DIRECTING DISCOURSE: GENERATING OWN MATERIAL
Whether the porn we make together is consciously subversive or if it’s solely sexy, fun, and performative, I hope it accomplishes my goals: to bring more authentic sexuality to porn, to change the images that dominate porn, and to transform what people think porn is.
–Dylan Ryan, How I Became a Feminist Porn Star
Women complain about how female sexuality is presented in the media, and rightly so. However, few are willing to make sacrifices in their personal or professional lives to effect change in a public forum. There are extensive social and institutional sanctions in place for those who speak out; specifically, for women. This severely limits the viewpoints presented. The most effective way to direct discussion is to generate one’s own material. Once you’ve developed your own narrative, you can’t be “sexualized.” Meaning, you can’t have normative heterosexual cisgender male desires projected onto you. My goal is to provide an alternative to and, ultimately, to displace the dominant discourse on sexuality.
Currently, sexually explicit material is almost exclusively written and produced by men, with men as the intended audience. While enforcing gender roles beneficial to men, the depictions of sexuality ignore female fantasy entirely. To put it in typical feminist language, female desire has been co-opted by the male gaze and it is time for us to reclaim it! Rather than comment on a culture over which we have little control, we must take the initiative to create one of our own.
A culture in which female desire takes the forefront.
Alec: you should submit to Fleshbot. They have a section on sex blogs.
Genie: this sex blog roundup thing is blogs to get off to, not blogs to laugh and cry to
clearly the purpose of my blog is to make people cringe
Alec: perhaps you can be a paradigm shift
Genie: in an “I can identify” sort of way
I want to be the female sexual anti-hero
not to sound too grandiose or anything
I just think women need a representative like portnoy or victor in choke
someone who does despicable and humiliating things to get off
someone who begs to suck homo cock
Alec: DO it.
I’m being a little facetious about wanting to be perceived as disgusting and depraved. But there are a lot of issues I have with the presentation of female sexuality, and not just in terms of who is given the space to speak. People with privilege are notorious for squeezing out the voices of the marginalized. When women are given the podium, though, they tend to present in a manner that is in line with social expectations as dictated by the patriarchy. There is so much pressure for women to be seen as sexually desirable and deliberate; they can’t risk divulging deets that make them appear sloppy or, god forbid, desperate.
I aim to follow my impulses, not good sense. To expose myself without being eroticized. I want people to be like, Jesus Christ, that isn’t even sexy: you are vain, demented, and impalatable, But I’d still fuck you because you have nice tits and are totally unapologetic. Foolhardy but not a fool. A sexual delinquent not yet a degenerate.
I don’t care if you masturbate to me, as long as you listen up! My blog isn’t porn or erotica; it’s reality. Not some stupid soft-lit X-Art dream sequence where sex is sanitized and women are fluid-free. Sex should be matter-of-fact and clinical. That isn’t synonymous with wiped down. Though I do love the guy who is sent to “wipe down the loads” in It’s Always Sunny’s “Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats.” People have this bullshit idea that porn for ladies is figurative rather than literal. Metaphor without the mess. Abstract. Because of the unsubstantiated (and scientifically debunked) assumption that women are turned on by emotional connection, yet indifferent to isolated visuals. Person over peen! It has become impossible for us to admit to having basic, human needs without being suspect. Nevertheless for us to admit to enjoying watching naked people bump uglies—as seen in real life. Women are supposed to be too highbrow or too evolved for that or whatever. It’s okay for us to salivate watching food porn on TV, but vagina salivation is a MYTH! Remember that satire “Porn for Women: Men Cleaning the House,” featuring helpful men catering to the desires of the “fairer” sex? The premise of the book is vaguely offensive: it gives credence to the idea that women hate penises and must be enticed with non-sexual services and goods. How do we mainstream something everyone is doing but no talks about, while acknowledging diversity and variation. I don’t purport that my story is everyone’s, only that there are certain shared realities among women. I can’t wait for the day when we no longer need to convince men that we don’t need to be convinced, when we have permission to be transparent.
Which brings me to this Kathleen Hanna quote about how women struggle with men’s automatic acceptance as the arbiters of sexual truth:
I just think there’s this assumption that when a man tells the truth, it’s the truth. And when I, as a woman, go to tell the truth, I feel like I have to negotiate the way I’m perceived… I feel like there’s always the suspicion around a woman’s truth: the idea that you’re exaggerating. There’s this whole fear that I’m gonna have finally fucking stepped to the plate and told the truth and someone’s gonna go, ‘Uhhh, I don’t think so.’
—Kathleen Hanna, The Punk Singer
Sexual disclosure for women is so self-conscious. It’s impossible to speak without hearing yourself in the third-person first—anticipating your reception. Think impression management. I’m not sure where women think their self-censorship is getting them—us. But, like, I have this blog where I share embarrassing masturbation stories. And I still have friends and I still get laid and occasionally it is even pleasurable. Sometimes I speak as if I am Jack Handy from SNL. Let that be a lesson to all of us.
We are overdue for a paradigm shift because on the oft chance that a woman depicts herself as a sexual agent, her goal is to arouse—others. Fuck Paris Hilton and her performative cock sucking. Let’s dare to be sexual without being sexy. We are sold the story that we are supposed to be demure, coy—pretend that we don’t want it ourselves but can’t get enough cock because we lurrve pleasing men. We think of ourselves as sexual assets or accessories rather than being needy and greedy.
In Hugo Schwyer’s incisive essay on “The Paris Paradox,” he points to the quandary young women find themselves in when they succumb to the societal expectation of being “sexy, but not sexual.”
“Not every young girl experiences herself as an object of desire. But virtually every young girl is aware that young women are “supposed” to be desired… [G]iven how blunt and brazen so many of their male peers (and, sadly, so many much older men) are about what they want sexually, it’s little wonder that developing one’s own sexuality is often a much-later development than developing one’s sexiness.”
Women are simultaneously overwhelmed by the pressure to be sexually alluring to men and scared of the consequences of being stigmatized as sluts. In the balancing act that is part and parcel of crafting a sexual image, the ability to articulate one’s own desire gets lost. As Schwyxer puts it: “the freedom to learn how to be sexual requires the freedom from sexualization… desire and duty are enemies.” In a society where women are sluts or prudes—damned if they do and damned if they don’t—it is challenging to separate what they want from the penalties incurred therefrom. Schwyer concludes that instead of teaching empowerment though unfettered sexual expression or chastity, we must teach women to distinguish “the desire to be desired and desire itself.” Once a woman is able to articulate what she’s into, independent of the pleasure she derives from pleasing others, we must take care to ensure her requests are not met with judgments resulting in shame. It is only then that a woman has full ownership over her sexuality.
Schwyer’s call to discern desire from duty is thought-provoking. I’m not wanted because I’m willing to meet men’s needs; I’m wanted because I’m able to articulate my own. Though, I am wanted only among select men. I do believe that the more women who are in touch with their kinks and grooves and the braver they are about expressing them, the more our culture will change to accept women’s needs. The missing piece of the puzzle is penalizing men who limit female sexual expression. I’m mean, effectively they are penalizing themselves by limiting their access to hot chicks, but I think they should be shamed, too.
My blog is fact, not fiction; I never intended for it to be a creative work. In the current climate, my “work” has been contextualized as an art piece—cultural commentary in lieu of documentary. As I lay shrouded in the layers of intellectualization that my education affords, I am safe yet stilted. Our work will not be over until women are able to get naked—with the explicit intention of arousing—without being judged or devalued. Porn must be elevated to the level of and treated with the same dignity as art. No more high-brow v. low-brow. Sex and bodies are beautiful, and not in a sentimental way. One of my friends told me how irksome she found it when a friend’s girlfriend asked how much she makes stripping, then inquired whether she has read scientific studies about sex workers or intends to write about her experiences. The implication: stripping must be so awful that no one would do it unless paid a sizeable sum for her misery, and one must intellectually interpret her experience to legitimatize it. Something about ‘sex work is more degrading than other service industry jobs’ screams ‘women’s bodies are filthier than fast food.’ We are sick of defending our choices, having our truths viewed with suspicion when men’s are taken for granted. Unless women’s bodies are inherently sinful and obscene, a woman should not be compelled to disown her sexuality while her male counterpart is encouraged to embrace his. It is bad enough that writing is separated into writing and lady writing. Worse still, women’s narratives are limited to tales of victimization, recklessness and reform. Everyone likes a woman who has mended her wanton ways; there is moral absolution in the postmortem. But what of those who find redemption in the moment?
To those who question my glamorization of sexual depravity, I answer with an apropos Cat Marnell quote:
The reason I write about drugs so much is that it’s always been a boys club—the shameless drug user writers club at least. Women always write the recovery memoirs.
–Cat Marnell, Cat Marnell Does Not Give a Shit
Same goes for women and sex. We need a space for sexual sharing that is not tinged by contrition. GKF does not give a fuck.