Culture

4 sexual preferences that don't make you less of a feminist

By Suzannah Weiss

Feminism is all about giving everyone choices. But sometimes, it can feel like there are certain choices you have to make to be a proper feminist. In reality, though, people have the right to adhere to gender roles or defy them based on what works for them, and the last thing feminism should be doing is making women feel guilty for their sex lives. 

If you like any of these things in the bedroom, don’t feel ashamed. They don’t make you any less of a feminist. 

1. Not doing casual sex 

Women get unfairly judged for having casual sex, and it’s great that feminism has allowed them more freedom to pursue what they want. But this doesn’t mean that if you don’t do casual sex, you’re repressed or secretly self-loathing. Nor does it mean you’re letting other women down by confirming gender stereotypes about women being more emotional. Many people of all genders prefer sex within the context of close relationships for all sorts of reasons unrelated to gender roles. 


2. Enjoying submission 

The expectation that women be submissive in bed, especially if they have male partners, is super problematic because it reflects the assumption that women should be submissive in life. But that doesn’t mean every woman who enjoys submission in the bedroom is submissive outside it. Again, this is a preference shared by many people of all genders for all sorts of reasons. Some like that they don’t have to make any decisions; others find the act of surrender hot. As long as it’s practiced with everyone’s enthusiastic consent, there’s nothing anti-feminist about it.

3. Wanting to please your partner  

In heterosexual relationships, men receive more attention in the bedroom than women do on average, and that’s not OK. It teaches women that they’re less important than their male partners. But we don’t have to turn the tables and teach women not to please their partners. Many people find that pleasing their partner pleases them, too! Not only is it fulfilling to make someone you love happy; it’s really hot to watch and hear your partner experience pleasure. No need to deprive ourselves of that for the sake of feminism. 


4. Exhibitionism  

The disproportionate number of naked or scantily clad female bodies in the media compared to male ones is infuriating, as is the tailoring of ads, mainstream porn, and, well, everything to the male gaze. That can be confusing if you’re a woman who gets off on being looked at. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Being admired can be both a self-esteem boost and a turn-on. The only problem is when one gender gets to be admired and the other gets to be the admirer exclusively. Everyone should get a shot at both positions. But if you’re a woman who enjoys being looked at, keep doing what you enjoy. 

Remember, you’re not responsible for representing all women every time you have sex. That’s way too much pressure! Not everything you do has to be a political statement. If there’s any statement you should make, it’s, “I get to do what I want.”