Consensual Sex is Feminist Sex

I’m really into having discussions about sex with the people in my life. I don’t mean hearing the gritty details about their last play time, although that happens a lot too. At the risk of sounding like that guy – that obnoxious poli-sci/philosophy/*cough*art student who wants to turn everything into a discussion about, like, society, man – I like hearing people’s thoughts on sex and sexuality, especially in conjunction with feminism.

That being said, a recent talk with a friend reminded me of the one discussion I’ll no longer humour: the “BDSM = Misogyny!!!” garbage. In fact, I roll my eyes in the general direction of most arguments that equate consensual sex acts with oppressing my gender. This is coming from someone who once subscribed to the “blow jobs are sexist because you’re on your knees” school of thought.

Look, I get that reducing the point to “BDSM is sexist” isn’t giving any credit to the amount of nuance, theory, and lived experience that has been contributed this discourse, but I know some wonderful feminists who like to be dominated. I know rape and abuse survivors who have worked through their trauma with a Dominatrix or through power exchange. I know women who dominate women, men who dominate men, so… who’s oppressing who in that situation?

I’m not saying I haven’t internalized any attitudes about how I, as a woman, am supposed to act, how much “power” I’m supposed to have as a sexual partner. I think it’s important to examine those attitudes and how they might affect our sex lives. I just think the “you’re conditioned to like it!” argument against submission (and porn, and sex work…) and the act of labeling these acts as anti-feminist ignores their potential for empowerment. Appreciating a good spanking makes me a bad feminist as much as liking chocolate makes me a bad Mario Kart player.