Female sexuality is not fluid

My sexuality is not fluid. I know it is meant to be – I know that, as a woman, the ladmag diktat that “female sexuality is fluid” is supposed to apply to me, and mean that pressuring me into having a girl-girl-guy threesome would be merely unleashing my buried erotic potential, should any male partner wish to do such a thing. But my sexuality is not fluid. It cannot be poured into a cup by someone else, made formless and amenable, consumed by anyone who wants to drink it.

My sexuality is not fluid. There are things I like, and things I do not like; things that incite me to pleasure, and things that do not. My sexuality is not fluid, even though it took me a remarkably long time to recognise this, to accept that my desire has validity and positivity, that I am not just composed of responsive matter but that I have a lust of my own (what is that lust for? That is my business). My sexuality is not fluid, though that doesn’t mean it is fixed: I enjoy meat but I could be a political vegetarian, and gorge joyously on fruits and grains, so why couldn’t I find different sexual pleasures as my ethics direct me?

But that does not mean my sexuality is fluid, does not mean it is a liquid that other people (male people) can decant to serve their own pleasure. When it comes to the boundaries of my own person, my wants are the absolute law: to say, as has been said, that it is “rooted in cissexism and general poor sex education” for a woman to reject those with penises as sexual partners is to say that women (female women) may have no boundaries, it is to say that the female libido is simply a formless puddle for others to plash in. (Who are these others? They are solid, they have form – they are, implicitly, male. While political heterosexuality may be demanded of women, aparently men are not required to swear their fealty to penetration. Funny, that.)

But my sexuality is a part of me, and it has edges and boundaries, inlets and recesses, all of which are my dominion. My sexuality is not fluid. And anyone who says it must be is trying to melt me into liquid nothing, watch me soak into the cracks of my own life, remove me from existence.

My sexuality is not fluid.

15 thoughts on “Female sexuality is not fluid

  1. Very poignant essay! I wonder if you have an opinion on political lesbianism as feminist action? I don’t agree with framing sexuality as being in service to her politically (ethics?), but not because of sexual fluidity, so maybe it’s veering off topic but it did make me wonder what you think about political lesbianism.

  2. I think that all forms of resistance to patriarchy are good – I don’t think political lesbianism is one I’m capable of, but the political dimension in no way negates the substance and validity of the sexuality, as far as I’m concerned.

  3. What I am haltingly trying to say is: we make choices about how we will practice our sexuality. I don’t know how much the raw material of sexuality with which we work is innate or conscious, and it doesn’t matter either: what matters is that the sexuality is self-directed and our own.

  4. lmao my favorite part of the stavvers post is “The first is if you are a medical professional and someone needs some medical assistance with their genitals, something which, for the vast majority of us, is never going to be the case. ”

    okay, except for ALL gynecological care for women including pap smears, yeast infections, UTIs, plus anything related to childbirth, contraception, or fertility. oh, and men who have fertility problems or need to be checked for testicular or prostate cancer. oh, and trans people who want surgery on their genitals. oh, and when dealing with medical problems that don’t directly involve a patient’s genitals but for which biological sex is a factor….

    “the vast majority of us” will NEVER need to talk to a doctor about our genitals…jesus christ….

  5. Sorry, but why on earth do you consider this a political issue? Do you think working class women care?

  6. Yeah Chris, because working-class women have no sexuality, or threat of sexual coercion. Because sex only belongs to women above a certain income bracket. You patronising twat.

  7. The piece which you reference can only have been written by someone who’s yet to be faced with a practice , or possible partner, that makes them recoil.
    This indicates a somewhat blinkered view based on, I can only imagine, a blessedly lucky existence.
    Otherwise the writer would not be able to elide that anyone who isnt pansexual, is basically, a cissexist bigot.
    And don’t start me on the underlying homophobia.
    THANKYOU for this Sarah.

  8. Oh ez, you missed the memo – there is not such thing as biological sex, it was invented in the seventies by feminists to oppress genderqueer and trans people. And thinking that the social organization of gender has anything to do with women’s bodies is flagrant bigotry. And talking about those bodies (unless it is to say ‘I did a wank’ or ‘I have a clit’ or ‘There is gooey blood in my moon cup!) is not a way for women to develop consciousness about their historical appropriation, it is just because we are really grossed out and JUST CAN’T DEAL with people fucking the gender-binary. Which we’re really attached to because we invented it in the seventies (see earlier). And as for ALL women getting to decide the pattern of their own desires?? You must be one of those liberal-yet-authoritarian, vulture-like-yet-still-mumsy, oh so passé feminists who care about women or some fucked up shit. I CAN’T EVEN. EWWWW. Smdh. Smdh. Repeat to fade…

    :/ :)

  9. @ez Think you’ve misinterpreted: the linked post said the vast majority of us shouldn’t need to be concerned with *someone else’s* genitals, as we aren’t in (that particular branch of) the medical profession. It’s fair enough for anyone to be interested in their own, but unless you’re a GU doctor, midwife, etc etc you probably don’t need to care about anyone else’s. (Until the second reason kicks in, of course.)

    There’s still plenty to raise an eyebrow at in her post, though: if not finding penises particularly attractive makes me ignorant and/or sexist, I’m afraid I’m going to struggle to shed my bigotry in a hurry.

  10. I don’t think EZ has misinterpreted, Geeb. The Stavvers post says “the vast majority” will never need medical assistance with their genitals. But all women will have routine smears, even if they don’t have kids. Add the men who will need some kind of GUM care, and that casual batting away looks even stupider. And what about when someone (almost always male) uses their genitals to intimidate or attack you? I didn’t want to know about my flasher’s penis, but he bloody insisted on making it “relevant”.

  11. I’ve just re-read it, and I stand by my original interpretation: “if *you* are a medical professional and *someone* needs some medical assistance with *their* genitals” (my emphasis). If the intention was as you say, then I absolutely agree, it’s so wrong that it’s laughable, but the writer doesn’t appear to be quite *that* jaw-droppingly dim.

  12. I’m unsure why you seem to be conflating “my sexuality is not fluid” with “female sexuality is not fluid”.

  13. Hi Aimee, you seem to have trouble understanding some things. I am female. My sexuality is not fluid. Therefore, claiming fluidity as an inherent attribute of female sexuality – which is something commonly done – is unsustainable. Your sexuality may well be fluid in some sense but that is personal to you, not an attribute of female sexuality per se. However, given that I’m clearly discussing the use of “fluid” in a coercive sense designed to deprive women of authority over their own desires, I’m not sure why you’d want to claim it in this context anyway.

  14. Stavvers piece is not terrible, except for the second last paragraph which is. She let’s down what should be a thoughtful argument about no one being defined by their genitals (something I am happy to agree with) with the terrible medical nonsense (as well dissected above) and the dreadful assertion that not wanting to engage with specific body types is merely a “lack of imagination” which feels like the worst kind of sexual pressurising.

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