HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Gender & Orientation » History of Feminism (Group) » A Shift in Focus: Why I'v...

Sun May 26, 2013, 05:03 PM

A Shift in Focus: Why I've Chosen to Say "Consent-Positive" Rather Than "Sex-Positive"

(A very interesting and informative POV---a bit graphic in places)


This decision's been building for a long time. It's by no means final, absolute, or certain, only that it makes space for my own uncertainty (and hopefully the uncertainty and hesitation of others but more on that later). Like many things concerning love and relationships and sex, this decision and the conversations I've had surrounding it have resisted simplicity and can only be expressed in the messy progression that follows.

I'll start with my own experience. In the past when using the term “sex-positive” I, like many of my women friends, have had listeners assume that by saying I'm sex-positive I'm saying I’ll be into whatever kind of sex they’re into. And also that I am willing to do that kind of sex with them soon or immediately. "Sex-positive" is optimistically coded as consent, potential consent or some indication of how/what I will consent to. I can’t say I've had a full frontal "Hey! but I thought you were sex-positive" when I've refused such sexual advances but I have been coerced and "c'mon”d. On two separate occasions, other “sex-positive” (male) party goers suggested that because of my nudity at past events and my self-professed sex-positivity I should disrobe and “continue the tradition”. I first started to say “consent-positive” in an attempt to duck the possibility of the creepy interactions "sex-positive" had elicited.

It's not just self defense, but it was because of this and other like experiences that I slowly began to realize more reasons for this shift. I began to notice that whenever I talked about being kinky, poly, and/or sex-positive what I ended up talking about was consent. As much as I do enjoy talking about sex it felt much safer personally and more transgressive politically to talk about how powerful an experience I've found it to build language and rituals that ensure that my consent, and the consent of those I am sharing space with is consistently receiving attention. (Note I don't say that consent itself be constant or even consistent).

One of the main reasons I continue wanting to wrench focus onto consent rather than the sex is that when sex is the rhetorical focus of a conversation or the goal of a movement consent starts to look like a means (getting to yes) to an end (sex). Some of you may recognize this progression model as it is commonly identified in feminist circles as a way in which men are taught to and often do relate to women and women's sexualities. It's the same logic that tells folks that the ideal romantic evening involves a man romancing (the consent out of) the woman and him fucking her until he (or they both) comes. In this narrative sex is the happy ending and consent is the means. I want consent to be both the means and the end! I want consent without sex to be viewed as it's own happy ending.

4 replies, 1240 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Shift in Focus: Why I've Chosen to Say "Consent-Positive" Rather Than "Sex-Positive" (Original post)
ismnotwasm May 2013 OP
NMDemDist2 May 2013 #1
redqueen May 2013 #2
Tien1985 May 2013 #3
MadrasT May 2013 #4

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 05:12 PM

1. someone should send that to Savage Love

i'd love to hear his take on it too

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 06:39 PM

2. I love this radical quote on that 'how to' video re: anal.

This is one of the big problems with sex-positivity. Laci Green says she received an “alarming amount of messages about people being pressured into anal sex”. I think we all know that by “people”, she means women (or at least people with male partners). Her solution is to make a video giving advice on how to have anal sex. How does that help those women? Her advice to commenters: “Just don’t do it if you don’t want to”. No shit, Laci, I’m sure that idea had already occurred to those women. It’s easy to tell women to just not do things they’re not comfortable with, but that doesn’t do anything about the GUYS PRESSURING THEM TO DO THOSE THINGS. They’re still in the same boat they were before, trying to figure out what to do with a guy who wants to fuck her butt in a world that says women will die alone if they don’t let guys fuck their butts. There’s not a moment in this video where she is reprimanding these guys or telling em’ to knock it off, because OMG THAT MIGHT HURT THEIR FEELINGS AND MAKE THEM FEEL ASHAMED OF THEIR SEXUAL DESIRES."


As if there was ANY possibility that these coercive dudebros were anywhere near being ashamed of their overwhelming need for teh butt sexxx.

Shame everyone who is coercive. Fuck their fee fees, they need to knock that shit off.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Coercive sex is not consensual sex.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 06:41 PM

3. Great word/perspective shift nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 07:29 PM

4. I really appreciate this

I spent a lot of time in "sex positive" communities and have all but divorced myself from them because "sex positive" started to really feel like it means "sex is expected"

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread