Let’s start the week with consent. Good phrase that 🙂
I blogged some time back about “Yes Means Yes”, an American book about why active desire and skills in learning meaningful consent just might be important in shifting rape culture around how much sexual violence happens (though not rape in institutions, or by soldiers, or towards children, or…). So when impressive co-editor Jaclyn Friedman released her new book, I pre-ordered a copy for a friend as a leaving pressie from a sexual violence agency for survivors.
The book’s been very favourably reviewed by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programmes, a charity dedicated to ending sexual violence, who call it “an interactive tool for sexuality exploration”. It’s aimed at young women negotiating being sexual, so unpacking gender scripts which tell young women they are slutty if they are too into sex, and prudish virgins if they don’t like sex. You know, rape culture 101 stuff.
I’ve not read it yet – so I don’t know how much help the book will be in terms of negotiating same, both and all gender attraction, or how applicable the tools will be for men to help unpack the idea they are supposed to always be up for sex, no matter what. But here’s the intro quiz:
- You’re single and you’re going to a party where there may be people you’d be attracted to. Do you dress sexy?
- You know it!
- If I’m feeling brave.
- It depends on what you mean by sexy.
- Probably not. I’d feel too foolish or shy.
- No way. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression.
- Telling someone what you want to do with them (or what you want them to do with you) sexually is:
- A total buzzkill.
- Something I wish I could do.
- My favourite way to spend an evening.
- You do things sexually that feel okay at the time, but you feel bad about it afterward.
- On rare occasions.
- Only when I’m drunk.
- Doesn’t everybody?
- You find out that your fifteen-year old daughter (sister, niece, friend) is thinking of having sex for the first time. You:
- Ground her/tell on her.
- Sit her down for a heart-to-heart to make sure she’s really ready and knows how to have safer sex.
- Sit her down for a stern lecture.
- All of the above.
- You’re leaving a party, club or event late at night. The friends you came with have all left. Your car is parked several long, dark blocks away. You:
- Just calmly walk to your car, taking the most lighted path available.
- Walk to your car as fast as you can, with your keys fanned out between your fingers and your heart pounding.
- Ask that guy at the party who might have been flirting with you to walk to your car.
- Call a cab to take you to your car.
- You would never let yourself get into that situation in the first place.
- Women who dress and act like sluts:
- Worry me. Don’t they know the kind of attention they’ll attract?
- Make me angry. They give women a bad name and teach men they can disrespect us. They deserve whatever they get.
- Are no better or worse than anyone else. It’s not my place to judge.
- Are powerful feminist role models. Rejecting shame about our sexuality is an act of resistance.
- Are some of my best friends.
- When it comes to your own sex life, you:
- Don’t have one.
- Get exactly what you want and are totally satisfied.
- Wish you could change a few things, but you haven’t found a way to talk to your partner(s) about what you need.
- Wish you could change a few things, but when you try to talk with your partner(s) about it, they don’t respond the ways you want.
- You’re not really happy with it, but you don’t know what you want or how to change it.
- Men have a harder time controlling themselves sexually and therefore can’t be held to the same standards as women.
- That’s just biologically true
- I’m really not sure about this one
- That’s a load of crap
- That’s true in our culture, because of the different ways we raise boys and girls
- There may be some biological truth to that, but we’re not animals – men should be expected to overcome their biological urges and control themselves.
- Sexual acts you do (or want to do) make you feel ashamed or bad about yourself.
- All the time
- Only one or two of them, but definitely
- A little, maybe
- Almost never, but every once in a while it sneaks up on me
- Your friends and family share your values about sex and sexuality
- My friends do, but my family really doesn’t get it
- I have no idea, I don’t talk about sex with my friends or family, and they don’t talk about it with me
- Uh, no. They think I’m a total slut/prude/freak/weirdo etc
- Not yet, but I’m working on them
This quiz kept my household talking to the wee hours on Sunday morning. Answers in comments if you’re keen 🙂
1. ii – but I dress for myself, so would do the same if I was going to the library with my dad.
2. i and v
4. iii AND I talk to her about her body and pleasure and asking for what she wants and knowing she can say “slow down” or “no thanks” at any point.
6. iii, iv and v. Basically I think women should be able to dress however we wish – but I don’t always think every woman wearing “slutty” clothes (and I’m taking this to mean women enjoying how hot they are by showing off their bodies) is doing it for feminist reasons.
7. i if we’re talking sex with other people at the moment; ii if we’re talking sex with myself.
8. iii with a dose of iv because those gender scripts we all learn take us to some very strange places.
10. ii except for my lovely bro, with whom I regularly talk about our sex lives.
3.ii (but did as a teen)
4.i & iii
5.i or ii (depending if i knew the area)
Thanks JJ, and sorry for the delay in posting this, I’ve been sans internet for a glorious two weeks. I’d kinda hoped lots of people would have a go at this – I do wonder if the silence shows just how hard we seem to find it to talk about sex well. Cheers for your answers, very interesting 🙂