Pleasure, desire and sex from feminism

Ana Requena is the editor-in-chief of Gender at eldiario.es and the author of the book ‘Vibrant Feminism’ where she addresses the subject of pleasure, desire and sex from feminism. His objective: “to break with shame, modesty, as if it were bad or we did something wrong or that he questioned us for talking about sex.” We are talking today about this issue and how women should break taboos, stereotypes and beliefs in this regard.

We have the 2 winners of the book ‘Vibrant Feminism’

Congratulations to Isabel and Ana with comments 18 and 23!

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Talking about sexuality in women with Ana Requena

Ana Requena card

* You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

If there is no pleasure, it is not our revolution. Why is it so important to talk about pleasure, desire and sex from a feminist perspective?

For several reasons. One, because sex and sexuality have been one of the weapons that patriarchy has used to subdue us. He has done it through guilt and shame, stereotypes and beliefs. He has built a system in which men are the sexual and pleasure subjects and women are the objects whose sexuality is or should be discreet, controlled or at the service of others.

From there we can even say that we need to talk about sex, pleasure and desire because all these concepts are closely linked to both sexual violence and everyday machismo. Because to a large extent the concept of sex or what sex should be has been built, precisely, on our discomfort, on our discomfort, on that ‘or whores or narrow’, or ‘woman for one night or woman for the whole life’.

Sexual violence is also marked by this: a good part of sexual assaults have to do with the idea that it is okay to insist or make us drink alcohol until we break our will, or that if a woman does not say ‘no’, that is it gives the green light to everything, or that if you are in bed with someone you already have to accept everything because how are you going to leave it like that. On the other hand, it is important because we need to balance the claims and discourse on sexual violence with another that speaks of our pleasure, of what we want, of our right to be and exercise as subjects of pleasures.

You dedicate the book to your grandmothers and you speak precisely of how our grandmothers lived sex and desire. How have the messages and beliefs that women receive about sex and our pleasure changed?

Yes, I decided to dedicate it to him because while I was writing it, I once thought that I was embarrassed that my grandmothers were going to read some passages. And I rebelled against that modesty because that is precisely the intention of the whole book: to break the shame, the modesty, as if it were bad or we did something wrong or that it questioned us for talking about sex. It is clear that our generations have had much more freedom in their affective sexual life than our grandmothers had. But in the book I also talk about the fact that, nevertheless, some mandates that continue to weigh on us have not changed so much with respect to the generation of grandmothers: the waiting, the guilt, the subordination of our desires to a greater end, to like, being desired and loved by a man.

As I say in the book, our grandmothers were told that the wait was until marriage. We are told that it is not necessary to get married or have a ‘stable’ relationship to have sex, but the wait is until the second or third date or until he is the one who writes or takes the first step, for example. Because when we exercise our sexual freedom we realize, very soon, that the values ​​behind have not changed so much and that the labels and prejudices we face are very similar.

Do you think that younger girls are experiencing desire and pleasure more freely?

Yes, I think so, because the younger generations are living in a context in which feminism is something more present and accepted and that is also influencing their awareness of how relationships, limits, etc. are or can be. But, like everything else, I think it also depends on other social and economic variables. Not all progress is always homogeneous, nor does it mean that we no longer coexist with risks and reactionary behaviors and values.

The question for me is whether we are offering the younger generations tools to face their emotional and sexual life in a different way and if society as a whole is providing the necessary means to change those underlying values. I don’t like the emphasis that is sometimes put on that if young people watch a lot of porn or that girls are hypersexualized on Instagram, as if what adolescents were doing had nothing to do with the context in which they live and we weren’t all responsible for changing it.

Is inequality also disputed in pleasure?

Yes, inequality is disputed in privacy, it is something that feminism has been bringing to light and debating for decades. And in intimacy there is also pleasure, sex, desire. Perhaps many times we think that the fight is always outside, in macro causes, so to speak, and that leads us to treat things as important as our sexuality as ‘second’ matters. It seems trivial to ask ourselves how it is possible that women have internalized as a habitual practice to fake orgasms but it is not. It is not because what we believe to be an individual matter is actually the symptom of a collective problem: that of men who are unconcerned about the pleasure of their bedmates, that of neglect in sex, that of the fear that we feel that a The situation becomes violent and we choose to pretend, that of modesty to show ourselves subjects and say what we want and what we don’t, when we want it or if we want to stop …

How can we approach the sexual education of our daughters and sons to avoid falling into terror or fear of being raped or being abused?

Making that sex education exist, both in classrooms and in families. Speaking, removing taboos from ourselves, making explicit conversations or doubts that sometimes we take for granted or that we find uncomfortable or that we think that it is not necessary to talk. Helping them get to know their body, too. Ceasing to focus only on them, on them being careful, being cautious, watching their drink or their way back. There is no doubt that in the world we live in, it is difficult not to give certain slogans like these to girls because the risks exist. The thing is that we complete it, first, also focusing on them, on respecting the limits and the space of other people, for example. And, second, that not everything is messages of prevention and care, but that we can also talk about pleasure, relationships and desire from the side of what is good, what you want, what makes you feel good …

Word Ana Requena

Acceptance of our body also interferes with our enjoyment and pleasure. What role does patriarchy play in this regard?

A very effective strategy of patriarchy is to make us feel bad about our bodies permanently. It imposes on us unattainable canons of beauty, it tells us that we have to be ‘like this’ or ‘like this’ to be liked, to be desired and to attract. It makes us believe that we need creams, treatments, diets all the time, it tells us not to eat dessert, lest you go over calories and cellulite I don’t know what. And it is an effective strategy because everything is much more difficult when you feel bad in your body. If you feel your body as a hostile, uncomfortable, always imperfect place, it is much more difficult for you to feel worthy of pleasure, joy, happiness, love, rights. It is much more difficult for you to have energy and time to fight, to vindicate and to feel that you have the right to a full life, with rights, with equal opportunities, free from violence, and with many desserts that you should eat.

A piece of advice for Malasmothers to live sexuality, desire and pleasure with freedom?

Knowing ourselves, taking care of ourselves, loving ourselves. It is important that we think about why we feel ashamed or guilty, why we judge ourselves or others for doing this or that. Behind, surely, there are many of these stereotypes and prejudices that actually harm us all. In the same way that Bad Mothers have made the slogan of that ‘I do not renounce’, I would say that we also apply it to pleasure and sex. It is very good to leave the children to go to work or to do a work activity that you like or do, because it is also good to do it to go flirt, dance, have sex with someone or with yourself, if that is what what do you fancy. It is not about demanding yourself to have a specific sexual or emotional life, but about allowing yourself to know yourself, explore and search. As the Argentine journalist Luciana Peker says, who is a great inspiration for me and for this book, this feminism of enjoyment is opposed to guilt and neglect and wants to meet, hug and have us eat dessert.


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Pleasure, desire and sex from feminism


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