Interesting posts, weekend of 11/28

11/28/2009 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Dear internet, the other night I found myself trapped on a bus that had a DVD player, and the DVD passengers watched was Dodgeball. It was pretty bad, I was about ready to climb out the window.

Before we start catching up with feminist/sex/sexual dysfunction news, I’d like to reiterate a friendly reminder: I am looking for Guest Posters. I want to hear more perspectives on the themes dealt with here at Feminists with FSD. Because I am dealing with such a sensitive topic, I don’t think I can actively recruit new posters, since if I went onto someone else’s blog and said something like, “Hey u wanna write a post about your sex life and/or feminism on a public forum?!” that would probably be very invasive.
At this time, criteria for inclusion is, “If you think you would fit in here, you probably would.” This may be subject to change but for now we’ll try that & see how it goes.
In an attempt to preemptively fight spam and rude comments, this blog’s email is private. Please leave a comment on this post if you want to write something. I’ll screen comments so you can remain anonymous if you want. That way I’ll have your email and we can collaborate. Have something you’ve been working on? Send it my way.
Please be careful when leaving comments on this post if you wish to remain anonymous though; if you’ve left a comment here previously, it will auto-go-through (It’s just a setting of WordPress.) Use a different e-mail address and your comment will remain screened so no one will know you left one except for me. Of course if you’re just using your internet identity anyway and aren’t too worried about being anon then just use the e-mail you used before and I’ll know it’s you. If you left a comment here before I mean.

There’s just a few older posts from a few weeks ago while I was on break & catching up, so let’s get those out of the way first.

Uh huh… – Interesting because I don’t understand the BDSM/sports analogy, especially when rough sex is compared to rough sports. So far with what limited BDSM activity I’ve tried, I’m not trying to “Win” anything by any means necessary, my partner & I are just trying to have fun. But then the only sports I enjoy are bowling & ice skating. I think I need some help figuring this analogy out, from both the “It fits” and “it doesn’t fit” side.

Why everyone should have pre-marital sex – This is a little different argument then I’m used to hearing. I don’t really like that “Everyone should” bit though since even that isn’t right for everyone… and if Jessica means “Intercourse,” well then that does a couple of things. Saying that adds another layer of pressure to perform (Before marriage this time, instead of on the wedding night,) and it assumes heterosexuality (not all couples can get married.)
On the other hand, if you do have premarital sex (broadly defined) then doing so may reveal if one or both partners has a problem with sex. For example if I had waited until marriage to have sex, then I probably would have found out about painful sex only on my wedding night. And nights subsequently after… which would have come as a big surprise to both of us and probably led to a lot of relationship stress & strain. Finding out early, and being in a long-distance relationship anyway, meant I could take my time & not have pressure to perform sexually, and I could cultivate my own idea of what sex means as I seek treatment. There is no rush, and I doubt I’ll be rushed even after I and my partner move in together.
However, I do not like to think of sexual problems & dysfunctions as being the same thing as sexual incompatibility. I prefer to believe that sexual compatibility is something that can be actively cultivated. All sex partners involved will probably have to be willing to make compromises & meet their partners partway if one does not want to or cannot perform certain activities.
But if one (or more!) night of disappointing sex breaks the relationship, if one partner interprets that as “Incompatibility” and doesn’t even try to compromise – then even I myself am doomed to failure.
And if you do decide to actively cultivate sexuality with your partner, while you’re cultivating that compatibility – is it fair to push the wedding date back, on condition of improving sex? I can see how this could still backfire…
But on another hand, pressure to remain pure & virginal can contribute to vaginismus, too. All that pressure not to have sex for years, then get married and, bam, put out. I’m talking about pressure like this – the Christian Side Hug, which is making its rounds around the blogosphere. What, we can’t even enjoy a firm frontal hug anymore, because our crotches might touch?

And onto the newer posts from the week:

Less boob squishing seems like a value add to me – You may have heard by now that the recommendations for breast cancer screening & pap smears has changed, to reduce the frequency of which these health screenings happen to women who are not a high risk. This change is producing a lot of outrage. In this article, I want to point out, Oh my god, this line:

Because feminism has a long tradition of critiquing the over-medicalization of female bodies, producing excellent must-read texts like Our Bodies, Ourselves and For Her Own Good.  Feminist critiques of over-medicalization of female bodies have produced much good: the introduction of midwifery, the willingness of therapists to take women’s concerns seriously instead of just drugging them, the legalization of emergency contraception, the promotion of breast-feeding, the end of the use of twilight sleep for childbirth, the invention of safe abortion techniques that can be performed even without electricity.  It’s also produced some bad, from overreaction: paranoia about the birth control pill and the HPV vaccine and bullying women who aren’t willing or able to tough out completely drug-free childbirth come to mind.  But the fact that we even have to control for overdoing it shows how firmly committed feminists generally are to pushing back against over-medicalization.  So why was there so much anger about recommendations that fit so neatly into feminist critiques of medicine?

Wow. I am definitely, definitely seeing the push-back against medicalization with regards to sex & sexuality. Definitely, to the point where I’m feeling bullied for seeking out treatment for vulvodynia and talking about female sexual dysfunction. But with this breast cancer screening, there’s a lot out outrage about reducing medical intervention. I … don’t know what to make of that. Why is it okay to medicalize one thing but not another. The rest of the post is good too, but that bit really stood out to me…
Need more insight into this breast cancer guidelines change? Two others among many – New Rules for people with breasts and The New Breast Cancer Guidelines: Debunking Some Myths

Insurance Company Revokes Depressed Woman’s Benefits Over Facebook Photos – This is a case in Canada not the US but that’s not the  point, the point is, it illustrates how people generally view mental illness. If you don’t fit a mold 24/7, you must be totally fine. Except not really.

Harpy Seminar: Ob-Gyns – After reading the Harpies’ experiences, the short version of my experience can be summed up as, “Wow you are so lucky… oh I wish my experiences with gyns was that simple, easy, straightforward. Oh I wish. How are you doing that anyway? Having a vagina does not a good, empathetic gynecologist make.” Actually, the last few visits I had with the local gyn weren’t completely miserable… the results of those visits were since I had to go on meds over & over again but the visits themselves were more comfortable than they had been. Still far from perfect though. I need that doctor to be less rush-rush.

do not forget: the rules of prime time homo hypocrisy – Adam Lambert from American Idol gave quite the performance at the American Music Awards.
I’ve never even seen a full episode of American Idol and I don’t watch the AMA. But this performer is openly gay and kissed another man on stage and simulated oral sex also on stage and everyone is all up in arms even though female performers are much less scrutinized (women performers don’t generally have their woman-on-woman kisses censored when they are replayed on tv over & over again.)

All the BPA that’s fit to print – AfterCancer speculates that, now that it’s been documented that BPA can lead to erectile dysfunction in men, maybe now companies will reduce their use of this chemical. I am much more cynical & I think they’re still going to do use it… ED still won’t be enough. Not unless ED happens to higher-ups who probably have less exposure to high levels of BPA, yet would have enough pull to make a difference in the health of many workers. And even if the powerful higher-ups do develop ED as a result of higher exposure to BPA, they’ll probably just use thier high incomes to buy ED drugs…

Police Brutality Against CA Protesters for Higher Education – this police brutality on Berkeley campus disgusts me. The tuition hike (So high!) disgusts me too but this is how they respond to students protesting those hikes?

The “myth of thanksgiving” linkspam – It was Thanksgiving in the US this week, a holiday with a lot of history behind it – history like this. If you still believe the myths & legends taught in elementary school, you need to click on this link, yesterday.
Definitely related: What Are We Really Giving Thanks For?
Unfortunately… this sort of thing is still happening. Encroaching on lands native to people not yourself, and displacing them. Conservation Refugees and other perils facing indigenous people and their environments…from environmentalists as well as the usual suspects.

Meet Tucker Max – All about Tucker Max & the women who love him.

Names – About growing up with your last name and taking on your partner’s when you marry. Yeah that sounds about right to me… Even if I were to change my name now, and take my mother’s maiden name – her maiden name is tainted with an abusive father, too. My maiden name is overrated.

real, honest female orgasm advice – Violet Blue makes a recommendation for books on female masturbation. Now, this is very interesting to me, because my first thought (And possibly yours too,) was “Oh Violet is talking about Sex for One, by Betty Dodson, right?” No! VB actually recommmends against Sex for One because Dodson comes on so strong in it, which is very off-putting for the very folks who need it most. I’ve been reading Dodson’s blog for about a year now and there’s … something… very… ehhhhhh… Dodson’s blog is not my favorite blog, let’s just leave it at that for now. So VB has a bunch of other recommendations for masturbation advice & erotica.

Now, we have a couple of links specifically about female sexual dysfunction this week.

Sungold @ KittyWampus pointed me out to a new article about Vulvodynia posted on AlterNet. When Sex Hurts, and No One Can Tell You Why: The Mysterious Condition Called Vulvodynia – I don’t have any major problems with the article itself, there’s one misspelling of “Vulva” written as “Vuvla” in there, but typos happen under deadlines… I didn’t rage out when I was reading the article, but there’s some heavily misogynistic comments posted under the body of the work. This article is a pretty realistic look at the high costs of treating vulvodynia pain and how hard it is to find specialists. It’s also very discouraging to hear that most med students have very little interest in vulvodynia 😦 One other thought that immediately jumps to my mind is, “I wonder why I’m seeing posts on other feminist blogs about labiaplasty, low desire/arousal/orgasm FSD but not pain, and Flibanserin, but not seeing any links to this here vulvodynia article.” Hmm…

And then we have another post by Violet Blue, female sexual desire a la the NYT Magazine, which links to a New York Times Magazine article, Women Who Want to Want. It’s another article about FSD, hypoactive sexual desire disorder specifically. My first thought was, “Oh god, brace yourself for another slap in the face,” because I was fully expecting it to be another condemnation of FSD, the women who have it and their doctors. But this… …wasn’t like that. This… isn’t bad. This… is well-researched, well thought out, and I did not feel insulted. The article still talks solely about FSD in terms of desire, so pain is still ignored… but this time, so is orgasm. The author David Bergner focuses solely on sexual desire, and with the help of researcher Lori Brotto, his examination goes pretty deep. Women Who Want to Want looks at how we define desire, where it comes from (which comes first, the chicken or the egg?) is there any way to cultivate desire, should alternative sexualities be pathologized, how female sexual desire is researched, and the questions surrounding research. There’s a lot of questions being asked here, & good ones. Dr. Tiefer makes an obligatory appearance towards the end of the article, but only briefly – the author acknowledges her concerns about Big Pharma but does not necessarily endorse them. When the new version of the DSM manual comes out in a few years, we may see some adjustments made to the sexuality categories, and Brotto’s research may shape what that new book says.

I’m sure there’s more…


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  1. […] of interesting links via Feminists w/ Female Sexual Dysfunction (and more), including The New Breast Cancer Guidelines: Debunking Some Myths by Sungold at […]

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