The Definition of Consent in “Consensual Sex”

 

I am not a guy … and will never be one. (Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing will be for history to decide.)

I do have friends who are males; and my bestfriend in the whole world possesses an X and a Y chromosome. Most of what I know about maleness, I learned from him, so if my ideas are wrong, he is probably to blame 🙂

***

This morning, I got to thinking about hazing in fraternities and the morbidities and mortalities that arise of such practice.

Full disclosure: my bestfriend (the one who has the XY chromosome) went through such a practice himself and survived. So, that is my bias.

The thing is:

  1. There is a term called “informed consent.” And while the concept has been originally applied to medical procedures that will be done on a patient, the idea as a metaphor can apply in this case.
  2. People who enter fraternities are assumed to be adults (fraternities are banned in high schools and people below 18 are not allowed to join by the college).
  3. Adults are presumed to know what they want.
  4. It is not a big secret that initiation rites that may/may not involve hazing happen in fraternities. Like, hello, I may have been a naive ignorant virgin at 22 but even I knew that when my then boyfriend said he was paddled, it didn’t mean that they went kayaking.
  5. The adult neophyte was not bullied into joining, not coerced, not forced in any way — at least ideally that should be the case. Systemic factors may come into consideration like, some fields (dare I say Law School?) may have the reputation among undergrads that say “success in later career will be determined by being a Greek or non-Greek”, hence the pressure. But still, hey you are an adult, and a law student at that, and you caved in to peer pressure and allowed yourself to be humiliated and physically molested when you didn’t want to? What kind of lawyer will you turn out to be? I mean, just saying.
  6. This is where my data is hazy: the neophyte, can say “no” at anytime during the hazing process.

***

Now if you are wondering, why I kept blabbing about hazing when the title of my article is about consensual sex. Then read this:

Judge accused of ‘victim blaming’ for saying women risk rape by getting drunk

I have never seen, for the life of me, an argument in a hazing case that goes like this: “Neophyte was asking to die by getting into an organization that he knows involves an initiation rite where other guys will paddle him to death.”

Seriously.

***

In conclusion: the correct question during a trial investigating hazing where a victim died is “did, at any point in time, he say no?”

***

 

 

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Romance (film), 1999

I watched Romance because I googled Rocco Siffredi, who apparently, according to G, is one of the more phenomenal porn male stars there are. Thank you G 🙂 🙂

 

The movie is brave for its time.

We must remember that in 1999, the internet was just a baby (or maybe a toddler). Emails were used primarily for business/academic purposes, MIRC chatrooms were the norm, “blog” is an unheard of word, there was no Facebook (Twitter was just a dream), internet porn was in the fetal stage.

On the other hand, video porn was available way back in the 1960s.

Romance by writer-director Catherine Breillat is not porn. Though, one can understand why a lot of people would think of it as such. It garnered XXX ratings in several countries. And it did feature explicit sex scenes, masturbation scene, cunnilingus, fellatio, BDSM, rape — you name it, it has it; except for bestiality, necrophilia and other conditions that may be considered pathologic.

The raciest thing it was accused of was featuring unsimulated sex between the lead actress Caroline Ducey and eye candy Rocco Siffredi.

Ladies and gentlemen (especially the gentlemen), take it from me, speaking as someone who has had sex in all manners of undress and in various positions before, Caroline and Rocco did not have unsimulated sex.

It is difficult, well at least uncomfortable for the man, to enter a vagina in that position. Trust me — or try it, whichever you prefer.

That must be the reason why, as Roger Ebert said in his review, “At a screening at the Toronto Film Festival there was some laughter, almost all female, but I couldn’t tell if it was nervous, or knowing.”

Roger, darling, the women were laughing because it was funny. Rocco and Caroline could not have had sex, like penis-in-vagina sex, because if they had done so, Rocco would have sued Catherine Breillat for a broken (or fractured) penis — which medically, is not an impossible condition.

The female audience may also have been laughing at the BDSM scene between Francois Berleand and Caroline Ducey. Their second BDSM encounter is really funny. Again, try it, to understand why.

It has been 18 years since Romance was screened. Thank God, I did not see it in 2012, otherwise, I would have had some seditious ideas (knowing how impressionable I was) and G would probably have had a nasty headache on his hands.

In any case, between 1999 and 2017:

  • the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists,
  • in a certain Southeast Asian country: Erap Estrada was booted out of office, GMA became a fake president for 9 years and Noynoy Aquino became the highest leader in a country despite being single and accused (probably unjustified) of autism (what is so wrong with being autistic, I have no idea, people with Asperger’s can lead perfectly happy and productive lives), then he was succeeded by self-confessed murderer, Rodrigo Duterte (proving that the Philippines as a nation is the one with mental disability)
  • Friendster then Multiply then Facebook then WordPress then Twitter then Instagram were born … yipee!!
  • Sheryl Sandberg became a CEO of Facebook, ditto for Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,
  • Sex and the City re-defined how we see women who do (and I mean “do” in all sense of the word, prurient or otherwise), Girls finished 6 seasons and it redefined how we see women (or girls) interact with each other and the men (or boys) in their lives
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James became (undeservedly or not) a book and movie phenomenon (in the financial sense),
  • the Arab Spring happened,
  • Rocco Siffredi retired from porn (2004), then returned to porn (2009), then retired again (2015)

A lot of things can happen in 18 years.

When Romance was screened and Roger Ebert watched it, he had this to say:

“… the film has an icy fascination. Perhaps it is a test of how men and women relate to eroticism on the screen. I know few men who like it much (sure proof it is not pornographic). Women defend it in feminist terms, but you have the strangest feeling they’re not saying what they really think.”

It is my opinion that the reviewer sounded defensive or maybe baffled? I cannot blame the guy — he is a male, after all.

I wonder, though, what he will say about it now.

Another Cut-and-Paste Blog Entry

The following words are from this website.

And while the details of the author’s life are different from mine, I share the sentiments she has towards her significant other.
*****
I Could Do This Without You, But I Don’t Want To (A Letter To My Husband)

by Amanda Elder

Image from Marriage.com

Image from Marriage.com

There were times I felt bitter toward you, especially when you were a medical student, and I was transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom. You didn’t understand my struggle. I ate, slept, and breathed our child, and felt consumed and alone.

You had a life outside of parenthood to continue, and while I stopped mine, I accommodated yours. For a period of time, we moved often and lived out of suitcases. Once, we even resided in a single bedroom of a Staten Island basement. For years, I manned the night wakings and offered my breasts around the clock as the only consistent comfort amidst constant upheaval.

Whenever you were off from work, I took our toddler out the minute he woke up so you (and our roommate) could sleep, but not always without resentment. I remember one morning, as I walked to our local bakery yet again, killing time with our little guy attached, I muttered, “I can do all this by myself.”

Because of life’s inherent uncertainty, I’ve actually considered the truth of that statement. I’ve now been a stay-at-home mom for five years and have wondered if I could actually survive on my own. Emotional well-being aside, would I even be able to provide food and shelter? I never thought I’d ask myself that question, being the self-sufficient woman I thought myself to be, but the honest answer is yes, I’d be fine. After all, I’m a go-getter, and that’s the reason all this staying home has been hard in the first place.

I’d make it, although there’d be details to figure out. You’re the dreamer, and you build our lives on the fantasies you manifest. Your doctor job is the one that would allow us to live a life of freedom and adventure in Costa Rica. I don’t have a vision for life without you, and the only notion of home I have is wherever we are. But I certainly wouldn’t head for the jungle on my own, and I wouldn’t do New Jersey either. Even though my sister lives there and I miss her when a single day goes by without conversation, I’ve been in Florida too long and have grown accustomed to bare feet and outdoor play all year long.

You’re in your residency now, and because you sometimes work 26 days a month, and 27 hours a day, I know that technically I can do this by myself. I pack bags and load babies like a boss. I clean toilets and play hide-and-seek simultaneously. I disguise trips to the grocery store as outings for cookies and have prepared many a meal with one hand. But despite my capability, I count down the time for you to come home, not because I so desperately need you to change the next diaper or fill the next sippy cup, but because I want you.

I don’t necessarily need you to carry scooters and tell the boys when it’s time to find a new climbing tree while out on family walks. I need you to hold my hand and talk to me.

I can put all the dishes away and find the missing shoe by myself, but with you, farts are funny, and coffee tastes better.

I can certainly walk the kids to sleep by myself, but when we stroll together, the full moon looks fuller, and I’m inclined to admire it longer.

I can take our son to karate by myself, but when that cute little girl beelines to be Javin’s partner, and another boy helps him perfect his jump kicks, I notice the sweetness, but I don’t giggle like I would with you.

I don’t need you to share parenting responsibilities with me out of fairness or survival, but for the joy of doing so. With you, the funny moments are funnier, the cute moments are cuter, and contrary to the pattern, the terrible moments are less so. Life is simply better with you.

We don’t only co-parent, we co-experience life.

We create and reflect on the same reality, and that somehow deepens the meaning of it all. When I see a beautiful sunset, and you say, “Look at that!” you validate what I see, and all of a sudden the colors become even brighter and more captivating.

I don’t necessarily need you for practical or worldly reasons, but I need you to know me. When I laugh, you’re aware of exactly why. And when I don’t say anything at all, you read my mind. You love my insecurities as you do my strengths, and your understanding gives me confirmation of myself. We’re like two beings from the same source, who get to witness more of themselves through each other.

It’s true that I don’t need you to survive. I need you for so much more.

 

Privileges **

** (noun) a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people — as defined by Google

a book without women is often said to be about humanity but a book with women in the foreground is a woman’s book. — Rebecca Solnit

images

 

In an ideal world, we would all have the same privileges irrespective of race, gender or social class.

But it is not an ideal world. Privileges (even by definition) are conferred based on what you are, not what you have done or what you can do.

Men have certain privileges by virtue of the fact that they have a Y-chromosome and a penis; while women do not.

Recently, I can’t help but wonder if these privileges are conferred only on certain types of men while excluding others. Maybe privileges are conferred not on the basis of anatomy but about society’s perception about your person-hood (specifically, male-hood or female-hood).

I have come across the blog of a man who is a self-described introvert, pessimist, mediocre, 30-year-old virgin. Dateless and bothered about it, he took it upon himself to start a blog chronicling his (mis)adventures — I find his voice articulate, engaging, somewhat depressing, but a great read anyway.

He reminds me of G, actually. I wonder if G would have ended up sounding like him if G had not met me — the love of his life (or so I think) 🙂

 

How To Fake an Orgasm (or Orgasms, plural)

(Ana’s POV)

Image from strongafrocentricmindsets.blogspot.com

Image from strongafrocentricmindsets.blogspot.com

Meg Ryan gave you a general idea. And her performance should have earned her an Oscar if the Academy were all females.

Faking an orgasm is just like any other worthy endeavor. One has to perform it with sincerity to pull it off.

First, one has to know what an orgasm feels like to be able to fake one.

And yes, I have had it, thank you very much. A lot of girls haven’t though. Or they may be unsure, confused if they have had it or not. Believe me, girls, you will know. No ifs or buts about it.

Orgasms are like that perfect pair of strappy high-heeled shoes, they defy explanation. They fit your feet like a dream; they make you feel sexy and they don’t give you calluses afterwards. I haven’t found the perfect high heels yet. But I am optimistic that I will find one. Eventually.

Image from thefishybowl.wordpress.com

Image from thefishybowl.wordpress.com

So orgasms. Second of all, it’s not really about the penis-in-vagina. (Sorry lesbian friends; I can only talk  about the heterosexual perspective.) A girl can have an orgasm while washing dishes (although it is not advisable because one can drop a perfect piece of china and that would be a lousy day); or while watching Chris Pratt save the universe in a movie. One can have an orgasm in the shower (make sure you are using a bath mat so you won’t slip) or even in the library (the Reserve Section is a nice place because there are few people around; just make sure to tone down your vocalistic emissions). Still, the best place to have an orgasm is one’s bed preferably with someone you are madly in lust with. Please take note that one does not have to be in love to have the big O. Though, sex with a loved one belongs (in my opinion) in a different category of orgasms; or even a different category of sex.

I haven’t faked one with Christian (not that I know of). That would just entail too much work; requiring energy that I do not have inclination to expend. Besides, he knows me like the back of his hand so faking it with him will be like deceiving myself.

Image from mirror.co.uk

Image from mirror.co.uk

It is best to fake orgasms with a stranger or a new lover. However, a warning: faking it in the beginning of a relationship may doom that relationship even before it has started. If you can’t be honest with a man you are having sex with, what is the point of staying with him in the long term? Oh yeah, there is also money, power, security (emotional or otherwise) or self-deception. I get that girls — we gotta do what we gotta do. But then, don’t expect orgasms.

On a positive note, we don’t need orgasms  to live a meaningful life.

But it sure will be a life that is lot less fun 🙂

Sex and the RH Law

From slideshare. Dr. Darleen Estuart's slides: "Reproductive Health and Responsible Sexuality", presented at the Mindanao Young Women Leader's Congress, 2011

From slideshare. Dr. Darleen Estuart’s slides: “Reproductive Health and Responsible Sexuality”, presented at the Mindanao Young Women Leader’s Congress, 2011.

The wonderful thing about blogging is that after a draining day at work, you find a post that gets your blood pressure up again.

So Tito Sotto and Loren Legarda have made budget cuts against the Reproductive Health Law. Somehow I am not surprised.They will both claim “personal/religious convictions” and “prioritization of other more important matters” in their decision; but the truth is, they find it easy to undermine a law that would give more reproductive freedom for women because they have never been …

  1. A 35 year old multigravid with a pedicab driver for a partner who depends on free RH services at the health center to limit her pregnancies …
  2. A doctor/nurse/midwife who works as a frontliner in said health center who feels helpless when the multigravid comes to her and the only thing you can offer is “counselling on natural family planning” — which does not work, by the way; the 35-year-old-multigravid has tried it before ….
  3. A 16 year old teenager whose parents both have lover number 2; the teenager wants to leave the family house to live with her 18 year old “kargador” boyfriend who at least has a job ….
  4. A barangay health worker (BHW) who wants to help this teenager but is feeling very demoralized because the program for teenage pregnancy prevention will not take off because of lack of funds. Imagine, there has been a so-called Adolescent health program for years, but it’s all on paper. So BHW is embarrassed with the community because this program is just a bunch of crap …. because the policy makers wouldn’t put their money (which is actually not their money, but the people’s money) where their effing mouths are ….
  5. A 40 year old multigravid who wants a bilateral tubal ligation and (at the moment) can’t get it for free because the hospital says she has to buy this and that medication for the procedure. Ah yes, Philhealth did say BTLs are free — well Philhealth kindly have discussion with hospital regarding the definition of “free” ….
  6. A  nurse working for PopCom (Population Commission) who has just been told by the district health officer that no we are not offering  the very effective contraceptive implant at the moment because there are no supplies coming from the central office. Poor PopCom nurse, who has to explain this to the young mothers who just want to space their pregnancies and want to use a convenient way to do it.

…. etc etc

It can be very hard to empathize with women who want reproductive health services because hey, it wouldn’t kill them not to have sex, right? They would just have to abstain or use natural family planning methods or the withdrawal method. Yes I am being sarcastic. And by the way, the withdrawal method is not a reliable form of contraception, having a failure rate of more than 20%.

Seriously! Has Tito Sotto tried withdrawal before? Has Loren? Have they tried calendar, Billing’s, BBT;  and do they know how much commitment and effort is required of a couple who wants to use these methods?

I mean … is sex such a luxury in this country? If you are poor, better forego sex and be celibate if you don’t want to get pregnant?

I find it ironic: in a world where sex is so common (in television, in movies — commodities that we sell to poor women, and which they buy, because hey it is entertainment and some of us really need to be entertained to forget the drudgery of our lives), it is also a world that deprives women of opportunities to have freedom over their bodies.

If I am a girl ( oh fuck! I am one) I would like my government to help me achieve the maximum amount of freedom I can have with my body. A lot of people (mostly men) would not agree. They would say, reproductive health and all things related to sex are private that should not be meddled with by the government. But …. love and marriage are also private things, a compact between two people, but we all know the government has a lot to say about them.

 

Sex Ed

She had known him for two years before asking him the questions she was really curious about.

These questions are not the ones discussed in school; certainly not in the one-semester health-education-knowing-your-body course she and other public school teenagers in her country generally have. What her high school teacher said about s-e-x boiled down to: 1. Don’t do it while you’re young; 2. It’s okay to do it if you’re married; 3. Children are its worthy by-product; all the rest (and maybe that includes orgasms) are after-thoughts.

That was circa 1990s, of course; and her teacher was a 50-year old straight-laced,  PhD-holding, tenured university professor, who always wore skirts.

Now she wonders, why do grown-ups never tell you the interesting parts about sex like:

* What is it like to lose one’s virginity?

* Why do people  who should know better (being educated and well-informed) claim that they do not want to have children and yet do not use contraception? Is it laziness? Being sucked in the “heat of passion” (a line she learned in a romance novel)?

* What’s the big deal about having children anyway? Does one really need to have one before one dies? For what? To fulfill a biological imperative?

* What do orgasms feel like?

What her skirt-wearing, well-meaning high-school teacher failed to mention; what all those who have had sex fail to mention when they talk about what you are and are not missing when you have sex, is the immense power-play involved among penises and vaginas.

Was it Andrea Dworkin who supposedly said that all heterosexual intercourse is rape? But that was just a myth, wasn’t it?

After Alice and Jonas first had sex (oh the word!), the emotions that overwhelmed her were:

1. feeling owned by and bound to this person who may or may not stay in her life for very long (“owned” and “bound” are such loaded words, very un-feminist, but that’s what she felt, no matter what Andrea Dworkin might say),

2. worry that a single sperm managed to pass through an improbable pore in the condom that they used and she will get pregnant,

3. a sense of wonder that sex was not as bad as they said it can be and that it actually exceeded her expectations,

4. curiosity about “where this all might lead to.”

***

Flash forward to now…

She is holding his hand, or maybe he is holding hers — they are lying down facing each other after you-know-what. And his eyes are closed. And Alice is thinking, his eyelashes look so much more nicer than mine, how can that be.

Alice: So I want to ask you a question.

Jonas: Uhhmm …

Alice: What did it feel like for you the first time you had sex? Were you worried, apprehensive, excited? Did you think it would change your life or change you inside? Did you have performance anxiety or were you just happy you were finally doing it? Were you concerned about getting an STD or getting the girl pregnant? Did you even think about STD or pregnancy at all?

It is a long time before Jonas answers that Alice thinks he has fallen asleep.

“I felt that I was doing something right,” he finally says. “But afterwards, you were crying, so for a moment there I was worried that you will go to the police and report that it was rape.”

Jonas kisses her nose, opens his eyes and smiles.

Alice has her answer.