February 2018
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equalist sex


This focuses a lot on male/female sex, but applies to all sex -- the inequalities that have to be overcome are just more obvious in male/female sex, but because we are conditioned to roles, they often apply in male/male and female/female sex also.

There are three components to equalist sex:
1) considering mutual desire an essential component to sex, and acting accordingly
2) considering penetration NOT an essential component to sex, and acting accordingly
3) initiating/giving/leading equally

1) Considering mutual desire an essential component to sex means that if the desire is not mutual, equalist sex is impossible. This includes communicating in respectful ways that do not include pressure of any kind. The people participating must both believe in only having sex when both people feel desire, and if desire is not mutual, be willing to immediately drop the topic. If one person continues 'asking' or expresses disappointment in a way calculated to make the other person feel guilty, that is coercion -- it is not respectful and DEFINITELY not equalist. I imagine that there are many ways of asking in a low-pressure way (I've heard of lighting a candle before bed as a signal); for me, I prefer to simply be asked, "do you want to [have sex/make love]?" or kissed in a way that says "I want to have sex with you." (with the kiss, it isn't a question if you don't leave the next move up to me!) However, that would be pressure if I knew that saying no would provoke an angry/grouchy/pouty/sullen/negative response. Since my lovers simply respond by doing something else (with no negative attitude), I feel absolutely no pressure to say yes if I do not want to. (if someone tried to coax/manipulate me into having sex, I would consider that sexually abusive and tell the person so -- if ze continued to behave that way I would end the relationship)

I'll diverge a little to discuss male/female kissing/sex scenes in films and shows. In these scenes, not only does the male initiate but often ze initiates in a way that forces the female to say yes; I cannot count the number of times I have seen a male shove a female up against a wall to kiss zir, or grab zir in both arms, pinning zir arms to zir sides, and kiss zir. Sometimes the female makes a feeble resistance before responding to 'what she really wanted anyway.' In almost all of these scenes it is the first time the couple has kissed and there is no build-up (this is not a kiss between people where desire for kisses has already been established). This is considered 'romantic' -- the amount of force is equated to the amount of desire/'love,' and respect is completely excluded from the equation. Another aspect of this is that the male is always expected to initiate, and initiating means risking rejection. So a male person, not wanting to be rejected, tries to minimize the chance of rejection by initiating in a way that is very difficult to refuse. It's 'mean' to push someone away when they are trying to kiss you, but it's not so mean to pull your face away -- so if you make it so that the other person has the choice of being 'mean,' bumping their head against the wall, or giving in, they are less likely to reject you. And all of this applies to same-sex interactions which fit into butch/femme, seme/uke, or top/bottom dynamics as well.

2) Considering penetration NOT an essential component to sex means that penetration is an option (for the penetrated one!), not an obligation, and definitely not a definition for sex. In male/female sex, it should NOT be assumed that the female will be penetrated any more than it is an assumption that the male will be penetrated (unless the goal of the experience is procreation, of course). Both sexes have their primary pleasure organs located outside the body (the g-spot has not been scientifically proven to produce orgasm and doesn't even exist in most women), so it is quite possible for most people to be sexually satisfied without penetration of any kind. If penetration is desired, one should communicate (by words or actions) that one wants to be penetrated before the other makes any move to do so, and if one does not want to be penetrated, there should be no negative attitude on the part of the other person. In same-sex couples, I think an inequality can develop if one person is always penetrated while the other one never is and if that is the case it should be discussed, but ultimately it is about what each person wants in each experience.

3) Initiating/giving/leading equally means not having roles/habits for who initiates, giving foreplay equally, and 'directing' the action equally. In the stories society tells about sex (movies, shows, 'romance' novels, porn), male or 'masculine' people initiate, do the foreplay (if any is done), and control the position(s), duration, and mood. To have equalist sex, one cannot just switch up the roles every now and then -- one has to challenge the roles themselves. Challenging the initiator role is difficult, because it is based on the individual's desire; how I did it with my partner was by agreeing that ze would not initiate for a while, so that my desire would push me to initiate despite my lack of ease with initiating. Now it is just as natural to me as it is to zir. (it's not the ratio of initiating that is the key, just the lack of an assigned role) Also, each equalist sexual experience contains a fairly equal amount of giving stimulating touch by each person (not including penetration, which should always and ONLY be an option if the person-to-be-penetrated desires it) -- OR the couple can create an overall equality by taking turns. The concept that heterosexual males don't want to receive ("don't need") foreplay is rarely questioned because it fits right in with the assumption that penetration is the ultimate goal of males when having sex. If you take that assumption out, then foreplay becomes more important to both participants. With my male partner, it was during a time of having mostly outercourse that I learned more about how to please zir, because the focus was on both of our pleasure rather than on my-pleasure-with-the-goal-of-allowing-penetration-as-zir-pleasure. And it wasn't until practicing outercourse that we discovered that ze enjoys foreplay just as much as I do and it increases not only the intensity of zir orgasm but zir satisfaction in the overall experience (which is common sense if you ignore the societal myth that men just want to stick it in). And lastly, with leading/directing -- in the stories society tells about sex, the male always ends up on top, despite the fact that this is illogical comfort-wise considering that the female (in these stories) is ALWAYS smaller, lighter, weaker, and more frail. There is nothing inherently wrong with that position, of course, but it should not be an assumption. (I hate male-female sex scenes in films/shows because even if it starts out with the woman on top, the man invariably rolls over on top of zir -- every. single. time.) Positions should be chosen together or in turns (not strictly, but by the general feel), not always chosen by the same person and agreed upon by the other.

Supposedly women have a lower sex drive than men, generally. But if most women wanted to penetrate men and get off without considering the man's desire or pleasure (and actually had the power to make that happen, while society told them that that was an appropriate way of having sex, eliminating guilt), I wonder how many men would want to have sex. I wonder how many men would even consider such an arrangement 'sex.'

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Comments
frecklestars ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣openness╠══
*hugs a million* I'm so sorry you were afraid you'd lose me as a friend! I tried to explain how that wasn't the case for anyone on my flist (only for people who live it totally -- I don't have anyone that lives it that way on my list, so it really wasn't about 'if you do this I'm cutting you' -- more like 'if you do this I probably won't add you in the first place, because there just won't be any draw for me').

Honestly, part of me is drawn to it too. The reason I don't participate is not because I see it as unequivocally 'wrong,' but just that I feel that the things I could get from BDSM, I could get quicker/easier in other ways, with less possible side effects. And I like the side effects of equalist sex.

I like what you said about discussion of boundaries. I do that with my lovers anyway -- I don't think consent can ever be implied, but the common belief seems to be that it can.
frecklestars ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣concupiscent╠══
Things I think I could get from BDSM, but could get quicker/easier from equalist sex: an increase in vulnerability, trust, communication, understanding-of-how-I-feel-about-sex/consent/power/equality/bodies, decrease in assumptions/habitual roles (in BDSM, doing this by flipping the roles; in equalist sex, doing this by eliminating them).

Possible side effects of BDSM which I do not want (which might not occur in everyone but I feel sure would occur in some people, including myself and my lovers): being desensitized to causing pain or controlling others, being more comfortable with role-oriented relating (it is normal in society but I strive to make it abnormal in my relating style).

Side effects of equalist sex which I love: FAR GREATER enjoyment of sex, greater desire for sex, greater connection in sex. I've always been very sensual but despite this I wasn't fond of sex before practicing it in an equalist way. It's such a world of difference. AND, perhaps even more importantly, the role-eliminating in equalist sex has changed my partner's and my whole style of relating out-of-the-bedroom. Equalist issues we had talked about and agreed on in theory became so much more alive when our sex reflected them. That is why I am sure BDSM would sway us TOWARD roles overall, because our sex has so profoundly affected our overall relating style.

ANDDDDDD my partner has become more cuddly, which I think is partly resulting from becoming more comfortable with being touched during sex; ze didn't want to give cuddles because ze wasn't comfortable receiving them, and practicing receiving in sex allowed zir to become more comfortable receiving (and therefore giving) in platonic ways. If you know how much of a touch person I am you know this is LIFE-CHANGING.
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
oh, definitely. I didn't include the back-and-forth possibility in my wording but I definitely agree that that can be equalist also (I think I'll go edit to include that). About the balancing of initiating, I see your point also -- I was just speaking of all-other-things-being-equal, but if one person is physically less able to enjoy sex often then I would definitely consider it still equal if that was taken into consideration in the initiating-ratio.
belenen ══╣feminist╠══
previously included disclaimer:
I want to amend what I said previously. I am not anti-BDSM, because that implies that I disagree with it in every situation, whichever way it is done, and that is not true. To be more accurate, I am an advocate of equalist sex (which by my definition does not include BDSM). I almost wish I had simply written this instead of writing the previous entries, as it expresses the same thing but in positive (pro-) rather than negative (anti-) terms, but oh well.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE: I'm not going to clutter this up with "I think" phrases, but it is simply an expression of my opinion nonetheless. It should not be interpreted as me urging/forcing anyone to do/believe anything; just a statement that this is something I consider a positive style of relating.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.