Porn-blocking is a terrible idea. Full stop.

Anarchism suggests that the forces of the state, capitalism and religion interact with each other to restrict liberty. Sometimes anarchist propaganda writes itself, when the state, capitalism and religion get all nice and chummy with each other and join forces to restrict liberty.

In this case, four major ISPs have decided to start up an “opt-in” system for viewing “adult material” as part of a “think of the children” initiative from the government and a Christian lobby group. They have also set up a website to make it easier for people to complain about things that are unsuitable for children, although the site does not facilitate complaining about a government which is thoroughly unsuitable for children and will put almost half a million children into relative poverty during their existence.

The “porn-blocking” system will be based on the principles of adult content locks on mobile internet, which is hugely problematic. SonniesEdge has written a fantastic post about what is wrong with this system. For gay teens, internet pornography can save them from unwanted outing and risk of violence. For young people everywhere, blocking “adult material” means blocking advice about sexuality, sexual health, abortion and, very importantly, information for trans teens that they are not alone. To block this content is dangerous. Such systems do block this important content: my phone wouldn’t even let me open the post in which SonniesEdge talked about these problems!

There are issues with feasibility for porn-blocking: the internet is a big place, and there’s a lot of content. Two options are available: the “baby with the bathwater” option, where an overzealous internet filter also merrily blocks out innocuous websites about birds with slightly rude names or common names, so most people opt-in for adult material because it’s really annoying not to. The other option is a lighter filter which is rendered thoroughly useless by the fact that most porn gets through anyway. At any rate, either is useless. You can find anything on the internet if you work hard enough.

There will be ramifications from such policy, and for a system so geared towards “family values”, problems will arise within the establishment-sponsored nuclear family. What of relationships where one partner wishes to opt-in to see porn, while the other does not want hir partner watching porn? Furtive porn-wanks are rather harder when the internet bill differentiates between whether you get the porn or not.

I don’t believe porn is inherently misogynistic or racist or homophobic or transphobic. The thing is, most of it is. You have to work hard to find porn that isn’t somehow oppressive. By my own value system, I would rather not have my theoretical kids stumbling on material of that nature, lest they internalise somewhat that set of beliefs–and statistically, given the abundance of oppressive porn, that’s the stuff they’d be bumping into. I still think the porn block is an utterly rotten idea.

The problem is not that the big evil internets are corrupting our children. The problem is that we live in a world that allows oppressive porn to be the default, the dominant, the mainstream. The problem is patriarchy, the problem is kyriarchy, the problem is prejudice, both benevolent and hostile. The problem is that capitalism sees these things as a wonderful way to make money and reinforces these horrible beliefs, making itself richer while conditioning consumers to buy further into these values.

Capitalism is cleverly playing both teams in this little porn-blocking escapade. Its Ronald MacDonald head smiles benevolently and vows to protect the kids. Its Hugh Hefner head leers and asks a young woman if she would please bleach her anus so she can look just like all the other porn stars. Both become stronger: if they block the internet, young people will have a far harder time accessing information about why the mainstream porny view of sex and sexuality is so incredibly off, and what sex and sexuality can be. And that’s far more dangerous than accidentally stumbling on a close-up of improbably double penetration.

The solution is not to block the internet. The solution is to block the means for oppressive, artificial power structures to thrive.

Polyamory: the solution to literally everything!

Warning: This post will contain spoilers for True Blood up to the end of season 4, the most recent episode of Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica and Caprica.  The spoilers do not pertain to anything crucial to the content of the shows, but some people are incredibly spoiler-averse. Also, most of the links in this piece will lead to TV Tropes, so here’s a courtesy warning that if you click any links, you might lose an afternoon.

Sometimes, I shout at the TV. Scratch that. When I am watching TV, I am usually shouting at it at some point. Often it’s at characters waving around an idiot ball or a plot hole I could drive a bus through (and I’m terrible at driving) or a particularly egregious lack of research which leads to ridiculously bad made up science and nothing making a tiny ounce of goddamn sense.

I do not suffer fools gladly. Despite this, a lot of my shouting tends to be loudly offering solutions to a problem.

This week, I watched two TV shows which made me think. The first was Doctor Who, which featured two copies of Amy, one who, due to some magic timey-wimey that I tend to forgive Doctor Who for, happened to be forty years older. At one point, it looked like older Amy would be travelling with our regular characters, and Amy’s husband Rory was struggling to come to terms with having two wives. The choice was rendered moot by said timey-wimey magic. The second was the season 4 finale of True Blood, which saw the love triangle between Sookie, Eric and Bill come to a head. Throughout the season, there had been an exploration of the idea that Sookie was in love with both Eric and Bill, and both Eric and Bill were in love with Sookie. There was even a dream sequence in which the three worked out ways to make this relationship work. Unfortunately, this plot was not resolved in this way. Instead, Sookie decided, rather boringly, to choose neither of the buff, hunky vampires.

Both of these plotlines had something in common: polyamory was explored as a genuine solution to the issues at hand. In Doctor Who, Rory took the idea that he would have two copies of the same wife in his stride, and seemed fairly comfortable with the situation. It was only temporal paradoxes that forced him to make the choice. In True Blood, Sookie’s dream sequence displayed how happy she would be with the idea, and in a later scene in the finale, both Eric and Bill seemed fairly comfortable with feeding from Sookie at the same time.

Of course, mainstream TV is never going to actually propose that polyamory can be a good solution for these plotlines, despite the fact that it is. Being poly is, sadly, still a marginalised way of being, so it is still largely invisible in the mass media.

I can think of one TV programme I have watched in which poly characters are represented. In Caprica, Sister Clarice lives in a group marriage with several husbands and wives, in a house full of children from various combinations of the family. She sleeps in a large bed with some of her spouses. It seems idyllic, until it turns out they’re all crazy religious terrorists.

What we have is TV representing largely heteronormative relationships, and almost exclusively monogamous relationships. Tropes abound from this: characters having to “choose” which potential suitor they want, characters breaking up and making up to allow various permutations of the cast to hook up, cheating lover drama, and the nightmarish love triangle scenario. Drama springs from allowing shows to remain monotonously uniform in their portrayal of the default option of monogamy.

And here’s the thing: I’d rather do without all that drama. I do without that drama in my day to day life, and frankly, I’m sick of seeing all this “you must choose between him or me” bollocks on TV, when it’s perfectly easily resolved by applying poly principles and working out some easy way for everyone to be happy and loved up. I don’t want to see Buffy moping over whether she should choose the sensible, good bloke or the rakish bad boy. I want to see her killing monsters. I don’t want to see some sort of horrible quadrangle sexual musical chairs eclipsing all the cool blowing up robots in space.

For an example of how much better things would be if polyamory was actually visible on TV, I will rewrite part of the third season of Battlestar Galactica, in which two married couples, Lee and Dee, and Starbuck and Sam spent much of the season taking up vital screen time with their affairs.

SCENE: Officer’s quarters

LEE: Dee, I love you very much, but right now I am suffering from some serious unresolved sexual tension with Starbuck. You know that we’ve sort of been flirting for a while, but we never got down to it because she was engaged to my dead brother.

DEE: I feel a little bit upset by this, because I love you very much.

LEE: And I love you very much, Dee. Love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.

STARBUCK: Damn right. I’m madly in love with my husband Sam, but I am also subject to this attraction with Lee. I think I’ve noticed Sam checking you out, Dee, because you’re very beautiful. By the way, even though I’m passionate about Lee, I have to say it’s nice how happy he is with you.

DEE: Thank you. Sam, is this true?

SAM: Yes. I am dull and uncharismatic, but I am also hot. I think your attraction to me is probably physical.

STARBUCK: I love you, honey.

SAM: Blah blah meh, I am so dull and uncharismatic, but I love you.

LEE: Let’s not forget that I’m a really annoying character.

DEE: Oh no! DRADIS says we have incoming Cylon raiders in half an hour!

STARBUCK: Are you psychically connected to DRADIS or something?

DEE: Yes. That doesn’t matter. In about half an hour, we’re going to have a huge epic space-battle.

LEE & STARBUCK: AWESOME!

SAM: Half an hour, you say? Time for a quick orgy!

END SCENE, CHARACTERS NAKED AND RUTTING

And that would have completely improved season three if all of the characters had just been honest rather than having an interminable few months of whinging about their marriages.

Of course, I do not expect to see any positive portrayals of poly relationships on my television in the near future. Consider how long it took for anything close to positive portrayals of queer people and relationships to appear: this 50-minute video showcases just some of the homophobic jokes that popped up in Friends over its run. For the time being, any poly relationship is doomed to fail: the mainstream media lags behind society, and society is only just beginning to learn of the possibility of loving and fucking more than one person.

For now, we’re stuck with monogamous TV, and all the rubbish tropes it brings with it.

Lysistrata’s direct action

An interesting piece of news today: women in Columbia have been engaging in a “crossed legs” protest, refusing to have sex until a road into their town is repaired.

The method of protest itself is not new at all: sex strikes have happened in many places, including Naples, Kenya and Belgium. The reasons vary: sometimes it is to end a war. Others, it is to stop men letting off illegal fireworks. It is an established form of protest: Lysistratic strikes are included on the seminal list “198 Methods Of Nonviolent Action“.

The term “Lysistratic strike” comes from the Greek comedy Lysistrata, in which the women on all sides of the Peloponnesian war decide to stop having sex with their husbands until peace has been negotiated. Although the play was written by a man, there are several woman-positive themes in the play. It is, essentially, a story about female solidarity. In order for the strike to work, all women must be involved–scabbing is simply not acceptable. When the women unite, they are incredibly powerful: their actions end a long and fruitless war. The message is empowering; it says, stand together, sisters, and you will prevail.

A second incredibly likeable aspect of Lysistrata is that it accepts that women enjoy sex. For a play that is two and a half millennia old, this is fairly advanced thinking. The women in Lysistrata are portrayed as having just as much difficulty with not having sex as the men. They are devastated to have to do without the lioness on a cheesegrater position.* They miss sex, because they really like it. Unfortunately, this kind of admission that women enjoy sex is sadly lacking from a lot of drama, even today.

Lysistratic strikes themselves have two huge positive points going for them. They are entirely peaceful, and they require a lot of solidarity with fellow women, as demonstrated in Lysistrata.

There are, though, problems with Lysistratic actions from a feminist perspective: there is a vast degree of submission to the patriarchy. When women go on a sex strike, two admissions are made:

  1. That men have all of the power
  2. That a woman’s only tool for negotiation is her body

The sex strikes that have occurred throughout history never address either of these issues–they focus, instead, on the issue of protest, be it war, or government formation, or fireworks. Once the fight has been won, the women return to relative powerlessness, their bodies returned to their husbands. It is this that differentiates Lysistratic strikes from more familiar labour strikes. In a labour strike, the workers withhold their labour until certain, labour-related conditions have been met. In a Lysistratic strike, women withhold sex until certain, non-sexual conditions have been met.

The word “withhold” is a loaded term itself: to use the term “withhold sex” implies that this is something that the women should usually be distributing: it is their role to fuck, and to refuse is an act of strike. It is seen as remarkable, that women are not fulfilling the traditional duties of marriage, their jobs. I am therefore relieved to see that Lysistratic strikes are not treated in the same way as labour strikes, where the full force of the establishment conspires to push workers back to work. I have seen no reports of systematic rapes following Lysistratic strikes.

It is not surprising, then, that Lysistratic strikes tend to happen in more patriarchal spaces, as they require patriarchy to be effective at all. It is also worth noting that heteronormativity plays a part in such actions: in a more queer community, wives refusing to fuck husbands would be far less noteworthy.

While it is pleasing for me to see women standing in solidarity in an attempt to make the world a better place, this is tinged with the foul taste of patriarchy which detracts heavily from the beautiful female empowerment it could mean. Lysistratic strikes are not about a woman’s control of her own body. It is a temporary withdrawal from a heteronormative, patriarchal role to make a point, and then a return to those conditions.

Lysistratic strikes cannot, by their very nature, overthrow patriarchy. So I will eschew this method of direct action, and instead continue my quest to understand the lioness on a cheesegrater position.

__

*If anyone works out what the lioness on a cheesegrater position is, please let me know. It’s been bothering me since I saw the bloody play.

More Magazine, male-centred sexuality and kissing girls

Let me start by saying, I did not buy More magazine. I found it, and out of sheer curiosity, I read it. I sort of wish I hadn’t.

Imagine my horror, as a queer woman, a feminist, and a person with a tendency to get a little bit angry to be greeted with this article:

How would your man feel if you kissed a girl?

How would your man feel if you kissed a girl?

Apparently this is the most important issue in the world when it comes to discussion of kissing women. Whether it turns men on. In the text of the article, there is absolutely no acknowledgement that perhaps queer women may exist. Kissing women is, according to More magazine, exclusively something that women do in nightclubs “in front of an appreciative male audience”.

The article provides the opinion of two men. One man declares that it is “seriously hot” and that he “can’t help but fantasise about joining the party”. The other man thinks that it is “just attention seeking” and “ugly” and “insecure”. Both men are falling prey to objectification.

What is perhaps worst about this, though, is that no opinions of women are sought. From the title of the article and all the way through, how a woman might feel about kissing another woman is not mentioned at all. This is because, to More, sexuality is constructed as something which is entirely male centred.

The magazine is utterly riddled with such articles. A story about Victoria Beckham’s post-birth weight loss is framed as “POSH SHAPES UP FOR DAVID”. An interview with a pop star which largely discusses her music and her weight is titled “I LIKE MY MEN RUGGED”, as if that were the most interesting thing about her. A story about Cheryl Cole casts her as a passive bystander in the crossfire of a fight between two men. The horoscopes page provides horoscopes for “your man”, so the reader can discover whether the line up of stars will make her boyfriend a little grumpier than usual this week.

The phrase “your man” occurs repeatedly. More‘s construction of sexuality is entirely monogamous: you get your man, and that is who you have sex with. More provides a “position of the week”, which explains “what’s in it for him”. If you are worried about him cheating, it is perfectly acceptable to look through his phone. Beauty products and clothes exist to “wow your man”. The most important thing about a woman is “her man”.

There is no space in More for anything outside of this heteronormative monogamous relationship. You are either in one, or you are seeking one. Someday your man will come. Perhaps you can tempt him with a little bit of girl-snogging?

The picture of sexuality presented in More is as unrealistic for many as the position of the week, which starts with “stand on the edge of your villa’s private pool”. For many women, the heteronormative ideal is undesirable or unattainable: it makes women who wish for the heteronormative ideal feel like failures for being unable to “bag a man”, while queer women may feel invisible and marginalised. It is also bloody awful to suggest to women that their boyfriend is the most important and interesting thing about them, as this is categorically untrue.

Sexuality is so much more than impressing a man or pleasing a man. I do not expect a mainstream women’s magazine to provide good detailed advice on polyamory or lesbian practice (though it would be brilliant if they did). What I would like to see, though, is some acknowledgement that ultimately, one’s sexuality should revolve around oneself: not about “what your man might like”, but about what you might like or want. The things that make you feel sexy.

Perhaps that is kissing women. Perhaps that is fucking women. Hell, perhaps it is kissing another consenting woman just to turn men on. Personal jollies, rather than constant thought of existing solely in relation to men.

It is so thoroughly miserable that even a magazine targeted to women will maintain the patriarchal notion that a man’s opinion is the alpha and omega.

And this is why I am adding More  to my library of publications to burn.

Walking like a slut

Yesterday I participated in the London SlutWalk. To concisely summarise my experience of the day, it was fucking awesome.

I arrived at the assembly point at the top of Piccadilly in a foul mood, having been rained on and repeatedly betrayed by London Transport. As soon as I found the SlutWalkers, with hundreds of heart-shaped red balloons, my mood lifted and, in solipsistic pathetic fallacy, the sun emerged.

The turnout was large. The Torygraph estimated ‘hundreds’, the organisers 5000, and the Socialist Worker will likely declare a hundred thousand glorious comrades. I was right at the back, and would easily agree with the organisers that a reasonable number of thousands of people turned up.

It was a ragtag bunch. Old and young, people of all genders and races. We were all there for the same reason: we rejected the notion that a person is in any way to blame for their rape.

As we marched down Piccadilly, heartland of the capitalist plutocracy which feeds patriarchy and commodification of sex, we shouted a chant which summarised the purpose of the day:

‘Wherever we go, however we dress, no means no and yes means yes’.

It really is that simple to me. It really was that simple to my fellow SlutWalkers.

The mood was bright, jubilant, fun; positive and accepting. Here was a band of folk who did not judge and saw no reason to be afraid of their own clothes and sexual behaviour. Every banner reinforced the message: ‘RAPISTS! STOP RAPING!’; ‘A DRESS IS NOT CONSENT’; my personal favourite, the Flight Of The Conchords-inspired ‘A KISS IS NOT A CONTRACT’. This was not a day for reclaiming the word ‘slut’. Even the mainstream media seemed to get the message. We were marching against rape. We were marching against victim-blaming.

My mother called me today to express how proud she was of all of us.

Later, as we headed to the pub, feet sore from high heels, I was reminded of why we needed to have such a march. Being in the company of thousands who agreed that clothes were not an invitation, I had temporarily forgotten that the world was not yet on our side.

A leery, beery man took my friend’s SlutWalk outfit as an invitation to harass.

I shouted at him, loudly, copiously, swearily.

I sometimes wonder if all street harassment should be greeted with an angry assertion that this is not acceptable.

In all, though, it was a wonderful day, and clearly still needed. We must remain visible and vocal. We are chipping away at rape culture. Sluts and allies are everywhere, and we will be unstoppable.

Porn and creativity

I have several reservations about the porn industry. Some of it is political: I would be completely comfortable with the idea of porn were it no so deeply entangled in capitalism and a system of beliefs with some distinctly unpleasant views about gender and sex–even the term “porn industry” shows how commodified sex is in this system. Some of it is personal–if I am watching people fucking, I prefer to be in the same room as them.

My other personal qualm is that much of the porn I have seen tends to be dull. It is a tedious representation of sex. It is repetitive. And it is repetitive.

There seems to be little room for creativity in mainstream porn: it is like summer blockbusters, a presentation of what the executives think their audience want to see. The plots of porn films are as hackneyed as a Michael Bay orgy of explosions; the sex presented within as thoroughly monotonous as yet another superhero origins film. Everything has been done to death. In fact, there is probably a porn film featuring vampires which is called Done To Death.

It surprises me, therefore, when I see deviations, slight glints of creativity in an otherwise lifeless industry.

Porn puns, for example. I appreciate a good pun, and the porn industry seems to be surprisingly good at delivering rather brilliant sex puns based on aspects of popular culture. It is a rather depressing thought that four hundred years ago, this niche was filled by Shakespeare.

Yet pun-based porn titles often make me laugh. Big Trouble In Little Vagina. Sex Trek: The Next Penetration. Shaving Ryan’s Privates  Prude and Pre-juiced. 

I cannot help but laugh. Faint twinkles of imagination; thought went into those titles. It is particularly apparent when compared to other porn versions of real films, such as the obvious Edward Penishands or the horrifyingly stale The Erotic Witch Project. Even The Bare Tits Project would have been a superior title to that banal title.

A similar vein runs through the dim attempts at adding plot to porn. Bored housewives and naughty students still thrive as the storyline holding together a string of spiritlessly rehashed scenes of fucking. It is only rarely that a flicker of something offbeat is seen. What sometimes emerges is surreal and extraordinary.

For example, one film begins with a Russian tank breaking down in front of Sarah Palin’s house. The Russians wish to use Palin’s telephone to call the Kremlin. Fucking ensues.

In another devastatingly bizarre porn introduction, a couple gush over their new lemon tree and its “endless possibilities”, and bemoan the “damn lemon-stealing whores” which appear to be a problem in their neighbourhood. Unbeknownst to them, a lemon whore is stealing their lemons as this conversation is taking place.

A friend of mine once watched a porno which started with a fish falling from the sky and knocking a man out, necessitating his stay in hospital. At one point, she recalls a scene in which an operation was performed, which involved some interpretive ribbon-twirling dance and a tray of eyeballs.

Following all of these quirky introductions, the fucking is as predictable and mechanical as always. Creativity in porn will only go so far. Summer blockbusters always outsell the more interesting films.

I would like the porn industry better were it not so hackneyed. Under capitalism and under society’s current expectations of sex, the best we will get is the odd funny pun, and the occasional peculiar situation. It all leads to the same old contrived fucking.

 

Listening to a conversation on a bus

I eavesdrop. In enclosed public spaces, I listen to microcosms: the funny, the tragic, the absurdly mundane snippets of the life of people I will never know. It is strangely intimate, learning small details of the psyche of strangers.

I rarely let on that I am an unwanted guest in the conversation. Once or twice, perhaps: passing on helpful information–tourists baffled at the intricacies of the Tube; a person puzzling over the year of the Great Fire Of London. They nod and return to their conversation, as though I were never there. It made very little difference, my interjection.

Yesterday, I sat on a bus. Behind me were three girls, no more than sixteen years old.

They were talking about sex, and I listened.

Two were having sex; one was not, and inquisitively probed for information about the act of sex.

It was heartbreaking. All three of these young women viewed sex as something that was done to them by men.

“Did you let him do you up the arse?” the inquisitive girl asked.

“Yeah. I mean, it’s disgusting and it hurts but he likes it,” her friend replied.

It illustrated neatly the horrifying idea that women do not desire, they are just “sexualised”.

It was horrible to hear. I wanted to intervene.

I wanted to tell them that if you are grossed out by something and do not enjoy it, it is perfectly all right to communicate this. I wanted to tell them that an orgasm is more than just a loud porny moan, that it is your whole body tuning in to your cunt. I wanted to tell them that sex is absolutely fucking awesome.

I wondered where they had learned about sex. Nadine Dorries was clearly wrong. Sex education  is still not like a finishing school for how to host a delightful, mutually-satisying orgy, apparently. Had the young women been taught to sayabstain, at best, they would have only delayed having horrible sex for a few years.

I never learned sex was supposed to be fun for me at school. My parents alluded the notion to me, and I stuck my fingers in my ears because it was kind of minging to hear my mum talk about sex when I was eleven. In fact, I learned it from a Judy Blume book.

I wondered if the young women on the bus had ever read Forever. I doubted it.

I considered speaking up. I began to formulate my words. I knew that bellowing “SEX IS NICE AND PLEASURE IS GOOD FOR YOU” was generally considered inappropriate and would have probably failed to change the hearts and minds of the  young women.

I missed my chance.

They girls got off.

They got off the bus. It was apparent from their conversation there was no other form of getting off.

I had failed.

And I write this now: this message will never reach those young women on the bus. I wish I had blurted out to them.

Perhaps the idea would have germinated.

They deserve better than being trapped inside a set of beliefs that denies them pleasure. We all do.

So to the girls on the bus, to all girls on the bus: enjoy sex. It’s fine. It’s fucking lovely.

Rapture

If you are reading this, I have not been raptured, and neither have you. This is a good thing, as it means I will not miss Doctor Who.

It was unlikely to happen anyway, as I am a bit naughty by Magic Sky Daddy’s standards. Even there, I cannot help but blaspheme.

The good news is, rapture is perfectly possible for every one of us. It is another nice thing that has been stolen by organised religion. Go and find a dictionary. Any dictionary. Look up the definition of rapture.

It will, invariably, contain some reference to ecstatic, overwhelming emotion.

Now go and find any piece of literature containing a sex scene. Chances are, the word “rapture” will appear, particularly if it is a poorly-written clichéd romance novel.

And there it is. Rapture is dead easy. You do not need to leap through hoops set by oppressors in the name of an imaginary being or have a temporal lobe seizure.

Have a wank. Fuck.

And that is why religions tend to impose limits on sex.

The view from cloud cuckooland: Dorries and abstinence

The UK has long lacked any compulsory requirements for sex education, but that changed today. A tiny proportion of MPs voted through a 10 Minute Rule BMotion proposed by the chronically batshit religious nutter Nadine Dorries. The motion proposed the following:

“Sex Education (Required Content): That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require schools to provide certain additional sex education to girls aged between 13 and 16; to provide that such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity; and for connected purposes.”

As the motion was voted through, this means that young women will now be taught about abstinence as a component of sex education. There are numerous problems with this proposal.

First of all, abstinence-only education doesn’t work. There’s a plethora of evidence. Quite simply, teaching abstinence and only abstinence is about as good as teaching young people nothing at all.

Dorries does not explicitly call for abstinence-only education. What is worrying, is that abstinence education is now the only compulsory part of sex education.

Dorries’s attitude towards policy for sex seems to be heavily influenced by two things: a fundamentalist Christian sense of morality and either dire stupidity or wilful misrepresentation of evidence. It is not just sex education she wishes to meddle in: she is also rather fond of twisting evidence to try to reduce women’s access to abortion.

Dorries, then, seems keen on controlling the reproductive freedom of women, as her motion only targets young women. There is still no compulsory sex education for young men of the same age. Young women, meanwhile, will be taught how to abstain.

This is deeply disconcerting. Teaching abstinence to women only suggests that women are the gatekeepers of sex: that it is their responsibility to abstain. This view has damaging consequences for everyone. It teaches men that they are creatures driven entirely by their dicks, and they cannot control their natural urges. It teaches women that they must always be the ones to say “no” to these piggish men and their piggish dicks. It reinforces rape culture, fostering the “no means no” notion.

Societally, what Dorries has proposed is disastrous.

More MPs need to propose more bills making comprehensive sex education compulsory, going beyond simple birth control into education about sex and rape and consent. People need to learn that sex is absolutely tremendous fun if you do it safely; that as long as everyone involved is consenting enthusiastically, there is nothing wrong. Knowledge needs to be taught: pregnancy, STIs, contraception, abortion. Skills need to be taught: contraception use, saying no, and saying yes.

With all of that compulsory, Dorries’s motion will be unproblematic. Abstinence is the best way to prevent pregnancy and STIs. However, as a good fucking is really, really fucking good, many will not make this choice, and abstinence education does nothing to address the nature of sexual consent.

Dorries needs to stop controlling women. It is for the good of everyone.