Sexuality


A very interesting, important, and well written post from Feministing.com about the issues surrounding the up coming revision of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-R).

dsm-grows

Raymond Blanchard has some proposals for expanding the “paraphilia” section including naming anything outside of “genital stimulation or preparatory fondling” as a disorder.  Also included is changing “Transvestic Fetishism” to “Transvestic Disorder” – specifically if you are a heterosexual, cisgender male.

Another frightening aspect of Blanchard’s proposal is that any sexual interest other than “genital stimulation or preparatory fondling” is now, by definition, a paraphilia. In his presentation, he claimed that paraphilias should include all “erotic interests that are not focused on copulatory or precopulatory behaviors, or the equivalent behaviors in same-sex adult partners.” Copulatory is defined as related to coitus or sexual intercourse (i.e., penetration sex). So, essentially, all forms of sexual arousal and expression that are not centered around penetration sex may now be considered paraphilias.

These suggetions only further gender and sexual stereotypes that hinder and shame the sexual experiences and gender identities of everyone.   Please read the post linked to above and become aware of this important current issue.

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It’s good to know that Kelly Clarkson believes that being attracted to women means being attracted to yourself as she states that she could “never be a lesbian“.

Ms. Clarkson seems to by into the whole essentialist garbage which states women are crazy and men are the level headed factor that helps women “even out”.

I know she is just a silly pop star… but really, why does she have to make statements like these?  and why do they need to become entertainment news?

I am currently enrolled in an online psychology class about human sexuality.  Since it is an online course there are message board discussions for class participation grades.  The questions given are opinion based and meant to be controversial.  I have been increasingly agitated by the responses by the class to some of these questions.  The most recent question is as follows:

Does oral sex qualify as “sex?” Bill Clinton didn’t seem to think so, and a number of teens today see oral sex as a “loophole” of sorts—a safe alternative to intercourse. What is your opinion? Does the definition of sex differ in different contexts or situations to include or exclude oral sex?

I had to chuckle when I first read the question because, for me, if it has sex as part of it’s name, then yes, oral sex is sex.  It’s like asking “is the hot tea, tea?”

I soon discovered that a majority of board posters personally defined sex as penetrative, favouring penis in vagina penetration with a specific bent on virginity.  I pointed out that such a definition of sex is heterocentric and phallocentric and that it excludes individuals, such as lesbians. I also thought that it was a dangerous definition that in the past has been used to define what actions are and are not rape, therefore disregarding and devaluing experiences of sexual assault.

It turns out the class wasn’t having any of my explanation.  Even when one individual who agreed with me went to Webster’s Dictionary to find an “official” definitions which read as follows:

SEX – 3 a: sexually motivated phenomena or behavior b: sexual intercourse

SEXUAL INTERCOURSE – 1 : heterosexual intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis : coitus
2 : intercourse (as anal or oral intercourse) that does not involve penetration of the vagina by the penis

Individuals still held to claims of sex only meaning that which includes a penis penetrating something.  People have flat out written that they do not think lesbians are having or can have sex.  I am most disturbed with the fact that these individuals do not see what is wrong with their argument.

The bottom line is that it is heterocentric and phallocentric to define sex around the “all mighty” penis.  These arguments logically lead to understandings of sexual behaviour that centre around men and their pleasure.  If the penis is the tool that defines when sex is occuring, that this means that men alone are “having sex” while women “have sex done” to them.   This definition ignores any number of sexual experiences and behaviours that include sexual orientation, preference, and physical ability and it is harmful to devalue these experiences of others.

I don’t know why I am so surprised that a majority of people posting define and want adherence to a definition that is heterosexual and sexist… All I have to do is glance at the front cover of a Cosmo magazine and remember how our society defines sex and who is favoured within that definition.

I don’t usually go in for these sex advice articles from Yahoo! News but today I came across this piece that I actually agree with.

It talks about vibrators and encourages women to explore their sexuality with a nice vibrating friend.  I have met several women who were shocked that I owned and used vibrators and seemed nervous about the idea for themselves.  I think a lot of women (whether they watched Sex and City or not) have an image of Charlotte becoming “addicted” to her vibrator and that this is a bad thing, as it replaces men and takes over your life.  This article points out that addiction to orgasms isn’t a bad thing and even so, droves of women are not going to start locking themselves in their bedroom to spend time with their new pal.

Outside of the apprehension of women, I have also met men who are scared to know women who use vibrators.  I once walked into a sex toy shop with a man who looked at me horrified and said “Isn’t your partner enough for you?!” As if I’m some crazed nymphomaniac.  Some men can become threatened by sex toys thinking that they are somehow being replaced.  Instead, these men should embrace the use of toys as enhancing the sexual experience between themselves and their partner.

What I liked best about this article was that it lets women know that if they happen to be someone who does not like toys or doesn’t own several, than that is okay.  It doesn’t make you less adventurous or mean you have worse sexual experiences than those women who do use toys.

All in all, I was impressed by this article and encourage people to read it.  I also think I will steal the final questions at the end and pose them here:

How do you feel about vibrators? Do you own one? Do you use them as a couple?