Blood, sex, boundaries, and coercion

“Nothing like a little social coercion to get adults to do things they don’t want to.” That line came from Q Grrl in response to a post on Feministe written by Jill. Last month Jill blessed the internet with her post declaring that men who would not perform oral sex on women are sexist and homophobic. If you found that assertion quite a stretch, Jill managed to out do herself this month:

I have met a grand total of one dude in my entire life who was like “no” on the period sex (for the record, he wasn’t saying no in the moment; it was a general conversation, not a negotiation). His reasoning was “it’s gross.” And when I stopped seeing him approximately 24 hours after that conversation, my reasoning was, “I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that a natural, healthy uterus-having body is gross.” Do you have a right to refuse to have period sex because you think bleeding vaginas be nasty? Of course. And do I have a right to leave your ass and think less of you because of that? You betcha. Because it does come down to misogyny, basically — most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month. Vaginas do not exist as sterile, liquid-free penis receptacles (although I hear there’s a toy for that). Lots of healthy vaginas expel blood. And if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free (exception to the “you’re kind of a dick if you think periods are disgusting” rule: People who are universally freaked out by any kind of blood and just can’t handle the sight of it).

Basically, dudes who have sex with women and think period sex is disgusting are the brothers-in-badnews-sexytime with people who think oral sex is gross. Don’t like normally-functioning vaginas? Then you should be disallowed from fucking them.

As I stated in my previous post, I fail to see the misogyny here. Everyone does not like performing certain sexual acts. There are many women who find semen and pre-ejaculate disgusting. If anyone argued that a woman who refused to touch semen was a misandrist Jill would call them all sorts of sexists, oppressors, and rapists, yet she finds no problem with shaming men who prefer not to engage in certain sex acts.

But in this case her reasoning is more warped than before. Jill limits men’s reasons for refusing to having period sex to either being a misogynist or hating blood in general

And as I said in the post, if you’re squicked out by blood generally, that’s a different story. I’m talking about being grossed out by period blood specifically.

When some posters point out the oddity of asserting that anything that comes of a woman’s body is sacred and should be loved, Jill responded with:

Feces is waste, though. Blood is not. And feces will make you pretty darn sick if you come into too much contact with it.

And when a poster explained that period blood is also waste, Jill replied with this:

But period sex doesn’t make you more prone to contracting an STI than non-period sex. Yes, blood generally will make you pretty sick if that blood has a disease in it; but that’s not unique to period blood. My issue is with men who specifically think period blood is gross, but don’t have a problem with non-menstrual vaginal lubricant, and aren’t terrified of blood generally.

Feces comes with a whole host of bacteria that can make you extremely ill. And I think as a general rule, people who are opposed to coming into contact with shit are opposed to coming into contact with all shit, not just shit that comes from a woman.

A few questions come to mind. What is so special about period blood that excludes it from a general dislike of blood? How many of the men Jill dates come in contact with blood on regular basis? Does she know that ingesting blood can also make a person very sick? Does she realize that even people with no aversion to blood do not necessarily want it near or on them?

Judging by Jill’s post, I assume she could not care less. And perhaps there is a reason for that. Perhaps Jill’s actual contention has nothing to do with men refusing to have period sex. Perhaps the issue is this:

YES. I mean, I totally understand not wanting to have sex while you’re on your period — at least for me, I feel like 100% shit on Day 1, and I’m crampy and bloated and cranky and my whole body hurts. So, no sex! But a dude who’s like “period sex is gross, here touch my semen”? NOPE.

In other words, this has nothing to do with how super-duper awesome bloody vaginas are. It is solely about telling men what bodily fluids they should like. Never mind that people think lots of fluids that are natural, normal parts of the human body are gross: from urine to bile to spit to sweat to semen.

But no, anything coming out of a woman’s body is teh awesome, and men should want it in their mouths and want to stick their penises in it or they are all sorts of sexists.

Again, I really do not see the misogyny in finding period sex or menstrual blood gross, although I do see the misandry in telling men they have to have period sex or get dumped.

Here is a reminder to Jill: sexual coercion is not just a sin; it is also a felony.

22 thoughts on “Blood, sex, boundaries, and coercion

  1. I have met women who find period sex gross due to the blood involved. Are these self-hating women?

    The stupid. It hurts.

  2. All I can say is that if she wants guys who are into bloody vaginas, she should start dating vampires.

    Of course, a woman’s boundaries are of utmost importance and when she says no, she means no. When men say no to something? He’s a misogynist creep. Lovely logic.

    If she doesn’t want to respect her partner’s boundaries, I hope she remains bitter and lonely. Or with a vampire. That works too.

  3. Tune in next month, when Jill calls men who don’t want to perform oral sex on a woman who is on her period for being misogynists …

  4. I guess all the resources our culture already provides to women who want to pressure, shame, and bully unwilling men into servicing them sexually still aren’t enough for Jill.

  5. John- oh no, not nearly enough.

    Haven’t you heard? Women over 45 years old don’t get their pick of handsome young studs. Show some pity for these sad, greying victims.

  6. I think this person, Jill must have a personality disorder or a type of mental illness. She has some deep-seated issues and belongs in therapy, but people like her seldom avail themselves of much needed help.

    When I fist read this post I started to laugh, because her posturing seems so off the wall and ridiculous. I do agree with you though about her bullying tactics. She’s out to lunch and it’s sad that anyone would bother to listen to her whatsoever, but unfortunately some people will allow her to influence them. She also sounds full of hate, although I haven’t bothered to read her posts and what I know about them I’ve only read here.

    “As I stated in my previous post, I fail to see the misogyny here. Everyone does not like performing certain sexual acts. There are many women who find semen and pre-ejaculate disgusting. If anyone argued that a woman who refused to touch semen was a misandrist Jill would call them all sorts of sexists, oppressors, and rapists, yet she finds no problem with shaming men who prefer not to engage in certain sex acts.”

    I agree. Coercion and bullying people into performing sexual acts that they are uncomfortable with or prefer not to engage in is manipulative, selfish and disrespectful and that is true whether they are male or female.

  7. **Warning could be gross to some**

    This reminded me of a friend(very drunk) years ago who picked up a woman and took her home for some adult play. We were all having pints in the other room when he came out declaring that he was done with her and wanted to go find another woman. When we looked up at him it was clear what he had just finished doing to her. His mouth was covered with dry blood and he was oblivious to this fact. All we could do was smile and say, “You go buddy” 😉

    I wonder if Jill was the next woman he pursued would she be aroused or grossed out by his appearance?

  8. Geez, and I thought her last post like this was effed up. This is beyond effed up. Is there anything men are actually allowed to say no to, sexually? Anything?

    I bet if her now-ex boyfriend hadben like “Yes! Period sex is fucking AWESOME!” she would have thoght he was a weirdo creeper with a fetish

  9. She keeps shifting the goalposts everytime her arguments get effectively contradicted. I like some of Jill’s stuff but she never admits when she’s wrong. Like, ever.

  10. The thing is, I would be disgusted with MYSELF if I told a woman “Drink my cum. You would if you loved me.”

    That is ALL her posts boils down too. She would probably retort with “But, in the past/history!” but not explain anything.

  11. No, really, I’d like to know what to conclude about my first question in this thread: as for the women I’ve met who find THEIR OWN period-blood to be gross… are they self-hating, misogynist women?

    If they are, then I suppose I should wag my finger and declare “NO! Your period-blood is glorious! The patriarchy has contaminated your thinking and led you astray!”

    But, wait a minute… that would be me traducing a woman’s analysis of own experiences. Which would be… misogynist of ME!

    So we’d… both be misogynists in that case?

    Oh! If only I knew the difference between misogyny non-misogyny! If only I had the intuitive understanding of these things that only REAL feminists have…

  12. No, really, I’d like to know what to conclude about my first question in this thread: as for the women I’ve met who find THEIR OWN period-blood to be gross… are they self-hating, misogynist women?

    If you read the comments, she dances around that little issue. At least a third of the women who commented said that they were turned off by it. But since it is women being turned off by it, who could Jill blame? When I read Jill’s post was reminded of Dennis Prager’s comment from Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!: “The foolishness of that comment is so deep, I can only ascribe it to higher-education. You have to have gone to college to say something that stupid.”

  13. TS: But since it is women being turned off by it, who could Jill blame?

    Simple: Male-dominated society and, by extension, all men. An aversion to menstrual blood is a form of woman-hating prejudice. Don’t take my word for it; just read “Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology”, available in hardcover at Amazon for a mere $65.

    http://www.amazon.com/Under-Wraps-History-Menstrual-Technology/dp/0739113852

    A sample:

    “…Menstrual hygiene products are hidden artifacts that have enabled women to pass, to overcome prejudice leveled against a bleeding body. At certain moments the technologies helped women pass as healthy. In others, they helped them to pass as non-bleeders. Because women have relied on the pass, their exposure is felt more keenly in moments in which menstrual blood seeps through clothing, for instance.”

    Who knew?

    Come to think of it, band-aids are starting to look mighty sinister all of a sudden…

  14. On my blog I periodically run a survey on beliefs about domestic violence, child abuse and rape. One question offers a series of response concerning what constitutes rape. In the latest version of the poll (not scientifically conducted), 55% of the female respondents answered affirmative that it is rape when a man threatens to break off the relationship if the woman refuses sexs in order to gain her consent. Jill says she would break off the relationship with any man who refuses period sex. I wonder how Jill would answer that question. I bet I can guess.

    TDOM

  15. aych,

    “Who knew?”

    Well as a woman, I guess I wasn’t in the KNOW! I guess I’ve been far too selective in my reading material.

    TS

    “When I read Jill’s post was reminded of Dennis Prager’s comment from Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!: “The foolishness of that comment is so deep, I can only ascribe it to higher-education. You have to have gone to college to say something that stupid.”

    Too funny and oh so true. And this is why most of my college classmates always knew that the Ph.d stood for (in most cases) Piled Higher and Deeper!

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  18. Okay, as for the menstrating technologies being inherently sexist: They kind of are.

    For example, I was in high school and had a heavier than normal flow day, without realizing it quickly enough. The blood seeped through my clothing, and left a mark on the bench beneath. I was embarrassed about my bodily fluid, and went to retrieve clean up materials while trying to keep it on the down low, and a girl who bullied me throughout my high school career, proceeded to let everyone know via rumor that I couldn’t control my periods.

    Now, the misogynists are going to say it is gross and my fault, and I *should* have had better control over it. How dare I expose myself for being a fertile female?!

    If I had a deep papercut gash, or a band-aid that overflowed, people would be more than willing to help me get a bandaid, and stuff to clean the table with, without humiliating me about it, but because the blood is from a period, there is an inherent sense of shame with it in our society, and that’s wrong.

    Which is the feministas point; while it is a bit gross, it’s natural. I had a whoops moment, sure, but that knowledge of its existence/rate of flow shouldn’t have been used as a tool to humiliate me socially.

    If you are willing to help bandage somebody, or have sexual relations with someone who has an open wound (papercut to stitches) on their body, then you should have no aversion to period blood, unless you have an aversion to healthy vaginas.

    You should discuss boundaries as a couple, and shouldn’t force someone to do what they don’t like, if you truly love that person.

    If you don’t love somebody you have every right to leave them, but not to attempt to manipulate them to stay with you and do what you want, so you’re correct there, but:

    Jill dumped him within 24 hours, and most likely, didn’t tell him why. She wasn’t coercing him, she just left. She has her reasons for doing so, and for all you know that wasn’t the only reason she thought he was misogynist.

    So in wrap up: Periods are natural, our society’s views on periods are messed up, if you have no other aversion to blood in general, but do for periods because it came out of a vagina, you should make sure you’re not being hypocritical, and lastly, don’t judge others lest ye be judged.

    Most of these commentors about how women are evil and feminists are more so… I have no words, only pity.

  19. If you are willing to help bandage somebody, or have sexual relations with someone who has an open wound (papercut to stitches) on their body, then you should have no aversion to period blood, unless you have an aversion to healthy vaginas.

    Unless the person is a sadist, chances are that they are not penetrating the person’s bloody wound. I better analogy would be if a person would receive oral sex from someone with a bloody mouth. Not likely.

    As for the blood aversion issue, many people have no problem with seeing blood yet do not want it on them. Keep in mind, we are not talking about treating a wound. We are talking about a man putting his penis, finger, face and/or tongue into a menstruating vagina. That is a very specific set of acts that many men might not want to do.

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