Samhain means “Summer’s End”, and October 31st is a night to honor those who have crossed over. Most cultures that are close to their indigenous roots have rituals such as this. For Northwestern European indigenous culture (and those of us of that descent), Samhain is a very special, sacred time.
For some background, Halloween is NOT rooted in paganism or witchcraft. The devil, demons, and evil spirits are a Judeo-Christian fantasy. The word “witch” comes from the Proto-Indo-European word wig- which means “wise” and was used to refer to “wise women”, the healers and keepers of life’s mysteries. This is the reason that misogynist imperialists have always hated and feared women. “Pagan” comes from the Latin paganus, which means “country dweller”, and was used by the Romans to refer to the indigenous clans of Europe. For clarification, the Romans were NOT pagans; in the Roman Empire, the walled cities — urbs, were home to Roman citizens — civiem (from which we get the words civil, civilized, civilization). The walled cities were built to keep the indigenous tribal pagans OUT and away from Roman citizens. This is how “pagans” (the indigenous clans) came to be thought of by the church as un-civilized; they were literally un-citied — the pagans did not live within the walled cities of Rome with the civiem.
Back to the present, one of the most prolific visages at this time of year happens to be decorations, candies, and costumes featuring a green-faced witch. Some say, it’s just a comic take on something that’s not real. They say it’s a joke, a harmless costume.
I completely disagree.
When you buy products that feature a green-faced witch with a crooked nose & ragged hair, you are perpetuating misogyny.
The mass public is thoroughly confused about witchcraft and witches. In regard to paganism and witchcraft, too many people think witchcraft is either evil (thanks to the medieval church) or whiz-bang fireworks (thanks to TV, film, and Harry Potter). This is why we activists have to speak out against the ingrained prejudices. Sadly, most people do not know they are being misogynistic, thanks to the imperial patriarchal culture of the past 2,500 years. And so, we continue to speak up and speak out until all of humanity is educated and the healing begins.
Posting some of this information on my Facebook profile, one friend (yes, an actual, in-real-life friend) made this surprising comment:
All I can do is laugh. Halloween has always been about fun in my lifetime, people overthinking things and getting offended over nothing is what the problem is. Look at all the BS going on about peoples costumes, it’s Halloween, that’s what people do, dress up in costumes that depict something they are not. get over it lol [sic]
The getting offended part may have referred to American Indian activists protesting Halloween costumes that include “Indian braves” and Pocahontas. Odd, since my actual friend is actually Cheyenne. Just goes to show how insensitivity to other people’s oppression is prevalent regardless of personal identity.
For my response, I gave a brief overview and background of the Witch Trials, which I researched extensively for my musical, Witchcraze.
The perception of what witches look like stems from the witch trials of Europe and the New World colonies. Wise women — witches — were a common part of rural society, but the height of the Dark Ages saw the first Witch Trials in the early 14th century, when Pope John XXII declared in 1326 that the inquisition could investigate accusations of witchcraft. When the printing press was invented and mass printing was available, woodcuts of witches riding brooms and attending sabats became a familiar sight in print, fueling the burgeoning stereotype of witches. Another damning factor for women as knowledgeable healers came with the rise of medicine and men commandeering the healing arts. Wise women who still treated patients became suspect of all sorts of calamities during the late Middle Ages, as various epidemics afflicted both humans and livestock. If someone or some thing died, people blamed the local witch. As medieval Europe recovered from the fall of Rome and established institutionalized rule within its new kingdoms and expanded the institutionalized dogma of the male-dominated, woman-subjugating Christian church, the witch went from a place of respect in a community to a source of shame and suspicion.
The witch trials were brutal to say the least. By the time most people saw a “witch”, it was for her public trial or execution (re-trial). This happened after she had been imprisoned and tortured for months. The witch hunters and those in charge of gaining confessions from the accused used all means of violence against the women, including rape, beatings, joint breakers like thumbscrews and the strappado which broke the women’s shoulders, the iron maiden, boiling water, boiling oil, to name just a few. The beatings left their faces severely bruised and swollen, hence the green discoloration, and misshapen as their facial bones were broken and not reset properly, a feature that is caricatured by a large, crooked nose and overly emphasized cheekbones and jaw. The missing teeth of the commercialized witch are a nod to the real witches having their teeth punched out during beatings for a confession. The witches hunched posture and misshapen fingers are also part of the legacy of beatings, their backs and shoulders were severely injured while their hands were crooked and disjointed. Their voices raspy due to choking torture and dehydration.
My comment to my friend:
So you may not see what harm there is in buying green-faced witch merchandise, but for those of us who know what it means, it represents misogynist evil. So there is nothing for me to “get over”. I will continue to educate people on the truth.
To which he responded:
I’m well aware of what happened in those times, not a good time for people, women and men, who were accused of witchcraft. Education is a great thing or we wouldn’t be where we are today but come on, I’m not going to turn away a child because he or she is wearing a green faced witch costume.
You do not aim scorn at the kids; after all, hate and prejudice have to be carefully taught (to paraphrase South Pacific). It’s the adults who need educating so they don’t continue the cycle of misinformation and stereotypes to another generation.
So I speak up, and I speak out. I love sporting a witchy hat when I can, and “looking like a witch” is something I do every single day — just by being me.
P.S. I’ll save talking about the sexualization of witches, the pentagram, and Christians stealing Yule from the pagans for another time.
I will readily admit that doing this show was one of the most exciting interviews I’ve done. I absolutely had a blast — perhaps because I was able to combine my passions of theatre and activism into one show. Ahhhhh…. bliss!
I talked with Dr. James Miller about experiencing fascism in action firsthand at the University of Wisconsin – Stout over a “Firefly” poster he put up.
You can hear the 1-hour show (that became a 2-hour show) via the reply here: Trish Causey Discusses “When Fascism Comes to America…”
Dr. Miller is a professor of Speech and Theatre at the University of Wisconsin Stout, where has been employed since 1985. He earned a double doctorate in Speech and Theatre from Southern Illinois University. He currently teaches courses in all areas of Theatre and Speech Communication, and for twenty years (1987-2006), he was the Director of Theatre at UW-Stout. He is an actor, a director, and a designer as well as a teacher, with more than 150 shows to his credit as director or designer over the last 35 years.
This was truly a great interview, and I hope all of YOU enjoy it as well! Be sure to leave a comment below.
Listen to all replays of ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey on the main website, ArousedWoman.com.
SUPPORT AW Radio by making a tax-deductible donation here.
Being a Lakota from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Sunny is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights for indigenous women. Though she is very shy as a person, she is not shy about the lack of pro-choice options for indigenous women being a direct result of colonialism.
We also touched on the topic of what is happening in Texas with the anti-abortion bill before the state legislature, a bill that 80% of Texans oppose, but that the Repugs are trying to pass anyway. (More on that later!)
Sunny is also the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary, Young Lakota, and she was the recipient of the prestigious Emerging Leader Award by the Ms. Foundation.
Have a listen to the replay, and follow Sunny on Twitter: @SunnyClifford.
- NEWS: FDA’s Emergency Contraception Plan for Plan B Contradicts Court Ruling
- NEWS: Air Force’s Head of Anti-Sexual Assault Unit Arrested for Sexual Battery
- NEWS: Abortion Rights When Mother’s Life Is at Stake – Savita Halappanavar Dies in Ireland
- NEWS: No Women on House of Representatives’ Birth Control Panel
- NEWS: Susan G. Komen Finally Shows Its True Colors and It’s Not Pink
TUNE IN at 9:00 p.m. ET to hear Trish Causey Hosts a LIVE AskTrish Show on Female Sexuality.
Just a few of my topics tonight:
- A few readers’ comments and questions submitted via my AskTrish page
- The perception of women’s sexuality in society and religion
- Why women’s bodies are still considered overtly sexual and not plain ol’ human
- Double standards in TV and media between men’s bodies and women’s bodies
- FEMALE MASTURBATION!!!!!!!!!!
- What women want from sex, and HOW we want our sex!
Listeners can CALL IN with your questions or comments by dialing (347) 884-8792 or calling in to the show via Skype — click the BLUE SKYPE ICON on AW Radio’s LIVE page. You can also post questions and comments in AW Radio’s LIVE page chat room (opens 10 minutes before the start of the show).
I’m really looking forward to this one!
Tonight on ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey, Intact America’s leading voice, Georganne Chapin, stops by to discuss the medical and ethical reasons against routine infant circumcision (RIC).
Non-consensual circumcision is a violation of a child’s basic human right to body autonomy. However, religion and culture have made circumcision so common in some countries, the right of the child is not even considered or respected. Female genital mutilation is illegal in most countries because it is barbaric, yet male circumcision is still allowed and even touted as a prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Circumcision of boys removes the foreskin, the natural protective layer of skin on the penis glans, of the naturally intact penis, severing 15,000 to 20,000 nerves. For the adult male, this translates to losing about 15 square inches of skin and losing sensation in the penis tip due to keratinization.
Dangers of circumcision include the following:
- Death of the child
- Painful and/or prolonged healing
- Subsequent surgeries to repair initial botched circumcision
- Damage to child neurologically, emotionally, as well as psychologically
- Erectile dysfunction as an adult
We will also cover the financial aspect of circumcision and why some doctors, hospitals, and labs profit from RIC as well as the cosmetic companies that use cells from severed foreskins in their cosmetic products.
If you are a man who has suffered from the effects of circumcision or a parent who regrets circumcising your child, PLEASE call in and have your voice heard!
Tune in at 9:00 p.m. ET and call in with questions or comments! For U.S. residents, call (347) 884-8792. International listeners can call in via Skype, just click the Skype icon by the phone number on the tonight’s LIVE show page. All listeners can post in the online chat room on the LIVE show page.
- OpEd: ‘Male Circumcision Is No Biggie’
- Anatomy: #TeamUncut Intact Natural Penis Collage for #ForeskinFriday (21+ NSFW)
- Sex with Uncircumcised Men
- OpEd: The Activist’s Guide to Putting Aside Our Differences to Fight for Our Differences
- NEWS: ACLU Chapter in California Seems to Bully Anti-Circumcision Intactivists
Wrong. I have ONE cause — Human Rights. All other rights issues stem from this central trunk of the rights and issues’ family tree. Women’s rights, LGBT, genital integrity, workers’ rights, children’s rights, and more — ALL are branches of the primary concept that roots us in our basic right to self-determination, autonomy, and our humanity.
Today provided a perfect example of how different experiences color our activism. Usually, this is a good thing, but occasionally, our pain from our own experiences clouds our words, resulting in our message devolving into a war of emotion. It becomes a contest of “my pain is greater than your pain” — a competition no one wins.
My morning started with me checking my Facebook and Twitter while I made breakfast as I hurried my daughter to get up, get ready for school, and catch the bus.
I try not to spend all day on Twitter, but tomorrow’s Full Moon seems to have kicked up people’s crazy cycles a day early.
First, on Facebook, I responded to a friend’s comment about his neighbors’ loud sex last night. As the conversation progressed to sex positions (okay, I brought it up), I mentioned that the reason the original missionary position is the only position ever condoned by the Catholic church was because it provides the least pleasure for the woman. It puts the man in the superior, stronger, aggressive position while the woman is inferior, at the mercy of the man, and passive and submissive. Another chick chimed in saying some women “love to be ‘conquered.’” As a woman who has spent most of my life fighting NOT to be conquered by men, I disagreed, but I did not linger since I had to get some real work done.
I spent a couple hours working my day-job (Thursdays are a day-off for me), and what followed was an entire day on social media in one activist role or another. And I have preserved some of those exchanges in the photo gallery below. (To view them at full size, click the box on the lower right of your screen.)
The second round of today’s activism started out simple enough — me talking about orgasms, specifically, mine, and how I cry when I orgasm. I followed that with a comment that men crying during orgasm is perfectly natural. Twitter being a public forum, a random guy jumped in the convo with a rude comment ridiculing how it would look with a “he man blowing his load and crying.” This began a series of tweets back and forth as I tried to explain that a man crying during orgasm is perfectly natural. After all, men are human beings, and human beings have feelings.
Apparently, men are still not allowed to be full human beings in our society.
The third and most exasperating exchange occurred with a man who, it turns out, is also an activist — an intactivist, to be precise. An intactivist is someone who fights for ending all circumcision — on males and females — because genital mutilation is a human rights violation of a child’s bodily autonomy and is sexual assault on the child. This guy had tweeted the following comment:
“The sexual urges of women in our society are more important than the pain of a baby boy.”
After a morning of hearing that some women want to be conquered, men who cry are not masculine, and a few other ridiculous notions that are proof positive our society is still sexually repressed and almost entirely mentally unbalanced, I could not sit by and let this tweet go without standing up for women’s right to be sexual and not be shamed for it. Did I do it the right way? Could I have handled myself better? Should I have called him a moron so many times? Maybe. Maybe not.
The thought I had toward the end of this Twitter war (that lasted over a couple hours) is that this guy is reacting and projecting because of his own pain with his circumcision. Just as I possibly was too harsh in earlier altercations today.
Hearing a woman wants to be conquered made me think back to when I was molested as a kid, my rape when I was 21, and my Steubenville-esque experience. Talking about the horribly unsatisfactory missionary position brought to mind my own status as one of the 70% of women who has never orgasmed during sex — a statistic for which I still feel shame for myself and anger at my partners for not caring enough about me to ensure I had pleasure, too. It reignited my distaste for the porn industry that created a caricature of women as hyper-orgasmic nymphomaniac slut-bunnies — as opposed to erotica that presents sex and sexuality in a beautiful, honorable way.
I was reminded yet again of the hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of women who have been raped, tortured, killed outright, and burned at the stake by the Christian church who has feared women’s sexual power since Peter stole the church’s high seat from Mary Magdalene. As a pagan witch doing research for my stage writings, I spent years reading witch trial transcripts, scouring historical documents of witch hunters, Inquisitors, and missionaries in Europe and in colonial America who were obsessed with exorcising the natural sexuality of women. This does not include the women who were beaten, raped, and killed for wanting the right to vote, or the right to fight alongside men in the modern military. Too many thoughts and memories swarmed in my mind.
Hearing that a man can’t cry when he experiences pleasure infuriated me because so much of our patriarchal, imperial, testosterone-driven culture still carries the gender-role prejudices of religion and hierarchical misogyny and misandry that does a disservice to women and men.
Today’s activism was about shame. And pain. And how, even when we mean well, speaking up for one issue cannot happen at the expense of demeaning other people who are probably also in pain. After all, the oppressive culture that says mutilating a child’s genitals is okay is the same repressive culture that says a woman is to blame for her rape because of how she was dressed, or two people cannot love each other because they’re the same gender.
I’ve been a grassroots activist for 27 years, and I’ve seen in-fighting in every single rights group I’ve ever worked with — religious rights, American Indian rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights. Who’s a real witch? Who’s a real Indian? Bisexuals aren’t really discriminated against. Women don’t need full body autonomy or equal pay. Conservative Democrats aren’t real Democrats. And it’s all bullshit.
My motto has always been, “Human Rights are non-negotiable.”
I love that there are so many of us, each working in a niche that is important to us. Yet, that does not mean one corner of activism outweighs another. We can’t all work for all causes at all times. We have to split up into different groups to cover all the bases. Remember that equality does not mean we are the same, but rather, though we may be different, we are of the same value as human beings. Our human rights family tree is rooted in and celebrates our differences, with roots deep in the soil of our humanity, echoing the ancient axiom, “As above, so below.”
However, if you only care about one group who is hurt or exploited and not another, then you’re not working for rights issues, you’re a special interest asshat who is no better than the elitist oppressors who mock human rights activism while making fortunes off the masses’ suffering.
So I may not know the full extent of pain that another person has experienced, just as they won’t know the full extent of mine. But we can try to listen better. We can forgo the pain-game and stick to the work at hand. Don’t allow the oppressors’ need to stuff us into boxes and categories or divide us into opposing sides hinder our work of coming together and doing the work.
We are better than that. Do the work. Be the Change.
We Are All Connected.
- NEWS: Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
- OpEd: ‘Male Circumcision Is No Biggie’
- Anatomy: #TeamUncut Intact Natural Penis Collage for #ForeskinFriday (21+ NSFW)
- OpEd: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not?
- DailyOJ 01-26-13, Part 2: The Fear of Intimacy
- OpEd: America’s Love/Hate Relationship with Breasts
© 2013 by Trish Causey. All Rights Reserved.
I wrote about the April verdict by Judge Korman in which Plan B would be required to be available on store shelves without a prescription or an I.D. check within 30 days of the ruling. The FDA made their own announcement that it would be available to girls over the age of 15 with proof of age (an I.D. check), then the Justice Department decided to stick its misogynist nose into the fray just to complicate matters.
After a push by the Obama administration, the FDA relented slightly, saying emergency contraception, a.k.a. the morning after pill, would be available on the store shelves, without a prescription, but only for females aged 15 and over (still requiring that I.D. check). President Obama said he was “comfortable” with that.
Which, I guess, is all that matters — that a a man can be “comfortable” with a male-dominated government deciding when and how women and girls can have rights to their bodies.
He also used the phrase “scientific evidence” a couple of times when referring to why Plan B should be available to teenage girls without a doc’s script in an obvious play to knock out the religious objections to having the emergency birth control on the open shelves to be seen by god and everybody…. Why, hell’s, bells, Scarlet! Look up that Jesus quote about birth control being evil…. oh wait…. Jesus never mentioned birth control, did he? …. Hmmmmm….
Obama — I voted for you twice, so don’t allow this kind of bullshit to taint my opinion of your otherwise strong stance for women’s rights.
I’m sure there will be more to update on this story as the misogyny continues.
The wonderful victory for all females in the United States to have access to emergency contraception without a prescription has been foiled by the evil charlatans at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Justice Department.
The Center for Reproductive Rights’ (CRR) had filed a lawsuit against the FDA to require emergency birth control pills be available without restriction, an effort to remove the obstacle and perhaps shame of getting a prescription from a doctor. On April 5, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ruled that the FDA must make emergency contraception, a.k.a. the morning after pill, available over the counter without an age-limit restriction within 30 days of the ruling.
Instead of complying with this basic right all women should have — and do have thanks to this ruling, the FDA announced it would make Plan B and Next Choice-type emergency contraception available over the counter to females aged 15 and up, in direct violation of the court’s ruling. (The FDA says its decision was in no way affected by Korman’s ruling.) The FDA has thrown in a requirement for the female buying the emergency contraception to provide proof of age for the purchase. As the CRR and other activists have noted, this may prove problematic since some states do not allow teenagers to get a driver’s license until the age of 16, so 15 year old girls might have a difficult time proving their age.
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch sent an appeal of Korman’s ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to suspend the ruling until further notice. The Obama administration subsequently announced it will appeal the Justice Department’s appeal, if need be. So for now, the FDA’s asinine proclamation of limiting Plan B et al will stand, complete with photo I.D. and age-requirement intact.
Time will tell if the original court ruling will win the day and allow all females to have access to emergency birth control without politics interfering with our individual right to body autonomy.
For other NEWS Articles check out these posts on my other blog:
That was random I know, but you share so much about your life and experiences that I wondered how you were doing in the areas that you don’t speak about. You have every right to say nothing. I just enjoy getting a better understanding of the woman behind the blog.
What do you like to do in your spare time, when you’re not being a sex guru or a mom? What do you hope to achieve in the next year, 5 years or 10 years? What is something that no matter how upset or angry you are always manages to make you smile or at least smirk? If knowledge is power, when it comes to the content of your Aroused Woman blog, how powerful do you feel?
All hail Queen Vagina!
You’re sweet! A few posts back, I announced that I was branching out with ArousedWoman(TM), re-focusing on “Awakening Sexuality Through Mind, Body, & Spirit.” So I’ll be posting lots of new topics and crazy wack-a-doo posts that I feel are relevant to my growth and that I hope are interesting to my readers.
As you can see from my “random post” on astral travel, that experience had a profound effect on me — not just my perception of what’s on the Other Side, but experiencing what actually is and is NOT on the Other Side confirmed for me many “beliefs” in regard to humanity, religion, society, etc. My beliefs-turned-knowledge affect me sexually (i.e., there’s no hell and certainly no “sin” as classified by controlling religious dogma), the experience of pure love (I know what I’m looking for when it comes to love, I won’t settle for anything less, and love has to be felt — it can’t be intellectualized or rationalized, i.e., If I love him enough, he’ll change, so I’ll love him really hard and work to change him into the person I want him to be.), and other concepts I’m still integrating even after the 9 or 10 years since the experience.
Which brings me to my “spare time”… Just yesterday, in fact, my daughter asked me, “Just what do you do during the day?” And I had to tell her the truth. Not much. I’m a Libra, a mind-candy person. I’m a creator. It’s difficult for me to actually finish anything because once it’s complete, it’s over — I can’t mind-candy it anymore. But my creative works have to be completed if I’m gonna earn a paycheck and feed my child.
I spend most of my time reading, learning, experimenting, walking, cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, meditating, pondering, writing, tweeting, doing laundry, working, walking, composing music, looking at the trees, studying leaves, watching squirrels and birds interact, more reading, more research, more questing, listening to the wind, being witchy, brewing concoctions, making cool witchy stuff, doing web design for new clients, creating different workshops, textile design, writing, writing, writing, tweeting…
I don’t have “spare time” in that I do what I love for a living (theatre), and I’m currently working on 2 new training certifications, after which, I’ll go for 2 more. (I’m already certified in yoga and Pilates.) Because I do what I love, I don’t earn a lot of money — I live simply and have found that to be rather wonderful. I go to bed every night thoroughly happy with my life. I wish there were more time in the day, but I know I used the time I had to enrich my life, provide for my daughter, and enjoy being in this meat-suit while being amazed at the beauty that is around me.
It can be surreal sometimes. I’ve had people say, “Wow, you lucked out writing for a living.” No, I was in the performing arts for 36 years, I’m an award-winning composer, I hosted a radio show that had 27,000 listeners worldwide (that I put on hold to start ArousedWoman and fight the idiocy of the GOP during the 2012 POTUS election), and I have something to say. I created my “luck” by working my ass off and paying my “dues.” I earned my right to write for a living.
Currently, I’m creating an online course on Musical Theatre training topics, I’m starting a new project (a magazine), and I will get back to my theatre radio show soon. I’m also going to teach some health workshops in my local area to help supplement my income. I’m also working on the ArousedWoman cookbook, and I’m creating my orgasm training method (which will be in beta testing soon for anyone who wants to contact me to participate in it).
I’m still trying to get the AW Forum going and still raising money for ArousedWoman Radio, to interview guests and answer people’s question in real time. But that is slow-going. It will happen in its own time, I guess.
Most of my time is spent on personal growth, getting healthy, and growing my experiences sexually, sensually, tantrically. I want to be a complete human, not a shell of a human in the rat race of society, as so many people are. I want to help others get out of that kind of life — to help them make a better life for themselves, get healthier, find some kind of peace in this crazy world — to see that happiness in self and happiness in life are connected. I want to help people overcome their PTSD with sexual trauma. I want to help others see beyond the hypocrisy of religion, politics, and government — that all that bullshit doesn’t really matter — and if it does matter to you, then don’t just complain, actually get off your ass and do something about it.
I want to help people get off the lie that is the insensitive Western medical system which is being undermined by the pharmacological industry. I want to inspire others to get back to the “beauty way,” back to Mother Earth because the livestock and dairy industries are killing our planet and our bodies. We are not separate from the earth — the earth isn’t just the thing under the sidewalks and asphalt — the earth is our food, our air, our water, our home, our reason for incarnating to this physical plane. If the living biosphere of the earth weren’t so important to us, we would have incarnated on Mars or somewhere else. Duh.
I want people to take back their power to heal themselves without fear of criminalization from the oppressive forces in control of our society.
I want women to take back our rightful place as healers, warriors, judges, peacemakers — as we were before patriarchal misogyny made women property, whores, and household slaves.
Where do I want to be in 5 years? Hopefully, I will have finished my Bachelor’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology from Sofia University and will be nearly finished with my Master’s in Women’s Spirituality. After that, I may take 2 years to study Sanskrit at St. John’s University in Arizona. And of course, 6 years from now, I hope to have completed my work to be an official teacher of Tantra. Essentially, I want to be able to keep a roof over my head while helping others.
I used to think this life was too long. In the past century, we have tripled our life expectancy. Why? Wasn’t 35 years of war, struggle, famine, disease, and natural disasters enough? Now, we have to endure this for 72, or 85, or 105 years?! Now, I see that even that long is not enough. This is a great time to be in a meat-suit on the physical plane. It is a truly wondrous time of change, and we’re a part of it. The past century — this past year! — has seen the rise of women and the awareness of human rights that is 2,000 years overdue.
I just want to do my part to “Be the change.” In my own particular brand of “random,” witchy, artistic, holistic, bohemian, awakening, loudmouth IrishLava. :-) But understand, we really can’t change other people; we can only change ourselves and be the example of change we hope to inspire in others.
A male member of the AW Forum posted a discussion in the Music to Set the Mood area, saying:
“Just thought I would add a category that I like to call ‘Hard Erotica.’ It’s a little more gritty and animalistic… Sometimes a good fuck requires a little hair pulling….”
Seriously? We’re back to the “so easy a cave man could do it” attitude toward sex?
The songs to which this member linked were dance-music, “hardcore erotica” tracks from Basic Instinct and Madonna. As a composer of real music, I find that this sort of computerized drivel personifies what is wrong with popular music (overproduced, over-sampled, monotonous in “beat”), but I’ll leave that aside for now.
Describing an enthusiastic fuck as “animalistic” begins to lead the conversation about sex back toward hardcore porn — removing the humanity from sex and encouraging the monotonous mechanics of impersonal fucking — which is not something I subscribe to and is NOT the purpose of my forum or anything related to ArousedWoman(TM). Sex should be about connection — even casual fucking should have a dose of humanity and connectedness to it.
We all know sex can get really heated and… exuberant… that doesn’t mean the intent is “animalistic,” necessarily. This sort of description is exactly the terminology the church used to shame sex — that it was “base” and only for “lower” animals. Deep, fast, thrusting sex can be thrilling for sure, but that doesn’t mean it is “animalistic.” Sex can also be incredibly tender and beautiful. Sex should be a raising of energy between partners, not just a means of tension relief from erratic muscular contractions. In fact, from a Tantric perspective, the best orgasms happen from “slow sex.” (Yes, I said slow sex — as in, the man enters the vagina, and nobody moves for an hour… Yes, I said an hour.)
For myself, I make it clear to a partner that hair pulling is absolutely NOT OKAY. It’s not only a sign of aggravated assault (to me), but yanking a woman’s head back via hair pulling is dangerous to the cervical spine and the larynx (the tube for breathing and speech).
Men may have a fantasy about hair pulling because of what they’ve seen in “hardcore porn,” but only because they’ve never been on the receiving end of having their head yanked back by their long hair or ponytail. No, it is not the same feeling as when a woman curls her fingers in a man’s short hair (on his head) and pulls his head back (that is bad enough), but to have someone grab hold of your long hair, use it like a handle to jerk your head back is horribly painful — and again, dangerous to the neck and larynx.
Yes, I know, some readers will complain (again) that I’m being all “puritanical” and I’m “not at peace” with myself for expressing my opinion (and I’m not even on my period and all hormonal), but I don’t exist to perpetuate the stereotypes of women or sex. So suck it.
ArousedWoman(TM) is about awakening from the “dirty,” impersonal, shame-filled KoolAid of sexuality as demonized by religion and kinkified by a society still trying to find balance in sexual practices and “roles.” As I say on Twitter: “The human body is beautiful. Sex is beautiful.” Nothing about ArousedWoman(TM) is about hardcore porn, so find another site if that’s all you care about — there are plenty of porn & sex sites that perpetuate the pro-church, misogynistic attitudes toward sexuality. ArousedWoman(TM) is NOT one of those.
One last word on monotonous dance music… If a man can only move his hips in one rhythm, he’s a dud in bed. Give me a man who can fuck the 1812 Overture, and we’ll talk.
I came across a great site about yoni and all things Tantric for women and emotionally secure men. The blog is by a Tantrika/Dakini who is the “real deal,” not one of the so-called “urban tantra” bullshit artists. However, the following comment one man left on her blog shows just how little is still known about women’s anatomy and sexuality in popular culture thanks to women’s sexuality being vilified by misogynist religion and ignored in Western medicine and academia, while superstitions and myths are still rampant.
(Note: Misspellings are left in.)
i am just curious about one thing if stimulation is done aftifically with fingers on G spot its surely making pleasure for woman but does it keep woman healthy enough to be fertile and gave birth to kids after such an act. my question is can woman still conceive or become pregnant if she is ejaculating with fingers on G spot or it odes affect its reproductive system?
I just posted this response, and so far it hasn’t been approved — fingers crossed, it will be.
You seem to be more concerned with your masculinity and virility than the woman’s pleasure. Your patriarchal, misogynist ego will be pleased to know that the female prostate’s ability to induce full-body/wave orgasms and secrete prostatic fluid has nothing to do with the viability of the woman’s eggs. If you’re concerned about being able to conceive, go get your sperm count checked before assuming any conception problem’s are the woman’s fault.
Seriously. A woman ejaculating isn’t birth control… If it were, almost every woman between the ages of 15 and 50 would be drenching the sheets — every day, twice a day! (But please don’t let the GOP Republicans think it’s birth control ’cause they’d just criminalize that, too.)
Guys… female ejaculation is a beautiful thing. The biggest concern you should have with helping a woman ejaculate is can you drink it all up so her love nectar isn’t wasted.
I’ve covered this all before, but let’s go over the basics of female ejaculation:
- All women should be capable of ejaculating. Fear of urinating is what usually stops a woman from ejaculating even if the stimulation techniques are correct. (Other issues that can contribute to a woman not ejaculating include being dehydrated or the emotional/psychological issues from past sexual trauma.)
- Female ejaculate is NOT urine. It is prostatic fluid and mostly glucose, hence its sweet flavor and labeling by the ancients as the “nectar of the gods.”
- The amount of fluid released will vary from woman to woman — from a couple tablespoons to a couple cups of fluid, and can vary from release to release, even within the same sexual session.
- If a woman feels pressured by her partner to ejaculate in the first place — much less burst forth a specific amount, this can activate stress hormones and prevent her from getting wet at all — even though vaginal fluid is a different cocktail than prostate fluid.
Are we clear on this? Women experiencing mind-boggling pleasure is actually healthy for the woman physically, emotionally, psychologically, as well as sexually. Loving the vulva and vagina via yoni massage is one of the most beautiful ways you can show a woman respect sexually. And, at the risk of making men paranoid in the other direction, being able to help a woman ejaculate is super manly!
If your woman already ejaculates on her own, ask her to show you how she does it so you can see what she does and how she does it. Don’t help!!! (Unless she asks you to.) Just be there to lap up the delicious juices.
The story of 31 year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar dying in an Irish Catholic hospital is infuriating women and men around the world. She died from a miscarriage because the Catholic hospital officials refused to terminate the pregnancy… because Ireland is a “Catholic country.”
This is just one woman in one country who has lost her life because of medical, governmental, and religious systems that deny a woman’s basic human right to choose what happens to her body — even when her life is at stake and the doctors acknowledged the fetus would not survive anyway.
What happened to Savita’s rights to body integrity? What happened to the doctors’ oaths to care for their patient?
And when will Ireland realize that the death-grip the Catholic Church has on it has done much more harm than it ever did any good?
Comments? Want to share your irate disbelief? Share you opinion and what we can do to stop the deaths of women in this misogynist world. For in depth discussion with other like-minded folks, get a profile onthe AW Forum and comment here.
Wake up people, and let’s END THE MISOGYNY!
Don’t get me wrong — I love ALL penises: circumcized penises, small penises, large penises, all of them. But some uncut men in the United States still have to deal with discrimination from partners who are unaccustomed to seeing, handling, or loving a natural, intact penis.
I recently saw a tortured comment from one uncut guy on Tumblr. He was so distraught by a girlfriend calling his natural penis “nasty,” he was seriously contemplating getting circumcized at his current age of 23 or 24. I was horrified — not only at the thought of an adult male choosing circumcision just to be considered “normal” in a culture that has no clue about what normal sexuality should be (i.e., not evil, not sinful, not shameful, not jackhammering a vagina), but this girlfriend then told all her friends about his “nasty” penis and he became the laughing stock of his friends and acquaintances — at a college, no less.
** Stepping up on soapbox: America’s Puritanical overlords and evangelical bullshit have so warped our culture, few people have a clue as to what is natural and beautiful… in penises, breasts, or vulva! And yes, I am one of those radical tree-huggers who views routine infant male circumcision and any female circumcision as aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon, with the perpetrators being culpable and deserving jail time. (Stepping down…) **
I have already had a few submissions, and while some are great, some are a bit lackluster — not for size or shape, but for the absolute disregard for ambiance!!! Jeez! Dudes! You’re taking pics of your penis for a woman!!! Why is the toilet in the background?!
So I’m laying out some Submission Guidelines.
- Photo must be of you and submitted by you, and YOU must be 21 years of age or older, regardless of where you live in the world.
- Photo must be a close-up of your penis and testicles, or of your body somewhere from your navel to above your knees, i.e., your face should not be in the pic.
- Multiple photos are permissible to show the way the foreskin moves/changes in different states: unaroused/natural, partially aroused, fully erect, etc. No cum shots will be posted (but you can send them anyway ).
- Photos should be taken in natural light with NO FLASH — using flash does NOT make your penis look inviting. (Sorry, but that’s the truth.) So take the pic near a window, outside in the woods or other place where you won’t be arrested for indecent exposure, etc.
- Higher resolution is better.
- Photo may be edited by me for size, color tone, etc.
- I HATE BLUE!!! So please don’t have anything blue in the picture.
- All men — straight, gay, bi — are more than welcome!
If in doubt as to tone and ambiance, PLEASE look at my Tumblr page. I adore sensuality. Crude porn shots is NOT what I’m looking for. I want to honor the male and the uncut penis.
Sumbit via email on the main ArousedWoman.com website.
P.S. Cut guys — feel free to send pics, too, and I’ll put them in a separate collage.
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I’m a 50 year-old straight (but bi-curious) male. I have been with my female partner for 5 years now and have been living with her for 4 years. I am in school 300 miles away. The past few months, while I have been here, I have talked to her about exploring her own sexuality — not an open relationship as I am not wanting that, just giving her the freedom to explore whatever desires she finds. I believe there is great healing in sexual freedom which is truly empowering. So, tomorrow night she has a ‘movie night’ with a friend of ours who has made it very clear he wants to fuck her. He is a good friend and the safe factor is one that cannot be ignored. I actually encouraged him to move ahead with pursuing her at my birthday party on Friday night! Can a person be able to feel true happiness at the thought of his partner not only having sex with a friend, but encouraging it and enjoying her pleasure by offering her the liberty to do so as she desires? I know the idea is so very exciting to me, but I don’t hear talk about this stuff in many places. I know I will be so very happy when she tells me all about it tomorrow night, I guess I am just looking to hear a woman’s thought on having that level of freedom while in a committed relationship, albeit a long distance one. Do you have any thoughts on this? I guess the bottom line is how deep does ‘control’ run in the male psyche?! I feel so un-male by being so seemingly un-normal! Would you, as a woman, feel ‘liberated’ or some other something else? Would this kind of freedom (for lack of a better term) be received as a negative by women?
A million thoughts are running through my head, many of which you may not like. So please accept my response with a grain of salt as it comes with a healthy dose of tough love. Since you’re in Canada, I’m too far away to give you the ass-kicking my Irish fire really wants to administer. Clearly, the misogyny of patriarchal culture is entrenched in the northern climes — which is sad since I’ve always heard Canadians were so nice.
I’ll address your male psyche first. You are not “un-manly” or “un-normal.” You are following your desires as a consenting adult. Neither a sexually repressed society nor antiquated, misogynist religion should be your barometer in pursuing adult relationships. However, these negative influences have shaped you as evidenced in your verbiage, which I purposely left whole so you could see your subconscious language patterns: “giving her the freedom,” “offering her the liberty,” “a woman’s thought on having that level of freedom,” “would you, as a woman, feel ‘liberated’”… What century are you living in?! And are you sure you don’t live in Arizona?
Whether this relationship you have with your woman is committed, casual, or even legally bound with a
prison sentence marriage license, she is a free, autonomous human being and can “fuck” or “make love” with whomever she chooses, and she doesn’t need your permission or your “giving” her the liberty and freedom from psychological slavery to pursue the physical and emotional needs of her own body, heart, and mind. Capiche?
I’ll get off my soap box because I know your intention is not to sound like a misogynist jerk. Your language is indicative of living in an oppressive patriarchal culture while your heart and spirit desperately want validation and freedom from that very oppression.
Clearly, you and your woman have great communication, for which I applaud you! While you say you don’t want an open relationship, you, in fact, have one. It could even be polyamory if the other partner(s) have emotional feelings as well. These types of relationships are not talked about in society for the same reason homosexual and bisexual relationships are still taboo — they threaten the hetero-patriarchal dynamic that limits relationships to male/female and institutionalizes the hierarchy of a superior male with an inferior female’s body and mind being owned by the male.
For me, I have sworn I would never do another long distance relationship because they’re expensive, annoying, and sexually frustrating. However, I have always thought that sex “in the meantime” is okay because we all have needs. The body wants sex. The heart wants love. You make accommodations when you can’t be with the one you love via abstinence, cheating, or an open relationship where both people understand there is a physical need that is separate from the emotional need — if that is an understanding that is right for the both of you.
For instance, if I were in a relationship with a soldier, knowing he or she will be gone for months or even longer than a year, I would tell them to have sex when they can with someone “safe,” i.e., don’t bring home any diseases. The body has needs and wants. So I’m perfectly fine with them having sex with a fellow soldier or “safe” partner while on deployment. Do what you need to do to make it through the day to stay alive and come home.
Some species mate for life while most of the earth’s inhabitants only have flings or “open” relationships for each mating season. Humans may choose monogamy or polyamory as dictated by their personal needs or spiritual/religious beliefs.
Polyamorous relationships are not fully understood or accepted by most monogamous people. The non-poly people don’t understand how two people in a committed relationship can be with others outside the relationship and not get jealous. Getting jealous is just not something in the make-up of polyamorous folks. This hippie/free-love notion of open acceptance and loving everyone is a threat to our competition-driven imperialistic society that thrives on conflict and profits from war. Polyamory will never be accepted as a mainstream lifestyle in the West until the oppressive overlords figure out how to make money off of it.
Back in my early 20′s, the theatre orgies I participated in were a revelation in how committed couples can explore their sexuality with friends — with their partner participating, watching, or exploring with someone else — and no one ever got jealous. Ever. There was no reason to get jealous because the desires and explorations were out in the open, as opposed to “cheating” behind a partner’s back. Exploring our bodies sexually had nothing to do with the love for a committed partner…. But that’s bohemian artists for you!
I have friends who have been in polyamorous relationships — a man and his female partner with another woman whose male partner was a prude. His jealousy of her need for the poly relationship put a damper on all four of them. So, James, embrace your open relationship, and revel in the level of communication you and your partner have because what you have is rare and wonderful!
You also have a voyeuristic side to you, and I’m sure you not only want to hear about the sex your partner is having with her friend/fling, but you probably wouldn’t mind sitting in the corner and watching, yes? If you’re turned on by watching your partner flirt, there’s no harm in that as long as both of you have that clear understanding. Problems arise when one partner wants things for the relationship that the other partner does not.
I would be interested to hear why, at the age of 50, you’re bi-curious and have never taken the plunge! Following your desires instead of living vicariously through your woman’s experiences with men might open a whole new world of sexual possibilities for your relationship. Being with two guys is as much a fantasy for a lot of women as being with two women is a dream for a lot of men.
You are normal. You are masculine. You and your partner are doing just fine, in my opinion. Keep up the wonderful communication between the two of you. Do let me know how ‘movie night’ went! Also, leave a comment if you have any more questions — and to tell me you forgive my tough love.
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This is a quick note to let everyone know that I am taking the bull by the horns and starting up the Radio show and Forum that I’ve been wanting to create for a while now.
So many people ask me if I do podcasts, and I have to tell them, yes, but not yet for AW. Well, that’s changing!
While we dream of Utopia, running a radio show and hosting a forum is not free. It costs money for the licensed platforms even when the daily toil of maintaining each is based on sweat equity.
AW Radio will cover all aspects of the AW raison d’etre including Women’s Sexuality, Women’s Rights, LGBT, Survivors of Abuse, Religious Freedom, Indigenous Rights, Environmental Issues, Healthcare, Anti-Circumcision/Body Autonomy issues, and more.
The AW Forum will provide a safe place for like-minded individuals and orgs to talk about issues, recovery, and more importantly, foster solutions to put into practice. The Forum will be membership-based (to keep out the crazies) at $14.95/year, with a portion of the proceeds being donated annually to 2 organizations as voted on by the Forum community.
For more info on the Radio show as well as the Forum, visit my GoFundMe page I’ve started. Donations are securely processed by either WePay or PayPal (your choice!).
Be sure to check out the REWARD that accompanies each donation level, and make a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation if you can.
I teach SexEd for 15 / 16 year-olds. I usually manage to have an open atmosphere and we discuss all different topics openly (I even created an experiment how condoms react to different lubrications). Where I have always failed was the topic of masturbation. I think it is a very important topic, but how could I overcome the shame issue? Any ideas?
This is a wonderful and timely question! This issue resonates with me not only because of ArousedWomanBlog, but also because my teenage daughter is taking SexEd right now in high school. As someone who loves sex and being sexual, I think everyone should have honest, non-judgmental information available to them. As a mother, deep inside, I’m a little freaked out that my baby is learning about sex anywhere much less at school. Thankfully, we’ve had chats about the vagina and her body before this.
I’m not sure if you teach in a public or private school, but for now, I’ll assume it is a public school. Since you do condom experiments, it sounds as if you have a good rapport with your students. This is very important when tackling the hard issues, such as masturbation.
The shame of masturbation is intrinsically tied to the misogyny and oppression of religion. Any sex that was not partnered and heterosexual was demonized by the Church and other patriarchal religions centuries ago. Extra-marital sex, homosexual sex, and solo sex were all frowned upon because legitimate (male) heirs could not be born from these forms of sex. (The Church and Western culture just love their male heirs.)
Another kooky aspect of religion is the notion that the body belongs to “God,” should be put to use for “God’s work,” to do “God’s will.” This medieval mental hogwash strips the notion of body autonomy from the start — the person is a vessel; the person does not have a right to his or her own body because it is owned by a deity in the sky.
As a public school teacher, this line of thinking presents a problem because of the topic of religion. For a parochial school teacher, talking about religion may be more easily allowed, but truth about sex, masturbation, birth control, et al, may not be told in a private religious school. However, it is religion that forms the basis for the enduring shame of sex, birth control, and abortion — a pernicious misogyny that has sunk its talons into government as well.
Not talking about religion when talking about any of this is strange to me, but I’ll leave that soapbox alone for now… (except to say that I get irate when my daughter tells me they were talking about religion in her public school. I have the ACLU on speed-dial, and I’m not afraid to contact a teacher or principal to find out the exact curriculum being taught to my child.)
As I told my daughter when she was 13, “Your body is yours to explore as you choose.” Leaving religion out of the masturbation dialogue, I would approach it this way. Start by not using the polarizing, giggle-inducing word, “masturbation.” Call it “Solo Sex.” By using a different term, it allows the listener to actually contemplate the information rather than falling back on emotional, knee-jerk reactions. Notice, in the paragraph up above, I used the term “extra-marital sex” and not “adultery.” The latter term has a more grave, more judgmental, shameful, sinful connotation (thanks to religion).
Make your points by positioning the conversation in a logical way with supportive arguments:
- Your body is yours to explore as you choose.
- Solo sex is natural and normal. (Perhaps give examples of other species that masturbate.)
- Solo sex is a great way to learn about your body, your specific erogenous zones, and your individual sexual response. (Each of us is unique. How will a partner know your zones if you don’t know what to tell him/her about your body?)
- Solo sex is a great way to sort through the raging hormones and experience orgasm without engaging in partnered sex before you’re really ready.
- With solo sex, you won’t get pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease.
Even then, students may ask about the religious aspect, i.e., “But won’t I go to Hell for touching myself?” I would say, “I’m here to teach you about your body not religious dogma.” Removing religion and the subsequent cultural attitude helps lesson the shame of the issue. The shame from religion stems from the Church’s quest to control every ounce of a person’s mind, will, body, and soul, especially that of women. That was how the Church leaders stayed in power and made money. Puritanical American culture has continued this misogyny against women through body-shaming, name-calling, and other cultural forms of judgment based on a woman’s sexual freedom with her body.
The most blatant and vicious assault on women was the European and New World witch trials. Forget the myths of hexes and magical mojo — Did you know that “witchcraft” was officially a capital sex crime? Ironically, other countries look at America with ridicule because of how immature our country still is in regard to true, passionate, fulfilling sex… (but sexualized violence and rape are okay in American media, video games, comic books, and culture).
For me, masturbation is a body autonomy issue, a basic human right, as is protecting children from the violent sexual abuse of having their genitals mutilated (notice, I didn’t use the word “circumcision” — it’s all in the phrasing). When we acknowledge our bodily autonomy, we acknowledge our inherent freedom as human beings. People masturbate for various reasons:
- Solo sex and orgasm feel good (awesome, even!).
- A person may have solo sex because he or she does not have or does not want a partner… (Believe it or not, there may be times in your life when you don’t want another person in your bed.)
- A man or woman’s significant other is unable to have partnered sex due to illness or disability.
- Solo sex allows a sexual abuse survivor to reclaim his or her body, sexuality, and bodily autonomy.
Masturbation is the butt of jokes in television shows all the time, which I find to be truly sad. Masturbating can be a beautiful way to love yourself and to learn yourself. For me, solo sex has been the key to resolving my past abuse, loving my body, integrating my various parts to become a whole woman, and ergo, a whole human being.
I hope something I’ve said will help you. Please write back and let me know how it went!
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Just when you think the Grand Ol’ Party can’t sink any lower in its blatant misogyny of women, women’s rights, and their outlook on women’s bodies, Rep. Todd Akin reveals a whole new abyss of as yet unexplored hatred of the female sex.
It wasn’t long ago that men were the only ones on the House panel on birth control, that 31 Senators voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and the GOP in Michigan censored a female state representative, violating her First Amendment right to free speech. Now, the GOP creeps us out further.
In a TV interview, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) had this to say about his views on abortion, even if conception is due to rape:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”
So Akin is now a medical expert as well as a judge-and-jury on “Legitimate Rape?” So all of us who have been raped now need to measure our own horrible experience with sexual abuse by his and the GOP’s standard? A standard which has no medical basis? Because, according to Akin, every woman who has ever said she got pregnant from being raped was lying?!
The GOP RWNJ Republicans rape women on a daily basis! Oh, wait that’s “Legislative Rape” as they are systematically removing laws and undoing decades of work women have literally fought and died for in the battle for equality. And that kind of rape of women, our rights, and our bodies is just hunky-dorey.
This is a blatant sign of the ensuing institutionalized brainwashing against women that we can expect if the GOP continues to buy its power via elections in the United States.
What’s worse than our rape experiences being de-valued by the patriarchal, misogynist GOP is that this makes men look bad as well. The men who love women and support women’s rights will be lumped into either the GOP misogynist corner or the corner of “all men” who are abusers.
By the way, Akin’s thoughts on the morning-after pill are pretty clear as well:
“[T]he morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country.”
Maybe we should not have misogyny in this country?! The elections this year are paramount to blocking the GOP’s persistent #WarOnWomen!
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below!
Every now and then I do post my political opinions — sometimes, my vagina and my clit need a break from all the hippy, free-(self)-love I give them. So I made an innocent little comment about capitalism, the middle class, and the GOP. Out of nowhere, some GOP teabagger makes a rude (and stupid) comment, to which I responded… several times.
So far, no response. And once again, you will see why I really just want to get this 2012 Election process over with. My body needs a break from the negative energy this campaign is producing… Talk about “pollution”!
(Click on image to enlarge.)
Feminism is a hotly-debated topic in America and other narrow-minded, backwards, patriarchal areas of the world. As a woman who is a humanist, I often have to deal with the backlash from other women who think I’m a traitor to “the cause.”
I will write a longer piece detailing my why’s and wherefore’s of being a humanist rather than a feminist, but today on Twitter, I gave a brief “nutshell version” of my reasoning. The responses in return ranged from thought-provoking to hilarious.
Below are a few of the comments that made me think and made me smile.
Rape is prevalent. Yet, there is no sane reason why it should be except that rape is a tool for instilling fear and ensuring dominance. Rape is anger, aggression, frustration, emotional impotence, a power trip, a threat. Rape is not about sex or being sexual — which is why rape happens not just with a man’s penis, but also with the barrel of a gun, the neck of a beer bottle, the handle of a broom, or other implement of terror.
In talking with survivors who have been raped, the quote that comes to mind is Nietzsche’s, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” But why do so many women have to be brought near “death” to gain so-called strength? And why is associating sex and violence so ubiquitous in our culture? (Oh, yeah, religion.)
Worse, it makes me wonder what men’s definition of rape is. With marital rape, do men understand that they are raping their wives — not having sex? That legal marriage does not equal the right to rape? Does the drunk friend realize the alcohol was not an excuse for rape? And what about sanctimonious, judgmental women who are as much a part of the rape culture as the rapists and callous men who make rape jokes?
In sharing my rape experience and subsequent shame of reporting it, I received several messages from other women who told me of similar situations. I’ve removed their pictures and blacked out their names. These are just a few of the comments I received, but it points to a pervasive problem that still lurks on the fringes of open discussion.
As a stage artist, I trained my voice for years. I studied the sounds we make and how we make them. As a writer, and especially as a lyricist, I have toiled over the perfect words to scribe for dialogue or a song because the sound of the word itself has as much of an effect on the listener as the meaning of the word.
Just talking about rape brings strong emotions from women (and men!) who have experienced rape as a teen or an adult, or rape as a child, more commonly known by its euphemistic pseudonym, molestation.
Years ago, I realized that “rape” is a harsh word just as the act of rape is harsh. The growling of the “R”, the blunt hit of the unaspirated, hard “P” mimics the sharp, precise consonants’ onomatopoeia effect of “BruTal” and “aTTacK.” Conversely, the word “molestation” rolls of the tongue, rendering the word practically useless in conveying the horror of being raped as a child and softening the disdain society might otherwise feel. Example, decide for yourself which sounds worse: “A priest molested a boy” … or … “A priest raped a boy.”
I’ve rarely talked about my “molestation” as a kid, and I’ve almost never talked about the night I was raped. Only recently did I even tell people that I was still a virgin at age 21 — it was here on this blog, actually. For some reason, our hypersexualized culture has made it shameful to hold off on sex until a person is really ready. It’s as if teens must be sexual or they’re not normal. I was normal in many ways, but still dealing with my “molestation,” I had lots of issues I had to work out on my own when I was a teenager.
Also, my rape was not “real” rape. My rape would be sub-classified as “date-rape.”
We were in my bedroom — so clearly, I was “asking for it.” I was wearing a button down shirt and jeans. In 1994, it was fashionable to wear jeans that had rips in them. Mine did, right along the ass-line of the left leg. If a woman can show some butt cheek when she wears a swimsuit or shorts, I didn’t see the harm in a little peek-a-boo of my upper thigh at the butt line. And I was in my own home.
We were talking on the bed — but neither he nor I even mentioned having sex together. The next thing I knew I was being flipped over, my shirt ripped open, and he was inside me. I couldn’t think. The shock of pain like a thousand daggers stabbing me in my core and up my spine was something I’d never felt before. I couldn’t breathe. My brain started going into survival mode, and I felt like I was about to black out. I felt as if I were falling backward into an abyss. I couldn’t feel the bed or even him in that moment, just falling and shockingly intense pain throughout my body.
I realized I was still wearing my jeans. The button was still done, the zipper was zipped. He had entered me through the rip in my jeans. Dry mouthed, I asked him to slow down so I could adjust. All the while, I’m thinking, “How did he do that? Just breathe… How did he get inside of me with my jeans still on?” He said my tightness just made him harder, so he went faster. He said he couldn’t help himself… He pulled out, pulled me on the floor to my knees and told me to suck him off — he’d been wanting me to give him a blow job “for forever,” he said. Then he grabbed my hair and rammed my head down on his erection. I was still in shock, so my mouth must have felt like sandpaper. I was in a daze, on my knees, trying not to throw up, wearing all my clothes, trying to process what was happening. Just as quickly, it was over, and he was leaving. He was a friend. Dazed, but still true to my Southern upbringing of being polite, I walked him to his apartment a few buildings over. I walked home, but noticed I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me; my legs felt like jelly.
I stood in the center of my room, looking at the bed. I felt this whoosh of fluid. I was bleeding. I bled for 4 days. I thought about going to the police, but most of the people I knew also knew him. And if it went to trial, my “character witnesses” would all say they thought I’d been whoring for years — everyone assumed I was “loose” because I had large breasts. I feared being laughed at by the male policemen, ridiculed in court, verbally attacked by the opposing lawyer — I’ve watched enough TV to know how rape accusers are treated in court.
Yet, the hardest part — the part that actually made me not report my rape — was having to say in public that I was technically still a virgin at the old age of 21. Who would believe that? So I didn’t go to the police. Or the hospital. I just prayed I had not contracted some disease. After all, it seemed getting raped was inevitable in our society, so why should I complain? It’s not like is was a “bad rape” like being mauled in an alley by a scary boogeyman.
So then, maybe I wasn’t really raped. Maybe it was “just sex” after all…. Maybe sex with all my clothes on and without my permission is just “date-sex-I-didn’t-want-to-have-especially-since-I-was-a-virgin-but-it’s-not-really-rape.” Maybe Comedy Central comedian Daniel Tosh has a funny rape-joke commentary to make on my behalf?
People still think rape only occurs when the scary boogeyman assaults a woman in the mall parking lot at 10 p.m. Most women are raped by men (or women!) they know, particularly their spouses, family members, or neighbors. Rape is not the bullshit storyline you’ll see on Lifetime Television for Victims, just like you won’t find the secrets of orgasms in a Cosmo poll.
Because of my experience, I don’t do “blow jobs” — I do oral sex on my terms. I tell a man ahead of time not to grab my hair or he’s getting a fist in his balls. I also don’t get on my knees for any man or any god. More importantly, I don’t blame all men or hate the penis for what was done to me by one man.
As the mother of a daughter, the one thing that guided me in practically every decision I have made in her care and upbringing was that I wanted her to get to the age of 18 without being molested or raped. Now that she’s 14, I’m working on making sure she has a foundation of what is right for her and that she never has to succumb to an abuser. The age of 18 is now innocuous as I no longer hold the pessimistic world view that being raped is an inevitable fact of life for women.
Rape is not inevitable. Rape is preventable. To me, “rape culture” is a society that knows rape and sexual abuse are wrong but looks the other way while mocking the survivors who are willing to speak up and shaming the survivors too scared to speak out.
When our culture stops heeding the media’s marketing and drinking the misogynist KoolAid that de-values our experiences as rape survivors, only then can we adequately prevent rape from happening. Women, men, and children are experience rape on a daily basis. Rape culture exists in religion as well as government and society. Rape is a tool of war. It’s time we put an end to the rape culture that propagates sexual abuse while it terrorizes and punishes the survivors.
Rape is not inevitable. Rape is preventable. End #RapeCulture.