The Sexualisation of Women and Girls

What’s Happened to Sex ? What’s happened to women and girls?

A great light of shame shone on Pornhub recently where it was found that 14m of their videos contained child abuse, rape and trafficking. I’m not moralistic about pornography – sex is sex. But, I have been concerned, for a long time, at the objectification of women and girls that seems to have led to a legitimisation of abuse. If you’re a survivor of such things you kind of get it. If you haven’t you can fall into the ‘everything’ goes brigade, where no harm is ever done through what I’d consider harmful practices.

Let me be clear, at this juncture, I have no problem with consenting adults doing things they have agreed behind close doors. It is that there is no narrative around the extreme naturalisation of violence in sex that is blurring boundaries. I also believe, this type of blurring allows the legitimisation of child abuse, particularly that of young teenage girls as an acceptable, adult, mostly male, private pastime.

I was shocked to discover, recently, that women were using children’s toys, shoved down their bras, down the front of their knickers to stimulate their clitoris and breasts for men who have that particularly fetish. To my mind, there is no reason in the world for anyone to be using children toys in sexual acts. There’s no shortage of sexual stimulation aids in the world to buy or obtain naturally; so I ask, contentiously, perhaps: why are we legitimising this use of children’s dolls to stimulate sexual activity?

In the 90’ s, when I was healing my child sexual abuse, such things did not exist – but the sexualisation of women and girls had begun. It was impossible to challenge. The proliferation of lads mags and lap dancing bars and Britney Spears in a school uniform hemmed in any debate about the appropriateness of such a world for girls to be brought up in.

Now, we are seeing that at full throttle. Men and boys lack a narrative around the non-stop without limits sexual content they can access quicker than they can undo their zip. And, women and girls are lost in the world these men have had access to and then see as their natural expression to want quite extreme sexual acts at very early adulthood.

I watched a young woman on one of those sex clinic programs present for sex advice. All ears to her intimate dilemma, I was stunned as she retold how she’d tried anal sex in a relationship – more than once – regularly it would seem. But that it was always painful, messy and she did not enjoy it and had felt damaged by that experience. She was there to really get the hang of anal sex. The woman, sex expert, offered her dilatory butt plugs that should enable her to enjoy anal sex more by getting her bottom used it. Was I the only person in the country on the sofa watching who thought – why on earth would you want to get back into something that clearly you don’t like and do not enjoy?

There isn’t much sex I haven’t had, but this seems beyond believable. Women can say no; yet here is this young girl trying to get used to something that brings her no pleasure. There is nothing at all wrong with anal sex but it is something that you either like you you don’t. Why complicate more than that? The act of saying no, seems to have been lost on many young women and in doing so they are legitimising men’s narratives around sex that are fuelled by a pornography that has no boundaries.

To put that in perspective somewhat – pornography is sexual erotica thought up by one person and shared. You do have to ask – who is fuelling ‘your’ desire? It’s just a person with a video camera and sexual ideas – who wants to make money online. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s the truth and should be accepted without question.

Take my opinions – so far. The fact I am a woman and that I am questioning how men ejaculate and what to – automatically makes me ‘un-sexual’ in some manner. That I don’t, can’t, enjoy sex: that I am not open minded ( that old line).

It’s an interesting response, that because I express an opinion on how the man in my bedroom, or kitchen, or hall – I am not fussy – gets aroused makes me somehow less good at sex. It’s like I lack a qualification. How so? After all, I am the other half of my chosen equation anyway.

The point is, we all need narratives around sex, erotica and pornography. Gone are the days where we can simply dismiss desire as something that should not be questioned merely by its nature of being sexual. That any type of sexual expression is legitimate – because it is.

The type of pornography that exists now has never existed before. It is instant, often extreme in nature and caters for anything you could never even imagine. If too much alcohol is problematic: then why do we choose to think that pornography has no harmful effects and therefore it should remain limitless?

Men need a narrative around pornography in order to have equal sexual relationships with women. That can’t happen if women are defining themselves by the endless stream of demands that some person has thought is a good idea in Utah.

Published by Stella McHugh

Survivor of so many things that happens to women and girls.

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