The fear of female sexuality

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by Ethyl, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Ethyl

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    While discussing this with a fellow poster it dawned on me that while much of the population from this site is considerably more open-minded than most, unrestrained female sexuality still seems to be viewed with much trepidation by the general public. We're encouraged to be sexual creatures but within certain boundaries set by religion, social mores and media. Historically speaking almost all restrictions on sexual behaviour were imposed on women and the supposed link between female sexuality and evil are well known. Take your pick: inquisition, Salem witch trials and the "witches' teat", fundamental Islam and Christianity...and so forth.

    We are freer to communicate our sexuality now but I think we still have a long way to go. Are we still beholden to ancient taboos? Are we still not vocal enough about what we want? Are we being ignored?

    I wonder how much this fear factors into the sexual habits of women and men.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    It's a huge subject.

    These days I am inclined to look at these kind of things from the perspective of 'Evolutionary Psychology', so I'm going to provide a few thoughts influenced by that frame work.

    How would one define 'unrestrained female sexuality'? If it is defined as a female having sex with whoever she wants, whenever she wants, and without caring who knows, then there are sound biological reasons why this kind of behavior may impact negatively on that female i.e. she may end up pregnant, but with no knowledge as to who the father is and therefore without a 'protector and provider'; She would not have made the close psychological and emotional connection that a monogamous physical pairing provides; She would have no male 'ally' in the difficult long term job of having to raise a child. Therefore, more monogamous behavior may be more advantageous from the perspective of raising children, and over successive generations this may have become part of the female psyche in terms of their bio-psychological make up.

    If this evolutionary perspective is in any way true (I'm not saying it definitely is) then the attitudes of various religious ideologies may in fact be *reaffirming* a behavior which is already considered instinctively correct, rather than *imposing* this behavior.

    The evolutionary perspective also explains why much female sexual behavior is - to this day - considered mysterious and illusive. It is in the female's biological interest to appear monogamous, whilst perhaps conducting secret affairs out of sight. It is in the interest of her genetics to secure one stable monogamous paring with a man that can provide, whilst quietly maximizing the genetic diversity of her offspring by having sexual encounters with other males without her primary partner's knowledge.

    This would explain why females themselves are reticent to discuss their own sexual behaviors, because successive generations of biologically orientated behavior conditioning has taught them implicitly that it is advantageous remain reticent when discussing sexual matters, or at least, not tell the entire truth.
     
  3. L_Lynn

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    I've been pondering over some of this lately myself. I am working on a couple ideas that use my own unrestrained feminine sexuality to earn a living, hopefully helping other women to be open yet responsible with their own. If all goes well, I can sustain myself doing something I love, which helps others, allows creative expression and I can work on my own schedule- all things that are good for me. Yet, when I run into an old friend and they ask, "What have you been up to lately?" I experience some trepidation to tell them, "Well, I am starting a couple sex websites. Just made a video showing women how to be confident cowgirls while riding their man."
     
  4. Ethyl

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    I've read studies on this perspective and while I understand how this works I question why it's in the best interest of her genetics to create an illusion of monogamy. It's not as though men are in short supply and sounds like we're using biology as a foundation to massage the male ego. Is the male ego really so important that the stake of future generations depend on it?

    This I can buy but again it's an argument for an outdated concept in a modern world - unless we're talking about religious polygamist sects like the FLDS.
     
  5. hardone

    hardone New Member

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    I have no fear there sorry ;) as for women its a huge turn on for me so keep up the good work to all those rad females who desire another women.
     
  6. Ethyl

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    This is exactly what I had in mind when I posted this thread. Why must we feel reticent in expressing ourselves in terms of anything sexual? Most men would claim to welcome such open communication and expression but I wonder if they really want to see/hear what we want to do/say. Some women aren't comfortable with other women expressing it either. Was the friend you spoke of male or female?
     
  7. SilverTrain

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    Do share! :biggrin1:
     
  8. SilverTrain

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    As a male, I would also be quite reticent to tell others I was making a living by virtue of a sex website.
     
  9. Ethyl

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    I can see why but don't you think the reaction to your tale would differ from hers? Depending on whom you told?
     
  10. helgaleena

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    If you think about reproduction very dispassionately, it's all about determination of paternity. Very easy to be unsure about who the father is, but never in doubt whose legs you were born from between. If women are treated like breeding cattle, as they are in many traditional cultures, what she wants or needs to feel pleasure is of no value at all. You just assign the woman pulling your plow, Borat style, to a situation where nobody else can get at her.

    If women are cultivated for pleasure purposes beyond that, as geishas for example, or maybe how it is in Thailand, she gets skills that are aimed at satisfying the clientele which would include faking pleasure.

    Truly matriarchal cultures are rare, and it's hard to make broad generalizations about them. Scandinavia, Finland especially, were ahead of the curve in assigning women political equality such as the vote and equal education. It's there that sexual pleasure equality is a bit greater too. But is the pleasing of women more valued? Hard to say.

    I know that women who value themselves also value their own pleasure, and will be less likely to be dependent on a partner for happiness. That may make them better at partnership than a subservient traditionally thinking woman. Such a one would be more needy and possibly exasperate a partner.
     
    #10 helgaleena, Feb 8, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  11. L_Lynn

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    My close friends, male and female, have been supportive of all my ideas. I felt awkward explaining it to:

    1. A male friend whom I love and admire. I was concerned he would be disappointed in me since he thinks I could write a best-selling novel. He was a little taken aback but then supportive.
    2. A group of female former co-workers.
    3. A male acquaintance who is younger than me and crushes on me heavily.

    Overall, I have found the guys think it's cool, probably because it's a turn-on, and the women are judgmental. But that is no surprise- women are often the worst critics of other women.

    I think of "unrestrained female sexuality" not as sleeping around, but as being confident enough in your own sexuality to know what you want and to ask for it, and to be open enough to test your inhibitions. That's where I hope to help other women. (And if a guy gets turned on watching me ride an exercise ball or give a hand job to a dildo, well, I'm okay with that too!)
     
    #11 L_Lynn, Feb 8, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  12. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    From what you have written here, I'm not sure you do understand how this perspective works. The point is, the behavior is *instinctive*, and originates from a time when males *were* in short supply, because for the majority of our evolution, we would have lived in a small group or tribe. Under these conditions, it would have been hard to conceal unrestrained female sexual behavior, and because of that, if a female had taken several male lovers simultaneously, none of them could be certain of parenthood and all would therefore be reluctant to claim ownership of the child and invest the time and effort in raising and protecting it. As an outcome, the child and mother would likely become social outcasts - hence the antiquated derogatory term 'bastard' - and survival chances would therefore decrease. In fact, having an unwanted child in the tribe would disturb social harmony in the group, provide an undesired extra mouth to feed, and could jeopardize the survival chances of the entire tribe.

    Therefore, there is a sound biological explanation for the social denigration of 'unrestrained' female sexuality, even if the reasons for this lie in the distant past of our ancestry. The fear of this behavior is written into our biology, and persists today, even though - thanks to modern technology and civilization - the reasons for it are no longer necessary.
     
  13. enormouslyaverage

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    I haven't read all replies in this thread, for the record.

    To answer this specific question, I think they would most definitely be different - but it's not the answer you're diggin' for.

    A male running a sex site of sorts while successful, would be seen as a bit of a 'creep' or kind of sleazy or something along those lines. A woman running the same site, would be seen as an innovator or groundbreaker. Those dating her would maybe, possibly have some hesitation towards her. I know I wouldn't though.
     
  14. the_reverend

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    i think we've made huge strides and progress, but agree that there's a long way to go. i think much of the problem stems a lot from gender stereotypes and expectations. we're conditioned to believe certain things about our own gender as well as the opposite one, to the point that they become reenforced "truths" insofar as the behavior is observed, accepted and repeated. so we accept that men are supposed to be the more aggressive, physical and sexual creatures while women are supposed to be demure, emotional and sexually reserved. when in fact we can all be like that...not only either gender, but an individual themselves at different times. yes, there are differences between men and women, both physically and personality wise. but we have to question the conventional wisdom as to what exactly those differences are and begin to not only accept women's ability to express and embrace their sexuality as fully and perhaps even as crassly as men have for generations, but actively encourage it. the taboos and mores of the past are just that...past.

    likewise, religion shouldn't discourage sexuality. it should embrace it as part of its teachings. not only for procreation, but recreation, because the key element in both those things is the very essence of divinity: creation! hell, if God didn't want us to fuck, why'd He/She make it feel so damn good to begin with? ;) the Song of Solomon in the Bible is some of the most beautiful and erotic poetry on the planet. Islam has given rise to some of the most sensual music and storytelling in history. and we can thank Hinduism and Buddhism for the Kama Sutra and tantric arts. there's almost a knee jerk reaction to fundamentalism's rejection of sex as something vile, to then move too far to the other end of the spectrum for those who embrace their sexuality to completely reject the spiritual and divine within it. but whether you institutionalize your faith within the confines of organized religion or just accept some vaguer transcendental belief in something beyond ourselves and our accepted reality, sexuality is and should be intensely spiritual, and vice versa, the communion of souls as well as bodies and minds. i think the liberation and expression of sexuality within spirituality goes hand in hand with the overcoming and subversion of fundamentalism and standard patriarchal views of most organized religions, all of which have held female sexuality in particular back for centuries.
     
  15. L_Lynn

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    Give me a salary as your secretary and I will! :tongue:

    I agree with this. It's an instinct as much as "fight or flight." While modern civilization does allow for women to have children completely on their own, the majority of women are not in a position to do that. The costs for the donor sperm, IVF procedures, taking time off from work, and in order to maintain your career and sanity, the cost of a nanny or baby nurse, puts it beyond the reach of most.
     
  16. L_Lynn

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    And I would not want any man who would hesitate with me.
     
  17. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    I'm glad someone else sees the sense in this perspective! It at least explains why conspicuous 'unrestrained' female sexual behavior is so looked down upon, and explains why there is an evolutionary precedent for the concealment and mystery surrounding female sexuality in general. (i.e. if she is going to sleep around, best not let everyone know about it)

    It would also explain why there is less of a taboo surrounding female homosexuality, since this carries no pregnancy risk. But it does not explain the taboo over male homosexuality, so it cannot be the whole story.
     
  18. dreamer20

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    Your reason for demonizing the female and her offspring is a male chauvinist one as opposed to being biologically based darkhorse2008uk. The hypothetical tribe you envisioned (there being real primitive tribes of this nature) is a polyamorous one of small size. In which case it would not be logical, or biological, for its "short supply" of males to joyfully create offspring with a common lover and subsequently demonize that woman and child they themselves created. It would be biological for all members of the tribe to care for one another, including their offspring, to ensure the survival of the group, as other creatures do in nature.

    In ancient times, even before the Abrahamic religion was founded, matriarchal rule was supplanted by patriarchal rule and male chauvinism. Thus in today's society, which is both patriarchal and influenced by this religion, a sexual double standard exists in which a man is applauded for having sex with many women, but a woman is called a whore for having sex with many men. Ideally she should remain a virgin until she is married. I refer to this double standard as the madonna-whore complex.

    Urban Dictionary: madonna-whore complex
     
  19. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    The fact that male homosexuality is still extremely taboo, but cannot really be accounted for in terms of evolutionary psychology, means there must be other factors at work.

    I think another reason for the fear surrounding sexuality in general (rather than only female sexuality) is the fact that sexuality is the greatest expression of our animal nature. Civilization can be understood as the 'taming and control of nature', both in terms of our environment, and in terms of our own behavior. Our sexual nature is a part of us that is vital to our existence, and yet totally beyond our control. It is 'the beast within', and the fear is that this beast could take over and destroy our neatly constructed 'civilized' lives.

    From another perspective, most of the sexual rules that dominate western civilization have their origins in the Bible. Leviticus 18 contains most of the codes by which the majority of people in the west live, and it is also here that we can find many of the taboos. They include incest, homosexuality, and bestiality.

    Leviticus 18 - PassageLookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

    Interestingly, the passage ends, 'Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people." The intent, therefore, is to control people through fear of social ostracization. This seems to me to be the root of sexual fear, the fear of 'what will other people think?'.

    The passage from Leviticus begins by saying, "You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live..." This implies that many of the things currently considered taboo where actually once freely practiced in Egypt - i.e. bestiality, incest, and homosexuality. There would be no need to lay down laws against these things unless people were actually doing them, so this tells us that, of course, they were!

    The sexual laws in leviticus were created so as to prevent the early jews from engaging in some of the sacred sexual rituals of other civilizations they came into contact with - such as the followers of the god Molech, who later became synonymous with the devil. They were intended to stop people from defecting to these other (perhaps more fun) religions. In other words, they were an attempt to control a large group of people by controlling their sexual behaviour - claiming it was god that was forbidding them.

    I think a large part of our cultural fear of sexual expressiveness, and the fact that today we still consider sex 'naughty' 'nasty' and dirty' - even if these words are often meant in an enjoyable way - is a result of the sexual repression handed down to us from these early examples of social control.
     
  20. D_Phallus P Phyllum

    D_Phallus P Phyllum New Member

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    Please don't misunderstand me; these aren't my reasons, or the reasons that I agree with or like - I am just presenting a point of view to encourage discussion. I don't actually like evolutionary psychology, as it presents a very bleak picture of human beings, and implies that we are all victims of our biological programming, and therefore not free. However, I cannot deny the explanatory power of evolutionary psychology simply because I don't like it.

    I agree that if the tribe were openly polyamorous, then none of the things I have discussed would be an issue. However, we do not really know that early humans were openly polyamorous. They may have been, but if they were, why are we not openly polyamorous today? How did the taboos emerge? How did we become so sexually 'up tight'?

    From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, the idea of 'ownership' of the children is the issue. People will do far more to protect the interest of their 'own' children than they will for children that are not their 'own'. This is true of both males and females. Therefore, a male will do more for a child that he knows is his own genetic lineage, and this behavior would have then become the most successful evolutionary strategy.

    For this reason, unrestricted female sexuality may have become taboo, since the authenticity of the male's parenthood becomes unclear (as I explained earlier).
     
    #20 D_Phallus P Phyllum, Feb 8, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
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