10 Ways Feminism Is Great for Your Sex Lifeby Jennifer Armstrong on March 04, 2013
The word “feminism” has the ability to push just about every button. In the process, it gets a not-so-sexy rap. But it turns out women’s lib, as they called it back in the ‘70s, is actually pretty great for our sex and love lives. Here, a few of the many ways that’s so, courtesy of my new book Sexy Feminism (with co-author Heather Wood Rudulph):
1. Feminism makes Liz Lemon, not Carrie Bradshaw, the ultimate sex symbol. Carrie Bradshaw has her feminist merits, but Liz Lemon is now the ultimate perfect woman, in all her imperfection: smart, funny, and ready to eat a sub sandwich. Doesn’t that sound better than shopping for uncomfortable shoes, no matter your gender?
2. Feminism knows vaginas are inherently sexy without any outside help, thanks. In a world where Cosmo headlines claim they’ll tell you how to get a “sexy vagina” and where labiaplasty is a thing, feminism says, “Hold on, aren’t sex organs pretty much the definition of ‘sexy’?” Any sexual partner worth anything will love your equipment just as it was issued from nature, without any plastic surgery, waxing, or vajazzling. Hey, go ahead and get a wax or, if you must, vajazzle, but know it’s more for you than for your potential mates—and draw extra confidence from that thought.
3. Feminism wants women to feel beautiful. Feminism doesn’t oppose indulgent beauty treatments that make you feel luxurious and sexy. It just opposes the advertising for many of said treatments that makes women feel inferior just for being normal. Makeup, facials, silky creams? Go for it! Barbaric plastic surgery treatments and media that makes us feel like crap are the problem; lipgloss and bubble bath are not.
4. Feminism wants you to eat, drink, and have a great time. Is there anything less sexy than a restrictive diet full of lettuce and lemon water, or, worse, a cleanse? Feminism fights for everyone’s right to have a good dinner date by battling unrealistic body-type standards.
5. Feminism embraces sex, and a woman’s right to express her sexuality. If this isn’t feminism’s most populist export, I don’t know what is. Feminists fight slut-shaming—alas, seemingly nearly every day if you look at ladyblogs—and envision a world in which women can get as down and dirty as they want to without feeling guilty or humiliated. Some day, maybe we’ll even get there.
6. Feminism throws The Rules out the window. Nothing saps the fun out of a budding relationship faster than all that “wait two days to return his call,” “only agree to meet him two Saturdays after the next full moon,” stuff. Feminism calls for authentic relationships with the partners of our choice. That’s sexy.
7. Feminism calls for “chivalry” from both men and women. It calls this “good manners.”
8. Feminism demands clear consent from both parties before sex. Call us feminists crazy, but we think consent is hella sexy.
9. Feminism loves safe sex. The only thing as sexy as consent? Sex that won’t give us diseases that range from uncomfortable to deadly, and won’t give us unwanted pregnancies. Condoms rule!
10. Feminism expects authenticity in relationships, nothing else. And that’s way sexier than most of us want to admit.