Filthy is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
I was 14 when I learned that boys' penises will fall off if they get close to orgasm and then don't ejaculate. I had been raised in a conservative community, the sort of place where even male masturbation was frowned upon, and the concept of blue balls was horrifying to me. If arousal was dangerous to men, I couldn't imagine why anyone would have sex.
Obviously the danger of blue balls has been disproven time and time again. Yet somehow, the myth persists, and with it the idea that men's arousal is more "real" than that of women. This idea permeates the places of credibility that the myth cannot; spawning such bullshit ideas as: men's drives are uncontrollable urges, women only have sex so that they can have a relationship, or that women need an emotional connection before they can have good sex.
Not only are those ideas tacitly wrong, but they are part of the backbone of rape culture: believing that sex is a unidirectional drive removes women's desires as a significant factor. It brings with it the implication that for women, all sex is coerced, one way or another. This is how we see narratives of assault like that around Aziz Ansari: situations where the man doesn't even know that his actions were hurtful, unwanted, and inappropriate. These men have always been "convincing" their partners to sleep with them—without understanding that "convinced" sex very often borders or crosses into "coerced" sex.
As a young adult, I imbibed this primarily in one narrative: men will always pressure women to have sex. Women, as the rational, arousal-less creatures they were, were responsible for guiding men back away from temptation. Girls were naturally pure, innocent. Their actions could save men from themselves, especially the actions of dressing modestly and behaving sex-less.
There has been plenty of discussion of the way that modesty culture reduces women to objects. The whole notion is predicated on the idea that men's arousal is women's fault. After all, in this unidirectional world of arousal, men do not have control or responsibility for their own satisfaction. Instead, like in the all-too-common bedroom drama, women are responsible for men's enjoyment as well as their own. This theoretical framework makes for a uniquely off-kilter experience: women have all of the responsibility of safety, arousal and satisfaction; all while their partner often feels no responsibility to ensure their partner experiences any of the same.
Whether it is men's distaste for women's sexual appetites, attraction centered in the whore/virgin dichotomy, or even scientific studies that fail to account for different biology of arousal, this idea has permeated almost all of our sexual lives.
The denial of female sexuality has a history that is rife with religiosity, power, and mutilation. It spans cultures beyond that of Western Christianity, surfacing in nearly every culture where biological progeny is important. It is almost as though creating a society without female desire is an important tool in controlling those women's sex lives.
Women in western society are taking back the control of their own sex lives. Part of that process is a renegotiation of narrative, both for ourselves as well as for our partners.
So, in case there are any doubts:
Women like sex, just as much as men. New research even suggests that women might crave sex as much as men. Less biased studies are making it clear that it is socialization, more than biology that is driving the difference between men and women in the bedroom.
Until men can understand that women do in fact want sex, there will continue to be men who "convince" their dates to go along with the man's desire, at the cost of her autonomy, enjoyment, and sometimes even her health.
*Photo courtesy of Ian Dooley CC