Modeling Sex as a Joint Activity

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Before I read the article I was ready to comment “isn’t sex already modeled as a joint activity?” But then I realized, and the article reinforced, it really is unnecessarily transactional in many cases. Even with monogamous relationships with equal desire, there’s an active/passive assumption. Sex is presented in media as something 1 person chases after and the other *allows* to happen to them. Even in media where gender roles are broken, reversed or irrelevant there’s a chaser and the chased. Thanks for sharing OP.


Finally, some material that suggests a change of language usage in order to help pave the way for healthier thinking about something


I understand and appreciate what the post is saying, but I have two related problems with it. 1. Going to the birthday party example, let’s talk about the cake. Well, the subject loves peanut butter, so I think we should get a PB cake. But you are allergic, as are some other friends. We promised we would make this party the best it could be for the subject, and we can’t afford two cakes, so should we get a PB cake? Now, I think a reasonable person would say ‘let’s make sure everyone has a good time’, or ‘I’ll pitch in enough for a smaller cake others can enjoy.’ But say for a second I am unreasonable, and say we must have that cake and only that cake and refuse to budge. You are now left with a choice- do you pull out of planning, ask me to stop helping you plan, or concede and accept something you are not comfortable with? I would argue, under the listed framework and in this example, the impulse would be to compromise, and you and I did agree to work together. However, I am being unreasonable and isn’t taking your safety or health seriously, and that’s a problem. Or put it another way- say you planned to have an open bar, but between the planning and the party you decided, for health reasons, to quit drinking, and alcohol there would be a problem for you. Can you change your mind? You did agree to this, and you want the party to be great, and ultimately this is your problem… My point, I guess, is that even if you agree in principle, details are often going to come down to consent. We agree to have sex, are you okay with butt stuff? And I okay with spanking? Can my roommate watch? I don’t feel so good, can we please stop? This needs to be a conversation, but it’s understandable that people may have very firm boundaries for how far they are willing to go, and I need you to respect that. 2. In a better world, I think this would be a very well thought out article. My concern, I guess, is that we live in an age where Nuance is often ignored, and the perspective that ‘let’s focus less on consent and more on conversation’ will be grabbed onto by the type of people that are not super jazzed about consent to begin with. That they will argue that ‘this is an agreement, and we both need to comprise’. But the center point between a reasonable barrier and completely unreasonable actions are still unreasonable. All in all, I think this is a unique perspective, but I fear that embracing it presents some troubling edge cases and deeply damaging sound bites.


I understand the difference in meaning between a proposal, as opposed to an invitation or request. However, I’m struggling to find some concrete ways in which this could be applied. As others have noted, interactions are far more than words, words are not simply words but are imbued with context. So while interactions can feel transactional, it may not be something that correct word choice could necessarily ameliorate. From my reading anyway.


1) On a scale of 1-10, how tongue in cheek is this article? I genuinely can’t tell by the tone – it seems to be making a very valid point in quite a flippant way. 2) I’m not sure I understand this part: > the bringing about of the state of affairs at stake (e.g. taking out the trash …) requires the active contribution of one party (the requestee …), but not necessarily a contribution from the other. So if I ask you to take out the trash and you do it, I have made an “active contribution” by asking you to do it but you haven’t made one by actually doing it? Edit: bobbypinbobby points out I misread requestee as requester; it makes perfect sense.