I Promise To Honor and Love You For The Rest of Our Lives, Like a Gazelle Happily Fucking a Hyena

Is my deep loathing of men interfering with sex with my husband?

I’ve been leading a discussion group on the topic of sex/sexuality/self-pleasure. It’s all women, and the focus is on women’s sex/sexuality/self-pleasure.

Except that we can’t stop talking about men.

No. Don’t be flattered.

We can’t stop talking about men because so much of women’s understanding of our sexual selves is filtered through warnings about men and abuse by men. Our talk about men is how we need to fix them so that we can fully enjoy sex.

It’s really difficult to not talk history of childhood sexual abuse (by men, at least 90% of the time), or times we’ve been harrassed or assaulted (by men) when we’re examining our sexual identities. If we got any sex-ed early in life, the women version is almost entirely dedicated to staying safe (not getting assaulted by men), and not getting pregnant (by men). There’s little room to talk satisfaction, comfort, organism, pleasure. Definitely not sexual priorities for the gazelle when the gazelle is being hunted and attacked by the hyena (at the rate of 1 in every 6).

It feels like there are two concrete walls of truth that women (and men) have to navigate our whole lives around: 1) Men, as a whole, are all about their power and their penis and they will hurt you with one or both, and 2) We still have to love individual men. Maybe not as a lover/romantic partner, but as siblings, fathers, sons, friends, colleagues…we will have to “go to bed” with hyenas knowing full-well that their kind eat gazelles like us.

We’re all raised in this misogynistic, patriarchal world, and it’s terrible for all of us. Pointing this out, talking openly about the pervasiveness and brutality of the patriarchy (great micro/macro examples in this link, but generally, it’s a series of systems that keep men in power over women) makes me a really fun prom date…and it feels disloyal, unsafe, and embarrassing to acknowledge the unbalance, the threat men are to women. Like, I feel compelled to reassure, “But not you, honey, you’re not a hyena.” But of course yes, him, honey. He was raised to be a hyena, in a hyena-dominated world. And it’s embarrassing to admit I’m prey, but here I am, having had many an experience of being reminded by hyenas that I am a gazelle.

Yes, all of us, honey.

Acknowledging and criticizing the way women are treated by men feels a little like Black people talking about the anti-Black brutality of America. If they complain enough about systemic mistreatment by white people in their country, I expect someone to tell them to go back where they came from, instead of changing the fucking place where they are (and were dragged to). I wait for someone to say that if I don’t like men this much, I should just not have relationships with men. It’s considered unfair, hostile, rude, nearly criminal to hate on men. Poor men, they know not what they do. It’s instinct, it’s their nature, they were born hyenas. But….were they? Do they have to be?

There’s defense and fear of change, eagerness to diminish or off-load the responsibility of seeing and then changing the problems, the system. As obvious as this paradox is (we women both are injured by and also love and provide for men, have sex with men, love and raise boys), it feels scary to talk about because it’s a threat to question our entire arrangement. It feels unstable.

I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Men are scared that women will laugh at them
I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Women are scared that men will kill them

https://youtu.be/HZZSYDhx0FI

Society’s expectation is that we women somehow ignore all of it and be available and interested in men, even grateful for them. It feels disloyal to women to do that- to attempt happy, carefree sex with our male partners without confronting this thing between us- ignoring the ways our bodies have been harmed by men, the fact that nothing ever seems to change, that rape, domestic violence, workplace sexual harrassment that continues to reveal that hyenas gonna hyena. We’re hearing stories of women getting literally stalked and attacked by their trusted male partners every day…and the system barely supports the women, barely acknowledges her fear and pain, value, right to safety and freedom. We ask, “Well, why did you marry him then? That’s on you, that you didn’t know he was that kind of hyena.” Also going unsaid in our homes and bedrooms is that we’re all still cool with us gazelles not being reimbursed for our efforts, not getting advanced, not getting listened to, that we’re getting a shittier version of healthcare, that when we have babies for our families, we encounter infinitely more consequences than the hyenas…the list, the impolite, inconvenient list…goes on and on.

So, gazelles marry hyenas, even knowing what we know. We’re feeling it sexually and romantically, we have hope, we adore them as people, or we’re told there are no other options for us in our community. We marry men. We tie ourselves financially and socially to a hyena, and hope it’s a nice, pro-gazelle one. We don’t ever, ever talk about the fact that in this world we share, we are prey and they are predators, and that the threat of pregnancy is on our minds every single time we have a sexual encounter. It’s rude and unsexy to discuss these realities. It might hurt their egos or deflate their boners. We can be feminists all we want, but it shouldn’t interfere with their domestic or sex lives too much, or it‘s going too far. We’re taking our learning about the gross inequities and violence of women by men, and bringing it into the home, into the bedroom, and that’s not fair.

How. How do we not do that. How do these things go unexamined in a heterosexual relationship and the woman still feel safe and seen and horny?? How.

(Above song provided by my husband, Robb, suggested after he read this post)

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I chose this pic because it’s a still from a video where the gazelle actually escapes, because fuck that hyena.

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Find me on Ravishly, The Belladonna Comedy, Pregnant Chicken, & more. Being a human is hard- maybe the kids can help. bigtroubleblog.com, Twitter: @sarahzimzam

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