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Voorkant Wolf 'Vagina - A new biography' Naomi WOLF
Vagina - A new biography (Revised and updated edition)
Sidney etc.: HarperCollins Publishers, 2013
ISBN-13: 978 0062 3194 70

(10) Introduction

"It is true that I offer here a hypothesis about women and their sexuality in society, based on a relatively new body of data about hormones and neurotransmitters: specifically, dopamine, opioids/endorphins, and oxytocin. But I would challenge the notion that because the data are fairly new, it is premature to hypothesize about the connection between the neuroscience of women’s sexuality and their political and social empowerment."(10)

"My hypothesis in these pages — that female sexual pleasure empowers women biologically (and thus also psychologically, and politically), and that the sexual traumatization of women also measurably impacts the brain and body in newly identified ways — has been confirmed in the past year anecdotally by hundreds of readers’ communications, as well as by updates from some of the practitioners in emerging fields related to this area, such as obstetrician/vulvodynia specialist Dr. Deborah Coady and her colleague Nancy Fish Bravman. Pioneers in the field of the new neuroscience of the brain-vagina connection, notably Dr. Beverly Whipple and Dr. Barry Komisaruk, have very kindly directed me to additional important data relating to this hypothesis, as well as to significant new insights from their own work, which I have incorporated into this edition to further expand our understanding of this connection." [mijn nadruk] (14)

"I wrote this book to share new information with women and men about female sexuality — not to prescribe or proscribe one way as “better” or “worse” than another. The only value judgment I would make is: I think pleasure is better than frustration, and respect for female sexuality is better than disrespect for, or traumatization of, female sexuality." [mijn nadruk] (18)

(23) One - Does the Vagina Affect Consciousness?

(24) 1 - Your Incredible Pelvic Nerve

Persoonlijk verhaal over een rugprobleem met grote gevolgen voor haar seksuele ervaringen.

"And then he explained casually, “Every woman is wired differently. Some women’s nerves branch more in the vagina; other women’s nerves branch more in the clitoris. Some branch a great deal in the perineum, or at the mouth of the cervix. That accounts for some of the differences in female sexual response.”
I almost fell off the edge of the exam table in my astonishment. That’s what explained vaginal versus clitoral orgasms? Neural wiring? Not culture, not upbringing, not patriarchy, not feminism, not Freud? Even in women’s magazines, variation in women’s sexual response was often described as if it were predicated mostly upon emotions, or access to the “right” fantasies or role playing, or upon one’s upbringing, or upon one’s “guilt,” or “liberation,” or upon a lover’s skill. I had never read that the way you best reached orgasm, as a woman, was largely due to basic neural wiring This was a much less mysterious and value-laden message about female sexuality: it presented the obvious suggestion that anyone could learn about her own, or his or her partner’s, particular neural variant as such, and simply master the patterns of the special way it worked." [mijn nadruk] (36)

"Among the many incredible things about your incredible pelvic nerve and its lovely multiple branches is that, as we saw, it is completely unique for every individual woman on earth—no two women are alike. (...) This greater sexual neural complexity in women is because we have both reproductive and sexual parts, such as the cervix and uterus, that men don’t have."(46)

(52) 2 - Your Dreamy Autonomic Nervous System

"Arousal precedes orgasm, of course. In order for the pelvic neural network to do its crazy work, the autonomic nervous system first has to do its work. Researchers Cindy Meston and Boris Gorzalka discovered in 1996 that the female sympathetic nervous system (SNS) was crucially involved in whether or not female arousal was successful, or even possible."(53)

"The process requires attention and time. And, as we will see, relaxation heightens the ideal activation of the ANS — and “bad stress” interferes with it."(55)

"But here is the catch: you can’t will the ANS to do anything. You can’t say to it: “Turn me on.” (...) As many women (and men) know to their frustration, the more you try to will yourself to feel aroused and reach orgasm, the more elusive these states can become."(59)

"A whole set of words, actions, and gestures that women cannot do without, and that I call “the Goddess Array,” are, in our culture, seen as mere invitations to the feast, and not as the feast itself."(73)

['The Goddess Array', werkelijk? Ik vind dat soort terminologie kenmerkend voor onwetenschappelijk gebazel.]

(84) 3 - Confidence, Creativity, and the Sense of Interconnectedness

"For many of these creative artists, apparent sexual awakening and creative surges had at certain key times in their lives seemed to fuse together, and seemed to elicit a phase of work that reached a higher level of insight and energy than had the just-previous work in their oeuvres."(89)

"I looked at biographies of these and other great women artists, writers, and revolutionaries from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and into the early twentieth: Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Sand, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edith Wharton, Emma Goldman, Gertrude Stein — all women whose lives, letters, and choices, even at great risk or sacrifice to themselves, revealed their intense, often sexually passionate natures."(92)

[Een open deur, vind ik. Alsof gediscipineerd werken aan een boek, bijvoorbeeld, zou uitsluiten dat je seksueel ook actief bent. Dat is al helemaal geen tegenstelling, ze roepen elkaar eerder op.]

(113) 4 - Dopamine, Opioids/Endorphins, and Oxytocin

"Patriarchal societies, even without the benefit of what current science is now documenting, have, I contend, noticed the link between sexually assertive, sexually self-aware women — and focused, motivated, energized, biologically empowered women.
This is why I call dopamine the ultimate feminist chemical. If a woman has optimal levels of dopamine, she is difficult to direct against herself. She is hard to drive to self-destruction, to manipulate and control."(125)

"The higher rates of oxytocin and dopamine that we can potentially produce — and potentially painfully lose — potentially make us dependent on our love/sex object in ways that may not always be mutual."(138)

"The idea of another sexual center in women made perfect sense to me. I had experienced it myself, even though, according to our until-recent understanding of the anatomy of female orgasm, it was not supposed to exist. It makes evolutionary sense, of course; while it is handy from an evolutionary point of view for women to have clitoral pleasure, it is superefficient, for reproductive reasons, for women to experience additional extreme pleasure from pressure at the very mouth of the cervix, as that kind of pleasure encourages penetration and thus pregnancy. (Of course this penetration, cervical stimulation, or pressure can come from an object in one’s own hands or a lover’s hands, touch from a lover’s hand, or other sources than penetration from a penis.) I was also aware that for many women, when there is sexual pressure against the cervix, orgasms can feel far more emotional — women can burst into tears after orgasms that strike the mouth of the cervix."(146)

"The vagina and cervix, with their built-in craving for “the other,” seem to be evolution’s guarantee that heterosexual women will always interdepend with lovers and be willing to have intercourse with them, even with the many dangers, emotional as well as physical, of sex. This arrangement seems to guarantee that women will be driven by strong desires from within to attend to building complex bonds with others. And it comes as no surprise, then, to discover that for many women, like for many men, masturbation alone does not do exactly what lovemaking does for them emotionally."(147)

"But we are living in a postfeminist world that tells women to just “fuck like men” — that doing so is a sign of liberation — and encourages young women to engage in “friends with benefits” relationships as an act of self-confidence, to roll out of bed with the same casual carelessness that men have traditionally demonstrated.
That male-model ideal of not-caring, take-it-or-leave-it sexuality is, I argue, setting up yet another impossible ideal into which women are supposed to shoehorn their actual needs, at some violence to themselves. Because sexually addictive behavior — or I should say, addictedness to a lover who is “right” for the autonomic nervous system — in women is hardwired. This is possibly the not so well-kept secret of women and love: we talk about great personalities or impressive résumés, similar backgrounds or common interests in prospective mates or new lovers. But though this dimension of our courtship experience is critical, certainly at first, the truth is that if he or she didn’t make you feel that great in your body — if he or she didn’t smell that good to you, taste that satisfying, touch you in ways that suited your unique needs to be touched, or make you come satisfyingly — you wouldn’t care that much if he or she never called again. If he or she is the one who turns the ANS on high alert, who delivers the dopamine high from anticipation, who leaves you with the world aglow from opioid/endorphin release — that is the same man or woman who makes you ache with anxiety for the follow-up call. If this is the person with the right touch to activate your unique neural network, you will go into withdrawal if he or she is not around to do this again, and fairly soon. Actual, painful, real withdrawal.
So when women have good, satisfying sex — what I call “high” orgasm: caring, attentive sex that activates the entire pelvic neural network and also intensely engages the ANS — they experience a major brain high." [mijn nadruk] (152)

[Ik kan me voorstellen dat er bezwaren geopperd worden tegen deze visie. Het is in feite toch weer een pleidooi voor neuken, alsof dat de beste manier van seks hebben is, een eenzijdigheid die al tot genoeg ellende geleid heeft voor vrouwen en mannen. Zo meteen moet ik nog lezen dat monogamie ook 'hardwired' is of dat vrouwen biologisch gezien behoefte hebben aan 'echte mannen met grote penissen' of wat ook wat er aan onzin verkocht wordt omdat het 'hardwired' en 'evolutionair gunstig' zou zijn. Zelfs al zou het waar zijn wat ze zegt over neurologie etc etc. in relatie tot de seks van vrouwen, dan nog geldt niet dat daarmee een bepaald gedrag noodzakelijk wordt - uit de feiten kun je geen normen afleiden dan wel heel verschillende normen afleiden. Hoe dan ook is er natuurlijk sprake van samenhang tussen alle mogelijke lichamelijke afdelingen en tussen die en hoe je relaties ervaart, seks ervaart. Er is een eenheid van lichaam en geest, wie is daar vandaag de dag nog verbaasd over?]

(159) 5 - What We “Know” About Female Sexuality Is Out of Date

"We have to conclude from this and other studies with similar numbers that the Western sexual revolution sucks. It has not worked well enough for women.
In this liberated, postsexual revolution, postfeminist era, when women can do “whatever” they wish sexually and be “bad girls” with little stigma — when any fantasy is available at the touch of a remote control and any sex appliance available rush delivery at the click of a mouse — an astonishingly high percentage of ordinary women, from one in five to one in three, still report feeling little desire, or have trouble regularly reaching orgasm, or report being angry about something involving sexual intimacy."(175)

"We will see that new studies show that when circumstances are supportive, virtually every woman can reach orgasm. What if so many women are suffering from low levels of desire, from frustration, and from sexual withdrawal, because — there is no way to say this but honestly — many men are taught about women in such a way that they don’t really know what they are doing? These numbers must mean, too, that even in this post-sexual-revolution era, many women don’t know how to identify, and then ask for, what they need and want." [mijn nadruk] (176)

[Dat is toch ook al lang bekend. Een feministische golf verandert echt niet wat vrouwen in het algemeen zijn en meemaken. Je kunt het willen, maar dan gebeurt het nog niet. Bovendien is er een samenhang met armoede, religie, en dergelijke. Ik denk niet dat ik Wolf daarover ga horen.]

(179) Two - History: Conquest and Control

(180) 6 - The Traumatized Vagina

"Were we missing the significance of vaginal trauma —just as we were missing the significance of female sexual pleasure — by reading vaginal trauma as “just” physical, or by misunderstanding the trauma of rape as “just” a PTSD-type reaction to a violent act? Were we missing what could be a much more profound and delicate understanding of just what was being harmed when a woman’s vagina was harmed?"(183)

"The Freudian model that violent rape is the result of individual sexual deviancy simply does not account for the systemic use of violent rape in war.
Radical feminism sees rape as simply a demonstration of unequal power relations and takes as its motto the assertion that rape is about power, not sex. This is closer to what I now believe to be the truth, but it still misses the ultimate insight: If it is just about power, why involve the sex? Why not just beat, threaten, starve, or imprison a woman? You can get plenty of power over women in ways that are nonsexual.
But if your goal is to break a woman psychologically, it is efficient to do violence to her vagina. You will break her faster and more thoroughly than if you simply beat her — because of the vulnerability of the vagina as a mediator of consciousness. Trauma to the vagina imprints deeply on the female brain, conditioning and influencing the rest of her body and mind."(192-193)

"Rape is a strategy of actual physical and psychological control of women, traumatizing via the vagina as a way to imprint the consequences of trauma on the female brain.
If we understand this, we understand that what happens to a woman’s vagina is far more important, for better and for worse, than we have realized. We can see that rape is a far more serious crime than the model of rape as a “sex crime” or a form of “violence” that lasts for the duration of the crime, and then perhaps posttraumatically. We should understand that while healing is possible, one never fully “recovers” from rape; one is never just the same after as before. Rape, properly understood, is more like an injury to the brain than a violent variation on sex. Rape, properly understood, is always aimed not just at the female sex organ but at the female brain."(193-194)

"In other words, women can get aroused most easily when the SNS is in good working order; and the trauma of rape or child sexual abuse seems to mess with the good balance of the SNS in many women."(215)

"Rape and sexual assault can break, in other words, the delicate physical balance that underpins the female body’s physical mechanism for getting turned on. It seems that the aftereffect of sexual trauma can dysregulate the physiology of female sexual arousal — leaving entirely aside the psychology of the event and its many emotional aftereffects."(220)

[Heeft Wolf zelf ooit meegemaakt wat het is om zo vergaand geminacht en omlaag gehaald te worden? Met grof geweld gekleineerd worden is al zo ontzettend ingrijpend, laat staan dat dat gebeurd via je 'intieme delen' door verkrachting en traumatisering op de manieren die hier aangeduid worden. Natuurlijk gaat dan het licht uit. Natuurlijk word je lichamelijk / mentaal een wrak. Natuurlijk barst je dan van de spanningen en de angst en heb je geen enkele vertrouwen meer in anderen. Waarom al die aandacht alleen voor de vagina en haar neurale verbindingen met de hersenen, enzo verder? Heel eenzijdig. Bijna een belediging voor getraumatiseerde vrouwen, lijkt me. ]

Meer over vulvodynia, wat wij 'pijn bij het vrijen' zouden noemen.

"Fish explained that vulvodynia is another outcome of a trapped pelvic nerve, but that instead of an absence of sensation, a woman with vulvodynia experiences pain."(228)

[Ik vind dat interview met Fish wel erg suggestief, alles gericht op de bevestiging van haar eigen theorie. Ik vind dit niet erg wetenschappelijk. Ben benieuwd of het misschien ook aan de grootte (dikte, lengte) van de penis in verhouding tot de opening en de lengte van de vagina mag liggen? ... O nee, dat mag natuurlijk niet.]

Daarna volgt een interview met Mike Lousada, een 'sex healer' die Tantra praktizeert.

"Lousada noted that studies have shown that virtually every woman can, theoretically, be orgasmic; because of this, he believes that the relative numbness or desensitization of many of the vaginas that he encounters in his work is the result of a woman’s lifetime accumulation of negative experiences, ranging from ridicule of her sexuality in childhood, to sexual abuse itself."(249)

[Hetzelfde bezwaar. Meer nog, want ook nog iemand die met spiritualiteit werkt. Hoe controleerbaar is het allemaal? Maar Wolf ziet het als een bevestiging van haar hypotheses dat trauma aan de vagina zich ergens fysiek vastzet in bekkenbodem, zenuwstelsel, hersenen en alles wat vrouwen zoal meemaken negatief beïnvloedt.]

(264) 7 - The Vagina Began as Sacred

"It would take many volumes to account comprehensively for the history of the vagina in the West alone; so this is necessarily an overview, concentrating on dramatic shifts in its cultural meaning and representation."(265)

(297) 8 - The Victorian Vagina: Medicalization and Subjugation

"The “modern” Western conception of the vagina, the one we inherit today — shamed, sexualized in a narrow and functional way, desacralized and scientifically scrutinized — developed in the nineteenth century. As Michel Foucault points out in The History of Sexuality, this was the century of medicalized control of sexuality in general. The vagina was medicalized and controlled in highly specific ways in this era that were unprecedented at the time, but that have endured since — and that descend to us, often intact.
As industrialization and increased education created an expanding class of increasingly restless and enfranchised women, new sources of sexual subjugation worked to repress those women. Growing cultural forces sought to keep women ignorant of their anatomy and sexual responses and to develop a state of sexual “passionlessness.” Many new sources generated these repressive pressures: newspaper commentators, doctors’ manuals, marriage guides, and the rise of gynecology as a medical specialization."(298)

"Given the dopamine-vagina-brain nexus, it is not unreasonable in retrospect to understand that an ideology would arise — however subconsciously — that would increasingly rigorously keep these same newly educated, middle-class Western women, who were seeking and gaining so many new rights, from understanding how their own vaginas even worked, and that would indeed punish them in many ways for even considering touching their vaginas and clitorises in ways that would activate more unruly dopamine."(303)

[Wat een onzinnige samenhang wordt hier naar voren gebracht. Ik vermoed dat mensen over alles onwetend houden gewoon de algemene aanpak is van alle tirannieke figuren en machtsverhoudingen. En vrouwvijandigheid is een ander aspect van hetzelfde verhaal. Wat heeft dat nu toch direct met de dopamine-vagina-brain nexus te maken? Waarom praten over de "brutal suppression of the vagina, uterus, and clitoris"(321)? Alsof die onderdrukking daar specifiek op gericht is. Als je een kind ontzettend bang maakt plast het misschien weer in zijn of haar bed. Waar ga je je dan op richten om dat probleem op te lossen? Op dat bang maken of op dat beddenplassen? Ik vind Wolf inmiddels behoorlijk doorslaan. En al die griezelverhalen die ze vertelt doen daar niets aan af.]

(333) 9 - Modernism: The “Liberated” Vagina

"The “New Woman,” with her liberated, even demanding sexuality, was not an easy image for male modernists to welcome."(345)

"This dualism — is the vagina a locus of transcendentalism or “just pussy”? — is the dualism we inherit today. Since the 1940s, the “just pussy” interpretation has — temporarily, one can hope — gained the ascendancy."(346)

[Mijn hemel, ja, dat is de kern van ... eh ... van wat eigenlijk? Ik vermoed dat Wolf vindt dat we de vagina weer moeten gaan verafgoden. ]

"Soon, Second Wave feminists were on a mission to teach repressed middle-class women to locate their clitorises, to demand orgasmic parity, and by all means to masturbate."(371)

"The numbers of women who reach orgasm during lovemaking have not gone up in the subsequent decades of “sexual revolution” and the proliferation of pornography; and the data for women who self-report that they are honest in expressing sexual needs to their male partners has actually gone down."(375)

[Laat me raden ... Dat komt doordat er te weinig aandacht is voor 'the dopamine-vagina-brain nexus'? ]

"This is our sex ethic. There is nothing wrong with “fun,” of course; but this model of what sex is for — what the vagina is for — has left many with deeper questions about the role of sexuality as a medium of profound intimacy or profound alterations of consciousness. And the “sex as play” model also raises all the questions that any “anything goes” ethic raises—why not, even if one is in a relationship, get hooked on porn? Why not go to a strip club, or frequent sex chat lines? Why not have a threesome, or share details with one’s mate of a fantasy involving someone else? What, in a libertarian model of what sex is, is the rationale for drawing any kind of line keeping sexual energy “sacred,” in a sense, between two people?
This “libertarian,” “sex as play” view of sexuality and the vagina’s role in it is our complicated inheritance. Sexual libertarianism may not be the same thing, as it turns out, as true sexual liberation." [mijn nadruk] (378)

[Zie ik daar een pleidooi voor monogamie aankomen als de enige plek waar 'heilige seksuele energie' kan bestaan?]

(387) Three - Who Names the Vagina?

(388) 10 - “The Worst Word There Is”

"Words about the vagina create environments that directly affect women’s bodies. The words women hear being used about their vaginas change, for better or worse, what they purport to describe. Because of their effect on the female autonomic nervous system (ANS), words about the vagina can either help or hurt actual vaginal response.(...) so verbal threats or verbal admiration or reassurances can directly affect the sexual functioning of the vagina." [mijn nadruk] (389)

[Wolf maakt echt een basale denkfout door haar eenzijdige focus op de 'vagina-brain-connection'. Het gaat niet om de woorden, maar om de negative denigrerende manier waarop ze gebruikt worden. En het gaat niet om de vagina die daar op reageert, maar om de persoon die daar bang of onzeker of somber van wordt wat zich uiteraard ook lijfelijk vertaalt in bijvoorbeeld seksueel functioneren. Die eenzijdige nadruk op al het somatische leidt tot dogmatische opvattingen en fatalisme: het is nu eenmaal zo. Bij een holistischer beeld zie je de ruimte om bijvoorbeeld te werken aan die angst en onzekerheid, aan het reageren op woorden, en waarschijnlijk zul je je dan ook meer inzetten voor het veranderen van mannengedrag en vrouwengedrag.]

[Een ander ding is dat je ziet dat vrouwen vaak ook zelf woorden gebruiken als 'iets is kut'. Wat is het effect van dat soort uitroepen dan? 'Kut' wordt daarbij geassocieerd met iets negatiefs. Waarom gebruiken al die vrouwen dat woord dan? Ze nemen blijkbaar de negatieve gevoelswaarde over die mannen daar aan hangen? Tegelijkertijd hebben ze het wel in positieve zin over een 'vrouw met ballen', want het hebben van ballen is blijkbaar iets goeds.]

"This behavior — ridiculing the vagina — makes perfect instinctive sense. These acts are often impersonal and tactical — strategies for directing a kind of pressure at women that is not consciously understood but may be widely intuited, and even survive in folk memory, as eliciting a wider neuropsychological “bad stress” response that actually debilitates women."(392)

[Ik begrijp dat het hier over vrouwen en vagina's gaat, maar zullen we het ook eens hebben over hoe denigrerend vrouwen kunnen zijn naar mannen, in taal, in gebaren? en over hoe dat mannen dus ook angstig en onzeker maakt? Het is hetzelfde seksistische gedrag, hetzelfde seksistische taalgebruik, met hetzelfde gevolg ook al is er geen vagina. En zullen we het ook eens hebben over al die vrouwen die een bepaalde ideologie van mannelijkheid aanhangen - de sterke man, de stoere man, de machtige man, iemand die je beschermt, en zo meer - die juist tot dat seksistische gedrag bij mannen leidt, vrouwen die seksistische mannen nooit aanspreken op of afwijzen om wat ze zeggen en doen, ze gewoon toelaten in hun leven , relaties met ze willen hebben, vrouwen die hun jongens als moeder tot dat soort mannen opvoeden en 'boys will be boys' blijven roepen, en zo verder? Op die manier houd je als vrouw dus een samenleving in stand die mannen de macht geeft vrouwen te onderdrukken. Je gaat als het ware met je eigen verkrachter naar bed.]

"As we have seen with the difference in the protection of the male and female pelvic nerves, a woman is quite vulnerable physically when she has opened her legs — more vulnerable than a man is. Because of this, and because males are generally larger and often stronger, the sense of safety may not be as important to male sexual response as it is to female sexual response."(404)

[Wat een domme onzin is dit. Bij mannen liggen de geslachtsdelen grootdeels aan de buitenkant. Mannen zijn dus zeer kwetsbaar op alle mogelijke manieren.]

(422) 11 - How Funny Was That?

[Hier geeft ze een voorbeeld van een situatie die ze zelf meemaakte van vrienden die beledigend taalgebruik over vrouwen hadden. En wat doet ze er aan? "A great lump rose in my throat; I excused myself to go down into the hold."(426) Ze wijst die vrienden dus blijkbaar niet terecht, zegt niet: breng me naar de wal, ik wil weg hier, of wat ook. Ze laat die mannen dus hun gang gaan. Daarna komt weer het geidealiseer van het Aziatische taalgebruik voor vagina's (de jaden poort, en zo), alsof dat maakt dat er in Azië niet eindeloos verkracht is / wordt door mannen.]

(447) 12 - The Pornographic Vagina

"An increasing problem for the vagina, and the whole life of the woman who owns that vagina, is that porn affects men neurologically, to their detriment. There is evidence that it is also habituating many men to become bored with “the Goddess Array” — the many gestures and caresses women’s autonomic nervous systems (ANSs) need — and to fast-forward past it."(448)

"These young women had repeatedly told the counselor that young men on campus expected that kind of sex [anale seks - GdG] because of porn, and that they felt obliged to make themselves available for it accordingly, especially if they wanted a “hookup” to turn into a potential date or relationship down the road." [mijn nadruk] (449)

[Zou kunnen dat porno dat effect heeft. Maar niet alleen op mannen. Ook vrouwen gebruiken porno als maatstaf voor wat seks hoort te zijn. Bovendien is er wel wat af te dingen op die causale relatie tussen porno en seksueel gedrag in het gewone leven, er is genoeg porno waar mannen allerlei handelingen verrichten die vrouwen prettig vinden en andersom, maar meestal is er in porno geen sprake van een prettige gevoelige respectvolle warme sfeer. Als je dat wilt accepteer je toch gewoon geen 'porno-gedrag' van je minnaar? Dan kies je toch voor mannen die wel de goede aandacht voor je hebben? Maar nee, vrouwen 'voelen zich verplicht' mee te gaan in wat mannen willen. Nee, werkelijk?! Dan hou je dus dat 'porno-gedrag' in stand. Niet willen, het toch doen, en dan later 'metoo'? Wat een slachtoffergedrag ...]

"Pornography also appears to be presenting another less obvious, though major, problem to heterosexual women as well: the evidence is in that chronic masturbation to porn sexually desensitizes men overall."(451)

[Dat is onjuist. Ze geeft typisch genoeg ook geen wetenschappelijke bron voor die stelling. Behalve dat mannen haar in groten getale mailden dat ze verslaafd waren geraakt aan porno en problemen kregen met seks met hun vriendin. O, dus ineens hebben we over verslaafden. Maar lang niet alle mannen raken verslaafd aan porno, verre van. Ze doet bijna alsof dat wel zo is. En ze heeft het ook niet over vormen van porno die vrouwvriendelijker zijn zoals de X-Art-filmpjes. Heeft ze zelf wel ooit porno gezien, zo vraag ik mij af. Een erg onbetrouwbaar verhaal, dit.]

"Heterosexual women are adapting — at some sacrifice to their own sexual richness — to the onslaught of male-paced pornography in the environment. We saw how masturbation to porn can desensitize men to the vagina. But does it also desensitize women to their own vaginas? Recent studies indicate that it does. Female masturbation to porn can desensitize women themselves to their own vaginas."(471)

"I checked with Pfaus about the reports I was getting from women that porn use and vibrators seemed to correlate to desensitization in them as well; he noted that vibrators desensitize women over time because of a natural habituation phenomenon — the spinal circuit itself habituates to the same repeated stimuli. So truly, for women, porn and vibrator technologies offer no long-term neurobiological substitutes for an attentive, inventive lover or inventive, attentive, imaginative self-care. Technology is creating its own problems." [mijn nadruk] (474)

[Nog meer onzin: vibrators maken ongevoelig.]

"While we are told we live in a time of sexual liberation, this may only mean more sex, or even just more images of sex — and not better or “freer” sex. For there is a good case to be made that in fact the sophistication of skill sets, and the skill level overall, taught to men, generation by generation, by their culture and by their peers, about how to please women in bed, has gone precipitously downward since the middle of the last century, when public porn became widespread, and when male sexual education went from peer stories and their own experiences with real women to the model presented in the new mass-market medium."(479)

"It is no wonder that advanced corporate capitalism, which truly liberates neither men nor women, likes porn so much, and allows porn to colonize public space."(484)

"Social conservatives have always feared real sexual awakening because erotic aliveness has the power to lead people into other kinds of resistance to deadening norms and rigid political, class, and social oppressions. Eros has always had the potential to truly rouse people, spiritually and politically as well as physically. Porn really is a drug, but it is the kind of drug that diminishes individuality, imagination, and pleasure rather than releasing it. Porn, it turns out, eventually takes the sexiness — that is, the wildness — out of sex.
The sexual “revolutionaries” of the 1960s branded porn as being a great liberator of libido — a lifter of repression, a great demystifier of the “shame” of sexuality. But — in the greatest of great ironies — we are discovering that porn diminishes rather than heightens libido over time;" [mijn nadruk] (486)

[Maar maar ... zo waar een paar maatschappijkritische opmerkingen. Maar ze is dus totaal tegen porno op basis van slechte argumentatie en zonder nuances. Ik denk dat de 60-er jaren feministes daar toch iets anders tegenaan kijken. Het lijkt er soms ook op of Wolf via wel erg lange uitweidingen haar traditionele monogame relatie met iemand zit te verdedigen alsof dat voor vrouwen noodzakelijkerwijs de enige weg is.]

(489) Four - The Goddess Array

(490) 13 - “The Beloved Is Me”

"Feminists and pornographers alike defined the vagina and vulva in terms of the mechanics of orgasm.
But while technique is important, this model leaves a great deal out of the “meaning” of the vagina and vulva. It leaves out the connections to the vagina of spirituality and poetry, art and mysticism, and the context of a relationship in which orgasm may or may not be taking place." [mijn nadruk] (491)

"The good is that feminism of that era had to break the association of heterosexual female sexual awakening with dependency on a man. The harm is that the feminism of this era successfully broke the association of heterosexual female sexual awakening with dependency on a man."(491)

"I became convinced that Tantra had some answers to the question of how female sexuality was best understood, especially in terms of the brain-vagina connection."(503)

[Uiteraard heeft ze zelf aan cursussen op dat vlak meegedaan. Het is een enorm vaag verhaal. "Now that there were only women in the room, an intimate atmosphere of female secrets shared started to prevail."(520) Ugh, mag ik een teiltje? Dus vrouwen kunnen niet open vertellen over wat ze voelen als er mannen bij zijn? Geen wonder ... ]

"My interest in divining Tantra’s “secrets” is what led me to Mike Lousada, the man whom I would come to think of as “my resident adviser for all things yoni,” and whose conversations would have such a lasting impact on me."(533)

[Waarom ben ik niet verbaasd dat ze een man nodig heeft als legitimatie voor haar geklets?]

(559) 14 - Radical Pleasure, Radical Awakening: The Vagina as Liberator

"Before we go through “the Goddess Array,” though, I just want to note a caveat: women are often encouraged to see public discussion of their sexuality as setting some new goal, or as being proscriptive or prescriptive. This is not my intention at all. I cannot stress enough: every woman is different. I wish to make clear that I offer these only as information — based on what works in Tantric practice, and specifically on what works in that practice that turns out to have a basis in recent science."(563)

[Vandaar dit dikke boek, ze wil echt niets voorschrijven, niet normatief worden, hoor. Yeah right. Enorm veel herhaling van eerdere verhalen hier.]

"Women know that they go into something like a trance state during really powerful sex, and this trance state is an encounter with the self on another, higher level."(596)

[Goh, wauw, indrukwekkend. Dit gaat allemaal over sfeer om zoiets te bereiken, geuren en kleuren en verlichting en elkaar aankijken, met elkaar praten, elkaar strelen, elkaar complimenten geven, elkaar verrassen, het is allemaal open deur en al zo lang bekend. Waarom is dat dan nog steeds niet iets 'normaals' geworden en zijn vrouwen én mannen nog steeds ongelukkig met hun seksleven? Zouden er misschien andere factoren zijn die meer op het maatschappelijke vlak liggen, zoals geen tijd hebben, geld moeten verdienen, kinderen moeten opvoeden, en zo verder en zo meer? ]

"A day-to-day stressor for straight women living with men they love is male silence. I don’t mean hostile silence or antagonistic silence — I mean just plain old garden-variety male-brain quiet.
Many studies have confirmed the difference between male and female brains when it comes to verbal processing: women have far greater levels of activity between the two hemispheres of their brains, thus leading women to have a far higher interest in talking, to use greater vocabulary ranges, and to be far more interested in discussing emotions." [mijn nadruk] (620)

[Nog meer onzin. Mannen zijn 'van nature' geen praters, vrouwen wel. Wat een generalisaties en vooroordelen toch. Als vrouwen zo graag met mannen praten, waarom kiezen ze dan mannen als partners die dat niet doen? En waarom zijn er dan zo veel vrouwen die bij hun mannen nooit hun mond open doen?]

"I have been listening to the language of women who have left their marriages or who have committed adultery. The following is another cultural secret: a substantial theme that surfaces when women say why they left solid, stable marriages, or committed adultery against good, devoted, faithful men, is that they were bored. Our cultural script tells us that women never leave or stray unless the men they married have done something awful to them, but I cannot count how many perfectly nice, reasonable, sane, considerate women have confided to me that the reason they left or strayed is that they “couldn’t stand” the sexual boredom caused by the good, safe, nice, predictable man." [mijn nadruk] (658)

"The men who were being left, or deceived, by the women who told me their stories were all incredibly nice; but they had stopped relating intellectually to the women in their lives from a condition of growth or adventure. They had stopped bringing seduction and drama into the marital bed. They had stopped seeing the women in their lives as if the women themselves needed excitement and drama within the relationship and were themselves not to be taken for granted. This seemed to have a knock-on effect: the women stopped treating the men as if their needs for excitement and novelty mattered, and started to treat them as if they were uninteresting."(659)

[Uiteraard speelden ze daar zelf helemaal geen rol in: hij moest de verveling opheffen, niet zij. En omdat hij dat niet deed - oorzaak - behandelden zij hun man als oninteressant - gevolg. Slachtoffergedrag dus. En dus kozen ze voor een wilde spannende sterke echte man? Zodat ze zelf weer niets hoefden te doen? ]

"But it may mean that one way to keep a woman interested and faithful for life, if you are a man, is to never give up your role as seducer, and to never stop growing, changing, and finding little and big ways to surprise her." [mijn nadruk] (663)

[Hij moet dat blijkbaar doen. Zij hoeft dat niet te doen. ]

"In our culture, the woman is tasked with “keeping the fire alive” sexually in a relationship ... (...) But practitioners of Tantra think this model is backward. In their worldview, it is the man who must tend the fire;"(673)

[O, vandaar. Is het misschien een idee om dat allebei te doen, om samen de verantwoordelijkheid te dragen voor een fijn seksleven? Is dat nu zo moeilijk in te zien?]

(689) Conclusion: Reclaiming the Goddess

"In an instant, I realized that original sin did not, as the Judeo-Christian tradition has it, originate in human sexuality. Our species’ original sin was in deviating from our earliest tradition of reverence for the feminine and for female sexuality, and all that it represented for us. Our original sin lies in five thousand years of shaming it, stigmatizing it, controlling it, subduing it, splitting it off from women, from men, compartmentalizing it, insulting it and selling it. Great dislocations and alienations in civilization and in human development have followed from that original sin, and the results are everywhere around us."(695)

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