Tag Archives: modesty

What Does It Mean For A Woman To “Own” Her Sexuality?

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In a perfect world, human sexuality wouldn’t be so political. From  a biological and societal standpoint, the fundamentals are simple.

Two people meet.

They gauge one another’s interest.

They decide to engage in an intimate relationship.

Together, they make a mutual effort to enjoy the fruits of that relationship.

Ideally, an expression of sexuality is a mutual exchange between two people seeking an intimate connection. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a heterosexual relationship, a homosexual relationship, or something more elaborate. So long as those involved are willing, considerate, and open, everyone shares in the benefits.

Sadly, we don’t live in that perfect world. Like it or not, human sexuality is one of the most politically charged topics anyone can discuss. It’s connected to hot button issues like abortion, sexual assault, domestic violence, child welfare, poverty, crime, human trafficking, and even religion. Considering its role in propagating our species, it’s understandable why discussions about about it get heated.

That said, some of those discussions are political for all the wrong reasons. A few are even built on a foundation of absurdities that only serve to distort our perspectives on human sexuality and not in a good way. One of those discussions involve the idea of a woman “owning her sexuality.”

This idea isn’t new, but it has become a more common refrain in recent years, often in conjunction with media depictions of female sexuality. It’s become a slogan, of sorts, for whenever a female celebrity or fictional character does something that’s sexually empowering. Depending on where someone is on the political spectrum, they’ll either cheer or scorn their actions.

However, what constitutes “sexual empowerment” is poorly defined and exceedingly inconsistent. In some cases, empowerment involves a woman being more sexual than society at large deems appropriate. In other cases, empowerment involves a woman being less sexual or less feminine. Here are just a few examples.

When Miley Cyrus was nude in one of her music videos, some saw this as empowering.

When Lara Croft was redesigned to be less sexy in her 2014 reboot, some saw this as empowering.

When Muslim women justify restrictive Islamic dress codes, some saw this as empowering.

When some women decided to stop shaving their body hair, some saw this as empowering.

Regardless of what form it takes, the empowerment is framed as women either reclaiming or owning their sexual selves. What it means is often vague, but it usually carries a particular set of connotations.

To own one’s sexuality is to break a set of unspoken rules, give the finger to an unjust system, and forge your own sexual path. It’s like that moment in every great sports movie where the underdog beats the odds and triumphs over their evil opponents. In that triumph, their notion of what constitutes a fair and just expression of human sexuality is vindicated. All others are somehow flawed.

I concede that this is a gross generalization, but it’s the most common narrative I see whenever there’s a story about a woman owning her sexuality. It’s built around the assumption that female sexuality is always the underdog and to own it, a woman needs to somehow seize it from the clutches of repressive, misogynistic men.

Now, I don’t deny that there are many injustices in the current social landscape. Historically, female sexuality has been subject to seriously repressive taboos. Even today, there are still various taboos about female sexual pleasure. Many women genuinely suffer because of it. The idea of women enjoying sex as much as men is still jarring to some people. Some even find it threatening.

In that sense, I don’t blame women for wanting to embrace their sexual selves in an environment that treats their sexuality as tool for political issues or marketing. Like men, they have feelings and desires. They have every right to pursue them with the same passion as anyone else. When it comes to “owning” it, though, the terminology tends to obscure that pursuit.

The fact that “owning” your sexuality can mean so many different things ensures it ultimately means very little. It has become one of those vague, catch-all terms that’s supposed to mark something as meaningful, progressive, or enlightened. In many cases, it comes down to people using sexuality to provoke a reaction, garner attention, or protest an injustice.

While I’m in favor of protesting sexual injustices, the fact that “owning your sexuality” is such an ambiguous act makes it a poor form of protest. All it does is assert that you can make choices about how you express your sexuality and you’re willing to endure the criticism. That doesn’t say anything about the injustice itself.

If anything, the very concept of owning your sexuality raises more questions than answers. To own something implies possession. The fact that a woman owning her sexuality is so celebrated implies that the woman didn’t possess it in the first place. If that’s the case, then when was it taken from her? At what point did she not own it? What did she have to overcome in order to get it back?

To some extent, for a woman to own her sexuality, she and others like her must buy into the idea that someone else governs it to some extent. In some cases, it’s the media with their depictions of idealized feminine beauty. In others, it’s repressive religious dogma that seeks to control female sexuality.

While there are real instances of women having to escape repressive environments, there’s a big difference between a female celebrity posing nude for a magazine and a woman being brutally punished for committing adultery. One involves someone escaping a coercive force that causes them real physical harm. The other involves them doing something that will only subject them to harsh scrutiny, at worst.

In that context, a woman owning her sexuality is no different than willingly enduring extra criticism and aggressive slut shaming. Can it be excessive? It certainly can be. Is it the same as someone putting their life and their body at risk in order to express their sexuality? I would argue that it isn’t.

I know my opinion may not count for much on this issue since I’m a heterosexual man. I concede that there’s only so much I can understand about the female experience. At the same time, I feel inclined to point out that men are human too. Men are also burdened by various taboos and double standards. As such, a man “owning his sexuality” is subject to entirely different standards.

The fact that those standards are so different implies that there’s little substance behind the concept. If a woman can act overtly sexual in one instance and exercise extreme modesty, yet claim to own her sexuality in both cases, then where does the ownership come in? At what point is it any different than just making choices and living with them?

If there is no difference, then the concept is ultimately pointless.

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Daily Sexy Musings: Underneath Our Clothes

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The following are some of my sexy musings to help start your day, among other things. Enjoy!

We’re all naked underneath our clothes. Thin layers of fabric separate modesty from obscenity. We go outside every day, knowing that our most private areas are protected only by the attire we choose. We never give it a second thought, but we cover ourselves, as though exposure will bring us irreparable harm.

We come out of the womb blissfully unaware of all taboos. We simply seek warmth from the elements and nothing more. There is purpose to covering ourselves, but it gets lost as we grow into a world afraid of its own reflection, aghast at what the sight of our bodies may evoke. Is it out of fear? Is it out of uncertainty as to how we’ll react? We don’t know, but we never bother to ask.

Perhaps it’s because it makes us horny, wanting sensual experiences that go beyond what society deems appropriate.

Perhaps it’s because it makes us complacent, realizing that every person is equally vulnerable at the end of the day. No matter their race, creed, wealth, or status, they are as frail as any animal in the wild.

Perhaps it’s because it reminds us that we are conditioned to avert our eyes, avoiding vanity and the thoughts that go with it. There is danger in self-obsession, large and small. How are we to function when we are too captivated by our own beauty?

At the end of every day, we are still naked. Our skin, genitals and all, are there for us to see. We cannot avoid them. We can only make excuses, but never valid reasons. The mirror still reveals everything, unfiltered and unobscured. Dread it or embrace it. One will bring acceptance. The other will only bring more excuses.

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Why The World Needs More Nudity

Yesterday, I confessed to the world that I, Jack Fisher, sleep naked and love it. I praised the joys and even highlighted the benefits. I even got a few generous commenters to express support for my nude sleeping preferences. To those commenters, I thank you and I hope you get a chance to experience those joys as well.

After writing that post, it also got me thinking. If sleeping naked offers so many benefits, then does that mean there are other benefits to being naked in general? Using the same caveman logic I used yesterday, it seems logical. Our bodies evolved on the African savanna. It’s very hot in the African savanna, which means wearing a lot of clothes isn’t all that practical. So for our species to survive, we had to evolve some benefits to walking around in the buff.

However, caveman logic alone isn’t enough. It also doesn’t explain why there is so much taboo surrounding nudity. We all see it in most forms of popular media. There are movies, TV shows, and music videos where people shoot, stab, and bludgeon each other horribly. This is all fine, but showing a female nipple? That’s somehow so horrific that it traumatizes society as a whole. That’s why Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl XXXVIII half-time show caused society to crumble as millions of people were traumatized.

Oh wait, that didn’t happened. Society didn’t crumble. A generation of children wasn’t traumatized. It’s almost as if human beings aren’t biologically programmed to faint in terror at the sight of their own physiology. What a radical concept, right?

So why are “wardrobe malfunctions” a thing? Why is the sight of a female nipple or an exposed penis so horrific for some people? Well, that’s difficult to answer. It is fairly well-documented that America’s approach to sexuality is downright schizophrenic at times. America loves to champion freedom, but goes out of its way to shame or inhibit sexual expression. Tech Times did a nice job of highlighting some of America’s odd prudishness on the internet, despite being the home of the biggest porn industries in the world.

It is an odd quirk of western culture in general, claiming to promote freedom while clinging to prudish attitudes towards sex. Some of this probably stems from outdated cultural practices meant to stem excessive promiscuity. As I’ve discussed before in previous blog posts, western property-owning societies did have a logistical reason for discouraging promiscuity because it undermined the transfer of property and spread disease. Many of those reasons are no longer valid, thanks to advances in technology and medicine. That still doesn’t stop people from clinging to these concepts.

Most people these days don’t claim that exposed female breasts alone will traumatize children. If not, they should take a trip to New York City. There are women on the streets standing around topless, in front of families and children, and nobody is traumatized. Even children have some innate understanding that naked bodies are not disgusting. It’s the adults of the world that want us to believe as such.

As a result, we get entire societies and cultures promoting modesty as a high virtue. We especially see this in the Middle East where there’s this assumption that men can’t control themselves at the sight of a naked woman. As a man, I find this extremely offensive. I’ve seen many naked women before in non-intimate settings. It really wasn’t that hard to control myself. If I, a writer of erotic fiction, can do so, then how can anyone else claim otherwise?

We evolved to be naked. We’re all naked underneath our clothes. Get over it. There are a great many joys to being naked. There are also many health benefits, thanks once again to the wonders of caveman logic. Today.com even did a nice write-up on the benefits of being naked. It’s good for your skin, it improves your mood, and it increases Vitamin D levels in your body. So for the good of your health, ditch the clothes and embrace its naked glory!

If you still need more proof, check out this video from DNews. If it still doesn’t convince you, then you’re just being difficult.

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