Feminism / Health / Sex

Unpopular Opinion: I’m a Sex-Negative Feminist

I didn’t feel prepared to talk a lot about sex-negative feminism in my sex positivity post, but I did want to show more of the viewpoint. Keep in mind what I said: Sex negativity has its problems, too. This article is a good read, though, an interesting counterpoint to what you may have read about sex positivity, and your assumptions about sex negativity.

(Reblogged from XOjane)

Jillian Horowitz for XOjane

Jillian Horowitz for XOjane

I’m a sex-negative feminist.

I call myself sex-negative partially because it’s an unsettling term — one that invokes particular histories that many feminists would rather paper over or erase completely — and partially because I fundamentally disagree with the assumptions about sex, kink, and consent upon which mainstream sex-positive feminism is based.

Sex-negativity makes a lot of feminists uncomfortable, but I frankly couldn’t give less of a damn if my politics hurt your feelings.

I’ve considered myself to be sex-negative (or at least critical of sex-positive feminism) for a while, but have only recently started expressing that view outside of conversations with trusted friends. Sex-negative feminism isn’t particularly, well, sexy; openly articulating criticisms of sex-positivity is to simultaneously make oneself a target for straw(wo)man arguments aimed against radical feminism, for accusations that you’re shaming or judging others, or for assertions that you are frigid or prudish or pathologically broken — all of which are sentiments that have been expressed by self-identified sex-positive feminists toward less enthusiastic women.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, when the author Marie Calloway asked if she could interview me for a piece she was planning on writing about young women and feminism, that I decided to go public about being sex-negative.

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One thought on “Unpopular Opinion: I’m a Sex-Negative Feminist

  1. I think I like your take on it best. While I agree with what Horowitz says, that sex doesn’t take place in a vacuum, can’t be apolitical, and that sex positivity has lent its way to compulsory sexuality, that’s just it. Sex DOESN’T take place in a vacuum. The women who have embraced sexuality in the name of feminism often do it for similar political reasons because the idea of a woman being able to desire sex is very modern. It still makes the patriarchy uncomfortable when women embrace sex in a way that isn’t for the benefit for men, and the double standards are everywhere (e.g., read a discussion yesterday where a user was upset about Niki Minaj rapping about her pussy, when no one makes a stink about any guy rapping about his dick constantly).

    The article sort of bugs me that she doesn’t address the fact that choosing to have sex AND not choosing to have sex dredges up a lot of political baggage. Considering the amount of shame women have had to go through to be pure and virginal and chaste, sex negativity totally risks shaming those women all over again.

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