5 Myths About Sex-Positive Feminists
1. Sex positive feminists encourage girls to be sluts
I never felt pressured to have sex. I started being a sex-positive feminist when I was still a virgin, meaning I hadn't had vaginal intercourse yet. I clarify what I mean by virgin because the concept of vaginal sex as the main sex and only way to lose "purity" is both patriarchal and heterosexist. In mainstream society a slut is a woman who has intercourse with many men. In sex-positive feminism, a vast range of activities, even just reading an erotic novel, are considered having sex. And most of the leading theorists of sex-positive feminism are bisexual, so they could have female partners most or even all of the time. Betty Dodson is the matriarch of the sex-positive feminist movement and her primary focus is on liberating women and to a lesser extent men from the stigma attached to masturbation. While sex-positive feminists do defend the wide range of sexual choices availible to women, including having multiple intercourse partners, the key word is choice. The focus is on getting women to understand what they want out of their own sex lives and for their own bodies, regardless of how little or how much they decide they do want.
2. Sex positive feminists encourage girls to be dykes
Again most of the leading theorists of sex-positive feminism, including Camille Paglia and Susie Bright, are bisexual. In sex-positive feminism there is nothing necessarily inherently liberating about avoiding male contact or lesbianism, as in lesbian separatism. And unlike in militant feminism, to sex-positive feminists men don't necessarily embody a problem and aren't typified as the oppressor. At the same time, there are lesbian sex-positive feminists, and On Our Backs is a sex-positive lesbian publication.
3. Sex positive feminists are just catering to men's desires
The reason people assume that sex-positive feminists are merely catering to men's desires is because of the sexist notion that only men enjoy sex in the first place. But sex-positive feminism shatters that archaic notion, as it about women's sexual pleasure. Betty Dodson's masturbation techniques focus on clitoral orgasms, and she contends that the clit is women's primary sexual organ rather than the vagina. Susie Bright produces pornography and erotic for women by women, where the women in the productions focus on their pleasure, and the results will cater to women's sexual desires. The fact that men happen to appreciate brazen women who actively participate in partnersex, know what they want, and like sex as much or more than they do is just happenstance, not the aim of the movement.
4. Sex positive feminists defend misogynists
Sex positive is not jerk positive. This myth might stem from either a mainstream or militant feminist assumption that sexual men are inherently misogynistic, that there is no difference between a man being cavalier about sex and disrespecting women. But there is. A man who knowingly spreads infectious diseases is not sex-positive. Neither is a man who deceives his partner. And neither is a man who harasses, sexually assaults, or hurls hostile epithets at women. On the other hand, unlike a more extreme stereotype of feminism, sex-positive feminism doesn't place men in the position of being the villian par excellence.
5. Sex positive feminism is "babe feminism"
Sex-positive feminism has nothing to do with looks. Women are not exactly encouraged to be healthy but neither are they encouraged to be fixated on body image issues. Susie Bright made it clear in The Sexual State of the Union that women who diet aren't working on having orgasms and that anorexic women can develop inorgasmia. Only in mainstream media, the co-opted and packaged version of sex-positive feminism seen in Cosmo and Sex in the City, is sexual energy for women connected to having the perfect body. The women's pornography and erotica feature organic-looking women. The leading theorists are on average 45 years old, Betty Dodson being 72. Contrary to popular belief, even strippers come in all shapes and sizes and have average women's flaws, let the average sex-positive feminist.