A lot is happening, evolving and changing – for the better! It’s remarkable how conversations of body and pleasure politics have gotten a mainstream outlet. Especially because of that, I think it’s important to look very hard at anything that mass culture wants to stay invisible. Unfortunately, I think the current landscape of mainstream feminism pressures us to have certain attitudes towards sex. It’s very in style to be an outspoken liberated slut who loves sex. It’s a marker of progressive politics; framed as inherently liberating. It’s cool though, but I don’t think sex is inherently liberating for everyone.
Although I do truly believe consent culture is revolutionary, it almost feels like it’s become our duty to know exactly what we want and don't want. It is all of a sudden expected of us to vocalise our desires and boundaries. And speak them loud and clear. If you think about it, it’s quite a drastic shift of expectations. Especially considering the fact that we were never raised to priorities pleasure, sex on or own terms or sexual agency. Rather, we’ve been denied it. This sort of consent rhetoric also in a way indicates that we can only be safe from sexual violence if we know what we want. And truth is, we don’t always know what we want – not least because a misogynistic culture makes that very difficult. We also risk denying wishfully the fact that women are often punished for the very sexually assertive positions they are being urged to embody.
In a way we have moved from a culture that demands we keep sexuality hidden from view to one that demands we speak it out loud in the name of liberation. If we are to be truly sexually free, we need to do more than just celebrate sex. Liberation can also act as a regulation of its own! “Sometimes the repetition of good sentiment feels oppressive,” as Sara Ahmed says. I think sex-positive feminism should acknowledge that being a desired and desiring body in this world is really hard, one of the hardest things there is, and that our suffering is actually a very appropriate and informed reaction. And that our suffering doesn’t need to be discarded in the name of empowerment. It can be used as a material, a weight, a wedge, to jam that machinery and change those patterns.