You’ve probably read the reports and seen the news footage concerning the tragedy earlier this week in Santa Barbara when a young man took to the streets to kill women because he felt he had been wronged by them in rejecting his advances. I don’t want to talk about him; I do want to pass on my deepest condolences to the families of the people he harmed and killed.
Following this horrific act women (and men) all over the world have taken to twitter to share their experiences of harassment, fear and sexual assault by men with the hashtag #yesallwomen. Then there has been a group of men who have supported this hashtag with #notallmen. A good friend posted this on facebook only the other day:
I’m not here to add another experience to the hashtag. Throughout my adult years I have come across men who have made me feel uncomfortable, harassed me for attention, “joked about” sexually assaulting me, and scared me with their strength and intent to do harm; but I have never had someone actually harm me. Instead I want to talk about how we prevent these experiences from happening to the this generation and most importantly to the next generation.
Something I am most passionate about is everyone’s right to enjoy a safe, consensual and satisfying sex life. It’s no secret I love sex! I’m not addicted to it or obsessed but I think as part of a healthy life you should have intimacy and sexual awareness. I don’t have a problem with people choosing to be celibate or to wait for marriage to have sex as long as there is some form of intimacy going on. And if there’s not why is this? Probably time to investigate
I also read a lot of erotica fiction. My favourite authors are Mina Carter (she has some kick ass female characters and always a wicked sense of humour), Milly Taiden and recently Roni Loren. I believe that for women sex starts in your ‘head’ and reading erotica gives you the opportunity to escape and imagine your fantasy. That being said I also watch adult films AKA porn. I’m a 30 + year old woman who is confident, knows what she likes in the bedroom and I don’t have any qualms in watching porn – but I don’t see it as a ‘must have’ to fulfil me sexually. I’d happily watch it with Manly Matt as a rare occurrence but I would be disappointed if he wanted to watch it every time we got intimate (I did have a boyfriend when I was much younger who basically insisted on porn playing in the background) as I don’t find it a real representation of satisfying sex for both men and women.
In fact I find it terrifying how easy it is to access free porn online and more importantly on smart phones. Anyone can access this – including children; and that’s exactly what they’re doing. The most popular movies on sites such as redtube, pornhub, youporn are ones where there is a level of violence and aggression towards women. It’s not a nice thought to think young men are growing up thinking all women like to be held down, slapped on the cheek, want anal sex instantly, enjoy having a man ejaculate over their face, and my personal favourite can orgasm after a few well placed licks of the tongue over the clitoris and deep thrusting with 2 or more fingers. It’s equally upsetting to think young women are growing up thinking that in order for guys to like them they’ll have to do this.
I consider myself pretty open in the bedroom and have a healthy fantasy life. However I believe the key to sex is respect and real intimacy. Respect is discussing with your partner if you want to try something new in the bedroom and stopping if one of you feels uncomfortable. Respect is also not pushing the issue or ‘just doing it’ if your partner says no. My advice is if you really want that fantasy to come to life and your partner is totally against it then you need to look at what’s more important the partner or the fantasy. There’s no right or wrong result to this process and sometimes it’s better if you part ways. One of my gorgeous girlfriends dated a guy many years ago who confessed that he had a fantasy of ‘being taken or penetrated by a woman wearing a strap on’. This was so not in her realm of comfort and I remember telling her, “If you give it to him once he’s going to want it again and again…Is this really what you want?”. In the end they broke up due a variety of reasons and no she never did give him his fantasy.
Mia Freedman of the awesome Mamamia claims that porn is the new sex ed! I have to agree. But we can educate with open (and age appropriate) and honest communication with your kids, little brothers/sisters or even nieces and nephews (a friend of mine has given his 17 year old nephew a few pointers on respect in the bedroom and how to treat your partner right) about what to expect. Yep it’s gonna be weird but you owe it to them to be honest as the last thing you want is for someone to have a horrible experience because they had no idea that it was wrong. Equally important is to instil enough confidence to them so they have the courage to say “Stop, I don’t like that”.
Additionally if you’re dating someone who is a little too keen on re-enacting the latest porn scene they saw please have the courage to tell them you don’t like it. Or you could subtly mention they visit http://makelovenotporn.com/ which is a site dedicated to distilling the myths of porn to encourage us all to have real, respectful, and mutually satisfying sex!