the “intercourse” series
i finally read dworkin’s ”intercourse” all the way through, and have been processing it for about a week now. because i really like hearing myself talk and everything, but why constantly reinvent the wheel, when smart and learned feminists have been dissecting and discussing this material for decades? i mean really. this all started to seem very pointless a few weeks ago, particularly considering the roll i am currently on: bashing PIV, because its problematic for women but not for men. its not even sex. no, its not. and i am not the first person to think this way. there is very little new under the sun afterall.
so i bought a book, and read it. on this issue, i went to the source, dworkin, and her infamously radical notion: penis-in-vagina is a problem. oh yes it is. and this is going to be one of a several-part post. well, at least 2 parts. one just isnt going to cut it. because i have heard many women say that they didnt ”get” dworkin, that they tried to read her and couldnt. and i have had some commenters here that advanced individualist arguments, when it came to PIV. “i like it, so i am going to continue to do it.” and thats a tough nut to crack. i mean really. i ”like it” too, under the right circumstances. i never said i didnt.
so i propose that we start here, when trying to discuss it: stop thinking about the female body as synonymous with penetration. stop thinking about vaginas as “holes” to be filled with, or penetrated by stuff. because they arent.
since most readers here have their own vagina, this can be approached as a thought exercise. imagine that your vagina isnt a hole. because its not. a vagina is an organ, and most hours of most days, its a solid structure: its muscular walls touch each other. theres no room in there, at all. its not the hollow, upside-down carrot that we see in anatomy books. ffs. even the fucking anatomists get it wrong. its pathetic, and infuriating. but its true.
then, imagine that women are not just castrated men. its difficult, i know. i just came to this conclusion literally the other day. i mean, i always knew that freud was a misogynist asshole for even saying it, but i never really got it. how is this possible? i mean really. its some extremely effective brainwashing, that, to have women believing about themselves that we are defective, castrated something-else. instead of whole, functioning humans, who have vulvas, vaginae, and uterii *instead of* dicks. not that we have nothing, where a dick should be. (i know: it is TRANSPHOBIC!!! to suggest that women are not merely castrated men. oh well. get over it, because its true).
now. imagine that you know something about human beings for a second. because, you are one. imagine that humans do not enjoy being colonized. because they dont. having other people come into your neighborhood, and setting up shop in YOUR SPACE is not something that human beings enjoy, and they have never enjoyed, and they will never enjoy. people need their own physical space. its part of having an identity, as a person, and as a people. take this as a fact, because its true. and for those with an incurable individualist streak, consider this: even extremely tolerant people who want to share their space with others, get rightly pissed off when the visitors come in and start messing the place up. do they not?
thats it for now. as you can tell, this is kind of an experiemental post. see what you think, and decide if you want to play along. i would love to be able to discuss dworkin here, but i think theres some groundwork that must be laid, as it were. and i think this is it.
part one is here. as i explained before, i am attempting to lay some groundwork, as it were, to any future discussion of dworkin’s ”intercourse.” many people report being unable to understand her, but thats really no excuse, is it, for a failure to dissect and discuss PIV, and its implications for women, as a sexual class, around the world?
if feminists arent doing this work, its not going to get done. so, mindful of that, i offer part 2. and…bear with me, because its really a downer!
intercourse can literally kill you, if you are a woman. (sorry! really, i am). it causes pregnancy, which is a medical event that can last for years (including lactation, and assuming that there were no long-term complications, which there often are). PIV is the one and only cause of obstetric fistula, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage and abortion, and is causative of the illnesses and deaths of hundreds of thousands of women annually (see maternal morbidity and mortality here, and a discussion of “near misses” here).
and the list of risks of being on the pill are as long as my arm, and include the risk of death by blood clot. and women are more susceptible to STD infections than men are due to biological differences…specifically that we have vaginas that men ejaculate into, and their bacteria and viruses cant be washed away. and trying to wash them away by douching actually makes it WORSE, because you irritate your tissues and interrupt the normal cleansing process of the vaginal environment. (i know, its TRANSPHOBIC!!! to talk about womens vaginas, and the consequences to women to having them. oh well, get over it. because its true.)
and PIV is known to destroy womens careers, and their livelihoods, as well. not even considering the “mommy track” that so many women allegedly “choose,” even if you have an early abortion, you are risking getting in trouble at work if you are too sick to come in, in the first weeks and months of pregnancy due to morning sickness. i mean really. sitting under your desk puking into a fucking trashcan doesnt look so good, because most people assume you are drunk (although appearing unintentionally knocked up doesnt do a woman any favors, either, in the “i am responsible, just like a man!!!11!!” competition). and if you are too sick to even drive or take public transportation, you cant even clock in, to humiliate yourself this way. or to get paid, obvs.
yes, thats right…there are severe consequences to women, but not to men, of engaging in PIV. and i am not about to blame women for continuing to do it, and i am not going to ask (at least not today) why women are having PIV with men. what i would like to know, however, is why MEN are continuing to do it, when they know how dangerous it is, for women. this is not a rhetorical question.
again, since most readers here are women, this can be approached as a thought exercise. imagine, if you will, that there were no consequences to *you* of having PIV. but that all the consequences i mentioned above, actually applied to *men* and not to you. imagine that fucking your husband, or bf, or anyone with a dick really, could literally kill them, or make them very ill. imagine that they were taking on all the risk, and you werent risking a thing.
would you still do it? would you ride your mate into the sunset, bucking wildly on his dick and screaming when you were about to come? (pornified version). would you tenderly “make love” to him, knowing how potentially fucking screwed he could be, in the weeks and months to come, by virtue of the act you were about to perform on his person i mean with him, lovingly? (its an “act of love” version).
and in this topsy-turvy world i have created here, where there are consequences of PIV to men but not to women…would you ever pressure him into it? or expect it? or demand it? or “take” it? (the rape version). what if he wanted it, and claimed to enjoy it? what if he really, truly did enjoy it? would that change anything, for you? would his “consent” be problematic, in your mind, at all? or would it be a free pass to place him in harms way?
now…what if you knew for a fact that there was very little chance that he was even going to enjoy it? would that matter to you, at all? what if it were common knowledge that most men didnt really like PIV anyway, or at least it wasnt their preferred sexual act, and that their bodies werent really built to orgasm this way? what if the numerous risks of PIV to men were somewhat (or largely) causative of their inability to enjoy it, or to enjoy it fully?
would you still do it? if so, why, and under what circumstances? if not, why not?
and finally…what if mens social status was that of, literally, dirt. of filth. what if mens corpus, mens bodies, were regarded as disgusting, and filthy too (even though, ironically, you were the one likely to infect *him* with something, and not the other way around). what if the language women used regarding having PIV with men was synonymous with harming them, and socially men and boys were the thing everyone else wiped their feet on? what if it had always been this way, and was this way currently, around the world?
if this were the state of things…what would PIV “mean” to you? what would you imagine that it “meant” to men? in other words…why do it at all, and is it at all possible that mens and womens “reasons” would differ?
i am just asking. stay tuned for part 3.
part one is here. part 2 is here. this was intended to lay the groundwork for a future discussion of dworkin’s ”intercourse.” but three parts later, i am under the impression that we’ve been discussing it, this whole time. no? actually, theres much more that needs to be said, and some loose ends need to be tied. and this, my friends, is what will constitute part 3. enjoy.
womens bodies are not synonymous with penetration, and vaginas are not fuckholes, for men. and people throughout history have had something in common: they dont like being colonized. that is, people coming into your neighborhood and setting up shop in YOUR SPACE. when this happens, and it has happened to many peoples, around the world, the people who have been colonized understand what has happened to them. they have lost their autonomy, and their privacy. they have lost their identity. the ones that survived would not be mistaken to characterize it thusly: “there was a war, and we lost.” am i wrong?
and being poked and prodded physically is not inherently erotic. think about it. going to the dentist? not erotic. going to the gynecologist? not erotic. acupuncture. vaccinations. breast exams. prostate exams. medical experimentation. torture. not erotic. right? at least, any reasonable person would agree that theres nothing *inherently* erotic about these things, even if there are some people who enjoy some of these things, some of the time. so, is there the teeniest, tiniest chance, then, that PIV (“intercourse”) is not inherently erotic, either, to women? can we at least admit that much: that theres at least an infantiscimally small chance that this is true?
if you can even imagine that this might be the case, then you have to also consider that women have somehow managed to eroticize something thats not inherently erotic, to whatever extent they might “enjoy” PIV. and there are many reasons this might be the case for any individual woman, and for women as a sexual class, around the world. love. motherhood. garnering attention and affection from men, who love to fuck women, even women they hate. because to some extent, most women in most places eroticize PIV somehow. most women who are engaging in it dont report “feeling raped”, afterall, whatever the fuck that means (although many more find it about as arousing as going to the gynecologist). do try not to imagine what would happen if they changed their minds at some point though, either mid-act or across the board, within the context of het relationships.
PIV is not inherently erotic for women, but it *is* a fundamental part of the narrative that keeps us in servitude, to men. women are fucked by men, and men fuck women. its essential that it be this way, because PIV causes pregnancy. PIV causes illness. pregnancy, illness, and babies (upon babies, upon babies) cause women to become dependant on others, on men.
women as a class are subservient to men as a class, then, due pretty exclusively to PIV.
now. gays and lesbians are vilified, under this system, because homosexuals fuck up the narrative (again, the narrative is, and must be, men fuck women, and women are fucked by men). see? regarding gay men, they make it too clear that men have asses that can be fucked. its not *just* women that can be fucked, men can be fucked too. but how is that supposed to work???!!!!!1 no, its not fucking unless women are fucked. its not “fucking” unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant. because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.
and lesbians fuck up the narrative too: they make it too clear that PIV is not inherently erotic, for women. so, they arent really women, at all. and what they are doing to and with each other isnt fucking. because its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant. because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.
and i have kinda been harsh on transwomen in this series, but they fit in here too, dont they? because transwomen are men, and they have asses that can be fucked. they have fake fuckholes that can be fucked. but its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant. because fucking and female subservience are the same thing. and its not a fucking coincidence, is it, that many times when a straight man murders a transwoman, its after he has fucked her (or right before), and finds out that shes not a woman? because the transwoman reminds him that he, too, has an ass, that can be fucked. that what they have just done or almost done together wasnt fucking or almost fucking, it was something “disturbing” in fact, because its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can get pregnant.
because fucking and female subservience are the same fucking thing.
as i continue on my roll against PIV…its come to this, and theres no avoiding it: thinking about that post-coital meltdown that so many women have, when their mates “dont call.” and i actually googled “trauma bonding”, if that tells you something. i never google anything.
as i think has been made abundantly clear by now, women are literally putting their lives and physical and mental wellbeing on the line, every fucking time they engage in PIV. (sorry! really, i am). if its not the very reasonable fear of being raped at some point during the encounter, its the fear of disease, and the dread, absolute dread of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy. and that last one applies even in wanted encounters with trusted partners, does it not? every single act of intercourse, from somewhat pre-menstruation to somewhat post-menopause. or…until your mate gets his nads snipped…and even then. fear, and dread. foreboding, terror, and bargaining with god. counting the days.
because we all know that pregnancy can kill you, or make you very ill, even if you have an early abortion. right? (imagine sitting under your desk at work and puking into a trashcan, if it helps bring it home…not that most women really need a visual. but there is going to be someone on this thread who says they still dont get why PIV is so bad.)
this has got to be traumatic, no? i mean, how could it not be? this is a serious question.
speaking of trauma…when men go into battle with each other, they form intense, emotional bonds. in relation to each other, these men are known as “war buddies.” and its a close relationship, to say the least. the feelings that the shared experience of death-defying elicit are “intimate,” in the extreme. this is commonly known to be the case. it just is. something happens to the human mind when we encounter life-threatening situations with other people. we…bond. and women are human beings. yes, they are.
when women have PIV with men, we are encountering a life-threatening situation, with another person, by definition. not surprisingly, we form intense bonds with our war-buddies, these men with whom we have literally faced death and disfigurement. terror. the problem is, of course, that the men dont feel the same way. because theres nothing dangerous to men about PIV, really, at all. they were just getting their dicks wet. or, you know, “making love.” we were the ones putting everything on the line. and if it seems like they dont get what it is that we were doing with them…well its because they dont. nor do they care to.
heres a bit from google on trauma-bonding:
Exploitive relationships can create trauma bonds-chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest and child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationships share one thing: they are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power.
bolds mine. you see, any man who demands PIV or engages in it for that matter is making himself dangerous to women, by definition. and when a woman trusts a man to keep her safe…if that man demands or engages in PIV with her, he is exploiting that trust.
“stockholm syndrome” might seem a bit extreme to apply to most het relationships that arent traditionally abusive…but theres something going on here. at least, for those of us who arent essentialist, and who just dont believe this shit about women when it comes to sex ”feeling” so deeply, and stuff, and things.
because the sad, sick truth of it is that every single man with whom we have ever had intercourse is just some tool who laid pipe, at our expense. thats all. if it hurts to think about it that way…well it hurts, whether or not you choose to think about it. thats kind of my point, actually. PIV hurts and is harmful to women, but not to men. how can you tell? we form emotional bonds with men we have fucked, that are inappropriate, and not reciprocal. work backwards, if you have to, if you cant see that PIV hurts, and is dangerous to women. look at the most common “female response” to PIV (emotional attachment), and tell me it doesnt look a hell of a lot like another commonly-recognized bonding-response to having experienced extreme terror, and the fear of death.
women also manage not to stalk or murder our lovers, really, ever. they are our war-buddies, afterall. not our pets, our our property. see how womens alleged “obsession” with men really has no correlate with mens sexual obsession with women? a more reasonable correlate (besides stockholm syndrome) would appear to be a kind of one-sided war-buddy syndrome, which normally creates intense emotional bonds between people, who face death with each other, in times of war.
those are my thoughts at the moment. that, and something i might have wondered about if i were about 15 years younger, cause i dont really care at this point: if we made PIV *more* traumatic for men, would they have the common decency to pick up the fucking phone the next day, but without going all stalker? im just asking. that is all.