Posts Tagged celibacy

Men Without Women, Part 4: Celibacy

Andrea Dworkin’s Intercourse has been making the rounds among the feminist blogs, as those who’ve never read it tackle the contents and those who have read it discuss how it’s impacted their lives. I’ve been plugging through the book myself, though between my children and Dworkin’s thick writing, it’s slow going; I’ve gotten more out of the internet debate surrounding the book than from the book itself (so far).

One of the ideas to come out of the discussion of the book has been that heterosexuals especially should evaluate the role of penetrative sex in their lives. Why is there an idea of “foreplay” that isn’t itself “sex”, the ultimate goal of which is to lead to sex – penetrative sex, specifically penis-in-vagina (since penetrative oral sex is also part of “foreplay”)? What would sex be like without penetration?

Part of what it’s gelled for me is that male sexuality is nothing without penetration in modern society, because all other forms of sexual activity are dismissed as feminizing, except for masturbation – which itself is only okay within certain constraints: you must still be experiencing regular penetrative sex; you must be using porn or otherwise engaging in objectification; you may not have any emotional or spiritual investment in your sex life at all, and especially with masturbation, and your sex life likewise cannot enter your emotional and spiritual life.

One of our strongest definitions of a man is someone who has the power and position to be dismissive. If we’re going to redefine men, we’re going to have to stop being dismissive – of women, of “feminizing” qualities, of our own spirituality and sexual natures. We’re going to have to reclaim sex in the name of spirituality even as we reclaim spirituality itself.
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