My previous post of the series was about how emotional/sexual attachment to men (‘heterosexuality’) exists only within the context of OPPRESSION, GENOCIDE or globally organised violence against women by men as a class. Which means that this emotional bond to men can’t be anything else than an uncontrolled chemical response to that inescapable violence and oppression. A response to which men have conditioned us through a fine-tuned system of repression, deprivation, constraints and reward, grooming and brainwashing – aimed to modify our behaviour to ensure our long-term submission. Within this inescapable subordination to men, we can only fear them or trauma-bond to them: therefore love does not exist towards men.
One aspect I haven’t talked yet about men’s heterocage is the role pleasure plays in securing our sexual submission. In other words, how sexual pleasure with men is manufactured – it’s not pleasure but dissociation from the invasion, pain or fear. It’s always worth reminding FCM’s definition of fear and trauma-bonding inherent to intercourse:
as i think has been made abundantly clear by now, women are literally putting their lives and physical and mental wellbeing on the line, every fucking time they engage in PIV. (sorry! really, i am). if its not the very reasonable fear of being raped at some point during the encounter, its the fear of disease, and the dread, absolute dread of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy. and that last one applies even in wanted encounters with trusted partners, does it not? every single act of intercourse, from somewhat pre-menstruation to somewhat post-menopause. or…until your mate gets his nads snipped…and even then. fear, and dread. foreboding, terror, and bargaining with god. counting the days. … when women have PIV with men, we are encountering a life-threatening situation, with another person, by definition. not surprisingly, we form intense bonds with our war-buddies, these men with whom we have literally faced death and disfigurement. terror.
Before I go any further I just want to pull up again some basics on consent, violence and oppression, because that applies to every situation of violence: no matter how much you think you want, enjoy or choose to submit to an act of violence, violence excludes choice by definition, so it’s never something you could have chosen. When we define an act of violence and a system of oppression, we look at what the abuser or oppressor class does to the victim that qualifies as violence or oppression in any form. This is the only usable criteria; anything else than the actions of the oppressor is excluded from the definition, such as how the victims react (or are made to react) to this violence, whether or not she submits. When we define patriarchy we look at the structure, the pattern of what men do to us. All this is always external to us, outside of the victims. It doesn’t have anything to do with women and our individual choices as free beings but with men, patriarchy. Their violence is about them.
The very purpose of violence is to inflict something on you that you don’t want and that’s against your interest: the point is to harm, destroy you or go against your will. It’s biologically impossible to want your own destruction, you always only want what’s good for you and your survival, because that is how female life is designed. The only reason we seem to be drawn to subordination to men is because men’s violence functions in a way that turns our survival impulse against ourselves, by making us paradoxically seek self-destruction for our survival (see previous post on colonisation).
Consent is meaningless and irrelevant with regards to defining men’s violence and describing the objective reality of it. The only ones to choose and want are those who do the violence: men. They choose to resort to violence because they want to obtain something from us that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain (using us as their dick receptacles, control our reproduction). Will, calculation, intent and choice of means to achieve their end are all on their side. Saying that we choose and want it is a reversal and lie. The illusion of our choice protects men not us, because deception and reversal is in part how they maintain their rule.
Violence only gives two possible options for the victim:
#1- to get away from / stop the violence (therefore there is no more violence)
#2- to submit to violence and oppression because there is no escape > forced to stay in proximity to abuser
Neither of which are a choice. In situation one, for the sake of your life and safety, you have no choice but to get away. In situation two, for the sake of your life and safety, you have no choice but to do what the abuser/oppressor orders of you.
What (liberal) men want us to believe is that the options in violence are split between:
#1- to choose not enter in the situation, because you don’t fancy it, you’re not that kind of girl.
#2- to choose to stay in the situation because you want more of it.
Both of which have the effect of erasing the reality of violence, since violence only commands submission or requires escape, without which violence doesn’t exist.
Back to the topic of sexual pleasure in intercourse that so many women claim to have and which is often the only reason that keeps us into it. As radfems, we always say that whether or not we take pleasure in intercourse, it’s irrelevant to the point that PIV is inherently harmful: but that’s partly incorrect, because the pleasure is part of the intended harm too. Here’s why:
#1. The pleasure we experience during intercourse isn’t natural, but groomed. Men teach us how to instantaneously associate the fear, pain and/or invasion of the penetration to clitoral stimulation, so we dissociate from it – cut it off – and think it’s pleasurable. Clitoral stimulation may function in the exact same way as dissociation in a situation of sexual violence because it sends dissociative drugs to the brain. Dissociation is a drug, so this reaction to PIV may become an addiction, a rush we crave for like cocaine.
#2. This groomed chemical response to intercourse is harmful because it deliberately diminishes our capacity to identify rape/PIV as violence and get away from it. It confuses us into thinking we wanted it and enjoyed it. In BDSM for instance, it is very common for men to ask women to rub their clitoris during the acts. They know it will confuse their victim, letting her believe she likes being raped and humiliated and that she is a slut after all, exactly what he told her. It will make her feel more ashamed. It’s intentional. The best way for a man to obtain long term sexual subordination from a woman is for him to get her to believe she likes it and wants it, as he would do for pimping, marriage and any form of sexual slavery. It reduces his efforts in having to control her while maximising his use of her.
#3. So this so-called sexual arousal isn’t about pleasure at all and was never intended to be: it’s about power-over and domination, it’s a way for men to obtain obedience.
Men deceiving us into finding intercourse pleasurable has been documented historically. It was part of a very organised and institutionalised strategy to quash the “anti-sex” feminist movements of the late 19th and early 20th century, to put women back to the function of dick-receptacles and breeders. IOW when women started to run away from men en masse, men launched a massive campaign to trick women back into PIV by making us think we liked it, instead of the normal ‘we should do it because that’s the way it is, we’re subordinate to our husbands’. Sheila Jeffreys explains it all very well in her introduction to Anticlimax:
In my first book, The Spinster and Her Enemies, I showed how the sexologists before the Second World War believed that they would ensure women’s subordination by eliciting a sexual response to men. Compulsory conscription into heterosexuality and the performance of the orgasm with a man were seen to ensure woman’s submission to her husband and the death of feminism, lesbianism, manhating and spinsterhood. A Freudian psychoanalyst of the 1920s made this clear when he wrote: ‘To be roused by a man means acknowledging oneself as conquered.’ Throughout the history of sexology the focus of concern has been the resisting woman. The incitement of women to respond sexually to men continued after the Second World War. This becomes clear in a consideration of the politics of sex in the 1940s and 50s, when the future of male-dominant marriage was seen to hang on curing women’s frigidity. At this time sexologists showed no self-consciousness about asserting the connection between woman’s sexual response and her subordination.
In the 1960s women were enjoined to respond in more varied positions and situations and single women were conscripted into active heterosexual sex. The language of liberation was so loud in connection with the new sexual prescriptions for women that commentators have assumed some obvious relationship between the ‘sexual revolution’ and progress in women’s condition. There is no good reason to suppose that the sexologists changed step and started believing, contrary to all their previous ideas, that women’s sexual response to men would actually liberate women. As we shall see the rules of sexologic remained unaltered. Behind the baloney of liberation, the naked power politics of male supremacy were being acted out. The high priests of sexologic, helped by the pornographers, progressive novelists and sex radicals continued to orchestrate woman’s joyful embrace of her oppression through the creation of her sexual response. Sexologists have for a hundred years dedicated their lives to eliciting orgasms from women in order to prevent our liberation.
Sheila Jeffreys, Anticlimax p. 4-5
The great scam of the 20th century goes threefold: that women’s liberation consists in
being free to be fucked by any man
having orgasms in being fucked by men
achieving equality to men with the pill, so we can now be fucked by men without consequences, that is dissociate PIV from reproduction.
What it is about is men‘s freedom to rape more women, and diminishing men’s restrictions in raping already-owned women. They want to be able to rape even their neighbour’s wife or daughter and not get in trouble for trespassing other men’s private property. It’s about breaking down barriers to male ownership and trade of women, installing the model whereby all women are potentially touchable and violated by all men in public: the model of women’s constant prostitution to men, disguised as our sexual liberation. Liberalism, from its very beginnings, has always only been about liberalising access to property (as women) for all men.
I always find it interesting to look at the language of pre-‘sexual liberation’ for female subordination mandates. It’s surprising how everything was much more explicit before and how much more lucid women seemed to be about the fact that they didn’t have any choice about submitting to PIV and that was what they were married off to men for.
One reason it took me such a long time to get away from PIV and realise that it was destructive was precisely because I thought it procured me those “orgasms”. Believing that I enjoyed it despite the unease, fear and shame I always felt, and the fact I thought I had no other option, I never stopped seeking it until it became painful again, but that’s when I noticed that the dude didn’t stop, he continued regardless and didn’t care whether I enjoyed it or not. It dawned on me that the whole time my taking pleasure in PIV wasn’t about me or about reciprocity at all, but only a useful tool for men so they could effortlessly use me for penetration, having me thinking I wanted it.
As I said above, it has nothing to do with pleasure, because it’s a knee-jerk genital response that men teach us to have to the invasion of penetration, so we numb it off and feel this intense genital stimulation instead. It is over time and repetition that we learn to stimulate the clitoris with PIV and the body memorises this reaction mechanically: the first intercourses are mostly painful or uncomfortable. It’s like Pavlov who tortured / groomed a poor dog into drooling at the sound of the bell because it was associated to reward/punishment. In a similar way, at the sight of men’s erection or at feeling penetration, or even at the sight of men, we mechanically react in that way to protect ourselves from the fear or pain, because they’re either a rape threat or actual rape. It’s an uncontrolled chemical response to violence / threat of violence, just like trauma bonding is, it’s actually one aspect of trauma bonding, the “sexual side” of stockholm syndrome.
You know it’s a form of dissociation because it has this intense feeling followed by a release or a feeling of emptiness or excruciating need for more. If you pay close attention to it, when you’re in need it feels excruciating, like your insides are being hooked out of you. It’s a craving/longing followed by a high followed by a low. This is how you recognise dissociation and addiction as opposed to pleasure.
So a consequence of PIV orgasm policy on us is to to experience men’s presence as potential fucks instead of as rape threats, which is very, very deadly and puts us in harm’s way millionfold. In fact both potential fuck / rape threat situations are one and the same, the same pervy men and the same invasive gestures, but in the first case we dissociate through genital / emotional urges and aren’t consciously aware of the threat, and in the second case, we are aware of the external threat, feel fear directly and take measures to protect ourselves from it. So what helps me whenever I am invaded by such thoughts again in front of a man is to tell myself he’s a rape threat, which is precisely why I’m reacting that way, and he’s even more of a threat to me because of that reaction which hypnotically draws me to him instead of making me run away (thanks to Rididill for pointing out the men as rape threat vs. potential fuck).
Since PIV is violence and dissociative, it causes traumatic memory, which will be triggered in situations that recall it. And everything in this male world directly or indirectly refers to PIV, to women’s status as fuckholes. Any party, bed, public space, every film, book, song, ad, church, every other man leering at us, any man who physically resembles our previous rapist, every damn conversation. Men have turned every aspect of our daily life into a constant PIV threat / rape threat and reminder of our subordinate status. They even turn mundane objects such as cucumbers, beer bottles, lollipops and bananas into rape threats, which they euphemise as “sexual innuendo” or “sexual connotation”. As a result we may be continually invaded by visual/physical flashes of PIV. However what men have called “nymphomania” or “heterosexual thoughts and urges” are nothing but visual and sensory flashbacks of eroticised rapes from which we dissociated through genital arousal, so the thought of it trigger those same physical sensations and the need to dissociate again through PIV to overcome the current anxiety.
These flashbacks in presence of men or PIV ‘connotations’ can linger on for a very long time, even after years of celibacy, separatism from men or lesbianism. It haunts you and it feels like self-betrayal as a feminist, even though it’s not your fault. But more time passes, the more the effect wears off and the more the violence becomes physically and emotionally evident, becomes less abstract.
Our worth is only measured in how much men want to penetrate us, and we are forced into it from all sides; the violence of penetration/rape is erased and named “making love”; genital dissociation reinforces the erasure because we take this for orgasm. Men make us dependent on PIV by dangling carrots of “recognition”, “food”, “affection”, “prince charming”, “orgasm” (scare quotes because these rewards aren’t true) which traps us into a vicious cycle of more and more PIV because we never get what we’re so desperately looking for, so we try again, and again, and again, ad infinitum. More PIV is also offered as the only solution to our more or less unconscious resistance to PIV such as feeling uneasy, apprehensive, anxious, emptied, vulnerable, disgusted, abandoned, used, stuffed – they explain to us that we just haven’t tried it well enough, found the right man or tried with enough men, we haven’t learned to enjoy it the right way, tried the right positions, we need to put more lubricant, we just need to chill, be more cool and liberated and sexy.
Our normal physical defence reactions are defined as personal flaws, as frigidity and vaginismus, so instead of doing less or stopping altogether, we think we need to do more in the hope that we’ll end up becoming used to it, adapt to it, that this will eventually shake off the fear and make it feel as normal as eating.
We are also told that our feelings of fear, disgust, apprehension or second thoughts are due to the “double standard” that shames women and not men in intercourse. The inherent problem of PIV and men is displaced to being an external problem of diffuse societal shaming of women who do PIV. Men’s solution to this is to encourage us to be proud and open about PIV and our ‘sexual urges’, to free our inhibitions, be more open, push our limits to fear and pain further and further, which of course traps us back with men’s dicks and men’s violence. And their solution never works because the more we do it, the more we accumulate dread and shame, the more worthless we feel. And the more worthless we feel, the more vulnerable it makes us to assholes who manipulate us for intercourse/rape. As said before, this order to free our inhibitions to PIV is about men’s will to free restrictions to their sexual use of women, not about freeing ourselves. PIV escalation leads us to sink more and more into dissociation. There is no limit to this, it’s a bottomless pit, and the logical conclusion of this is “slutwalks”, “slut prides”, BDSM, torture, death. We can be trapped in this cycle forever, circling into more and more violence, forever trying to find freedom in our annihilation.
If we look at those genital arousals from a purely logical perspective, we have this. Intercourse may be experienced in three different ways:
#1. PIV causes Genital Arousal
#2. PIV causes Genital Arousal + Pain
#3. PIV causes just Pain
#1. PIV + more Violence = Genital Arousal
#2. PIV + more Violence = Genital Arousal + Pain
#3. PIV + more Violence = Pain
Male violence on its own = GA
Male violence on its own = GA + Pain
Male violence on its own = Pain
just male presence = GA
just male presence = GA + Pain
just male presence = Pain
PIV / male presence are the minimum level of violence, and most often but not always in evident ways, men inflict additional violence on top of PIV. Genital arousal, contrary to choice, coexists with violence and doesn’t annul it. It may be experienced from the minimal to maximum level of violence, even torture. It follows that the experience of ‘orgasm’ is the same as experience of pain: it’s a natural and uncontrolled reaction to violence.