Christina Notes.pdf - Greta Christina(1961 u201cAre We...

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Greta Christina (1961-) “Are We Having Sex Now or What?” (1992) Sex-Positive Feminism (also known as “pro-sex feminism” or “sex- radical feminism”) – a form of feminism which centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom. Sex- positive feminists are opposed to any social norms or legal constraints upon women’s freedom to engage in consensual sexual activities. Christina questions the binary opposition between “sex” and “non-sex” and hence the standard definition of “sex” : “What counts as having sex with someone?” (p.3). She describes some of the personal sexual encounters she has had in her life and attempts to build an inclusive definition of “sex” which could cover all of these encounters. While she doesn’t come up with an adequate definition, she highlights some of the major difficulties in constructing an adequate definition of sex . Binary Opposition – a pair of related terms, concepts, or categories that are thought to be opposite in meaning and mutually exclusive (e.g. male/female; authentic/inauthentic; good/evil; pure/impure; sane/insane; presence/absence; civilized/uncivilized; sex / non-sex )
Dictionary definitions of “sex” and “sexual intercourse” : notice that most of them define “sex” as “sexual intercourse” [Christina calls this “the binary definition” of sex] Sex - (1) Sexually motivated behavior; (2) sexual intercourse (Merriam- Webster) Sex – (1) Coitus - sexual intercourse, especially between a man and a woman; (2) to engage in sexual intercourse (Dictionary.com) Sex – the activity in which people kiss and touch each other’s sexual organs, which may also include sexual intercourse (Macmillan) Sexual Intercourse – “sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, especially the insertion of a man's erect penis into a woman's vagina, typically culminating in orgasm and the ejaculation of semen” (Apple Dictionary) Sexual Intercourse – “(1) heterosexual intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis; (2) intercourse (as anal or oral intercourse) that does not involve penetration of the vagina by the penis” (Merriam- Webster)
If we accept the binary definition of “sex” as “sexual intercourse” – “penile-vaginal intercourse” – then sexual experiences which do not involve intercourse do not count as “sex” (p.4).

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