Toward a New Culture for Women’s Sexuality
How can a culturally defined autonomous sexuality for women be created? How can the individual woman conceptualize her sexuality in more functional terms than as either nonexistent or degrading? Clearly, an important step is to work toward sexual fantasies that are not based on dominance and submission. If arousal means images of dominance and submission, the resulting sexuality is an exploitive one regardless of whether men are dominant over women, women are dominant over men, or same sex partners play the roles. It will be an interesting challenge to explore the parameters of erotica that arouses through other means than the dominance and submission themes found in pornography.
In this new vision, as a society we would let go of the biological model of sexuality. We would acknowledge a physiological component to sexual functioning, but not one that took precedence over human characteristics and capabilities. Thus it would not be assumed that men had the more powerful sexual drive. It would not be assumed that a grave disservice was done to men if they were aroused without gratification. It would be assumed that as human beings we have a measure of control over our physiological functions and can shape them to serve human goals of kindness and caring toward others.
Furthermore, it is interesting to conceptualize egalitarian sexual relationships between men and women. These would not rigidly prescribe roles based on gender for sexual interests and activities. Men would be free to be sexual caretakers, and women would be free to be sexual initiators without being cast in the role of bad girls or be seen as overly demanding. Women would be able to focus on satisfying their own needs without imposing a social threat to caring for children’s needs. Such a new vision of sexuality also would encourage men to protect their own sexual interests as well as their partners. Men would be as accountable for unwanted pregnancies and disease as women, and men would serve as sexual gatekeepers similarly to women.
Overall, we are conceptualizing a society capable of defining male sexuality in relational terms, in which men have control over their sexual urges and can be held responsible for sexual transgressions. We are conceptualizing a society capable of defining female sexuality at least in part as an expression of individual interests that do not threaten the fabric of society.
We have something to look forward to.