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Respect to our Elders

Posted by Condomologist on March 5, 2009

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Gayle Rubin speak at UPenn as part of the conference Rethinking Sex, which pays tribute to the 25-year anniversary of her seminal (pun not intended) 1984 essay “Thinking Sex,” a piece I’ve never read, but one that the conference website describes as having “inaugurated the contemporary field of sexuality studies.” She eloquently took a look back at her days advocating for her view of feminism and the critics who took her to task for being anti-feminist because she didn’t fall in line with their anti-pornography views. It was a fascinating history lesson for me, and while Iwon’t delve into any feminism debate or the details of her talk, I found her simple closing words as poignant and relevant.


To paraphrase: Remember the past, look forward to the future, and appreciate the moment because it will be gone all to quickly. It resonates for me as it pertains to those of us pushing the envelope in our quest to create a society that is healthier sexually: We must remember those like Rubin who laid the groundwork for giant leaps we’ve made in empowering people — women especially, but everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity — to feel good about their individual notion of sexuality; we must appreciate the strides we make today, such that hundreds of people could come together tonight to listen to Rubin, free from outside protest or widespread crticism; and we must embrace a future in which sexuality continues to be celebrated, where condom styles and pleasureable safer sex are discussed amongst friends, where two men and two women can marry and attain the same civil rights married straight folk enjoy, and where we lower the rate of unplanned pregnancies, conquer the devastation of HIV and AIDS, and celebrate the innate joys of every imagineable healthy sexual experience.


4 Responses to “Respect to our Elders”

  1. Rachel said

    Speaking of talking about sex amongst friends — a couple friends and I were on the subway the other day, discussing guys’ thoughts on having sex with women while their on their periods. I don’t think this is an issue that relates to health, though I could be wrong, but pleasurable sex, yes. It seems guys are scared of menstruation and some girls grossed out by it, too, especially when it comes to sex. I’ve had mixed reactions/experiences personally. And my sense is that heterosexual men who are more comfortable with themselves, their sexualities, their bodies, their masculinities, etc. are more comfortable with all of those things in their female partners, and so at least feel comfortable talking about such issues. Thoughts?

  2. Jonathan said

    Generally I’d say two things: I don’t want to get into this too much because a) younger sisters and sex while menstruating don’t usually mix and b)it’s not about condoms. But in the name of being open about sexuality, I’d say a few things. There’s nothing generally unhealthy about having sex while on you’re period — people do it all the time — but if you’re concerned about blood-borne infections like HIV, then that would pose more of a risk. Again disclaimer: I’m no MD, so please people correct me if I’m putting forth egregious falsities. I think your sense of how people view sex on your period matches with my sense as well, in that anyone who is more comfortable with this stuff in general is more likely to be well-informed and not as scared off by otherwise healthy behaviour. The one thing I’d add young lady is that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that relationships or at least how partners communicate become more mature and open — not always, but generally speaking — people become more educated and more willing to try (especially sexual) things they thought were gross or weird when they were younger. And so the guy in high school or college who thought — or at least said he thought to say the socially acceptable thing, because one’s feelings in private are often different from how they’re expressed — this or that was nasty might be the biggest proponent of it 5 years later after giving it a shot. Last thing is that sex on your period can be nice added lubrication for couples.

  3. Jonathan said

    yo sis, i take it back. this can certainly be about condoms. one way for some guys (and girls) to feel better about period sex would be to use a condom. maybe they don’t the rest of the time, but if they tried it, they’d feel better about their being less clean-up or at least blood-skin contact. you take the bloody condom off right away and it might feel less icky to some people.

  4. […] Jonathan added an interesting post on Respect to our Elders « CondomologistHere’s a small excerptRespect to our Elders. Posted by Jonathan on March 5, 2009. Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Gayle Rubin speak at UPenn as part of the conference Rethinking Sex, which pays tribute to the 25-year anniversary of her seminal (pun not … […]

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