You got me wondering why I,I like it rough…

I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to my favourite QC (and definition of good sex) ever. (Faye’s, ‘a concentrated mass of anger and tension released in a messy union of flesh and saliva’, not Dora’s!)  Not that I’m expecting anyone to be surprised, of course, it’s not exactly too much of a secret to anybody who’s talked to me about sex for five minutes/read this blog that, y’know, I like rough sex. I like struggling and scratching and spanking and being pinned down and pounded and pushed and generally knocked about. If I don’t end up feeling bruised, then CDB. Partly that’s a physical thing: while I’m clitorally hypersensitive (it doesn’t take much) I also do multiple-vaginal at the drop of a hat (almost) so the harder and faster you’re going the more I’m going to come. And like most people, my pain thresholds alter when I’m geting off; whilst pain for pain’s sake does nothing for me, being hit and bitten just the wrong side of too hard really works.  Which is, y’know, fine- by and large my partners, esp anyone I’m prepared to get into a relationship with, have similar tastes. But unsurprisingly (because this is me, and I’m posting this) the whole thing goes far deeper, hur hur, than just the physical.

First, take the personal. Just like that QC, sex can be an incedibly constructive place to defuse and express anger and tension without emotional damage. My last relationship was highly functional in a numer of ways, and one of them was that essentially sex was how we dealt with tensions – we’d  recognise issues or conflicts, discuss them, deal with them, come to some sort of compromise or solution- and then rip the hell out of one another in bed, letting all the angst and tension out in a way we both enjoyed and felt enriched by without damaging the underlying emotional congruence or connection. (When we couldn’t, we sometimes ran into trouble, but that’s another story.) Point is that I’m not sure how I’d deal with a partner who wasn’t comfortable with expressing perfectly natural feelings of frustration, anger, concern, hurt etc in that way. Quite apart from the sheer physical (and psychological – see previous post) pleasure of it all, where would those aggressive impulses go? how could they be otherwise expressed and dealt with in a way that not only didn’t threaten but actively promoted and facilitated the closeness on which the relationship was founded? I’m not sure. If these emotions weren’t to leak out in the actual relating, in the form of verbal aggression or sulks or silence, any other non-destructive means of expression seem to be masochistic – I’m very well aware that working out my tensions is one of the major reasons why I exercise so much. (And i like its impact on my body, of course, which in itself is culturally problematic, but still.) The fact remains that among other things, essentially I am turning aggressive and destructive impulses in on myself rather than outward, where they could impact on my daily relationships. And I think doing so is a particularly feminine thing.

Which brings me to my second point. There seem to be very few socially sanctioned cultural spaces for the expression of entirely natural female aggression, or even assertion. From what I’ve seen, women in both social and business relationships are by and large assumed and expected to take a conciliatory, facilitating role, to not only avoid but defuse conflict, to allow men space to dictate agendas and boundaries, to work for compromise and co-operation not individual assertion. This is by no means wholly a bad thing. But it does leave women very little space to express the frustrations and impositions of everyday life without being judged, condemned or punished for it. Why, i don’t know. Yeah, women are mothers and supposed to be nurturing, caring, all the rest of it – buit then one of the things I’m very grateful to my own mother for is for demonstrating that emotional expression is acceptable, even if the recipients don’t know what to do with it, and that being shouted at in frustration by a woman (something that a number of very nice, caring people of my acquiaintance are horrified and disturbed by) does not mean that I am unloved. Women are also, by and large, portrayed in popular (visual) culture as passive recipients of the gaze, bodies to be read or admired, and this somewhat precludes any direct or active agency. And relatedly, the taboo on open feminine aggression also leaves women with little comeback when faced with the objectification and belittling to which we are subject on a daily basis. I get looked at, sexually evaluated, comented on, every time I walk down the street. More so, depending on the clothes I’m wearing and whether or not my hair is down.

Talking to a trans friend recently, he said that one of the most liberating things about moving to a masculine gender presentation was his freedom from the constant gaze, judgement, evaluation to which he whad been aware of being subjected when presenting as female, and the same feelings of frustration were (separately) expressed by a very attractive cisgendered friend, whose diffident mention of imagined violent retailiation was wholeheartedly echoed and seconded by me. The forms of our fantasy comebacks differed, but the overwhelming desire to resist or even to express our resentment weas strikingly similar. Some bloke had told me ‘nice RACK!’ on the street the previous day; how is that a courteous or fair thing to say to another human being? Would I consider it polite to stare fixedly at his package and say ‘mm, nice WOOD’? I don’t think so. But what did I do? Went on my way, fuming, because I didn’t have a comeback and couldn’t deal with the aggro of causing a fuss. It’s not fair, it’s not nice, but by and large as a gender we’re not allowed either space to resist that objectification or other arenas in which to express the frustration it brings.

I’m well aware that being physically within at least spitting distance of being considered culturally acceptable or attractive is in some ways a distinct advantage here. I’m not above using and manipulating people’s physical responses to me, either in terms of attraction or in terms of ‘ohh, you’re so cute!’ (Again, this is something I’m generally comfortable with my friends or lovers saying, unless i’m angry, but I seriously resent coming from strangers. Yeah, I’m small, with biggish eyes and a little bony face.  But I also (almost) have a doctorate, a promising reviewing career, considerable psychological stamina and the ability to run for three hours without stopping. Don’t reduce me to my fucking appearance, let alone to my childhood, you prick.) But I do wish that I wasn’t assumed to accept that kind of objectification as a matter of course.

Paradoxically enough, of course, to return us to rough sex, if I have chosen the objectifier and consciously submitted myself, I love it. I love the fact that my lovers (hopefully, like anyone’s) find me objectively as well as subjectively beautiful, and I love feeling that I have the space to turn myself into an object to be used for their pleasure. But that is *because* it is conscious and willed and chosen, and very much a manifestation of the kind of safe space I talked about before – space to stop struggling and resisting the whole time, space to indulge the bits of me that want to be objectified because I can trust my companions not to discount my mind because they find my body pleasing. Space to be a valuable, loveable *person* instead of just a moving vehichle for my ‘nice rack’.

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About Goblin

Academic, critic, endlessly fascinated; reads, thinks, listens and talks far more than is good for her. Ex-anorexic, ex-ME, excitable, queer, kinky, nosy, mouthy; overanalytical, overaffectionate, overarticulate, oversensitive, certainly overfond of the prefix ‘over’. Purveyor of uncomfortable truths. Talks filth in public. Needs more sleep.
This entry was posted in Culture, kink, Psychobabble, Sex, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to You got me wondering why I,I like it rough…

  1. Dan says:

    “From what I’ve seen, women in both social and business relationships are by and large assumed and expected to take a conciliatory, facilitating role, to not only avoid but defuse conflict, to allow men space to dictate agendas and boundaries, to work for compromise and co-operation not individual assertion.”

    This seems to be a common perception, and I’ll willingly believe it’s true of society as a whole. My experience has often been the opposite; I’d be intrigued to know why. Am I oblivious to the social dynamics at play among my acquaintances? Or do I just hang around in groups unusually accepting of aggressive women? Presumably some combination of the two.

    [It *is* true of IT world, by far the most unrelentingly sexist environment I’m connected to, but it barely registers compared to the more dramatic forms of discrimination. Perhaps not unconnectedly, this is where the dominant anti-feminist stereotype is of the shrew permanently filled with irrational outrage]

    As for the rough sex: I started to write that it’s outside of my own interests, but I realise that’s not entirely true. Anger (surplus or absence, actual or frustrated expression) is connected to just about everything in my head EXCEPT sex, in fantasy or reality. Which is odd. Is it just because I’ve never had a partner in a period when I imagined myself capable of getting properly angry? Or do those feelings get segregated into kink? [probably not. yes, the one time I enjoyed topping was because of the ability to express frustration — but that was surprising and somewhat scary at the time, and I’m not sure it generalises]. Or because roughness — creative, self-expressive disinhibition — is an experience I touch only in moments of total intensity? Hence anxiety-inducing, somewhat magical, and not to be planned for, let alone used as a means to regulate a relationship? I don’t know; many of my stories about myself have evaporated in the past 6 months, and this connects to several of them.

    The link to QC is broken, btw.

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    • Goblin says:

      fixed!

      *wry* i think maybe my life is a series of ‘moments of total intensity.’ I don’t know how to live it any other way. Which speaks volumes of our differences….

      Oh Dan, you’re generally ace. Thanks for thinking about it – I’m not quite sure I can add much because I’ve either said things or i have know knoweledge base, but I really appreciate your insight and would be interested in what others think!

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  2. Me says:

    Not defending the “Nice RACK” guy, but from his view he was trying to compliment you. Sure it’s a compliment for what you *are* rather than what you *do*, but he doesn’t know what you do. All he saw was a pretty girl with a nice figure and the confidence to show it off. He doesn’t know you’re smart, successful, or any of those things, nor would he have an opportunity to find out. He thought enough of your appearance to single you out above and beyond the rest of the females on that street that day, and other than complimenting your outfit (picking that out was about the only thing you had *done* that he could see), he chose to compliment your breasts.
    Not everyone thinks about how their comments will be viewed by the recipient, but sometimes it helps to think about why they were made.

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    • Goblin says:

      *wry* I think in this case, given that his eyes were fixed firmly about a foot beneath my eyeline (with a quick skip downto my feet bc I had a short skirt on) slightly precludes his even considering me as anything rather than a walking figure. Yes, his comment was meant approvingly – but in making it, he also asserted his *right* to make that kind of judgement, to pass judgement on me as an object rather than a person, presumed his superiority and my objectified status. If he’d looked me in the eye and smiled, or even made a more generalised comment (‘you’re beautiful’, is quite common, or even ‘you look nice’) – some do – he would have got a smile in return and maybe a hello and we would both have gone on our way feeling better and appreciated, me because i’d been acknowledged as an attractive *person* and he because the pretty girl he’d kinda liked the look of had smiled at him and been nice, acknowledged his existence instead of looking at him like he was shit and passing on by. It doesn’t take much to treat people as, well, people – I’m not exactly above eyeing people of any gender up on the street, far from it, but if i want interaction, I initiate it by looking them in the eye and smiling, not by picking out an isolated body part and commenting on it.

      And btw, I don’t feel that my breasts – a fragmented part of my anatomy – are ‘what I *am*! Fond as I am of them. :o)

      (It’s interesting, tho. I don’t mind being complimented on my hair so much. Because it is unusual, I suppose, and because I have more choice in how I style and present it, because i could cut or dye it if I wanted, and look entirely different. Looking like a refuygee from a Rosetti painting is kinda my choice, so I don’t mind that being appreciated!)

      Of course, i always appreciate being appreciated, and i recognise his motive was positive by his own lights. But I don’t appreciate my personhood being written out of the equation.

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  3. segh says:

    “There seem to be very few socially sanctioned cultural spaces for the expression of entirely natural female aggression, or even assertion.”
    My experiences have not been like yours. From the fellow-waitress who threw a plate at my head, to the bullying female boss in the office where I used to work, I feel as though I have been on the receiving end of female aggression for a lot of my life. And I really wish that some women would “work for compromise and co-operation not individual assertion” instead of having screaming rows with the men. Perhaps this is a matter of class and education and national culture.

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    • Goblin says:

      Oh, I’d agree entirely. I spend much of my life with a bunch of mainly white, middle-class, overeducated, relatively high-earning people, and my experiences waitressing/cleaning etc have very much come from that point of view. A woman did try to mug me once, but i shoved her up against the wall and grabbed my wallet back. Maybe anger has its advantages…

      I dunno. In my personal/professional life and/or relationships, i genuinely don’t get angry much – frustrated sometimes, but that’;s a flash thing that dissipates almost instantly. And i’ve never thrown a plate at anybody, i just tend to snap, apologise, get on with it. But even then, sometimes the recipient thinks that they’ve majorly offended me, and either cringes or gets really angry themselves, whereupon i’m all ‘er, but, what?’

      Interestingly enough, i seem to get most angry with strangers, for patronising or underestimating me. And then there’s v little defusing or discussion template…

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      • segh says:

        There’s no defusing or discussion template among the uneducated anyway – they just shout louder.
        It’s an odd paradox, though. Why are your educated middle-class women still afflicted with an idea that they should be nurturing, passive, etc., despite generations of feminism, while immigrant working-class ones never seem to have been troubled by it?
        I’m educated and middle-class myself, by the way, but my mother would not have tolerated such an idea. And I’m 54. Who is still passing on this idea? And is anybody actually buying it?

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  4. Goblin says:

    From comments elsewhere…:
    [friend]:One of the (many) ways in which I’ve never gender-conformed at all is that I have never ever had any problem with getting angry. Quite the opposite, I’ve had to learn to control my temper because it used to scare the hell out of people. But the idea of learning not to be so angry because it wasn’t acceptable for a female never even occurred to me; my father has always had real difficulty dealing with open displays of anger, especially when he’s caused it, and he would find it almost impossible to cope with my mum being angry. She, of course, found my anger overwhelming. So in my household, the men were the ones unable to express anger effectively, and the women were the ones prone to raging.

    I regard anger as an emotion which, like jealousy, is almost always considered negative but has real value. I don’t think I have any problems with accessing my anger, more with not terrifying people when I do.

    Oh, and I like rough sex too, but you already knew that 😉

    I have no problem whatsoever with you doing with this comment what you think fit.

    Goblin: I think that my gender conformity is part of it – i never had or wanted much of a template outside – but I’m also wondering to what extent raging at home was a dysfunctional outlet for frustrations elsewhere? Just a thought…

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  5. Zee says:

    I also enjoy the ‘safe space’, brilliantly put, to be objectified by my lover and the rough edge and kink in the bedroom that I have enjoyed with sereral of my partners over time has indeed been a wonderful way to release tension and anger. Nothing soothes the soul like a good bang, right?

    But in regards to being cat-called or whistled at in the street, I’m a step ot of sync with most women because I find I like that too, so I wanted to share my thoughts. I can see ‘Me’s point in an earlier comment and men that shout out to women on the streets are attempting to compliment then in the only way they know how/are able. I get that. Also maybe they are showing off to their friends if in a group, in which case using potentially offensive means, in public, to a stranger to do so is a little small minded and I dont hold with that. Boys will be boys, granted, but do they have to drag the rest of us down with them?

    But if a man call out to me ‘nice legs’ or something similar then far from being annoyed by it, I take it as the compliment he means it to be, however mawkish it may appear. I dont see this as my allowing them to objectify me but lets face it, its going to happen and there’s little one can do about it, so why let it drag you down? Being the positive person that I am I decided that if I get ‘nice legs’ thrown at me in the street and instead of getting pissed off about it, I would look at my legs, see that yes, they are indeed looking good today and that is a good thing because looking good makes me feel good, and continue walking knowing that my legs were eye-catching and worth calling out about. I dont respond to these calls, I just keep waking, unless they are being either really aggressive or really forward in which case I’ll tell them where to shove it. But for minor things, I get a kick out of it knowing that I’ve made an impression but because I’m so unattainable all they can do is vocalise it and a crude way. Using their objectification to improve my mood by refusing to take it seriously. I take this attention home to my lover and say ‘some bloke shouted out ‘nice legs’ to me today’, ‘oh did he… *takes a look* well so you do…’ and in relaying this exchange I am using someone elses objectification to spice up my lovers objectification of me by letting him know that I am noticed by others. He is a playful sort and knows that I am his so this is fine. I know that he knows who I am and respects me for it and he is the only one who I will let got tothose extremes in our ‘safe space’.

    But it may be that I’m just really hard to offend and I am in no way belitteling any womans right to walk down the street unabused by men she has never met. Nobody deserves to be made to feel uncomfortable for wearing their favourite skirt/boots/top and feeling wonderful in it.

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