In the leadup to our third issue, we launched an anonymous sex survey. We wanted to hear from you about your experiences with sex, your thoughts and feelings and your best stories. And you told us! We’re so grateful for all the incredible, honest answers we’ve received – you can check out the whole Open Secrets series here.
We wanted to preserve your voices and the spirit of your answers, so we haven’t edited any of the responses.
Here’s the question we asked:
How do you experience sex as a feminist?
- Sex is all about mutual respect. You can have crazy dirty rough sex and pretend to hate each other, but when it comes down to it, everything has to be consensual and enjoyable to everyone involved. As someone who primarily has sex with men but has also is sexually attracted to women I have learned the importance of treating all humans as people with emotional needs. It’s never ok to see someone as only an object of sex even if you just have a one night stand you have to remember to respect their feelings and treat them with extra special care and compassion. Sex can bring out the fragility in people.
- I always wanted to hear more about what other people have to say about this. I consider myself a feminist, a strong woman, independent. I don’t take shit from anyone. But in bed, I like being choked. I like being hit. I like being called a slut. Those are the things that turn me on! How do we reconcile our politics with our sexuality? Do these ‘kinks’ undermine my strength as a feminist?
- I just feel really empowered. I love having sex and I always allow myself to mentally adjust to the situation so i can enjoy being naked. I think sex is the most natural thing and I do not allow any shame to enter the bedroom
- Experiencing sex as a feminist can be difficult. I think that during sex gender dynamics can be incredibly fluid but they can also be incredibly constricting. I’ve had some pretty disappointing experiences with partners who identify as feminists. Sex and feminism rely a lot on two-way communication and sadly sometimes it’s easier to talk about feminism and sex without really living those ideas. It really comes down to living your feminism instead of just preaching it.
- As someone who is sexually dominant, I tend to select partners who are submissive. I’ve never had someone who didn’t completely respect my wishes and consent (mostly because if they didn’t then there is no way I’m getting into bed with them in the first place).
- Most of the sex I have had was with women so feminism hasn’t really come in to it. I think I would be more comfortable talking about sex and exploring my own sexuality if we lived in a more feminist society.
- Going back to one of the earlier questions — I come really quickly, which is great on one level but also leads to problems. The last guy I dated had a really hard time coming, and sometimes we would have sex where I would have a great orgasm and he wouldn’t come at all. For a while it made me feel like a failure in some way, but it’s also so fucked up with you think about it. Men come ALL the time and women don’t and sex is considered “successful” anyway. I understand that on some level it’s just a biological issue in terms of reproduction, but it also makes me angry that sex is so often viewed through the lens of a guy coming.
- I think sex with women is easier for me as a woman because it feels like everything is more even. With men I don’t feel comfortable really being myself because of the culturally created expectations that they are supposed to lead and be more in control. I don’t really know how this relates to being a feminist but it does relate to the power dynamics in sex
- by having sex when i feel like it…not worrying about my “reputation” and double standards
- difficult. Uncertainties about how to navigate explicit communication vs body language and other tacit projections about needs and desires, negative infinities about “wanting what you don’t want” (what do we really want??). I’ve never had sex where you just lay it all out and are like, “this what we’re going for, this is what we’re working with”. Is that feminist sex? Like, in the shittiest way, sex as a feminist for me is just having sex not trying to emulate mainstream porn, or thinking that you could achieve mainstream porn. In less shitty but more vapid way it’s about having “fun”.
- Sex, I haven’t experienced with anybody. But dating and crushes are a bit complicated when your selection pool doesn’t have gender constraints. Like, I could have a crush on a guy, a girl, somebody who’s not really a guy or a girl, a guy whose birth certificate says “Female,” anyone, really. But I only really consider crushes when they’re not on men.I worked out a ratio of potential rapists, given 1/6 of women are sexually assaulted and figuring a serial rapist would rape 4 or 5 times, and it’s 1 in 30 at the least. Rapists are known to focus on people they know, like friends and family. Like dates.Now, I could be really lucky- amazingly lucky- with the first 7 guys I date, but I only have to be unlucky once in my life. And frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with the income inequality, or the assumption that I’m going to take the mommy track, or the isolation from the queer community I’d get for being in a straight relationship.
- I don’t know how much I label myself as a feminist; however, I do have a lot of feminist qualities (I honestly think I just have a beef with the word).
My main feminist “prude” type attitude in the bedroom… I would NEVER be okay with a guy cumming on my face.
- I enjoy having an equal level of control in a sexual situation and feeling like I am working with my partner, rather than for or against him or her.
- Sometimes I don’t like certain positions because I can’t forget that they are historically a bit disrespectful, or could be perceived that way. Like doggy style. I don’t always find it pleasurable, and sometimes this little voice in me feels like it’s a position that only brings pleasure to my male partner. But then sex should be a give and take – when he’s going down on me, he might not feel physical pleasure during it. I feel mostly good as a feminist when I have sex – like a strong woman, most often in charge (not just totally equal) and very respected. I’m pretty selective of my partners and can’t imagine any of them ever doing anything disrespectful.
- Liberating. I take responsibility for my pleasure, i ask for consent, and I take credibility if/when I cross a boundary. Communication, being non-judgmental and open, accepting and non-shaming are just some of the benefits of feminist sex!
- I… don’t? I experience sex as a sexual human being. How I choose my partners is something where feminism comes into it, probably, and operating from a mutual consent point of view is part of the deal, and barrier protection for everyone involved is part of it, too… but I’m not sure that’s “experiencing” so much as “preparing” or “approaching”. The experiential stuff is all about skin and nerves and pleasure and while, maybe, you can talk a good game about experiencing/creating queer pleasure being radical & political acts, I think it’s just part of being human and alive.
- I really believe it needs to be about love.
- As often as I can in terms of having sex. I don’t do things I don’t want to. Does that make me a feminist? Sucking a nice cock, does that make me not a feminist? I don’t understand your thinking here.
- Since my parents were great sex-positive feminist parents, I’ve always been feminist and have always seen sex as something joyous and something you can own. So, even with my first partner, when we were both nervous and awkward and just generally weird with each other, I was able to say no when I didn’t like something and to tell them how to make it more enjoyable for me. I have no problems talking about sex with people, and I gladly give sex-ed to all and sundry. I think feminism has made me unafraid of my sexual power and agency, and I’m really thankful I have that.