"Women Want Their Sexuality Back Now. And Opening Marriage Just Might Help."
Jenny Block, one of our up-and-coming stars (her book Open is due to be published June 1st), has gotten herself a regular gig as a Huffington Post columnist. Her column on Thursday, her second, is a sex-positive poly feminist manifesto to knock your socks off.
Last night I heard the fearless Jessica Valenti, the author of Full Frontal Feminism and the founder of feministing.com, speak at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I was both elated and devastated.... what really struck a chord with me was when Valenti spoke about the battle over women's rights over their own sexuality and how we're still frighteningly far away from owning those.
There are the purity balls attempting to convince young women that their value lies between their legs and that that commodity belongs to daddy until a suitable man comes along to whom its ownership can be transferred. There is abstinence-only education that fills young women's heads with lies leaving them more likely than those given true sex education to end up having oral and anal sex and contracting STDs. And, of course, they also reiterate to girls that their value is their virginity. Lose that and you have nothing left to offer....
I can't help but marvel at how much this battle over female sexuality... directly affects the way people look at me. As a bi-sexual, polyamorous, married woman, I epitomize a woman who demands control over her own sexuality. That terrifies people. And rightly so. Once we girls refuse to think of ourselves as nothing more than receptacles for the male sex organ, then we are free to spend less time tossing our hair and more time tossing out the trash who are serving in office, making the laws, presiding over the bench, and generally perpetuating the myth of woman as helpless toy.
...I used to be upset by the people who called me a whore and said they pitied my husband. "Who are you to think you deserve to be happy?" their comments seemed to say. "How dare you want to be fulfilled sexually? You're just a woman," I heard them whispering between the lines. But now I simply pity them. Sexuality has gotten a bad rap. It's great in the movies and in the glossy magazines, but when it comes to real life, it's supposed to be ignored for "higher" pursuits. Well, hell with that. My sexuality is part of me and it is no more nor less of a part than anything else.
Men who want to rule the playground are right to be frightened of women like me.... As long as woman can be made to feel badly about their sexuality, so too can they be distracted from the larger issues. But I have hope that those days are numbered....
Read the whole article (April 3, 2008), and leave a comment.
The article has just been reprinted here by Alternet, where comments are growing too.