Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Subtext. Belonging to the crowd.

The Age is a local newspaper that models itself on the left wing Guardian paper in the UK. It readership is considered to be middle class and it pursues an editorial policy that is politically correct. Today it ran an  article titled,  Sex vs Porn.  It deals with the issue of women being "pressured" to perform sexual acts seen in porn movies, particularly anal sex. Now the article itself is of no significance, but the analysing the question posed to the author is instructive as it demonstrates female social processing and the state of modern social mores.
My girlfriends and I were having a chat recently and many of us seem to share the same dilemma: our boyfriends take it for granted that we want to participate in a range of sexual acts, including "back-door" sex. Some of us don't really enjoy this, but we don't know how to tell our partners without seeming uncool, prudish or uptight. Instead, we say nothing and go along with it. How can we let them know we don't want to do this without appearing boring and old-fashioned?
Apparently to this group of women it is preferable to literally endure a "pain in the arse" rather than to appear boring and old-fashioned. This is an illustration of women would rather physically suffer than not belong to the "in" group.  The second point to mention here is that being "old-fashioned", or traditional, is definitely not "in". Note, that even though the "old-fashioned" group are engaging in behaviours that women would like to emulate, i.e no anal sex, women do not want to join the group which is behaving congruently with their desires for fear of social opprobrium. In fact the answer given to the question is textbook example of subliminal female social programming. The bold comments are mine.

The bottom line (pardon the pun) is that all sexual acts are supposed to be pleasurable. Nothing is compulsory, and you certainly should not feel obliged to do something just to keep your partner happy.(Reaffirming that self satisfaction is more important than partner satisfaction. Yay Feminism, but.....)

In our modern "raunch" culture, acts that were once taboo are now considered mainstream.
(Implicitly implying anal sex is mainstream, generating social anxiety in a woman who does not belong to the "mainstream")The accessibility of explicit sexual material causes some people, especially young men, to think that every woman wants to perform like a porn star.

There is nothing wrong with "back-door" penetration, as you describe it, and many women enjoy it.
(Once again implying that it is socially approved and it is enjoyable) But it is not for everybody, and precautions must be taken if it is to be enjoyed.

Whether your lack of interest is due to distaste, discomfort or embarrassment, you need to deal with the situation. Cleis Press has a well-researched Ultimate Guide series of books that offer sensible information about a range of sexual practices. The Melbourne Sexual Health Centre would also be able to advise you, or speak to your doctor. (Implying that there is something "wrong" with the woman for not enjoying it.)

But if you are sure that you will never enjoy it, no matter what techniques are used, you had better talk to your partner. Don't raise the subject when you are making love. Wait for a time when you are getting on well and have the privacy to talk. Tell him that, while you love your sex life and he gives you great pleasure, this is not something that you enjoy. Explain that your objections are not based on prudishness and you do not have sexual hang-ups - you just don't enjoy it.
(It's OK not to do it but....)

It is possible that you might be able to negotiate a mutually satisfying compromise
(Currently the relationship could be in trouble). For example, you might agree that this is something that you might enjoy occasionally, when you are very turned on, (You should try to do it sometimes)but not as a matter of routine. Let him know that you will tell him if this is the case, rather than have him ask you every time. ( Make him happy by initiating it occasionally)

If you definitely never want to go there, tell him. Also tell him what you do enjoy, and see if there are other things you might experiment with that would give you both pleasure. Initiating this conversation might feel awkward, but persevering with something you don't like might spoil your entire sex life. 
(Take home message. Don't do things that make you uncomfortable event though most other mainstream ie "normal"  people are doing it)

Ok, so what the advice column has told our audience is that they shouldn't do anything that makes them uncomfortable,  but  because the act is uncomfortable there may be something wrong with them, as everyone else is doing it and enjoying it . The "advice" is meant to generate fear and social anxiety in a woman for not enjoying anal sex.  Subtle social programming.