“The Sisterhood”

03Sep10

There’s an interesting piece on Irish female sexuality in September’s Gloss – tellingly titled ‘The Unfair Sex’. The writer (apparently the author of a racy book that I shall read soon) has found himself cast as an unwitting sexpert as a result of the tales of casual sex in the memoir; and in a quest to gain some perspective to back up this newfound expertise, he’s asked the women he knows how they feel about their sexuality, and how they think society feels about it.

Very few conclusions are drawn. Some women like sex – even sex toys (imagine!) – others see it as a means to an end, a commodity. The conservatives wag their fingers at us loose women, as do the supposedly ‘liberated’ glossy mag generation; while flicking through their thousandth ‘Ten Ways to Keep Your Man Happy’ article. (Subtext: ‘…without having to give him a blow job or any of that icky stuff’. Actual answer: blow jobs.) One laugh-out-loud moment was the description of the “sensory deprivation mask with a big nose” that one of the contributors was going to make her boyfriend wear. Yeah… nose. That’s what that is.

The lesser-spotted randy female features briefly in the piece – that rare specimen of woman whose sex drive is higher than her partner’s. Note weary sarcasm there… being a member of that genus myself, it’s not all that exotic to me, and the portrayal of it as some sort of anomaly irks me. I might as well claim that all men have low sex drives since I’ve never met one with an appetite to match mine – though of course, my darling Sir keeps me occupied and more than happy, much to his credit and my delight.

In any case, it just goes to show that when it comes to sexuality, once again, women are not a homogenous group, all equipped with the same ideals, morals, values, or agenda. So it pained me to note the appearance of a beast that is almost certainly a fable, unlike the high-libidoed female from before. “The sisterhood”. What sisterhood is that exactly? According to the article, it’s the ones “who are always fighting off annoying advances and taps-on-the-shoulder at 4am”. Now, I only have a brother, but that doesn’t sound like any sister I’d be willing to claim as one of my own.

The sisterhood is a total myth. I say this a self-proclaimed slut, one who does what she likes with whomever she likes and only keeps it quiet for the sake of class and discretion. My sexuality is decried in many quarters as deviant, perverse, degrading, unliberated, and doing a disservice to women everywhere. I watch porn, I give head, I like having my hair pulled. Won’t somebody please think of the children, etc.

Just recently I read a piece about prostitution and porn and its effect on sexuality, yadda yadda snore — and the whole thing was laden with implied judgement and condescension. ‘Do women even like porn-style sex?!’, it posed, with its nose firmly wrinkled and a pair of tongs and a binbag at the ready just in case it turned out that some did. This proved to me that the sisterhood only exists if you are one of the women mentioned in the Gloss article – the hassled, oversensitive ones who squirm at the merest sign of affection lest it lead to the dreaded coitus. I exaggerate, of course, but I’m bitter that those trapped in moral prisons of society’s making are the ones deemed to be normal, whereas I, taking ownership of my own body and actions, am a deviant. Therefore this ‘sisterhood’ is an alien beast to me.

Rather than be disappointed that I’m somehow letting the side down, as the woman in the article seems to be, I’m disgusted that this has to be my ‘side’ at all. I want no part in a ‘sisterhood’ that uses sex as a commodity, a bargaining tool, or regards it as a treat to be doled out to their partners for good behaviour.

I find it wasteful and cruel to use the gift that is sexuality in such a way. If you don’t like sex, don’t do it, that is your right — but why be in a relationship with someone who does? I say this having been on both sides of that deal; the denier and the denied. I have the greatest of sympathy for those who find themselves in a situation where the needs of their partner dwarf  their own capacity to fulfil them (though that was not me, I was simply selfish)… however,  so many women regard this as the way of the world and treat their men with scorn as a result. That, I can no longer understand —  this selfish disdain of an urge or a request just because it is not your urge, your request.

We want to be liberated, unjudged, free to do as we please – as long as that doesn’t include acknowledging someone’s sexual needs as valid and legitimate. Not to mention accommodating them, or allowing them to be accommodated should we not feel inclined to do so ourselves. And should another woman claim to be ok with all this, to enjoy pleasing and servicing a partner with her body as she chooses? Slattern! Whore! How dare she let the side down?

The Unfair Sex indeed. And ‘The Sisterhood’? My arse.

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15 Responses to ““The Sisterhood””

  1. Enjoyed this, as usual. 🙂
    I don’t think though that you can be classed as a slut or anything. Nor are you one of those “whatever whatever i do what i want” girls, the ones who are just “open” about sexuality for the attention of it.
    i think you’re a regular woman, but you are one of the few who don’t bow to the ideals of frowny types in Ireland.

    • Well, that’s the thing isn’t it — the ones who aren’t discreet about their casual sex, they’re sluts and I’m not? That’s still a judgement on those women, which is why I’m not afraid or ashamed to say I’m a slut… albeit a monogamous one at present 🙂

      I don’t think lots of casual sex — or being open about lots of casual sex — is a bad thing. It is, however, promiscuity, and it is ‘slutty’. The difference is in your understanding of being a slut — whether it’s bad or good. I revel in it! 🙂

      Putting it about for attention, well, that’s a self-esteem problem, not an attitude problem.

  2. Awesome piece… !

    Being a sexually liberated woman…I have to agree with you… I don’t think of it as being a slut or anything though… just part of a new more sexually informed generation of people… I think the word “slut” should leave the vocabulary once you leave high school… !

    • Sadly though, it doesn’t leave the vocabulary of many… and reclaiming it like that takes power away from those who’d use it as a slur. It’s great to be able to disarm someone who’s trying to abuse you by saying “yeah, I am, so what?” 😀 It’s liberating.

  3. 5 Cleo

    I think it is great that women are getting less stigma sleeping with different guys and are seen as sexually confident women.

    Cleo x


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