July 21, 2009

Dildos: An Imitation of the Male Penis?

Posted in 1, Gender Politics, Queer Politics, sex, Sex Education tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:02 am by Femme Mystique

As a mostly woman-identified queer person, I have at several points battled internally with the idea of using dildos for partner sex.  Identifying as a lesbian places one in a very unique place with regards to heterosexism.

Upon coming out, early lesbian friends of mine shunned the dildo as a representation of the male penis.  “If I wanted a penis, I could have the real thing,” they chided.  Upon further analysis, however, I found this to be a very androcentric and problematic statement.

Havelock Ellis, a nineteenth century sexologist, originated the idea that lesbian sex, especially with the use of sex toys, was an imitation of heterosexual, penis-in-vagina sex.  This androcentric analysis places an extraordinarily higher value on the penis versus the vagina, with emphasis on imitation rather than pleasure.

Without  a doubt women can experience sexual pleasure from sex without the involvement of a penis.  I propose then that dildos are not by default phallic representations, nor in contrast are they necessarily yonic.  They are, in their purest form, merely instruments of pleasure.

I’ve never seriously wanted to be a man.  Sure, I think it might be fun to try.  Sure, I sometimes wish I could gain the privileges that come along with being born into a male body.  But overall I am content with the biological sex into which I have been born and the gender which I choose to present.  I don’t think that my use of sex toys threatens either of these things in any way.