On sexual aggressiveness

Male sexuality has been socially conditioned to comprise of the same components as sports: it is aggressive and domineering, and it views women as “opponents” to defeat in order achieve high status within a male social order. Boys are taught to drive forward to see how far their partners will allow them to reach sexually, preoccupying themselves with wondering what comes next rather than enjoying the moment, essentially displacing the excitement of intimacy with the excitement of competition, until finally, in order for a man to be aroused, a woman must be objectified. He has essentially lost the ability to become aroused without thinking of her in a dehumanized context. And living in a patriarchy, women undergo a similar transformation, in which they cannot achieve arousal unless they are in turn objectified. I strongly suspect this is why both men and women, during discussions about consent, express the sentiment that asking permission is a turn-off: it forces them to switch gears, because they have separated sex from love. An increasingly poignant thought is that this is correspondingly responsible for couples who have been together for a long time losing sexual interest in one another: they have known each other too intimately and too well (humanly) to achieve arousal in the objectifying fashion by which they have been conditioned.

As a Muslim woman (not to mention a self-respecting feminist), I don’t fucking play this game. While I deeply sympathize with men and the frustrations produced by this perilous conditioning on an abstract level, they are ultimately weaponizing my own sexuality (not theirs to weaponize) against me, and this generates far too much anger to subvert for sympathy. Yesterday I overheard a man stating that he uses men for stimulating intellectual conversation and women for sex, and all I could feel was sorry for him. Imagine not being able to relate to your partner on an intellectual level! Granted I don’t consider intelligence a fundamental criterion for love, but I still wet my panties over it.

Nonetheless I would rather never encounter these types than conceptually extend my sympathies for the fact that they’ve been robbed of honest emotional connection and intimacy by the culture they’ve constructed themselves.

Hilariously I’ve discovered that men who employ these tactics are less capable of overcoming the same sexual aggressiveness they exude. In exasperated reply to the uninvited advances of a particularly assertive man who, after attempting in vain to pick me up, jokingly advised, “Well don’t get your panties in a knot,” I shot back, “I can’t get my panties in a knot. Because I’m not wearing any,” in the most crude and viciously aggressive manner I could muster. He looked simultaneously shocked and disconcerted.

The same line could have been affectionate (I had to be extra vigilant not to sound receptive.) This deliberate practice of converting affection and playfulness into weaponry and… hunting is one of the most amoral aspects of patriarchy. And it cheats everyone.

10 thoughts on “On sexual aggressiveness

  1. This is really excellent – thank you. I’ve reposted a quote from it on Tumblr with a link to here, if that’s ok?

    Wonderful point about negotiation for consent. Negotiation is a thing which human beings do with human beings, not which human beings do with fetish objects. No wonder it feels weird! And I guess the other thing is that the object may say “no”, which would of course be a disaster for all concerned. This also describes how I feel when I know that a lover genuinely does address me as a human being – a feeling of completely occupying the body, of moving from object to subject.

    1. LOL! I love it in an artificially constructed context: when it’s created with someone I have strong feelings for and already know very well, and it’s supported by sincerity, safety, affection. Like playing. But I find it intolerable, awful, and irritating when it’s just someone random attempting to objectify me and looking for a victory on his scorecard.

      1. Heh. It’s almost like it’s good when it’s between equals who respect each other, with equal power, and equal consequences for outcomes – and bad otherwise. :D

      2. almostclever

        I agree about the randomness… Just had something happen on the bus with a guy sitting next to me hitting on me and me refraining from being “gentle” toward his ego with my utter annoyance.

  2. Pingback: The Prudes’ Progress: Re-membering Feminist Desire, Part VIII – Conclusion and Bibliography | A Radical TransFeminist

  3. faith in the cosmic womb

    I love the article. Thank you for a nourishing reading.
    Do you know Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin? http://www.feminish.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Intercourse-Andrea-Dworkin-pdf.pdf
    I wish more women would be able to analyze the patriachal construction of the male sexuality and I wish men would be more self-honest and would have got the mental/emotional ability to take responsibily for that.
    Maybe Mary Daly’s idea about the fetish would be also interesting for you.

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