that’s a different kind of pleasure entirely. But yes, I think that education outside of the situation of the ‘event itself’ is very important, and also the ability to recognise a partners inexperience or lack of understanding, and more importantly the willingness to defer gratification. Some of these elements of intersubjective ethics become very difficult to intervene in in a systematic way, I suspect, except at a very general level.

  130. Adam Gall says:

    “How a woman deals with an ultimatum like that comes down to how desperate she is to hang onto her man. Even a man who would say something like that.”

    Which leads us back to broader questions of the material basis of relationships, and women having their own resources to fall back upon in order for the unreasonable ultimatum to be treated as such. The personal is most certainly political here insofar as an apparently intimate situation is clearly linked to larger structures of power. This seems to be approaching the problem from the other end, if so to speak.

  131. jinmaro says:

    “How a woman deals with an ultimatum like that comes down to how desperate she is to hang onto her man. Even a man who would say something like that.â€?

    Not necessarily. It might and often does come down to something quite different for many women. An explicit attraction to an aggressive, demanding sexual partner, rather than one who asks permission, does risk-benefit analyses, or asks questions such as “But I need to know what this means. For us” – among the greatest tumescence-libido buster of all time.

  132. jinmaro says:

    some theorise that the post-orgasmic state can be experienced as an unconcious reminder of mortality and animality (related) and thus result in feelings of shame and disgust because the very things that represent vulnerability, mortality and animality – stickiness, others bodily smells and emissions, uncontrol, dependency, surprise – are an inherent part of sex.

    Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)strongly connects disgust to sexual love when he argues that the object of desire is “offensive” to the lover after desire is satisfied, rather like food is the satieted eater. Thus, he writes, sexual love in its very nature gives strong desire for the removal of the object -which we would carry out, he says, but for other, more tender sentiments we have towards the sexual partner.

    He regarded as inevitable a certain misanthropic and misognysitic tendency in sexual expression, expressive of an ambivalence toward the body of the being to whom we are drawn to.

  133. If the issue is one of ‘demand’, and the coercion that this implies, why make a special case of one kind of sex?

  134. Daniel says:

    Pavlov’s Cat, I would like to apologize for the way some deviant males are. Women who are given such disgusting ultimatums are placed in an invidious position, one that is unforgivable.

    Fortunately there are some males who respect women and are not into sick sex!

  135. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Well, Daniel, while I think what people do with their own bodies is their own business, I draw the line when it comes to doing whatever one likes with someone else’s body. You are certainly right about the ultimatum being unforgivable.

    Happy Revolutionary, excellent point; the thread began with the anal-specific, so to speak, question and broadened from there into (among other things) a discussion of the (non-)ethics of coercion.

    Another thing: I’m surprised that so many commenters have stayed away from the ‘We want to brag to our mates’ motivation. This pathetic line confirms what most of us (especially D. H. Lawrence) have probably always known, which is that buttsecks, like all the other kinds, is mainly in the head.

    No names no pack drill, but a recent discussion on a certain blog illustrates the extent to which blokes regard their sexual tastes as being about other blokes, rather in the way that women tend to dress to impress other women. The discussion is about whether or not Katherine Heigl is skinny; the commenter who opined that she was was immediately trashed for pandering to ‘the womyn’, asked whether ‘fat chicks’ had become ‘fashionable’ (as though the taste for skinny women were not itself a matter of fashion), and told to ‘grow a sack’.

    By this kind of logic, a sexual taste for women who look like underfed pre-pubsecent boys is proof of one’s manhood. From the linked article, proof of one’s manhood (and bragging about it) also seems to involve a sexual taste for the anal penetration of women. I’m guessing that both of these mindsets come with the optional extra of homophobia.

    Scary.

  136. FDB says:

    “Fortunately there are some males who respect women and are not into sick sex!”

    Well, you obviously don’t respect women who are into whatever you’re referring to as “sick sex” do you?

    Sheesh.

  137. Adam Gall says:

    “I’m surprised that so many commenters have stayed away from the ‘We want to brag to our mates’ motivation.”

    Stuff I wrote about this on the Hoyden-About-Town comments thread:

    “I would also suggest that the kind of porn you are referring to, as well as to the sex practices that are under discussion here, that the significant relation from the perspective of the men is a homosocial one. This leads to further problems with respect to promoting changes in male sexual ethics: there is thus the secondary question of audience even with respect to ‘private’ interactions and personal relationships. Maybe it comes down to men refusing to provide a receptive audience for their friends activities as much as for inappropriate forms of pornography?”

    “I’m referring to the kinds of homosociality where relations between men are mediated by a third party or object. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, except for the risks it poses when that ‘object’ happens to be a subject themselves. My point was that the homosocial is the terrain upon which our interventions will have to be played out, at least as much as the heterosexual relation itself.”

  138. Daniel says:

    FDB, those who engage in anal sex probably have little respect for themselves once the deed is done.

    Aesthetically speaking, the whole thing stinks!

  139. Adam Gall says:

    The implication that those who engage in anal sex lack self-respect is insulting to many, many people Daniel. I fail to see what you’ve contributed to this discussion except a series of value judgements on others’ sexual proclivities.

  140. FDB says:

    Speak only whereof you yourself have trodden, Daniel.

    Who knows? Someone could be reading (or even… writing?) who objects to being called sick and having their self-respect called into question.

  141. SimonC says:

    If the issue is one of ‘demand’, and the coercion that this implies, why make a special case of one kind of sex?

    To take this further, why make a special case of sex?

    Fundamentally, every condition you define as necessary for a relationship to continue (Faithfulness, honesty, patience) is coerced.

  142. This pathetic line confirms what most of us (especially D. H. Lawrence) have probably always known, which is that buttsecks, like all the other kinds, is mainly in the head.

    No names no pack drill, but a recent discussion on a certain blog illustrates the extent to which blokes regard their sexual tastes as being about other blokes, rather in the way that women tend to dress to impress other women.

    Good point – at the risk of summoning melaleuca from the depths, I’d suggest that this is pretty much the psychoanalytic theory of desire in a nutshell. I think Adam’s comments above tie in with this a little.

    I wonder if we miss the point a bit by focusing on the specific act (in this case, anal). Sure, it might be a little less common than other activities, but if we are looking for the oppressive or patriarchal side of sexuality, I don’t know that anal need be at the top of the list.

    Mainly, I thought that the comments from the guys in the article were repulsive, crass, and cynical, but they don’t necessarily tell us much about anal specifically, and the fact that such people exist probably is hardly a revelation.

  143. FDB says:

    Sorry, comments crossed making mine a tad redundant.

    But seriously Daniel, you don’t know me from Adam, and yet have the Gall to….

    Sorry.

  144. ‘To take this further, why make a special case of sex?’

    It’s true that domination and coercian take a thousand forms, but perhaps there is an argument there to separate sexualised coercion from the rest. After all, we are all familiar with the notion that rape, for instance, is about ‘power’, yet this by no means clarifies the fact that rape is nothing whatsoever like a punch in the face, for example.

    Perhaps what we have here is sexuality as free-market capitalism. The male chauvinist/employer makes a sexual ‘demand’/offers and AWA. The female/employee accedes to the demand/signs AWA, as, after all, the male/employer can always look elsewhere, in the case of refusal. This is then ideologically construed as ‘free’ consent, a transaction among equals. On the other hand, we see a ‘race to the bottom’ (no pun intended), a la Ariel Levy.

  145. Adam Gall says:

    “Sure, it might be a little less common than other activities, but if we are looking for the oppressive or patriarchal side of sexuality, I don’t know that anal need be at the top of the list.”

    I think that the reason why anal emerges as a site where these questions can be discussed is precisely because it’s very loaded with associations, as well as being part of the discourse of male homophobia. Discussing it already has a denaturalising effect, and so it more readily triggers questions about sex and power. Otherwise, I agree with your point.

    Lol, FDB, even though I’ve heard it all before.

  146. jinmaro says:

    “How a woman deals with an ultimatum like that comes down to how desperate she is to hang onto her man. Even a man who would say something like that.â€?

    Not necessarily. It might and often does come down to something quite different for many women. An explicit attraction to an aggressive, demanding sexual partner, rather than one who asks permission, does risk-benefit analyses, or asks questions such as “But I need to know what this means. For usâ€? – among the greatest tumescence-libido buster of all time.

    Adam, some theorise that the post-orgasmic state can be experienced as an unconcious reminder of mortality and animality (related) and thus result in feelings of shame and disgust because the very things that represent vulnerability, mortality and animality – stickiness, others bodily smells and emissions, uncontrol, dependency, surprise – are an inherent part of sex.

    Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)strongly connects disgust to sexual love when he argues that the object of desire is “offensiveâ€? to the lover after desire is satisfied, rather like food is the satieted eater. Thus, he writes, sexual love in its very nature gives strong desire for the removal of the object -which we would carry out, he says, but for other, more tender sentiments we have towards the sexual partner.

    He regarded as inevitable a certain misanthropic and misognysitic tendency in sexual expression, expressive of an ambivalence toward the body of the being to whom we are drawn to.

  147. Adam Gall says:

    “Perhaps what we have here is sexuality as free-market capitalism.”

    Interesting analogy (!).

    What I’ve read of Levy I found too much like the op/ed pages.

  148. jinmaro says:

    I mean misanthropic and misogynist tendency in sexual love, or the erotic relationship, or however we can (imprecisely) describe this in English.

  149. Adam Gall says:

    I would tend to question whether those particular post-orgasmic feelings might be culturally specific, or at least culturally inflected, jinmaro. Obviously the orgasm has profound emotional effects which are undeniable, but whether shame, disgust or whatever is produced and how we express and direct those feelings may be open to question. Nevertheless, food for thought.

  150. Daniel says:

    FDB, if ‘Adam’ had been homosexual or preoccupied with anal sex (as so many appear to be), the human species would never have got off the ground.

    Come to think of it, that might not have been such a bad thing!

  151. Pavlov's Cat says:

    It might and often does come down to something quite different for many women. An explicit attraction to an aggressive, demanding sexual partner, rather than one who asks permission, does risk-benefit analyses, or asks questions such as “But I need to know what this means. For usâ€?

    But in that case he wouldn’t need to issue the ultimatum in the first place, would he.

  152. jinmaro says:

    umm, sometimes these things aren’t even verbally expressed, but the message is the same and understood, that this is how it will be, take it, or leave it.

  153. The difficulty with this topic lies in the ambiguity of ‘demand’ – it implies something paradoxical on the part of the demandee, namely, a kind of ‘forced consent’, whereby the female ‘tolerates’ sexual advances, presumably for extra-sexual reasons.

    For this reason, it is not easy to boil this down to a legalistic discourse about ‘consent’, in any straightforward sense. Nor is it easy to subject the topic to ‘ethical’ analysis, as it is not only heterosexual women who have different kinds of sex for extra-sexual reasons. Possibly, it is the uncomfortable nature of something like ‘forced consent’ that has generated so many comments on this and the other threads. The problem is soluble by most kinds of ‘analysis’.

    Maybe it needs to be understood in terms of a more militant stance, with reference to ideology, consumerism, and to power relations, where sex is politics, continued by other means.

  154. jinmaro says:

    Adam, I don’t know why such feelings Adam Smith outlined should be culturally specific, since what marks the human species amongst all other nature is the unique awareness we have of our own mortality. But agree there are no simple, one-note, universal answers to or explanations of anything, including the omne animal post coitum triste thingy.

    Though I do think the consciousness we have of our mortality does have enormous influence on all forms of human endeavour, behaviour, thought and emotion. I think we understand only a little about many things and the realm of sexuality is right up there at the top of the list of things that remain enigmatic and neither fully understood nor controlled by us.

    Like many people, though perhaps these days not most, I react negatively and increasingly with a degree of hostility (sorry tigtog) to the constant sine qua non condition, or norm, of requiring all activities to be risk-free, risk-benefit analysed and managed. Nor do I think this is the sane, normal, right, decent, responsible, ethical, advisable modus operandi for me or others, in the growing number and scope of spheres, in fact almost all, in which it has become today. I see it as form of sickness, of social pathology or whatever it can be called.

    Nor do I have much interest in or faith in the benefit of demanding or expecting that government or policy developers or even lovers should embrace what is, to me, a fundamentally alien and ultimately futile concept and way of engaging and acting in the world.

    Finally, I know that I am not alone in reacting negatively to people who try to tell me what is best for me sexually and lay down conditions that I and others should adhere to in order to feel good about ourselves, or each other, when sexually active. I know that I and others will engage in sexual activity that for many reasons is perhaps not in the potential or even actual best longterm interests of me or my partners. But I am damned if I am going to change doing that just because someone else has forewarned me, or not, of the risk-benefit ratio involved in acting in a particular way. I wouldn’t even be listening, no, not even now.

  155. John Greenfield says:

    Pavlov’s Cat

    Another thing: I’m surprised that so many commenters have stayed away from the ‘We want to brag to our mates’ motivation.

    What groups of men, women, Mormons, or Martians brag about among theie mates is their business. Your recourse to DH Lawrence as an authority is telling.

    This Stalinism that still clearly exists among a certain clique of Leftists of a certain age is disturbing. I thought we’d moved on from this.

    su

    I must say it is very generous of you to speak from both a male and a female perspective.

    The irony of your essentialism here is priceless. I think it is quite clear that you/tigtog/su/sparrow/PC, far from speaking for women, in fact speak for only a long discredited sexual Stalinism.

    jinmaro is correct about the constipation of you sheilahs. As I have said time and agin, Leftist White Bourgeois Feminists suffer from the spiritual emptiness of Catharine MacKinnon. Do not blame men for your Presbyterian constipation. Gender feminism is really best left in the 1970s. Sex-phobic sheilahs are a very bad look in the 21st century.

    Just strap on ladies.

  156. Zoe says:

    Oh grow up or move to New Hampshire, jinmaro. “Feeling good about yourself” is a possible side effect of an ethical approach to life, not it’s goal

  157. Adam Gall says:

    “Adam, I don’t know why such feelings Adam Smith outlined should be culturally specific, since what marks the human species amongst all other nature is the unique awareness we have of our own mortality.”

    Um, simply because mortality has different implications for different cultures, groups and even between individuals. An awareness of mortality does not effect a single, universal response. Nor have all possible future responses to human mortality yet emerged. Smith is speaking from a particular socio-cultural and economic position, and that necessarily colours his reflection on universals. (For example, I feel joy at the idea of my mortality because for me it means that my life is necessarily wasted, and that means that I can choose to ignore those who tell me that I am ‘wasting time’ doing what I enjoy.)

    Okay, I understand that you don’t like being told what to do in the bedroom. Perhaps discussing sexual ethics, sexuality and power is not for you, jinmaro? It’s certainly not a legal requirement that you pay attention to these arguments. I happen to think that an overt commitment to spontaneity can be a way of ignoring the way that our behaviour affects others, and that is why I am interested in discussing this in some depth.

  158. John Greenfield says:

    Adam Gall

    I happen to think that an overt commitment to spontaneity can be a way of ignoring the way that our behaviour affects others, and that is why I am interested in discussing this in some depth.

    You might have had some credibility if you and your fellow Sexuality Stalinists on this thread had focused your comments on your OWN sex lives, rather than passing judgements on others. As it is, you stand a hypocrite.

  159. jinmaro says:

    Um, simply because mortality has different implications for different cultures, groups and even between individuals. An a

    wareness of mortality does not effect a single, universal response.

    yes, sure. as marked by numerous ways culturally, but what is your evidence that it is so different? Culture, including religion, is a way of consoling or distracting attention from or explaining, or attempting to transcend, or give meaning to mortality, but there is no evidence anywhere that I am aware of, that it has abolished the fear and apprehension and sorrow that accompanies consciousness of mortality.

    Spontaneity is not what I am on about, or rather, that is a really superficial and silly representation of what I have been talking about. I guess we are condemned to having to endlessly reinvent the wheel.

    Norman O Brown is a more recent, and brilliant expository writer I would recommend in relation to some of this stuff. I refer in particular to his Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History published in 1959. Apparently it was big in the 1960s, but I only discovered it fairly recently. Its theoretical basis is a synthesis of Freudian, Nietzschean and Marxist thinking.

  160. jinmaro says:

    why should I move to New Hampshire Zoe? I am Aboriginal.

  161. Nabakov says:

    I wouldn’t even be listening, no, not even now.

    Not listening but responding?

    I do agree with you though jinmaro that what Freddy Nietzsche once said “Men need play and danger. Civilization gives them work and safety.” has a certain resonance with me too.

    And that yes the full gamut of sexual and emotional experiences should include room to dance on a razor.

    But if others you’re dancing with then have a close shave or worse, you’d have to be a right cad to duck the responsibilties that go with your rights to boogie, and to entice others to boogie, on the blade too.

    By the way, I’m rereading John Fowles’ “The Magus” for the first time in 20 years and only now do I really realise what he was really getting at with the whole pyscho-sexual humilation metaphor thang there. I think.

    Also I can’t thinking that certain of the male interlocuters on this thread have either accidently or wilfully misread the post title (which admittedly was coyly ambigious) as a judgement on the sexual medium rather than the social message.

    OK everyone, now this thread’s dying in the arse, it’s time for a singalong, courtesy of Peter Jackson’s masterwork “Meet The Feebles” (whatever happened to him afterwards?).

    In the key of A I think.

  162. tigtog says:

    Jinmaro, I thank you for the apology for earlier hostility. I got combative in response, so we’re probably even-steven there.

    But I am damned if I am going to change doing that just because someone else has forewarned me, or not, of the risk-benefit ratio involved in acting in a particular way. I wouldn’t even be listening, no, not even now.

    I’m confused by your reaction here. How can anyone else impose a risk-benefit calculus on you?

    Information is about known risks. Only you know what your personal benefits might be, so only you can perform the risk-benefit analysis appropriate to you personally.

  163. Nabakov says:

    Culture, including religion, is a way of consoling or distracting attention from or explaining, or attempting to transcend, or give meaning to mortality,

    Well yes but that description while valid in itself does ignore that the main practical benefits of culture/religion is to provide a framework in which large numbers of humans can productively co-exist by sharing common goals and points of reference beyond their quotidian demands.

    It’s a bit like trying to flog a car just because it has “free air” while overlooking the fact that its main selling point is that it can carry people and their stuff from one place to another, effectively and affordably.

  164. jinmaro says:

    ah-ha Nabakov. But then how do you explain the intractability of multiple cultures and religions that exist, nay flouish, almost as a raison d’etre in opposition to other cultures and religions. Wouldn’t it be in the best material interests of humanity to have a common culture? Why is that seemingly not achievable?

    I adored The Magus which I also read, without understanding, about 20 years ago. Have you got Fowles’ revised, extended version? Must re-read also. His description of the solitary bay reached by a path through the bush on his leisurely days off as schoolmaster on the Greek island is imprinted on my brain as a sensual memory that I feel I must have personally experienced it is so acute.

    Btw, I am female and I don’t think anything I have done sexually has endangered or hurt my male sexual partners. The opposite was more likely, and in some instances, the case. But I don’t believe it was ignorance that was the reason why it occurred.

  165. Adam Gall says:

    “You might have had some credibility if you and your fellow Sexuality Stalinists on this thread had focused your comments on your OWN sex lives, rather than passing judgements on others. As it is, you stand a hypocrite.”

    I don’t know exactly how I’m being hypocritical, JG, and I’d be much obliged if you could explain it on the basis of what I’ve posted in this thread. I’m not sure what part of advocating for just about any sexual practice you can name, or expressing my reservations about regulating sexual behaviour, or for that matter being interested in discussing sexual ethics at all amounts to sexuality Stalinism. On the basis of the relativism that you imply in relation to ‘private matters’, there is no room for criticism of any practices at all. If you think sexuality is outside of society and outside of power then you are simply naive.

  166. Adam Gall says:

    “Spontaneity is not what I am on about, or rather, that is a really superficial and silly representation of what I have been talking about.”

    Agreed Jinmaro. If I understand your injunction against risk-benefit analysis correctly, then it seems to be an argument against the encroachment of new biopolitical strategies. I would argue that such strategies are already being deployed in an unexamined way.

  167. Nabakov says:

    But then how do you explain the intractability of multiple cultures and religions that exist, nay flouish, almost as a raison d’etre in opposition to other cultures and religions.

    Not everyone needs the same model of car. Compare and contrast the overiding function and daily traffic interactions between bikes, mopeds, motorbikes, sports convertibles, rusty old bombs, family wagons, luxury sedans, hulking SUVs, utes, vans, trucks and prime movers.

    I think at this point I may be running the metaphor into a ditch but I trust you get my general point.

  168. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Adam:

    I’d be much obliged if you could explain it on the basis of what I’ve posted in this thread.

    Adam, he hasn’t read the thread.

    JG:

    You might have had some credibility if you and your fellow Sexuality Stalinists on this thread had focused your comments on your OWN sex lives, rather than passing judgements on others. As it is, you stand a hypocrite.

    It’d be better than standing a dickhead, even if it were true.

  169. audrey apple says:

    I’ve come into this post very late, but I just wanted to say ‘excellent post!’

    This shit depresses me too much these days. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming I just want to go and live on a farm with some ducks. SIGH.

  170. nasking says:

    By the way, I’m rereading John Fowles’ “The Magusâ€?

    ahhh…the last book i was tested on in Gr. 13 in Toronto. After ‘The Edible Woman’. What a trip. The 3 Rs…trials, tribulations…& trust.

    One of the prime motivators for my trip to Greece…nigh on 3 mths picking oranges, drinking Metaxa & Ouzo, falling out of trees, laughing w/ uncertain poms…& those more determined, the dispossesed from Liverpool, hard bitten, driven, by thoughts of expectant loved ones & family obligations, the “no fun” ones, who kept us going, earning, learning, adapting…til we became a team of professional pickers…but also, time for observing goats wandering aimlessly…worry beads in the hands of men in cafes, the sideways glances of young women who feared speaking to us Outsiders, the beating of an Israeli for some unknown reason in the middle of the night, the rest of us awoken in our motley tents, fearful…& outraged…but warned to stay back…& we did, confused…jealousy in men beyond that which i’d observed previously…a hatred for Turks that led to a knife at my throat due to a ‘naive’ comment…huge plastic bottles of retsina during card nights & laughing insanely as the company you kept passed out one by one & the moon took its toll…& eggs bubbling in olive oil on cold, pastel mornings…throbbing headaches accompanied by the thrill of an alien landscape…fresh air, deeply inhaled…sounds of “Av-rio!, Av-rio!” when payment was requested, always tomorrow, or some time in the near future…or “malaca!” (wanker) if you accidentally dropped an orange & it thudded to the hard ground…lunches provided by stern but generally kind farmers of fish, loaf & feta, plenty of grins & chattering by soiled & sweaty workers…swilled down w/ sour retsina…then trips away from camp, once a mth, if you were lucky, or had saved enuff…searches in the archaic, yet glorious town nr. the ocean…the eager hunt for souvlaki, cheap cigarettes & a ventolin before the once a day bus returned…Greece…a strange journey in 1981…that ended one time, impetiously, by a stretched morning and a brisk march to the train station, backpack topped by crunched tent, embracing yer back like a cold lover…& rows & rows of sky reaching trees like tunnel vision as you raced to your next destiny…passport & ticket bulging from the too often patted for reassurance ‘money belt’ wrapped about your waist..& before you knew it…Austria.

    Cultures take time…

  171. Zoe says:

    I am so stoked that John Greenfield finally told us to grow a dick.

    Come to mummy!

  172. Fiasco da Gama says:

    John Greenfield finally told us to grow a dick

    [insert pun on “cut & paste”]

  173. jinmaro says:

    I’m confused by your reaction here. How can anyone else impose a risk-benefit calculus on you?

    Information is about known risks. Only you know what your personal benefits might be, so only you can perform the risk-benefit analysis appropriate to you personally.

    I honestly don’t know what you are asking or what all this means. I have never done a personal risk benefit analysis in my life – on anything. Call me irresponsible, but the whole idea makes me laugh, particularly in relation to sex.

    I did research risk management policies and procedures once for 4 full months for a large organisation, dull, dull, dull, but the main thing I learnt from that is that you can’t prevent disasters from happening with forward planning. Basically, the best policies can do is outline how to deal with problems when they arise and attempt to ameliorate them.

    Oh, yes, and everything is a risk from the day we are born and the most serious risks we can do nothing about.

  174. tigtog says:

    I honestly don’t know what you are asking or what all this means. I have never done a personal risk benefit analysis in my life – on anything. Call me irresponsible, but the whole idea makes me laugh, particularly in relation to sex.

    OK, I think I’m finally getting a glimmering of where our cross-communication problems arise.

    Risk-benefit analysis: we all do them, all the time. Every time we cross a street, for example. I’m not talking about firing up the spreadsheet software and generating a report. Anytime you think about doing something you are weighing up whether the benefits to you outweigh the risks (even if the only risk is boredom).

    Information gives us specific, objective risks and benefits. But all of us have emotional reactions to events/actions which put different weightings on risks and benefits for us personally. That’s why nobody can impose a risk-benefit analysis on anybody else – you don’t know what the emotional benefit of a practise is to anybody else. Everybody weighs that up for themselves.

    The ethics of providing information to others in sex (or any other field of persuasion) is whether you are fairly manipulating their emotional responses to weigh a decision in your favour or not. Information is part of that, as an emotional reaction to a known risk may outweigh the emotional response to a known attraction.

    People have a different emotional response to the risk of pain if they feel it is inevitable rather than avoidable. It changes the weight they place on that pain in their personal risk-benefit analysis, generally (not always) tilting the emotional weight to favour pain avoidance. Withholding information about avoidable pain is therefore manipulating the other’s risk-benefit analysis of your offer in your favour.

    Very human. Very unethical.

  175. Vida Es Sueno says:

    Boy, you go away for just a couple days, and when you get back, everybody’s been talking about anal sex.

    Ain’t that a kick in the pants. So to speak.

  176. jo says:

    although still uncommon, the rates of anal cancer are increasing in both men and women – and for MSM males, the rates are now about the same as cervical cancer pre: the introduction of the pap smear.

    anal cancer, like cervical cancer is thought to be related to Human papillomavirus, and smoking is a risk factor. HIV positive men are particularly susceptible.

    with young women & girls now being vaccinated with gardasil in relation to cervical cancer, this is also a good preventative if younger women are having more anal sex – obviously, a risk factor.

    one would think that vaccinating boys (& MSM men), against HPV is likely to be introduced.

    I honestly don’t know what you are asking or what all this means. I have never done a personal risk benefit analysis in my life – on anything. Call me irresponsible, but the whole idea makes me laugh, particularly in relation to sex.

    And that is why Jinmaro, you’ll never be invited to be a member of The Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatitis (though Godbotherers can apply).

    And please, do wash your hands after using the toilet.

  177. jinmaro says:

    thanks for the clear explanation, tigtog. I guess we all do these sorts of evaluations instinctively much of the time.

    But I do think the realm of sex has long been thought of philosophically as one where it is often very difficult for people to act ethically, for want of a better word, because of the emotions involved and that there is both an excessiveness and an ambivalence often present which have powerful influences because of the neediness aroused, and that both passivity and uncontrol are its constitutive features. These means the whole realm is ethically problematic in more ways most people never think about.

    Kant for example holds that all sexual desire leads inexorably to the instrumental use of persons, and thus to the degragation of their humanity, by making of the sexual partner an “Object of appetite”.

  178. tigtog says:

    Kant has some fellow travellers amongst conservative evangelical Christians in that view, jinmaro. It’s their primary non-biblical objection to extramarital sex, that it just people “using” each other’s bodies for personal gratification.

    I’m not entirely with Kant on this one. Do some people never move beyond objectifying their sexual partners as instruments of sexual release? Certainly. However, it is possible for enthusiastically consensual sexual partners to share sexual joy rather than merely use each other for sexual release.

  179. Adam Gall says:

    “But I do think the realm of sex has long been thought of philosophically as one where it is often very difficult for people to act ethically…”

    But philosophy has come some way since Kant. I was just reading some Luce Irigaray this morning, and it struck me that there is an interesting, if not always successful, attempt to deal with some of those philosophical problems identified in Kant, and more specifically as they are articulated in C20th phenomenological thought eg Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas. Irigaray provides a way into thinking sex and ethics via her reconceptualisation of love and some of the related work she has done around gender.

  180. Daniel says:

    “But I do think the realm of sex has long been thought of philosophically as one where it is often very difficult for people to act ethically, for want of a better word, because of the emotions involved and that there is both an excessiveness and an ambivalence often present which have powerful influences because of the neediness aroused, and that both passivity and uncontrol are its constitutive features. These means the whole realm is ethically problematic in more ways most people never think about.”

    Jinmaro, I always thought that sex was relatively simple and involved male and female reproductive organs meeting for mutual pleasure so to speak. Seems I’ve been wrong all these years on several counts.

    Leaving the mechanics aside, would you help me out by translating the above passage, shine a little light into my ethical darkness!

  181. FDB says:

    A rough translation for you Daniel:

    Sex is about a loss of self in many ways – the union is inherently dangerous to one’s sovereignty as an organism, and involves the give and take of not only repulsive fluids, but also power and control. It’s a mutual activity with much at stake in terms of pleasure&pain, of the physical and emotional varieties both.

  182. Adam Gall says:

    Jinmaro is suggesting that acting ethically with respect to sex presents philosophical problems because sexual activity involves being in a state where our capacity to act rationally and decisively is lessened. That is to say, during sex it is difficult to think and act ethically, because sex affects us at such a basic emotional and bodily level.

  183. Daniel says:

    I now understand why Bertrand Russell (at least I think it was him) said he’d sooner have a cup of tea than sex.

    We humans do tend to complicate things unnecessarily!

  184. jinmaro says:

    Daniel.

    Precis: Feeling horny can drive you potty.

  185. Adam Gall says:

    I disagree Daniel. I think we make things simple and do a lot of violence to each other in the process.

  186. Daniel says:

    Well why didn’t you say so, Jinmaro. Now you’re talking my language!

  187. David Rubie says:

    Daniel wrote:

    I now understand why Bertrand Russell (at least I think it was him) said he’d sooner have a cup of tea than sex.

    We humans do tend to complicate things unnecessarily!

    Well, yeah, but were the tea and the sex on the table at the same time?

  188. Daniel says:

    Adam, the thrust of this post suggests that we have moved from the simple to the complicated and in the process much violence (physical and mental) is being done to some women.

    That is unjust and unjustified!

  189. Adam Gall says:

    I don’t think that sexuality of any kind is especially simple to begin with, Daniel. I would assume that the world is complex and humans are complex to begin with, and that your attempt to intervene by advocating for ‘simplicity’ is much more dangerous than suggesting that we answer complexity with complexity. To put it simply: I think the position you’ve stated throughout this thread is one of sexual fundamentalism.

  190. jinmaro says:

    Daniel, honey-bun, it couldn’t have been Russell. He was a compulsive womaniser, though like most men when it comes to sex, also quite likely a lying hound from hell. Smiley.

    Sounds more like John Howard.

  191. Daniel says:

    Adam, they say when you have a problem, get back to the fundamentals. As to humans being complex, I think we have to tell ourselves that so the truth about us doesn’t hurt as much!

    Jinmaro, sweetheart, I thought every man was a compulsive womanizer! However, some of us (excluding me) seem to think that women exist purely to gratify the many bizarre urges that our hormones create inside our heads.

    Men, collectively, are to be pitied.

  192. Adam Gall says:

    And what is the simple truth about humans that we are all so ready to avoid, Daniel?

    I’d love to read your theory before I have to go off and cook dinner.

  193. jinmaro says:

    A solitary sail that rises
    White in the blue mist on the foam, —
    What is it in far lands it prizes?
    What does it leave behind at home?

    Whistles the wind, the waves are playing,
    The labouring masthead groans and creaks.
    Ah, not from pleasure is it straying,
    It is not pleasure that it seeks.

    Beneath, the azure current floweth;
    Above, the golden sunlight glows.
    Rebellious, the storms it wooeth,
    As if the storms could give repose.

    Mikhail Lermontov

  194. Daniel says:

    The simple truth, Adam? That we humans are still primitive savages, much as we have always been.

    Look at the world we have created for ourselves: after three thousand years it is still full of religious divisions, wars, nuclear weapons, torture, incest, rape, sexual deviancy, murder, inequality, starvation, violence, imperialism, greed…it goes on and on.

    It is hardly a product of intelligence or nobility.

  195. melaleuca says:

    “Do some people never move beyond objectifying their sexual partners as instruments of sexual release? ”

    Objectification has an undeservedly bad image. Personally, I quite enjoy being objectified, although if pushed I’d have to place just behind a nice cup of tea on my list of life’s little pleasures.

  196. jinmaro says:

    Daniel, you are on the right track. Recognition of truth is fundamental. A pre-condition/ Without that there is no progress, or even hope, for betterment.

    It is interesting that the subject of this post is anal sex. Because to say someone is “anal” means that someone is trying extra hard to protect themselves against the accidents of life and danger of death, trying to use cultural artefacts, such as risk-benefit analyses and methodology as a means of triumph over nature (commonly associated with the feminine) and trying to pass off onself as anything but an animal.

  197. Seamus O'Reamus says:

    In the latest edition of the electronic Medical Journal of Australia
    http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/187_08_151007/guy10648_fm.html
    we have statistics on some measures of risky sexual behaviour. The rate of HIV amongst heterosexuals has not increased in 10 years and is not consistent with increased rates of risky behaviour amongst heterosexuals. Its conclusion that homosexual rate of HIV is rather weak and doesn’t include a confidence interval( bad).

  198. amphibious says:

    Is the number of posts a record? I had to open a 2nd red to plough through and, by about half way, I was only reading TigTog & Su, but JinMaro -“large penis”?
    Puhleeze, show me a penis bigger than a vagina and I’ll show you a … Bunyip?
    That is just too stupid for words.
    OK I’ll now go back to reading the posts but, no way I’m opening a 3rd bottle. Hic!
    Can I just say that, as an old freek from the 60s, this wasn’t even a question?
    Lady, lay down the Law.

  199. amphibious says:

    No sorry, this is just too ridiculous for words.
    Like DAVID i’m drunk but come on! TigTog, Su & probably others, I admire your fortitude but I just cannot read this anymore. I gave up on Jinmaro’s returns – couldn’t get beyond a sentence or three.
    Bring on the Matriarchy.

  200. aml says:

    I now understand why Bertrand Russell (at least I think it was him) said he’d sooner have a cup of tea than sex

    And here was me thinking it was Boy George who said it !

  201. amphibious says:

    AML – it was but, being a smack freek, he ripped off BR who, sorry I really am pissed,said something along the lines of “there are better things in life than sex” – check out his loony wife who PRAYED, after he’d left her, for nigh on fifty years, to die of breast cancer (specifically – don’t ask)and finally expired of heart failure (probably all that fervent praying} at 92.

  202. David says:

    Anyone who could give more information to someone before they make a choice and doesn’t is an unethical swine. I’m not singling anal sex out here. This is a basic standard I would wish for all sorts of social relations.

    That is obviously an impossible threshold, because ‘giving more information’ can only go forth into infinity. What if you are a big fan of Bon Jovi. I would feel dirty sleeping with someone who liked Bon Jovi. Would it be up to you to tell me all the bands you like just in case I might object to one of them and then wouldn’t consent to sex? Of course not. You only have to tell me whatever the hell you feel like. That’s quite ethical. If anything I would be in the wrong for having such stupid standards.

    “Fully informedâ€? is obviously an empty notion, because it is intrinsically impossible, and if we tried to go for it, or even set it as an honourable goal, we would never get anything done because we would only talk talk talk talk talk, eg. a professional ethics committee logic. Of course middle class intellectuals would like such a state, because that is the area of their competitive advantage.

  203. David says:

    Anyone who could give more information to someone before they make a choice and doesn’t is an unethical swine.

    So presumably a queer person is a swine if he/she doesn’t tell a homophobic employer in a job interview about his/her sexuality. Of course, we reject that argument, because we have made a normative decision about what is *relevant* information. The whole point is that people only need to know *relevant* information rather than all information. But who decides the normative criteria for determining what is ‘relevant’? In the above example the law works well. Often it doesn’t. Either way, “full informationâ€? is a dumb and impossible notion. The only relevant ethical issue is determining what the person is entitled to know.

    Even if one party is deliberately withholding relevant information, is this necessarily wrong? Surely in a job interview everybody could tell the employer lots of negatives about themselves – genuine negatives that would damage their ability to do the job. Do you have to? No. Almost all everybody emphasises the positives to the eventuation they desire, and downplays the negatives. They may do this consciously or unconsciously. The party deciding whether or not to consent *expects* this as a normal part of social interaction, and therefore weighs it into their decision.

  204. John Greenfield says:

    Adam Gall

    Unfortunately I have encountered far too much “scholarship” that justifies itself by thinking it has ferreted out “power” in nooks and crannies that said “scholar” claims we never knew existed.

    Perhaps the biggest problem with the whole pomo thang is that y’all reduce analyses of “power” to the most banal and sophomoric level. It’s like the Holy Spirit to Catholics. You know, it’s like, everywhere, and stuff.

  205. Adrien says:

    Anal sex shouldn’t hurt. The best guide to anal sex I ever read was from one of the editors of On Her Backs. Yeah lesbians like butt-fucking too. It’s not the practise or the orifice, it’s what’s in the hearts and minds of the lovers. If a woman’s with a guy who gets off on hurting her (if she doesn’t wanna be) well the problem’s the guy not where he’s putting his todger. It’s also the girl, what’s she doing with him??

  206. Mark says:

    So I go away on holidays and this thread is still bubbling along?

    Forgive me for not reading all 200 plus comments, but does anyone know what Missy Higgins thinks about this?

  207. David Rubie says:

    Missy ain’t versatile Mark.

  208. Adam Gall says:

    I make no claim to having discovered anything, John. In place of some diffuse or nebulous idea of power, it seems that unethical sexual behaviour of men towards women is a place where the planets align, if so to speak. That is Power with a capital “P”, as well as micrological power in the sense that you disdain, are all running in the same direction when it comes to these patriarchal practices.

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