Who says I give something away when we fuck?

One of my favourite things about science fiction is culture shock. It takes imagination and skill to flesh out a world, culture or people in a realistic, believable fashion. Seeing such skillful manipulation of a fictional culture makes me want to examine my own real culture - Canadian, North American, Western, Human - and question everything about it. Why do we act this way? Why do we value this thing? What would we be like if one belief, one opinion deep in our past, were changed?

Being also of a feminist turn of mind, many of my own thoughts turn to our culture's perceptions of gender. I frequently return to one aspect in particular: the sexual power dynamic between men and women. It is well accepted (/thought, believed) that women are on the defensive and have something to "give" or "be taken" from them, and men are aggressors that seek to possess that thing. Women are the gatekeepers of sex, and men seduce, trick, convince or fight them to get it. It culminates as the slut-stud double standard. It's terribly obvious in our language: a man "gets lucky," suggesting it's a difficult or rare act. A woman "loses" her virginity. Men are penetrators, women are penetrated - unquestionably violent, dominating imagery.

But what if there were a subtle shift in perception? What if, by a small change of focus, women were turned into the aggressors and men into the gatekeepers? It actually wouldn't be too far a stretch. The key is in eliminating the penetrator-penetrated relationship, and replacing it with something else.

What, then, could be just as powerful as penetration? What could give the aggressor a sense of power, of a weapon in some cases, and yet also forge a strong and loving bond in others? The answer is simple, and in fact many human cultures practice it, though not - to my knowledge - sexually.

That is the comsumer-consumed relationship.

Consider: what better represents a flow or exchange of power, of that intangiable something we attribute to virginity and sex, than that of consuming? Of literally taking something from one entity and giving it to the other? We even mimic this very concept by inventing an invisible, immeasurable something that women have and men take. But, in heterosexual human sex with no modifications, a literal tangible, measurable something does move from one entity to the other. Something is taken from one and given to the other.

A genetic load. Seed. During sex, a woman takes the most precious thing a body can offer. She takes the DNA of her male partner, she takes his future bloodlines out of his control. She takes half of his genetic essence. In some ways we've always recognized this fact: think of societies which place the burden of producing specific-gendered offspring on the woman, as if she has any control over the sex of a child she conceives.

When a woman has sex with a man, she temporarily brings part of him into herself and permanently takes another part of him. In a most literal sense, it is not the woman who gives something away - it is the man who gives up a part of himself.

In this light, it is completely puzzling to me that we instead settled on the penetrator-penetrated relationship as our model for sex. The consumer-consumed relationship is far more literal and accurate. As I said above: this powerful relationship is seen in several cannibalistic societies, and even non-cannibalistic hunting societies. When you eat something, the concept goes, you gain its power and knowledge. I'd say this is more powerful and provocative than penetrating or entering something, wouldn't you?


13 things about

Who says I give something away when we fuck?
  1. "... Women are the gatekeepers of sex, and men seduce, trick, convince or fight them to get it..."

    You left off: beg.

  2. "Convince" is just a nice way of saying beg. ;)

  3. Hahahaha! Maybe you could also roll "pay" into the "convince" bin as well, but I guess there's no need to try and explicitly enumerate all the ways men try to get sex.

  4. You're right, I did forget pay. I guess because it's something that's never come up for me.
    Now I'm a little insulted that no one's offered to pay me for sex.

    What's that saying, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life"? HMMMMM.

  5. I'm thinking that even in today's economy you could do better than that for your first job after graduation, but I'd hate to stand in the way of your passions.

    Anyway, try not to take the fact that you've never been offered money for sex personally. If you just can't help it, just take a more broad perspective on what it means to be 'paid' to include: flowers, meals, compliments, talking, sharing-same-oxygen, etc...

  6. lol at this. I feel like it's a good spin on it.

    Que The Lights
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    -Xay B.

  7. I'm trying to think of something intelligent to add so we can continue this delicious intellectual dissection you've started here... but you were pretty darn thorough about it. So all I can say is-- APPLAUSE.

    & add that I will never again use 'dissection' & 'delicious' in the same sentence

  8. Thanks guys. :3

    I still don't want that angle applied in reality because it's the same shit mirrored (one gender dominates the other), but I like to use it as an example against gender determinism: how even our most basic assumptions about sex and gender are essentially arbitrary and could easily be reversed.

    It's hard to be so seriousface about sex. :P

  9. O HAI
    I read this when you posted it and I was like "this bothers me" but I didn't say anything and now I know why it bothers me so here I go:

    Seed is not half as precious as you portray it here.
    Men have an endless supply, once it is taken from them, they just go off, nap, and hey presto! More jizz (lulz).

    Women on the other hand have a limited amount of eggs. Once she has "taken" a mans seed she has essentially spent an egg on him (unless of course they're using a condom)... which is far more precious because, as I said, she has only so many. Not to mention that, if she does keep it, she is burdened with pregnancy and childbirth and a baby that has to be looked after where the man could easily disappear during those 9 months.

    This is why men are more naturally inclined to sleep around and "spread their seed" - the [biological] price they pay is small, and their genes get spread around(=evolutionary success). Whereas women must be more selective, as they can only have so many, and have to deal with the consequences.

    Just my two cents.


  10. There is a significant cost in pregnancy, especially human pregnancy since we have such a long gestation and childhood... However, women are only fertile for three days a month (yet are capable of desiring sex rven when not fertile) AND women lose eggs regardless of if they get pregnant. several "eggs" a cycle grow, the largest"wins" and they others quietly die off. The largest egg actually controls the major hormonal fluctuations of that cycle before also being shed and covered in scar tissue. Every month you lose several of the finite supply of eggs... Now, if you want to talk biological imperative, women should want to be constantly pregnant so they have many descendants before their supply of eggs runs out. Being pregnant also has the benefit of pausing the menstrual cycle for roughly a year: resulting in a lower rate of egg loss.

  11. stunning article; i agree that getting pregnant before the eggs run out is imperative.
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  12. ^^Nano, you need to be a lawyer on the side.


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