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#WLAMF no. 19: Kinky sex

A while back, I was participating in a conversation about sex, and the subject of kink came up. A guy was saying his girlfriend had approached him with the idea of some sort of non-specific kink, and he was reluctant to engage in it for fear that “nice guys” don’t do that sort of thing with their partners. What, he wondered, would it be like if the sexes were reversed? A guy who asked his girlfriend for kinky sex was clearly not a nice guy; nice guys would never do such a thing! So why should it be okay for a woman to ask her boyfriend for kink? Didn't it show a double standard--women can do something bad but guys aren’t allowed to? Someone else said that he shouldn't be a nice guy, because women don’t want nice guys--nice guys, he explained, are emasculated, and women actually want strong, alpha guys, guys who will control them.

And listening to it, I felt despair.

I've always been suspicious of framing things in terms of “nice guy” vs. “bad boy;” I think, to be blunt, it’s childish and stupid. Modern social expectations do not “emasculate” men, being a “soft male,” or “losing your center.” That’s a load of rubbish. Modern social expectations are about treating women as human beings rather than need-fulfillment machines. That’s it. You don’t have to be “emasculated” or any of that other silly stuff to do that. You simply have to look at women as full human beings, deserving the same levels of respect and consideration you’d give any other person.

At the end of the day, it’s about consent, not disempowerment. It’s messed up to see relationships in terms of who’s empowered and who’s disempowered; in a good relationship, it’s possible for two (or more!) people to all be empowered.

Likewise, being a “nice guy” or treating women with “respect” does not mean holding doors open, always being soft and gentle, or always having sex in candlelight on a bed strewn with roses. REAL respect, as I've said many thousands of times, means talking to women about what THEY want, and then treating them the way they want to be treated.

Are you seeing the Matrix yet?

The “nice guy” who refuses to try anything kinky because he thinks it’s disrespectful isn’t really a nice guy. He’s not listening to his partner, because he knows what’s best for her.

And the “bad guy” who talks to his lover about what she wants, talks about what he wants, and then works with his lover to explore their mutual fantasies together? He isn’t really a bad guy…even if those fantasies involve kinky sex.

It seems to me the world might be a happier place if we all stop trying to figure out the rules about how to treat women "properly," and instead just talk to women like human beings and treat each individual the way she wants to be treated. A lot of men say they just don’t understand women. A lot of women say they don’t understand men. I respectfully submit that perhaps, if we listen to each other, that might change.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC)
For me, a nice guy (or, more precisely, an excellent partner/potential partner) is one who respects me enough to believe that I know what I want in bed, and can communicate about it in an articulate fashion.

I'm okay with soft music and rose petals *sometimes*, if that would please the person I'm with, and I generally find it to be a sweet gesture on a special occasion . . . but I'm MUCH happier with a partner who doesn't ASSUME they know what I'm into, but instead asks and listens. (What I'm into is sometimes kinkier than what my male partners have been into, but that didn't stop reasonable discussion and negotiation.)

I'm definitely a "bad girl" by many people's definitions, because I'm assertive, I'm a pervert, I'm poly, and so on . . . but I'm very much a "good girl" in terms of being loving, supportive, committed, honest, trustworthy, and compassionate.

We need to get rid of this stupid "good/bad" and "nice/bad" dichotomy, and realize that being exuberantly sexual isn't somehow immoral or unethical, and allow people of all genders to interact on the level of equals, and *encourage* communication and enthusiastic consent, for everyone. Talking about sex isn't somehow "worse than" having sex, despite the societal stigma.

And, as you said in the cheating post, communication and forethought remove the idea of "accidental" sex being "excusable," which makes everyone safer and saner -- because people who are honest about their intentions are more likely to use protection (and, if they communicate with their existing partners, we might have more ethical non-monogamy rather than serial monogamy and cheating.)

-- A <3
Dec. 17th, 2014 03:23 am (UTC)
Perhaps a nice guy talks abiut how he feels and what he wants?
The “nice guy” who refuses to try anything kinky because he thinks it’s disrespectful isn’t really a nice guy.

Another possibility is that he's not willing to say "I don't like the idea of doing that, it makes me feel icky", and instead it comes out as "I would feel bad if I did that".

Which you're happy to denigrate and discuss sex entirely in terms of what he is required to do for her.

I've read enough of your writing to be confident that in this case you just haven't thought through what you're writing, and are only considering "one side" of a multifaceted discussion. And sure, putting across the idea that "what women want" doesn't have to match anyone's ideals is fine and useful. But I think it's important to say: hey, if you don't want to do something, we can talk about that too. His feelings are just as valid and important as hers. Ignore the idiots claiming you're less of a man because you don't feel comfortable with some of your partners desires. Sex is about mutual pleasure. MUTUAL.
Dec. 17th, 2014 04:01 am (UTC)
Re: Perhaps a nice guy talks abiut how he feels and what he wants?
Everyone has the right to set whatever limits they like. There are plenty of people who are totally disinterested in kink, and that's absolutely okay. Nobody is obligated to do anything simply because a partner wants to do it.

There is, however, a big difference between saying "I won't do X because X is always disrespectful to women, even if my girlfriend wants it" and "I don't like X."

The former is misogyny disguised as concern for women. It's a way to say "I know better than you do what's good for you," and in my experience, that's an attitude that's all too common among self-described "nice guys."

It's possible that a guy might have difficulty saying "I don't like X" and it comes out as "you shouldn't like X" or "X is bad" instead. If that happens, perhaps working on communication skills might be helpful.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )