There’s no word for it

11/30/2008 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Taking a break from researching journals & books, because there is a bone on my mind I have to pick. Every once in awhile, bloggers eventually rant. It will not be the last, I’m sure.

There’s no word for what’s on my mind. I can’t think of the word that would best fit. I’m having a hard time making up a word that flows.

It starts with a case of “She said, she said.”
Introducing or explaining feminism to partners comes up every once in awhile within feminist communities. On one of the boards I partake of, a female asked the inevitable question about feminism and her boyfriend. Something about how to explain it to him without scaring him away or how to arm herself for if he refused to listen. Pretty standard, predictable stuff. It sounded like he wasn’t such a bad guy overall, and that this couple got along well enough in other areas. But when it came to feminism, he was enjoying his privilege so much that he wasn’t wanting to examine it, and he had absorbed some rather negative ideas about women. Not necessarily about his girlfriend, but stereotypes & such.

This kind of conversation can happen in almost any group. Some kind of argument a couple has about one thing or another, or one set of ideas vs. another. This time, it just happened to take place within a feminist community, and to be about feminism.

This time, I just happened to see the following response, in a feminist community, a place in which I’m more used to seeing members be forced to acknowledge that not everyone has the same abilities, rights & privileges as the majority.

One of the responses to this conversation was something along the lines of, “If he’s not going to be a feminist, then maybe she should stop fucking him.

Okay, dating someone who does not actively identify as a feminist can be a deal-breaker for some. That’s understandable. But it’s the last three words that rubbed me the wrong way. That’s where I turned off & she lost me.

I was probably the only person in this group who was thinking to myself, “What makes you assume that she’s fucking anything??”

This sort of limitation on sexual activity doesn’t come up just within feminist communites; it’ll come up in regular conversations about relationships. “If she really loved you, she’d do x,” or “If he won’t do x thing, then she should DTMFA already,” and in this particular case, “If you really respected yourself, you wouldn’t be having sexual intercourse with him.”

Had it been me in that situation, I might’ve replied, “I don’t fuck, thank you very much,” or, “Hey guess what, I’m already one step ahead of you. I don’t fuck anything. Now that we have that out of the way, what’s the next thing you want me to do?”

My own boyfriend, despite my best efforts, still isn’t quite up to speed on all things feminist. I think I’m slowly chipping away at that, but it’s gona be awhile longer yet. I’m not naive enough to believe that I can change who he is as a person. Nonetheless, he’s obviously good enough to be my boyfriend, and hey, check it out- he’s even sticking it out with me through this journey into FSD. Hey look at this now, he’s actually respecting my boundaries & accepting of what I can & cannot do & wanting to help me get to new places I would like to be.

It works in the other direction too. This criticism applies when people dispense advise that includes “Relax and have some sex!” Well, what, exactly do you mean by “Sex?” Usually it seems that such folks mean “Intercourse” but use “sex” interchangeably. They didn’t say “Have some sexual activity!” or “Go down on your wife!” They said “Have sex,” or some other slang synonymous for heterosexual penis-in-vagina activity.
My own elder sister has done this with me! “Oh K, stop worrying about it so much and fuck your boyfriend already!” Don’t you think I’ve tried?
They mean well, I’m sure, they don’t mean to step on our toes… but well there you are then.

There is no single word for this kind of statement, this, assumption that someone is having “Normal” sex in a relationship. This assumption that “Fucking,” meaning “Normal sex,” meaning, “Intercourse,” is normal.
It’s too widespread to have a word. It’s everywhere, except in a handful of support communities & support books.
Some words that do exist and might sound like good descriptors on the surface, aren’t appropriate in this case.

I’ve heard this default referred to as the, “Cult of intercourse,” by Drs. Klein & Robbins in Let Me Count the Ways, but I can’t call this “Cultist,” because it’s not specific enough. I usually think of cults in reference to social or religious groups, or maybe fandom for movies. It just doesn’t feel like the right label for this type of phenomenon.

It’s not ablest. My body is mostly able. Saying it’s ablest is going to be diluting the meaning of that word – although of course I recognize that you can have a disability AND have sexual dysfunction at the same time.

It’s not sexist. In this case it would be nice to say “That is sexist meaning, you’re assuming something about a person’s choice of sexual activity,” but that’s not right because sexist has a completely different meaning.

Heteronormative or heterosexist, perhaps? Except that in this case, “Stop fucking” was in reference to a male/female relationship. There was enough context to be sure that it was heterosexual. That wasn’t an assumption. Still not the right meaning since that’s about orientation rather than activity.

The only thing I can think of is to make up a new word – maybe “Intercourseist.” Intercoure-ist. That word appearantly doesn’t exist – but for good reason. That doesn’t flow off the tongue. It’s like 4 syllables long. Perhaps we can shorten it to “‘Coureist?” Drop off the “Inter” part to make it shorter? “Sexual normist” has a problem for the same reason – it’s pretty long. Maybe “PIV-ist?” As in, “Penis-in-vag-ist?”

Any ideas? Suggestions, anyone? Bueller?

Maybe I’m overthinking things again. Maybe we don’t need a word to use when we need to point out the fact that someone is making an assumption about the sexual activities that are considered normal. Maybe we don’t need a word to call out those who ignore those of us who have Sexual Dysfunction, and dispense advice as though we don’t exist.

But it really cheeses me off when I see & hear people do just that. I want a single word I can use to call such bad advice out and point out that not everyone’s genitals work as good as yours. It doesn’t come that easily for some of us.

Guys, I’m standing right here. Man do you really have to say things like that in front of me?

Don’t forget about that.

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