Saturday, October 18, 2014

Extended Thoughts on Coitus and Consent

Tonight I joined director Therese Shechter for a Q&A following a screening of her kickass documentary How to Lose Your Virginity. As is often true when I answer questions regarding my thoughts on sex, virginity, and everything in-between, I always wish I could have said more. But we had limited time, and I didn't want to drone on and on with my Christian feminist bisexual former virgin wisdom. 

Luckily I have a blog, so I can expand upon a few of my points!

Healthy, Consensual Sexual Relationships

As is probably apparent in my blog, promoting consent is my feminist passion. A discussion about what is sex, what is virginity, how do I define my sexual relationships is irrelevant without first establishing consent. Consent is necessary for every step in a sexual relationship (and as I've discussed before, nonverbal consent counts), from kissing to sexy touching all the way to coitus or kink.

But the conversations that Therese and I hope to inspire regarding attitudes of the female body and female sexuality also include consent. By challenging the idea that a woman's body is not her own, that her sexuality is nonexistent, we also promote the idea that a woman must consent to sex. When women have sexual agency, consent becomes a necessary part of the conversation. 

While male virginity is not the focus on the documentary, it is an important topic under the conversation about masculinity. When masculinity is no longer tied to sexual prowess, they will be more free to pursue healthy, consensual sexual relationships.

Self-Labels and the Limitations of Language

I think it's very important to accept labels that people choose for themselves. That said, we should choose our labels carefully, and we should also acknowledge how limited they are. Prior to marriage, I used the label "virgin" to describe myself, primarily because I placed value on my decision to save coitus for marriage. Once I discovered the French phrase "demi-vièrge," I preferred to use it. 

But whatever labels work for you or for me, one label doesn't provide moral superiority. My sexual choices are NOT tied into my goodness as a person, my integrity, or my morality. (Except for the choice to ONLY engage in consensual sexual activities, obviously).

Multiple Virginities 

What's great about changing the conversation regarding virginity is the acknowledgement of all sexual milestones. Especially for LGBTQ+ people.

I married my first boyfriend. I never had a chance to have sex with a woman. In a way, I will always be demi-vièrge, because I've never had any sort of sex, by any definition (except French-kissing), with a woman. 

I know I haven't blogged much about being bisexual. It's honestly something that I'm still working through myself, especially since I'm not out to my family, Beau's family, and most of my friends. 

But my attraction to women is important to me. It is part of who I am. 

The decision to be in a monogamous relationship with Beau is important to me. Our marriage is part of who we are. 

So while demi-vièrge is an imperfect label, it continues to reflect my sexuality and my sexual choices. 

What do you want to add to the conversation about sex and virginity?


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