oursin: Sexual bucket list WHAT?, and agonyaunt: Women need to loosen up. In the Guardian column, the writer asks for validation of his desire to either cheat on his wife or pressure her into anal sex. And in the Dear Abby one, the writer wants his wife to give him
an exceptionally nice surpriseand stop being so
inhibited. I mean, both of these are entirely gross and inconsiderate and in both cases the agony aunts and the DW commenters quite rightly slate the men concerned. But what's bothering me is that both the comment discussions go in directions of jokes along the lines of, bet these awful men wouldn't be so keen if their wives suggested doing them with a strap-on! (Paraphrasing rather that quoting, because the point is not to get at the particular people who made these kinds of jokes, but to talk in general about that sort of rhetoric).
I'm finding myself increasingly impatient with seeing this sort of joke or meme, especially in broadly feminist contexts. Because the underlying assumption seems to be that being penetrated anally is intrinsically horrible and unpleasant or at least risible. Which is... not exactly homophobic, but it's something in that sort of direction. I feel like we kind of went through this with PIV sex, the meme that being penetrated is always unpleasant, and it's something that women only reluctantly agree to in exchange for lurve or something else they want enough to put up with it, or because they get tricked or even coerced into it by nasty misogynist men. No, some women enjoy being penetrated vaginally, some people who are not women but in fact have vaginas enjoy being penetrated, and some people don't like that form of sex, or don't like genital sex or even sex at all, and all those things are completely fine, and nobody should ever be coerced into a kind of sex they hate or shamed for a kind of sex that they enjoy. And really, we shouldn't have to rehash the whole cultural shift when it comes to a different orifice! Being penetrated anally is enjoyable for some, pointless for some, actively hateful or squicky for others, and all those are fine. Being penetrated doesn't make you a loser in some awful masculinity competition.
Besides, if being penetrated anally is so awful, why is it ok, even desirable, for women to do it to men? And if we're specifically talking about pegging with a strap-on, well, most strap-ons aren't really great for sexual stimulation for the person wearing the device. I don't see how the feminist response to a male partner trying to pressure his wife / girlfriend into anal is for her to offer the other way round. Nobody is going to be made happier if she agrees to "let" him do something that is unpleasant for her in exchange for her getting to do something that is unpleasant at best, possibly actively painful and humiliating for him and probably not particularly positive for her unless she's specifically into gender play or some other beyond purely physical aspect.
I also don't like the idea of promoting pegging for the sake of "equality". I mean, both socially and physiologically rectums are different from vaginas, so there's never going to be symmetry. And a person shouldn't need to directly experience being penetrated in order to have empathy for his partner, he should just ask her how she feels! An equal sexual relationship is one where both partners do things together that both enjoy, not one with a weird tit-for-tat where both put up with acts they find unpleasant being done to them.
I generally don't think that specific sex acts are inherently feminist or unfeminist. If people like anal play, cool, more power to them, whichever configuration they want to engage in it. If they don't, well, they shouldn't be pressured into it, either by their partners or by discourse in general. I really don't like the framing of sex which says you owe it to your partners to do for them the same things that they do for you; a penis-having man who enjoys penetrating his female partner (vaginally or anally, doesn't matter) shouldn't be obliged to be pegged just because that's equal. I feel the same about other things too, in fact; for example, in my view and contrary to many feminist-aligned commentators, there's nothing wrong with enjoying receiving oral but not being into giving it, in any gender combination and if it happens to be men who like receiving but don't like going down on female partners, that doesn't make them entitled sexist jerks. Though if their partners don't like giving oral either, well, that's too bad, pressuring people into stuff that's pleasurable for you but unpleasant for them is just not right.
And it's still not right when the act in question is penetrating someone anally. So I don't think pegging is the solution to sexual sexism, not at all, and I wish people would stop suggesting it, either seriously or sniggering about it.
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