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Fluid Sexuality and Rape Culture


Growing up girls have an onslaught of expectations thrust upon them: everything from be thin and pretty, to be smart and independent.  Half the time we need a man, the other half we’re expected to be single-mindedly focussed on our careers or becoming functioning members of society. When we develop through towards adulthood and we begin to develop in our own sexuality we come to another pit of expectation: where we fall on the spectrum of sexuality, attraction, and relationship partnerings.

 

Let me be very clear: there is nothing wrong/gross/sacrilegious/immoral about being anywhere on the sexuality spectrum. If you’re asexual: that’s fine.  If you’re homosexual and like having your hair pulled and ass slapped: all the power to you.  If you’re heterosexual and enjoy watersports and anal: you do your thang.  If you’re bisexual and only interested in having mouths on your genitals: sounds like a plan. The point isn’t that your sexual preferences are wrong. They aren’t. They’re just your preferences. The problem comes when society and the people around you begin to have expectations of your sexuality.

 

I have heard from numerous people— men and women alike— that, in terms of sex, it’s kind of ‘understood’ that women will experiment with other women, even though they will still identify themselves as heterosexual. Men, as we have learned, are less likely to do so. The expectation of men’s sexuality as finite has become very ingrained in our society. For women, it’s the opposite. Having worked in a bar, I have heard numerous girls use “she’s my girlfriend” as a way out of being hit on by men. Being a girl in a bar, I too have used that as a way out.  Often it is used to try to deter men from hitting on them and not an actual partner they are committed to. This is a problem.

 

Instead of relegating your disinterest into the “I can’t be into you because I’m not into men” camp or even the “I have a boyfriend” camp, just be honest. Straight up saying, “I’m not interested” is really your best bet. Really, it works. In all of the times I’ve seen women use “I’m gay” as an excuse, I have rarely seen it make much of a difference. Instead, there is a new possibility for a threesome…. Wait, what? How did, “I’m not sexually attracted to men” become “I’ll screw you, but only if my girlfriend can come too”? My best bet is that society, which has perpetuated rape culture for so long, has taught us that women—especially because their sexuality is viewed as fluid—are sexual commodities that men are entitled to.

 

When women’s sexuality in particular is viewed as fluid—which, on a case-by-case basis, it very well may be and would thus negate the point I’m making—women are consigned to being victims of porn-like expectations of society where, because they are willing or have experimented with members of their sex, they are expected to do so again and are expected to like doing it. When this expectation is appropriated and normalized in society women become the lesser because their own sexual choices and understanding of sexuality are cast aside and the wants and desires of others.

 

Having expectations regarding the sexual choices of women, simply because they are women and—of course—all women experiment with other women, is the first step down the slippery slope of objectification and ignorance to sexual coercion. Yes, some women have sexually experimented with other women. Some enjoy it. Some did not. Some have done it again. Some have not. Some would consider doing it again if the opportunity presented itself. Some will not. Knowing a woman has been intimately involved with other women does not give anyone, man or woman, license to ask vulgar questions, assume promiscuity, make any form of derogatory remark, assume continued proclivity for same-sex partnering, or force other sexual activities.

 

Imagine the uproar that would come if an acquaintance or stranger asked you about or made assumptions about your heterosexual pairing/proclivities:

 

“You must get laid a lot.”

“You let him cum on your tits?”

“Did she sit on your face?”

“I bet his dick is pierced.”

“What vibrator do you use on him?”

“They must do it all the time.”

 

Questions like that would never been acceptable. They seem nearly ridiculous. And so they should. What happens in my bedroom or your bedroom is no one’s business but your partner’s. Or partners’. Whatever. It’s about time we moved out of our “she’s a woman so I can say what I want about her sexuality and do what I want with her sexually because she’s a woman,  and she should be honoured that I’d even be interested and hey, she’s done it before” mentality. Experimentation does not indicate persistent lifestyle choices. Once does not ever indicate continued consent.


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