P.I.V. (sexual intercourse in which the penis is put in the vagina) is considered to be the definition of “normal” sex by doctors, psychologists, TV, and most of society. But should putting the penis in the vagina be considered the only way to have sex, or the one that is most synonymous with the word “sex”? Why are all other acts considered “foreplay” or non-central?
Let’s examine some myths:
*Myth. Having P.I.V is the only way to get pregnant. This is not true. Sperm can swim up the vagina from the outside. Pregnancy is often caused this way. Pregnancy is also not the only purpose of sex.
*Myth. P.I.V is the most enjoyable type of sex. This is only an opinion. It is not enjoyable for everyone, male or female. Most women like having their clitoris stimulated instead. The vagina’s insides have little sensation, so the pleasure a woman feels during P.I.V. often comes from stimulating the clitoris, too, either its internal parts (through properly done PIV) or the external part of the organ. Alternately, why not stimulate the clitoris with the penis? Both partners will get pleasure. (And don’t fall for the “but my penis needs to be inserted into something” spiel- the clitoris is usually more than twice as sensitive as the penis, and most women don’t need it to penetrate or be squeezed by anything). Many women do not enjoy P.I.V. alone as much as they enjoy clitoral stimulation. Some women hate P.I.V. because the penis rams into their cervix (some Saying “P.I.V is fun” is very opinionated, like saying, “ice cream tastes good”, or, “red is the best color”.
*Myth. The vagina is a hole, so it’s meant to be penetrated. Not necessarily. Nostrils and ears are holes. Should they also be penetrated? And the anus? Belly button? Throat? Urethra? Some vaginas are not meant to be penetrated. Others are okay with it. Sadly, many men view a woman as a hole-filled object to stick things into.
*Myth. The vagina can expel babies, so it can also be penetrated. No. Just because a hole on the body can spit an object out doesn’t mean it has to take objects inside of it. You can poop. Does that mean anal sex should be pushed on all people with anuses, or be conflated with “sex”? You can spit. Does that mean putting someone’s penis or breast down the throat is enjoyable? What about using an open wound? That’s a hole, too. Some holes on some people’s bodies are not meant to be filled with objects.
*Myth. P.I.V is the most common form of sex in movies, books, history, TV, and our society, so it’s the most normal and natural one. Just because something is common or has always existed in history doesn’t make it good or normal. Being racist was common a few hundred years ago. Does that mean being racist is right or normal? Men are in charge of most of the media, including the movie, book, and music industries. Their opinions are represented. Men usually enjoy P.I.V. much more than women, since they are usually the active partner and they penetrate, rather than the woman being active and engulfing or smashing the penis, and also since, psychologically, men are taught to associate their penis inside a vagina as an act of conquering the woman, regardless of which sex is active or in pain. P.I.V. is portrayed as the main way to have sex in books and movies because men enjoy it. Women’s opinions are ignored, or movies show a higher percentage of women liking P.I.V. than do in real life.
*Myth. Most women have P.I.V, and they don’t complain, so they enjoy it. How do you know you actually enjoy something if society and the media, movies, books, and TV, are constantly trying to make you enjoy it? Some women fool themselves into thinking they enjoy P.I.V. because friends, the TV, doctors, psychologists, and husbands, make women think there’s something wrong with them physically or psychologically if they don’t. Does this mean women like P.I.V.? If they need to drastically change their attitude or body to like it, they obviously don’t really like it! Also, some women may like PIV but may not realize there are even more pleasurable options out there. When they discover them they feel they have been cheated. They have.
*Myth. The penis is shaped like a long stick because it’s meant to go inside the vagina. The fist is shaped like a long stick. Must the fist go down the throat? Is the penis going in the anus the “main” or only proper way to have sex? Should the fist go up the vagina? Not all penises are big and long. Some are very short. Some are smaller than the average labia and clitoris. There are many big labia and clitorises, and there are many small penises. There are different sizes and shapes among both male and female genitals. The idea that penises need to be big is socially constructed. Since men are taught to use their penis as a weapon against women, it must be big and hard, they figure. Boys who have penises society considers too small are taken to the doctor to help them grow. Women with big clitorises and labia might get surgery to “fix” the “problem”. Girls are told to sit with their legs together, which causes the genitals to be squeezed smaller. Boys are told to touch and pay attention to their penises, and this attention and physical contact helps them grow more. Society considers big penises and tight vaginas ideal, but this causes certain disaster for people who practice P.I.V. Big penises and tight vaginas cause pain for the female! Also for the male in many cases, since he can be squished up or the foreskin painfully retracted.
*Myth. If you don’t like P.I.V, you’re prude, repressed, or anti-sex. P.I.V. is not the only way to have sex, and should not be considered the “normal” sexual act (no sexual act should) so you are not “anti-sex” if you don’t like it. (And even if you are genuinely anti-sex, there’s nothing wrong with that). You might like other sexual activities, like having your clitoris kissed or stroked, or touched with the penis, or rubbing up against your partner. Some people are asexual and don’t enjoy sex. Not everyone likes sex just as not everyone likes chocolate, sushi, or classical music. Calling women who don’t like P.I.V. prude is a tactic men use to trick them into doing it.
- What should I do if my boyfriend or husband wants to have P.I.V and I don’t? What if he tries to convince me to do it?
Just say no! If you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to. If he tries to convince you to do it, he needs to stop. If he says you don’t love him because you won’t do P.I.V, he’s wrong. If you don’t want to do things you aren’t comfortable with, this doesn’t mean you don’t love him. If he loved you, he wouldn’t try to make you feel guilty so you would have P.I.V (or any other type of sex).
- My partner and I started having P.I.V and I asked him to stop and he didn’t stop. Is this wrong?
If he kept going once you told him to stop, it’s rape. “Wait, I’m almost finished” is not acceptable. If you are being hurt now, or if you want to stop now, he needs to stop now. If he waits until he’s “finished” once you’ve told him to stop, it means he cares more about your enjoyment than your safety. That’s rape. You need to report him, or end the relationship. It’s that serious. (But be careful reporting because rape victims are not always believed).
Some men use this excuse: Once they start they can’t stop because it’s a “natural urge”. This is stupid. When parents are in bed and their child walks in, the man always stops. When they are in bed and the phone rings, he stops. If a robber enters the house, he stops. If a child entering the room, a phone ringing, or a criminal entering make him want to stop this “natural urge”, your request to stop should be just as important.
- Can I still have P.I.V if I want to?
Of course! Not all women hate P.I.V. Some don’t mind it. Some even enjoy it. Most women who enjoy it enjoy clitoris stimulation more. But everyone’s an individual and we all get pleasure in different ways. Some people get an orgasm from being kissed on the ear. Others get one from being penetrated (or being engulfed). That’s their opinion, and they should feel free to do what they enjoy.
But pleasure isn’t the only important thing. We need to know P.I.V. carries risks that other sexual practices don’t. P.I.V is more likely to cause pregnancy than other acts, like oral sex. It can lead to higher rates of cervical cancer or disease in women, since women are the ones receiving fluids.
You should feel free to have P.I.V if you want. It’s your right to choose from a variety of sexual acts. It is important to understand the risks some acts carry, just as you should understand the risks of riding a bike or driving a car or drinking alcohol.
- Why do I feel weird because I don’t P.I.V?
You might feel weird because society tells you it’s normal to enjoy P.I.V. Movies and songs only use the word “sex” to refer to P.I.V., and they think clitoral stimulation or other acts don’t count as “real” sex. Sex practices that women like are called “preliminaries”, as if they aren’t as important.
Many women use lubricant or take medicine to make P.I.V. enjoyable or less painful. If women get pain from P.I.V. they might be called “too tight” and told to visit doctors so they can get “fixed”. They get diagnosed with conditions like “vaginismus”, even though not all women’s vaginas may be designed to be penetrated. When women hate P.I.V., doctors ask them if they were sexually abused, or if they have diseases that make P.I.V. difficult, as if something strange has to cause this “unnatural” hatred of P.I.V. Doctors’ intention is not women’s safety and happiness. They want to take a “broken” woman who hates P.I.V. and “fix” her for her husband or boyfriend. This proves there is bias in our society, and it is in favor of men and their enjoyment, not women and their right to be safe.
- What about the man’s enjoyment?
You have no obligation to perform sexual acts to give someone else pleasure. Losing enjoyment on his part doesn’t feel as bad as being in pain or being scared on your part. If P.I.V doesn’t hurt, but isn’t enjoyable, you still shouldn’t be asked to do it. Even if you enjoy it, you shouldn’t be obligated. It is wrong for your boyfriend to expect you to please him. Using other people for pleasure is evil.
- But doesn’t P.I.V give men more pleasure than rubbing?
Not always. P.I.V. hurts some men (though most would be loathe to admit it). And why does it matter? You’re still not obligated to please another person by doing something you don’t enjoy. What if choking him gave him more pleasure than P.I.V.? Are you obligated to choke him? What if choking him while he uses drugs gives him even more pleasure than only choking him? Should you buy him drugs, too? What if kicking people gives him pleasure because he’s a sadist? Should you let him kick you in the stomach?
- If P.I.V is not enjoyable to some women, why do lesbians use dildos or other types of fake penises?
Lots of lesbians do not use such things. Dildos and penis-shaped objects were invented because society wants to think women need males to be sexually happy. Many lesbians have discovered the clitoris instead. Some lesbians who buy dildos do it because they are fooled into thinking penetration is the most pleasurable or normal sexual act for a woman. Men also like to think women have “penis envy” and that lesbians secretly desire a penis to “complete” the sexual act. Of course, some lesbians, and some heterosexuals, enjoy being penetrated. But it’s very rude for society to assume ALL of them like it, or to assume that a woman needs a man or a man-shaped object to be happy.
- My partner didn’t pressure me into having P.I.V, I chose to do it. But I felt uncomfortable afterward. Why?
Perhaps you didn’t really want to do it. Society often acts like a rapist. It tells women they must have P.I.V., or that they must suffer the consequences (doctors, social ridicule), or simply keeps other options hidden from women. Often, girls think they chose to have P.I.V., but they’ve actually been convinced to do it by society. She feels like she was raped. She was raped, actually, by society. Society took away her right to say no, and framed P.I.V. as some inevitable thing which must be done if one is to call oneself “sexual.”
If P.I.V. was painful, you might also be angry because you think men are capable of hurting women sexually, but that women can’t hurt men. It feels like nature made you inferior because you are vulnerable and not him. This isn’t true. If you pushed your clitoris and labia up against his testicles, that would hurt him. If a woman engulfs a penis in her vagina and squishes it up with her legs and bangs it around, that can hurt the man, even more so if he has foreskin that gets violently ripped back. It’s not true that women cannot hurt men sexually. But society would never call such an act “normal sex” because the male would be getting injured. But society believes P.I.V. (especially rough male-active P.I.V.) is “normal sex”, even though it injures some females. And since P.I.V. is not necessary for pregnancy, there is no reason to believe P.I.V. is normal because it causes reproduction.
- But isn’t P.I.V the natural way to have sex? Isn’t it instinctive or something?
No. Not all animals have P.I.V., and not all humans have P.I.V. In societies or eras in which sex is not discussed, young men don’t even know how to have P.I.V. They have to be taught to put their penises in women’s vaginas. Uneducated men don’t even know women have vaginas. If it were a natural instinct why would they need to be taught to do it? Some men say it’s natural in order to fool women into thinking it’s something they’re supposed to do, or to make excuses for raping a woman.
- I feel weird when we don’t have P.I.V. It’s like we didn’t really have sex.
This feeling is due to cultural conditioning. Society tries to make you think P.I.V. is “real” sex. P.I.V. is just one type of sex. If society considered anal sex “real” sex, or sex in which one partner chokes the other, or sex where the penis tore through the cervix into the uterus, or sex in which the vagina crushed the testicles, you might have had similar feelings about those acts. You don’t need to have P.I.V. to have sex. If you enjoy P.I.V., it is okay to do it, but you should learn about the consequences first, and make sure your desire to do it wasn’t influenced by other people or by the media. It’s good to have a variety of sexual acts, but make sure you are being true to yourself and don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
Please share this article with other women and girls and don’t be afraid to discuss P.I.V. with your friends, if they don’t mind discussing such matters. More women need to hear this, especially since many think they’re the only ones who don’t like P.I.V. Men have no right to use your body for sex, P.I.V., or other acts, and you need to know you can refuse.
P.I.V. carries dangers, including pregnancy, risk of cervical cancer, pain, tearing, dryness, soreness, and psychological feelings of being invaded (especially if the male is the active partner, as he usually is in a patriarchy). You are free to have it, but you should always understand the risks first, the risks that society often covers up.
Don’t let pressures from society, the media, religion, and from husbands or boyfriends influence your decision, and make sure to think before you have P. I. V.
You own your body!